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Stormy Midsection

posted on Thursday, October 29th, 2009 at 11:09 am
Risk for Storms, Image: NOAA

Risk for Storms, Image: NOAA

The risk for storms remains active this Thursday. Oklahoma is bearing the brunt of the severe weather right now.

National Forecast Map: Image: NOAA

National Forecast Map: Image: NOAA

Computer Model: Rain, Image: NOAA

Computer Model: Rain, Image: NOAA

Heavy rain is predicted tonight for much of the Mississippi River Valley. Northern Arkansas and Southern Missouri could be hardest hit.

-Dawn Brown

Windy Weather in the West

posted on Wednesday, October 28th, 2009 at 1:02 pm
Visible Satellite, Image: Unisys Weather

Visible Satellite, Image: Unisys Weather

The winds of change hit the West Coast yesterday and today.  Downtown Los Angeles hit a nice mild 77 for the high yesterday. Today, temperatures started out in the 50s. Winds were gusting up to 30 miles per hour last night.

The cold front and associated low pressure is now dumping snow in the Rockies. Check out the Denver TV forecast.

Temperature Forecast, Image: NOAA

Temperature Forecast, Image: NOAA

Look at the temperature forecast. It is definitely much cooler across much of the country. It’s going to be a rough go of it over the Rockies and Central Plains.

-Dawn Brown

Wild Weather Setup for Halloween

posted on Tuesday, October 27th, 2009 at 11:56 am
Severe Weather Threat, Image: SPC NOAA

Severe Weather Threat, Image: SPC NOAA

The panhandle of Florida is under a tornado watch this morning. A warm and tropical air mass is colliding with cold air over the Southeastern United States, bringing a chance for heavy rain and severe thunderstorms. Here’s the TV forecast from Panama City, Florida.

The warm air stays in place over the deep South until Halloween morning.

Thursday, Warm East, Cold West,  Image: Unisys Weather

Thursday, Warm East, Cold West, Image: Unisys Weather

Look at the setup for this Thursday over the US. The West Coast feels the big chill set in, while warm air travels as far north as Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. This is in advance of a strong cold front that will usher in cooler temps on the East Coast just in time for Halloween!

Cooler Air Travels East for Halloween, Image: NOAA

Cooler Air Travels East for Halloween, Image: NOAA

While the cold air unexpectedly swings eastward, forcing costume goers across the East Coast to cover themselves in heavy coats and shawls,  I can just imagine the skimpy costumes you’ll see in Las Vegas and Phoenix because of the warm air that will settle in Halloween night.

This is the time of year when we expect wild swings in the weather… and you can see from the two maps above, we are getting it!

-Dawn Brown

Line of Storms Moving East

posted on Monday, October 26th, 2009 at 2:24 pm
National Weather Service Radar, Image: NOAA

National Weather Service Radar (Old) , Image: NOAA

For the latest radar imagery, go to National Weather Service Radar, or click on the tab for GET YOUR LOCAL TV FORECAST! on the right hand side of this website.

Heavy rain is crossing Southern Texas into the Lower Mississippi River Valley this Monday. Flash flood watches are in effect from central Texas to central Louisiana.  For the latest radar imagery, click on this link for Houston weather. The line of storms is now moving toward Lake Charles, Louisiana.

National Weather Service Radar (Old), Image: NOAA

National Weather Service Radar (Old), Image: NOAA

The biggest threat from these storms appears to be heavy rain. The cold front is expected to advance through the Mississippi River Valley today, with the heaviest rainfall concentrated in East Texas and Western Louisiana.

National Forecast Map, Image: NOAA

National Forecast Map, Image: NOAA

Tomorrow, a portion of the cold front breaks off to the North, and another front and associated low forms over the Lower Mississippi River Valley in Louisiana. This will bring a fresh round of showers and thunderstorms to the Gulf Coast.

Forecast Map, Tuesday, Image: NOAA

Forecast Map, Tuesday, Image: NOAA

It looks like the Central and Southern Plains will see a brief break in the middle of the week before another storm sets up for the weekend.

-Dawn Brown

A Watch Versus a Warning

posted on Sunday, October 25th, 2009 at 4:19 pm
Expired Weather Warnings, Image: NOAA

Expired Weather Warnings, Image: NOAA

When a TV weather forecaster breaks into television programming, it’s usually to tell the viewers a watch or a warning has been issued by the National Weather Service. The National Weather Service is the government agency in charge of issuing weather warnings to save lives and protect property.The NWS issues the warning, television stations broadcast it to the viewers. The image above tells us the National Weather Service has issued two different warnings for Southeastern Texas and Western Louisiana. The counties colored red are under tornado warnings. A tornado warning means that a tornado has either been spotted visually

Union City, Oklahoma 1973, Image: NSSL, NOAA

Union City, Oklahoma 1973, Image: NSSL, NOAA

or it has been detected by Doppler radar. When a tornado warning is issued, this means viewers need to take immediate shelter. Click on the following link for more information on tornado safety. The counties shaded in green are under flood warnings. This means that heavy rain has caused river levels to rise in those areas. A flash flood warning means that a flash flood is occurring or about to occur. Flash floods typically occur during torrential rain events.

