High Confidence Forecast for Lengthy Drying Out Period; Slow Warming

September 23rd, 2013 at 9:52 pm by under 4 Warn Weather

A slow moving ridge will keep the big features in our sensible weather rather predictable into the weekend. After a cool start, very gradual warming by mid and late week will bring temperatures back above average into and through the weekend. Readings will be Seasonably mild, not “summery”. The next chance of showers at this writing appears to be no earlier than late Sunday night and more likely Monday.

In the longer range, confidence is much lower. The indices are still pointing in roughly the same direction as they did last week. However, -NAO and -AO still have a fair amount of spread in their ensemble members, as does the +PNA. Possibly working against the climatology of those indices is the still-active MJO, which is expected also to continue unseasonably lower activity in the Atlantic hurricane basin over the next 2 weeks. The Canadian ensemble mean shows clear signs near the end of its run of a west central US ridge and troughing in the midwest and Great Lakes. However, the GFS and European means do not show such a clear trend. Both point to an ill-defined, broad trough across the upper midwest and Grt Lks which would bring less cooling than the outlierish Canadian. CPC prog discussions are also low confidence with, again, no reference to the indices above. Still, I’m not in agreement with CPC’s positive temperature anomaly for the the northern tier of the US for the whole 6-14 day period. Short waves in that range can’t be reliably predicted, especially in the 8-14 Day. But given the high uncertainties, I would have favored a neutral/normal temp outlook for the latter part of the extended range.


No Extended Warm or Cold Spells; Shorter-Lived Pattern Changes Continue

September 16th, 2013 at 9:45 pm by under 4 Warn Weather

There are still no signs of a truly extended period of abnormally cold or warm weather over the next couple of weeks. Our extended range guidance still favors–in the mean–more ups and downs. At this time, we’re not looking at heat & humidity matching the 2 days last week, or many days as chilly as was today/Monday the 16th.  But the ups and downs are fairly common as we get into autumn. This week’s warmup will bring a few days of 70s (maybe close to 80 on Friday) followed by passage of another cold front on Saturday. Cooler–but not truly cold– temperatures will return for Sunday and early next week. The Sct Tstorms reaching our region by Friday afternoon or evening will be out ahead of a cold front with enough upper air dynamics to possibly strengthen some of these cells. The showers & tstorms should exit our region by Saturday afternoon, giving way to a pleasantly cool and dry Sunday.

What’s interesting now is that the ensemble forecasts for our 3 most-discussed oscillations–the AO, NAO & PNA–are all showing tendencies which would eventually favor colder weather in the NE & Great Lakes. This trend (noticed by Think Snow last week) has now been showing up for a number of consecutive days. At this time of the year, the influence of these indices is less than it would be in the cold weather months, to be sure. But it is not a nonexistent or totally insignificant effect in late September, which is when these tendencies are forecast to take hold. I’m not yet seeing a reflection of any such impacts at the ends of the ensemble means. Frankly, however, if the indices continue in this direction (positive PNA, Negative NAO & AO), I would expect some reflection to begin showing up in the ensemble means soon. It’s possible there’s more of a lag than I recall between the indices and their reflection in the atmosphere of eastern North America. Or there may be other variables, such as the currently active MJO, which are dampening any such impacts. By the way, CPC says the 2 week MJO forecast favors suppressed tropical cyclone development in the Atlantic basin. This is in the middle of the climatological peak for that basin. I believe the more active trend will continue in comparison to mid-summer, but the activity will remain below average for this time of year through much of the remainder of the month.


It’s that Roller Coaster Time of Year.

September 9th, 2013 at 10:55 pm by under 4 Warn Weather

As I type this post, we’re about to enter into a 2 day period of Midsummer Heat (with some accompanying humidity), to be followed by a sharp cool down late in the week. For some spots well north & northeast of the immediate metro area, the 90 degree mark should be cracked. A gusty SW wind tends to force more heating over northern Niagara, Orleans and Genesee Counties, while it keeps the temps from soaring so high in the metro area. A cold front crossing the region early Thursday will be accompanied by scattered showers & tstorms, which will have to be monitored for intensity, ushering in rather chilly air by Friday morning. On Friday, an upslope flow from the N or NE will favor more cloudiness developing during the day, along with some possible minor lake response for a few showers.  The weekend which follows will feature tons o’ sun, with cool temps on Saturday, and some moderation for Sunday. Another set of fronts will approach our region early next week. The ensemble means (average trends in upper level winds) still suggest above average temperatures prevailing by later next week and possibly into the following week on most days.

The latest ENSO forecast still strongly favors neutral ENSO (no el nino, no la nina) into late winter or early spring next year. By itself, this neutral ENSO would allow more variability and more frequent cold outbreaks in the cold weather season. But ENSO does not operate “by itself” and quite a few other variables/oscillations cannot yet be determined so far in advance. The Climate Prediction Ctr is still indicating better than even odds of another milder than average winter over large swaths of the country, including our region. Me? I’m not so sure, and choose to take a wait-and-see attitude about how this winter may go. I was surprised to learn the Buffalo News actually gave the scientifically worthless gibberish of the Farmers’ Almanac prominent placement while I was off, with their ridiculous prediction for a big storm in the NY area for the Superbowl. Even if it happened, it would have not the slightest thing to do with the Farmers’ Almanac prediction, because their predictions are based on the aforementioned gibberish with no scientific validity or foundation.

