Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Midweek storm chance and a change to severe weather outlooks

Unusual October weather pattern
Our week is off to a warm start around Kansas. It was a little weird seeing high temperatures hit 80 degrees and it will happen again before the end of the week. Feels like summer and the weather pattern setup resembles that of July or August. I don't think we will break any record highs, but we could get close toward the end of the week.

Game 1 of the World Series will be played in some really nice weather in Kansas City. Today and tomorrow should be very comfortable with light winds and temperatures close to 60. And then as the Royals get ready to leave town Thursday, the chance for rain moves in.

Game 1 Forecast
The chance for rain will increase around here Wednesday evening and into the night. This is a disorganized, weak storm that's going to pass through the Plains. Moisture is limited, so I think rainfall amounts will be 0.25" or less for much of the area. Some areas don't need any rain right now, but south central and some of southwest Kansas could sure use it. Wichita is about 5.50 inches below on moisture for the year.

There is a change coming to the severe weather outlooks that we show you on TV. Starting tomorrow, instead of having just slight, moderate, and high risks for severe storms, you will now hear us use the word enhanced. You can think of the new outlooks like this:

Slight = Very Isolated (one or two severe storms possible)
Enhanced = Good chance (hail and wind likely, a few tornadoes possible too)
Moderate = Severe weather likely with hail, wind, and some strong tornadoes
High = Severe weather outbreak is coming with destructive tornadoes likely 

We will be talking more about this as severe weather season draws closer next spring, but it's a change that's been in the works now for several months. 

More details on the partial solar eclipse coming in tomorrow's blog. Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Warm weather pattern & another chance for rain

Pacific system headed for Kansas midweek
We are coming off of a really nice weekend of weather in Kansas. Some of us could use a little more rain and we will have a chance coming up midweek. There's a storm system that is coming in from the Pacific and will arrive Wednesday afternoon/evening. It's not a very strong system and it certainly doesn't have a tremendous amount of  moisture to work with, so the rainfall amounts will likely be under .50" (and may actually end up closer to .25")  We are heading into our dry season, so it's not that much of a surprise with the rain chances getting fewer and fewer.

Rainfall amounts will be very limited this week
Pattern heading into Oct. 24-25. High pressure will allow our temps to get very warm
Overall the pattern looks very warm for another week. The cool, Canadian temperatures are locked up to the north and it's unlikely we will see any significant cool down until next Monday (Oct. 27) And I've taken a few calls wanting to know when we may have our first snowfall. It's still a long ways off as the pattern shows no sign of delivering cold air. No need to find your snow shovel yet.

There will be a partial solar eclipse Thursday afternoon (the entire sun will not be covered). It will begin at 4:37 p.m. and the maximum eclipse will be at 5:44. This is the kind of eclipse that you need special glasses or setup to view because you don't want to be looking directly at the sun. A solar eclipse is when the moon passes between the sun and Earth, blocking some of the sunlight. We do have a total solar eclipse coming up August 21, 2017 that will be visible across much of the United States.
This is what the partial eclipse will look like around 5:44 in the evening

Friday, October 17, 2014

Another winter outlook issued

Climate Prediction Center temperature outlook for December - February
Climate Prediction Center precipitation outlook for December - February
Another winter outlook was issued from the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) on Thursday and you can click on the maps for a larger image. I put very little value in these forecasts. Last year, the CPC missed the huge polar vortex that setup across the Great Lakes. A forecast that was made in late December (for the month of January) didn't give any indication of a bitter cold outbreak for the eastern half of the country. I've have a few people ask me what "equal chance" means, because after all, that's where Kansas ends up in a lot of these forecasts. It means above normal, normal, or below normal are all possible... which doesn't tell you anything at all.

The temperature forecast from the CPC didn't do very well for January (of this year)
Making a seasonal forecast is very hard to do, but I don't think one can make very many conclusions on what kind of winter we will have for about another month. There are still so many changes taking place in the jet stream and the overall pattern is still evolving. I have a tendency to think that a dry fall usually leads to a dry winter. And it's looking to me like the bitter cold temperatures we had last winter most likely won't repeat, but we are still watching and waiting for things to become more clear. We are still expecting at least a weak El Nino to have some influence on the weather this winter, but it just hasn't taken off yet. An El Nino influence on the weather pattern typically results in a wetter winter around here.

So we've seen the Farmers Almanac prediction of a piercing cold winter with near normal snowfall and now the Climate Prediction Center tells us basically anything could happen. Let's wait another 3-4 weeks and see what happens with our weather before we make some conclusions about the upcoming winter.

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