Expired Tornado Watch, Image: NOAA

Expired Tornado Watch, Image: NOAA

Television viewers are most likely not surprised when the National Weather Service issues a warning. They have probably seen the skies darken, lightning flash in the distance, and heard the rumbling of thunder. By the time a flash flood warning or a tornado warning has been issued, viewers need to take immediate action to protect their lives or property. Television forecasters don’t have much time to tell viewers they are in danger when a tornado is already on the ground, or heavy rain has turned into a flash flood event.  It is the job of forecasters at the Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma to forecast the possibility of severe weather days in advance, and give local forecasters a heads up that they need to warn viewers that they need to prepare for severe weather. The Storm Prediction Center is in charge of issuing watches. (This can be a flood watch, tornado watch, severe thunderstorm watch, etc.)

A tornado watch means that conditions are right for the development of tornadoes. A watch can be issued when the sky is blue and the weather does not seem at all threatening. On a Sunday morning, you may leave for church, then an afternoon of shopping at the mall and be totally surprised by severe thunderstorms passing through as you try and leave the shopping mall to head home. This is why forecasters at the Storm Prediction Center spend hours trying to predict the weather days in advance of developing storms, to give people adequate time to protect their property and save lives.

If you live in an area where severe thunderstorms occur, you are responsible for making sure you know what precautions to take when the National Weather Service issues a warning. Again click on the following link for the latest information on tornado safety.

The main threat from flash floods comes in the form of water filling roadways. Flash floods are the #1 severe weather related killer from in the United States. (Heat related deaths are the highest overall.) Most of the threat comes from people trying to cross flooded roadways. Six inches of fast moving water can knock you off your feet. (Source: Turn Around, Don’t Drown, National Weather Service Southern Regional Headquarters.)   

Flash Flooding, Image: NOAA

Flash Flooding, Image: NOAA

-Dawn Brown

Weather Warnings Light Up Louisiana

posted on Thursday, October 22nd, 2009 at 2:00 pm
Storm Prediction Center Radar, Image: NOAA

Storm Prediction Center Radar, Image: NOAA

Image above is old! Go to the Storm Prediction Center website for the latest graphics. Stay tuned to your local TV stations for the latest watches and warnings.

A large storm system crossing the mid-section has sparked severe weather warnings across Southeastern Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas. Forecasters in Lafayette, Louisiana are staying on top of a line of severe storms moving through the area. Soon, those warnings will move east. You can track the storms as they move through New Orleans and Central Mississippi.

National Satellite, Image: NOAA

National Satellite, Image: NOAA

You can see how large the storm is on the satellite imagery. Heavy rain and thunderstorms stretch from Iowa to the Gulf of Mexico. The severe line is being aided by warm, tropical air from the Gulf of Mexico and the remnants of Hurricane Rick.

The stormy weather and associated cold front quickly marches east toward the Ohio and Tennessee River Valleys.

-Dawn Brown

Heavy Rain Forecast for Central Plains

posted on Wednesday, October 21st, 2009 at 4:48 pm
National Forecast, Image: NOAA

National Forecast, Image: NOAA

A large storm is brewing over the Central Plains. The Storm Prediction Center isn’t currently forecasting any of the storms will become severe. You can see that heavy rains may produce flash flooding in portions of Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.

Rick has now dissipated over a mountainous region of Mexico. An influx of moisture from the Pacific, including Rick, will aid in the storms over the Midwest.

Friday Forecast, Image: NOAA

Friday Forecast, Image: NOAA

Friday, the storm system will advance east, bringing heavy rain to the Lower Mississippi River Valley. Areas across the Southeast that have warmed up over the last several days will cool down starting Friday night into Saturday.

-Dawn Brown

Rick Misses Baja, Rains on Central Plains

posted on Tuesday, October 20th, 2009 at 12:39 pm
3-Day Forecast Track TS Rick, Image: NOAA

3-Day Forecast Track TS Rick, Image: NOAA

Rick has significantly weakened in the last 24-hours, and resort towns in Baja California will not suffer a direct hit. Tropical Storm Warnings are still in effect for the West Coast of Southern Baja California including Cabo San Lucas. Maximum sustained winds are now 65 miles per hour.

