Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Latest from NOAA

Here is the latest from NOAA on our storm chances for Friday...

A strong upper level storm system will move through portions of Texas on Friday. Rain chances will increase late Thursday night into Friday as this storm system approaches. Our current thinking is that most of the severe thunderstorm threat that will accompany this system and front will be mainly to the north and east of south central Texas. I have attached a graphic that shows our main threat area as of right now.

For those northern areas of south central Texas...mainly north of Highway 71....the threat time will be from 2-10pm on Friday. Some storms may fire before the front pushes through. Other areas of south central Texas will likely see a "cap" on the atmosphere which will limit the thunderstorm potential...keeping rain chances fairly Isolated. Any storm that would break this "cap" would likely go severe...coverage would remain isolated however. It is spring be on the lookout.

We will continue to watch the models and keep you updated as best we can. Visit us for the latest forecast and graphics.

Paul Yura
National Weather Service Austin-San Antonio TX

Monday, March 29, 2010

Could get stormy on Friday-Easter looks nice!

"Spring has sprung"!

Looking at the latest modeling data, things could get stormy on Friday as a dry line and cool front move through. At the present time, we will be on the far southern end of the system, with most of the rain and storms staying to the north and NE of us (deja vu).

I am planning a short distance storm chase on Friday, but for now, most of the action looks like it will be up in Oklahoma and far northern Texas. I'm not feeling too optimistic about my chase odds as of Monday afternoon, but as we all know, things can change!

After the front goes through, the weather pattern looks pretty tranquil until the 12th or 13th, when indications are that we will have a good chance of widespread rain for a large part of Texas. Temperatures should stay near to slightly above normal through the period. Hopefully we won't slide into a dry April...I've got too many plants trying to bloom!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Iceland, Surface Stations in Australia,Chance of Thunderstorms

Quite a few things to talk about this afternoon on the "Weather Blog".

First, as a cool front and upper low move across Texas tomorrow, there is a slight chance of severe storms forming, primarily to our north and NE. Some storms could be strong enough to spawn a few tornadoes and hail. Most of the rain will also stay to our NE, as shown in this latest rainfall estimate from NOAA. After that system passes, look for more great Spring weather for the rest of the week and the weekend.

This Iceland volcano could become a real "climate changer" if the second volcano erupts at the same time. Not only could it lower northern hemisphere temps, but it could pose a real health threat to the British Isles and make air travel almost impossible in the area.

Lastly, there is a great blog out today on the countless bad surface stations in Australia. These bad stations are not limited to Australia, though, we have plenty in the USA and all over the globe. That's why surface station data can not be trusted for making any kind of "global warming" assessments, from my perspective.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Thar She Blows!

Another windy day in SA, as the low pressure that brought the cold and snow to Texas, slowly moves out of this area. At my house in Helotes, we have seen a few gusts near 33 mph this afternoon. As the low finally moves out, very dry air that will rapidly cool down after sunset and put much of South Texas into a rare "Spring Freeze" by tomorrow morning. Afternoon dew points are running in the low 20's, so temperatures will be dropping possibly into the upper 20's in the low lying areas in Bexar County tonight. The only thing that might keep the temps from dropping as low, will be if the winds continue to blow late into the evening.

Once we get through tomorrow, based on every computer model I can find, it looks to me that we have seen our last freeze of the season for Bexar County, although a few more upper 30's are possible in about a week as another fairly strong cold front moves through.

I continue to have some issues with my weathercam communicating with Weather Underground, so for now, I'll just post some images from the cam on this blog. Here is an image taken this afternoon. If you look closely, you can see my neighbor riding his lawnmower in the street!

Here is some Dallas snow info from NOAA:

.. Spring snow for dfw...

Dfw Airport recorded 1.2 inches of snow on March 20th. This breaks
the previous daily record for March 20th of 0.4 inches set in 1970.
An additional 0.1 of an inch officially fell on March 21st and the
event total is 1.3 inches.

The additional 1.3 inches brings the 2009-2010 winter total to 17.1
inches. This ranks second of all time and came 0.5 inches shy of
tying the all-time record of 17.6 inches set in 1977-1978.

This snow event was unseasonably late in the year. The last time an
inch or more fell at dfw later than March 20th was when 2 inches
fell on March 29th in 1937.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Arctic Front is Here! 9:30am update

Not that any of you would not have noticed it by now, but the arctic front pushed through our area around 6:30 this morning, causing a potent squall line to form along the frontal boundary. A strong thunderstorm dropped 1.3 inches of rain at my home in Helotes. Temperatures have dropped from the 60's to the mid 40's and now it has turned cloudy and very windy. Winds are forecast to gust near 40 mph today.

What's really interesting about this storm is it's strength...this is very cold air for so late in the season. Looking at radar, snow is trying to make a run for Central Texas right now. This is the latest computer snow forecast and you can see how close to San Antonio the models are forecasting snow. Very amazing! Dallas has a 40% chance of snow accumulations of up to 1 inch tonight and Sunday morning.

I will be updating this blog throughout the day...

4pm update: Lots of wind this afternoon. So far, our highest gust of the day has been 35mph. Temperatures are staying in the 40's. If the wind persists all night, we may dodge a freeze on Sunday morning.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Arctic Front On The Way! Snow In The Forecast for Dallas.

What a fun way to celebrate the first day of arctic front!

Finally, NOAA is now mentioning the possibility of a freeze on Monday morning and lows in the mid 30s with wind on Sunday morning for San Antonio.

