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Welcome To Winter Forecasting

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I’ve posted my thanks to you concerning my tribute blog to Don at the bottom of this weather blog. As I mentioned over the weekend, I’ll continue to keep that blog alive for you for the foreseeable future. I was walking into my eye doctors’ office this morning, and a nice person who knew who I was just came up to me with a big smile and gave me a hug and said how sorry she was and how much she appreciated FOX 4. By the way, Rebecca McCully sent this picture she took of the two of us…it’s been awhile since that photo was taken I think. How do I know that, I had more hair then.

+++++5PM Update++++

Just as an FYI, I inserted some flurries or maybe a patch or two of some light snow especially from KC southwards as a disturbance comes out of the panhandle. It’s snowing down there now, but the snow is having a tougher time making it to the ground in OK as it travels NEwards. There is still a lot of dry air between 5-10K feet for the snowflakes to make it through before evaporating. I’ll watch it for you…

++++++++++++++++++

 

It’s funny, but today was the first day that our weather hinges on winter season forecasting. By that I mean, and no, there is no snow in the forecast, the forecast for temperatures will be tougher for the next several days. Typically cold air will do that, and the question of how much cloud cover is around will make things tough to figure. The bottom line is that it will stay chilly for the week and then we should see some nice moderation over the weekend.

Today has been a case in point. Last night, despite the rapid evening drop in the temperatures, I convinced myself that the fall would stop, and maybe reverse itself because of clouds rapidly streaming through the region. I was wrong. Temperatures eventually dropped into the 20° range. Today the cloud cover is keeping temperatures in check (that’s not a surprise) but since we started about 5° colder than I thought, it may be tough to reach my forecasted high of 34°.

Cloud cover plays a huge role in forecasting temperatures every day, but certainly more so as far as the winter months go. The sun angle is lower and lower every day and as a result we don’t get as much warming from the sun. Add iin cloud cover and that cuts the sun’s intensity even more. The opposite holds true at night. The cloud cover actually helps keep temperatures from free falling. At night think of the clouds as acting like a blanket. What heat we built up on the ground, at night, is reflected back towards the ground and as a result, with a lot of especially low clouds, the temperatures often will steady right out. Why are clouds such an issue during this time of the year. Well it’s because when the air is cold it doesn’t hold moisture very well. As a result it’s a lot easier to get clouds to form. In other words as the air cools the moisture in the air condenses and forms clouds.

This is what makes forecasting during this time of the year somewhat difficult. Not only for morning lows, but also daytime highs.Here is the late morning visible satellite picture showing a lot of cloud cover, but we are starting to see the lower clouds move away, so instead of having a dark gray day, skies will be brightening somewhat during the next few hours. That will help warm us up some, but it’ll stay chilly.

The darker areas over on the KS side, represent an area where the clouds are clearing out. We may not get totally sunny, but it should be brighter out there for the rest of the day.

It may be short-lived however as the clouds should thicken right back up again tonight, making the forecast lows again rather tricky and it looks like those clouds will hang around for a good part of the day tomorrow, again highs may struggle to reach 30°. The clouds should clear out tomorrow evening, setting the stage for a pretty darn cold start on Wednesday AM with lows in the teens.

You’ll notice that I’m really not talking about storms at all. That’s because, in all honesty, there is nothing to talk about. I’m not sure when our next chance of significant rain or, for that matter snow, will happen. There are suggestions in the model data that there could be something between the 15th-20th of the month. That’s NOT to say it won’t snow before then. Another blast of cold air will be moving in later Thursday into Friday. This MAY bring us a shot of some light snow, potentially maybe a wind blown dusting, but the air will be awfully dry and it may be tough to get the snow to make it to the ground before it evaporates.

Snow is not an issue for the state of NM, where a nasty snowstorm is closing a lot of things down there. The snowfall may be in excess of a foot…here are all the winter storm warnings down there…courtesy of michiganwxsystem.com (nice site by the way)

Central and Northern NM are going to feel the brunt of this for the rest of the afternoon. Meanwhile on the warmer side of the storm, Flash Flood and Flood Watches/Warnings are out for the TN Valley area up through the OH Valley.

Thank you for reading my tribute to Don that I have kept as my featured blog for the past couple of days. I really didn’t know how long to keep it up there, and with everybody’s lives so busy, how long to feature it. It will always be available to you (and me) by just clicking here. I want you to know that I read ALL your comments on the blog page/your emails and many of your comments on the FB pages and I thank you for all your thoughts and support, not only for myself but also for all my co-workers.

Have a great rest of the day.

Joe

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