Rick's Rains, Image: Unisys Weather

Rick's Rains, Image: Unisys Weather

The remnants of Rick will aid in the development of a storm system over the Central Plains. Cold, dry polar air will clash with a warm tropical air mass over the Central and Southern Plains late this week. This computer model image from Unisys Weather shows the possibility of heavy rains and storms late Wednesday through Saturday, and then the Northeast could get hit by a wallop of a storm.

The red arrow on the image shows where the remnants of Rick will be located Thursday morning. Rick’s path, along with an influx of warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico will combine to create heavy rain and thunderstorms through the weekend. This second image is the computer model forecast for Friday. You can see the Central Plains and Mid-Mississippi River Valley will once again bear the brunt of a heavy rain event.

Rick's Rains Friday, Image: Unisys Weather

Rick's Rains Friday, Image: Unisys Weather

I’ll have the latest severe weather outlook from the Storm Prediction Center tomorrow.

-Dawn Brown

Baja Prepares for Another Hit

posted on Monday, October 19th, 2009 at 2:55 pm
Hurricane Rick Satellite, Image: NOAA

Hurricane Rick Satellite, Image: NOAA

Baja California is preparing for another strike by a hurricane this season. Resort towns near Los Cabos, Mexico are preparing for a direct hit. Visible satellite imagery above shows a weakening Hurricane Rick, although it still packs winds up to 105 miles per hour this Monday afternoon. In September, Hurricane Jimena made landfall north of resort areas near Los Cabos as a category 2 hurricane, quickly weakening as it moved onshore.

Wind Probabilities Hurricane Rick, Image: NOAA

Wind Probabilities Hurricane Rick, Image: NOAA

3 Day Track Forecast Hurricane Rick, Image: NOAA

3 Day Track Forecast Hurricane Rick, Image: NOAA

Currently, National Hurricane Center forecasters believe the storm will still be a hurricane when it approaches Los Cabos on Wednesday. Wave action caused by the storms’ high winds is already being blamed for one death in the Los Cabos resort area. The first image above is a product from the National Hurricane Center that shows the probability of tropical storm or hurricane force winds. Currently there is a 70-80% chance of tropical storm force winds affecting Cabo San Lucas on Wednesday.

Large swells from the storms high winds over the last several days will definitely affect the coast of Baja and Mexico. At one point Rick’s maximum sustained winds topped out at 180 miles per hour. Category 5 hurricanes on the Saffir-Simpson scale are 155mph+.

For the latest on Hurricane Rick, please go to my section on Tracking Hurricanes and the MYL Forums.

For the latest on the high swells, check out the forecast from Surfline. Their blog is on the menu bar on the left hand side. Surfline has some great forecasters with the latest information on wind and wave action.

On the East Coast of the United States, it feels like winter! Cold weather advisories are in effect from Georgia to Pennsylvania.

-Dawn Brown

Is Cooler Air Here to Stay?

posted on Sunday, October 18th, 2009 at 12:49 pm
Today's Snow Depth, Image: NOAA

Today's Snow Depth, Image: NOAA, Click to Enlarge

Look at the snow! This is a picture of the average snow depth across the United States on this Sunday. What’s interesting about this picture is not the fact that five percent of the country is covered in snow. The percentage is not that unusual for the month of October. What is unusual is where the snow is located.  When I look back at the snow analysis for the middle of October for that last ten years, most of the early season snow occurred over the Rocky Mountains. This year, the Great Lakes, Appalachians, Upstate New York and New England have snow accumulations. (Source : National Snow Analysis )

This goes hand-in-hand with the cooler than average summer experienced by the Great Lakes and Eastern Seaboard as well. The upper air pattern continues to bring cooler weather to these regions. However, as I posted on Wednesday, this cool summer is no indication of what winter will look like in the same areas. In fact, NOAA is forecasting a warmer than average winter across the northern tier states. On Thursday, NOAA published its El Nino Outlook, with newer and (much prettier) pictures than I created on my blog last Wednesday, showing folks the climate outlook for this winter.

El Nino Climate Outlook, Image: NOAA

El Nino Climate Outlook, Image: NOAA

El Nino Climate Outlook 2, Image: NOAA

El Nino Climate Outlook 2, Image: NOAA

You can see from the first image above that the Pacific Northwest and Ohio and Tennessee River Valleys are expected to be drier than average. And the entire northern half of the United States is expected to be warmer. Sweet relief will come to the Southeastern States, with a cooler than average winter. Higher than average precipitation is expected for California and the Southern United States. (This the forecast for December through February.)

Today, cold weather warnings have been posted all across the Ohio and Tennessee River Valleys for states from Ohio and Pennsylvania to Alabama and Mississippi. Here’s the latest TV forecasts from FOX Nashville and Biloxi, Mississippi.

Great football weather! Enjoy the games.

-Dawn Brown

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