Even more interesting, are the latest computer models that are showing a chance of snow on Saturday afternoon and evening for areas pretty close to San Antonio. Dallas now has a 40% chance of snow on Saturday night. If this pans out, I'm certain there will be records falling for latest snowfall for many of these cities in Texas.

For those of us wanting to do our Spring planting, hopefully this will be our last chance at seeing freezing temperatures this season.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Our Next Cold Front Means Business!

For some strange reason, our local NOAA people are not taking this next front very seriously. Latest computer models continue to show a major dip in the jet stream and some very cold air (for this time of the year) pouring southward on Friday night and Saturday with brisk winds and moisture. This is essentially an "arctic front" in late March. In fact, one of the models shows snowfall as far south as Waco on Saturday. Meanwhile, our local NOAA forecasters are not even mentioning the possibility of freezing temperatures on Sunday or Monday morning for the San Antonio area. If the winds do not stop blowing on Saturday night and a few clouds linger, I can understand why we might stay in the mid 30's, but if it clears on Sunday and the winds go calm, I see no reason we won't get into the lower 30's or upper 20's in northern Bexar County.

Rainfall will stay mostly to our north and northeast, but we should still see 1/4 to 1/2 inch amounts by Saturday night. Another strong front will come in later next week, with another chance of rain and some more cold air. At this time, I don't think we will see a freeze, but we could see some more "30 something" lows.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Two Potential "Freeze Fronts" and 1-2 inches of Rain Coming...

An upper low and some cooler air are working their way southeastward this morning after dropping several inches of snow in the mountains of Colorado last night. It's a little unusual to see upper level storms coming in from the north this time of the year...most of them tend to come in from the west. As this one gets closer, look for our atmosphere to become increasingly unstable with showers and a few small thunderstorms forming overnight and on Tuesday. We should see some 1-2 inch rains out of this slow moving system.

After this system exits, we should have more fantastic Spring weather on tap for the rest of the week, until a very strong cold front moves in on Saturday, which humorously is the first day of Spring (vernal equinox). This will be the first of two potential "freeze fronts" and the reason I have been recommending not to plant any tropical foliage until after the first week of April unless you can cover it. At this point of the week, I'm giving this front an LCFS rating of 768. About a week later, we will see the last of the potential "freeze fronts". Hopefully, then it will be safe to head to the nursery!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

According to NOAA, 63 Percent of USA Experienced Below Normal Temps

In a new report from NOAA, 63 percent of the United States experience below normal temperatures from December through February. And above normal rainfall was recorded throughout most of the southwest and southern parts of the country.

As we begin transitioning to Spring, I believe we will see very turbulent conditions, due to the cold winter and the continued southerly track of low pressure systems. Just the past few days have seen some fatal tornadoes already. If past history is any indicator, the best chance for tornadoes in this area is usually late March and early April, when the jet stream is still far enough south to produce the proper ingredients to form tornadoes. I may not have to go very far this year to find tornadoes if this pattern continues!

I continue to see a potentially major cold outbreak for the western states and eventually South Texas, on or around the 23rd of this month. If you are going to plant anything tropical before April 1st, I would make sure you can either bring it inside or be able to cover it. We could have two strong fronts during the last week of March and I think a very good chance of seeing a light freeze and snowfall as far south as north central Texas.

Speaking of cold, Florida had just had one of its coldest winters in over 3 decades. Read about it and the winter report from NOAA:

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Rain, freeze forecast, etc.

A rather unusual cool front and upper level low are slowly moving this way from the west this morning. Unusual, because the upper low is tracking very far south, located around northern Baja California, instead of a more typical, northerly track. The system is slow moving and will cause light to moderate rain to start forming over our area during the day and evening. As this system gets closer on Monday afternoon, there is now a slight chance to start seeing our first signs of Spring supercell thunderstorms in the afternoon as our dew points rise and we get some afternoon heating. Right now, the biggest threat appears to be high winds and hail, but there could be enough instability for tornadoes. Those odds will be very slight, especially if the cloud cover does not break and temperatures remain below 70 degrees. Latest rainfall estimates from NOAA, are around an inch of rain.

Looking down the road, dry, west winds on Tuesday will warm us up into the low 80's, then another front comes through by the weekend, taking up back down to slightly below normal temperatures but mostly clear skies for the weekend. What concerns me right now is the third week of March. Computer models continue to show a strong cold front around the 20th, which could open the door for a late season freeze. That's why I would not recommend planting any tropical plants unless you have a good way of covering them, in case these models pan out.

Speaking of tropical plants, you can blame "Global Warming" for your higher priced tomatoes this Spring. Record cold temps in Florida have eliminated 70 percent of their crop.

Florida's Winter Freeze Decimates Tomato Crop

Locally, this past winter has been the 7th coldest on record for San Antonio (December-February) and the coldest February since 1978. Austin Bergstrom Airport reported a tie for the coldest February ever recorded and the 8th coldest winter for Austin and 4th coldest for Del Rio.

Because of our cold winter and continued rain, my long range forecast for this summer is also looking much more tolerable than last summer. Right now, I think we will have a "Back to the 70's" kind of summer. During the 70's, San Antonio experienced very few 100 degree days and consistent afternoon coastal showers to keep us from baking like we did last summer.

As for the hurricane season, if El NiƱo goes away, which it is starting to do, we could see an increase in hurricanes in the Gulf this year.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Some rain, then wind today...

The upper low moved over our area last night, dropping .44 of an inch of rain at my place in Helotes.
Look for the backside of the low to usher in a cold front with some more rain and lots of wind this afternoon.