Monday, October 22, 2007

Awesome Satellite!

Before I get to the point of this post, I would like to recap Friday's Severe weather..and why we didn't get any. If you recall, I was quite excited before hand about the potential for some major severe weather. However, there were too many clouds and too much rain to allow for things to fire up. By early afternoon, I had narrowed my prediction to roughly 15-20 storm reports across the whole Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. Here is the storm report map from Friday so you can't say I totally messed up the forecast! *laughs*

Now, onto the point of this post. I was looking at some satellites imagery today and I zoomed in on Southern California, which has been in the news with winds over 100mph and massive forest fires. You can clearly pick out the smoke from the fires blowing out over the Pacific Ocean. I haven't figured out how to get it to loop on here yet...if I don't figure it out and you want to see it, let me know and I can send the loop to you!

Now, it seems we hear about high winds and fires in southern California every year around this time. Often times, the media blames the "Santa Ana" Winds, and rightly so. But what are they and why are they so destructive? Accuweather does an excellent job explaining this phenomena. I would simply link to the story, but since it is one of their headline stories, the article will likely no longer be available in the next day or two. So, here is a screen shot of the article, courtesy of Accuweather (click to enlarge!):

Friday, October 19, 2007

2PM Update

The Severe Weather Expert at (Henry Margusity) has updated his analysis of the threat for today. He generally reflects what the Storm Prediction Center implied and my main concern going through today.

The clouds and rain have helped stabilize the atmosphere. However, there is a wave of energy lifting northward from West Virginia. It is this enhanced energy, combined with all the moisture and strong winds in the atmosphere, that will get things going in a few hours. Henry said to expect about a dozen storm reports total...I still think there might be a bit more, maybe 15-20 across the whole northeast and mid-Atlantic.

Expect the next update later this afternoon as storms begin to form!

12:30PM Update

The storm prediction center has lessened the chance of damaging wind in their 12:30PM outlook. While the coverage are of the tornado threat has shrunk, it remains the same across all of Central New York and Pennsylvania. There is still a lot of rain out there from last nights weather and it is tough to say how much this will prevent other storms from developing. Even with the rain, there still should be at least some severe thunderstorms developing later on.

Next update: 2 or 3PM or sooner

Friday Morning Thoughts

Clouds and rain showers that are left over from yesterday's storms are keeping us from getting the sun out this morning. This will probably prevent a massive, widespread severe weather outbreak from occurring. However, I still think there is a good chance of some really nasty weather late this afternoon. Normally, a great deal of instability is needed to get lots of severe weather going. One of the easiest ways to get this is to get the sun out. However, this storm's power is in the winds aloft blowing strongly one way and the winds lower in the atmosphere blowing strong in a different direction. This is called "shear" and is important for tornadoes and damaging winds.

Now, lets take a look at yesterday's latest storm report map:

I want to point out the smattering of red (tornadoes) in Michigan. I checked back to see what their weather conditions were like at this time yesterday. Surprisingly, I found very similar conditions to what we have now: Temperatures in the upper 60's and low 70's, dew points in the mid to upper 60's...and most importantly, clouds. Temperatures didn't rise much above the low to mid 70's as well....yet they still got hammered.

Now...we are not Michigan and there are many other factors that will prevent us from having the extent of severe weather that they had. However, the potential is most certainly there for lots of damaging winds and a couple of tornadoes. Check back for another update probably around 12:30-1PM.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Tomorrow's Threat

Tornado watches now stretch from Wisconsin, east to Michigan and south to almost the Gulf of Mexico as Day 2 of the severe weather outbreak starts to get going. Yesterday, there were over 200 reports of severe weather, including 15 tornadoes, as shown below:

And here are the current tornado watches (shown as red boxes):

Now, for tomorrow. Accuweather's severe weather expert, Henry Margusity, keyed in on our area this morning in his blog when he said "That area could see a squall line with wind damage and perhaps tornadoes, especially from State College to Altoona to Williamsport to Syracuse to Watertown..." So basically what he is saying is the best chance for very damaging winds and tornadoes is Central New York and Pennsylvania.

A lot of the things I have seen indicate that morning cloud cover could prevent thigns from really getting out of hand. I actually emailed Henry Margusity, asking him how bad he thought it would get if there was little to no sun tomorrow morning. If he responds (he is very busy needless to say) I will let you know what he thinks.

Regardless, tomorrow needs to be watched very closely. I have no classes tomorrow (yay!) so you can be assured updates will be posted very often. The best chance for severe storms will likely be from mid afternoon on.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Second Severe Thunderstorm Season

Often times the autumn season brings a renewed threat for severe thunderstorms across the nation as the seasons change from warm to cold. While widespread outbreaks are not as common as they are in the spring and early summer, they do happen from time to time and can be very, very destructive. Today is day 1 of 3 of one of these outbreaks. This severe weather outbreak will eventually spread all the way into our area on Friday. Here are the Storm Prediction Center maps for the threat the next 3 days:




Now, the thing with this outbreak will be the ability for the storms to continue well into and overnight. This is especially worrisome since the tornado threat will be high. The highest risk for tornadoes looks to be from roughly Arkansas up into southern Michigan. However, this does not mean other areas will not have to watch out. Strong, damaging winds, hail and more isolated tornadoes are possible pretty much everywhere else shown above.

Focusing on Friday since that is when we will get the worst, it is still a little early to get into specifics regarding where and when the worst will be. However, the entire New York and Pennsylvania area are under the gun for damaging winds, hail and a couple of tornadoes. could go into storm mode on Friday, which just goes to show the serious potential there is. Check back tomorrow for more updates.