The MJO/Madden-Julian Oscillation is expected to weaken by week 2, which will again make conditions for tropical cyclones to develop more unlikely again in the Atlantic hurricane basin. We are close to the all time record for a latest first hurricane in record-keeping history in the Atlantic. September is typically the most active month of all, and there is bound to be more activity by the end of the month than we’ve seen this season. But for the MJO to move toward an unfavorable phase makes even that climatology less likely to bear that much fruit. For a year with a neutral ENSO to have such little activity is unexpected. One of the culprits has been a rich plume of Saharan dust coming off Africa way out into the Atlantic, which discourages tropical development. Another negative is a large area of dry air over the central Atlantic, where cooler sea surface temps prevail…larger than usual. Tropical Storm Humberto, brewing as I type, will probably become a hurricane. But most track models take the storm northwestward and then northward into this dry air, so it will be not be a threat to the US or the Caribbean. An unusual year, to say the least.


In the Still of the Night, and as a Vacation Ends, a New Thread

September 3rd, 2013 at 12:25 am by under 4 Warn Weather

Just to get my weather brain in gear before showing up at work on Tuesday, I’ve been browsing through models, ensembles, & analytical discussions from various sources to establish the complex rhythm in my fallow mind which is important in operational meteorology.

You’ll note as you read this we’ve cooled down considerably from recent days. In fact, while I vacationed on Ocracoke Island NC, a beautiful but fairly steamy locale on the Outer Banks, it was generally steamier in WNY than it was there. In 7 years of visits, that’s the first time  that’s happened. Not a big sampling, true–but notable.

The cooler weather now establishing itself, with a reinforcement by Thursday, is not a sign summer has breathed its last. Warmer conditions will return for a portion of next week, with above average temperatures likely to resume for a portion of that period before some modest cooling returns for mid-September. Lake Erie has reached 74, which is 3 above average for September 2, and 1 above the average seasonal high of 73. Additional rainfall this week will be sparse in coverage and amounts, as seen in Monday night’s data.

The overall pattern change does not equate to a “sea change” into autumn, since some ensembles suggest a trough further to the west and weak ridging over the Great Lakes and NE, allowing those warmer temperatures to return next week. This year is only the 4th year since 1960 in which there has been no hurricane prior to September 1. The Madden-Julian Oscillation is expected a little this week and more so in week 2 to encourage more tropical activity in the Atlantic basin. This doesn’t mean landfalling hurricanes necessarily, but with expected reduced Saharan dust and SSTs becoming more favorable, September will see a pickup in the development of tropical cyclones. There have been other years in which activity seemed abnormally calm for most of the summer until September and October came along, and this year may fit that pattern.


Farewell to Jacquie Walker’s Newsroom Notebook

August 15th, 2013 at 4:05 pm by under Jacquie Walker's Newsroom Notebook

This will be my final entry into Jacquie Walker’s Newsroom Notebook. WIVB.com is getting an update this week and this seems like a good time to say farewell. My first post more than five years ago on May 26, 2008, was a reflection on the passing of former Mayor Jimmy Griffin. Since then I have posted almost blog 200 entries and over a thousand personal photographs, aiming to provide a behind-the-scenes look at the workings of a busy, thriving newsroom.

These days Facebook, Twitter, and other social media, offer more accessible ways to provide you with that look behind the camera. I hope you will follow my continuing adventures in news at News 4 Buffalo WIVB Jacquie Walker on Facebook and @jacquiewalker4 on Twitter. As always, thank you for your support and your interest. It’s been a pleasure sharing stories with you. Now, the Notebook on WIVB.com is closed.

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Photo credit: Videographer Chris Broadbent

 


Almost Chilly Weather Arrives for a Few Days, but a Gradual Change Follows in the Pattern

August 12th, 2013 at 1:36 pm by under 4 Warn Weather

Following passage of a sharp cold front, temperatures will be running fairly well below average midweek. But by week’s end, readings will be moderating and may actually climb a tad above average this weekend.The exit of showers with that cold front will also usher in a lengthy dry period which should last into early next week.

The Pacific NW trough/western ridge/eastern trough will dominate again most of this week. However, the extended range ensemble means are showing good agreement in establish a nearly zonal flow a few days later. The amplitude of the trough-ridge-trough will flatten out so that the flow will almost be W to E at our latitude–in the mean. There will still be some ups and downs not currently discernible in models during this 16 day time span from short waves. However, while this isn’t a true pattern shift with the rebuilding of a ridge near us, it will bring us generally comfortably Mild rather than oppressively hot & humid conditions. And this evolution will take the autumn tang out of the air by the weekend and beyond.


The 2013 Erie County Fair Under Very Fair Skies!

August 11th, 2013 at 10:00 am by under Jacquie Walker's Newsroom Notebook

I can’t remember better weather for the Erie County Fair than we had today: blue skies, moderate temperatures, low humidity. These ideal conditions brought out fair-goers in droves on this sunny Saturday and it was a pleasure to chat with so many of our viewers at the Channel 4 gazebo where all proceeds from those one dollar spins of the prize wheel go to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

What fun meeting sisters Jackie and Grace who convinced me that they really do watch News 4 all the time!

What fun meeting sisters Jackie and Grace who convinced me that they really do watch News 4 all the time!

Wanda is a News 4 viewer who was having so much fun today that I wanted to tag along with her and her friend as they took in the Fair!

Wanda is a News 4 viewer who was having so much fun today that I wanted to tag along with her and her friend as they took in the Fair!

Former WBEN News Director (and former News 4 producer) Steve Cichon is now the voice of the Erie County Fair. Of course he was wearing his celebrated bow-tie -- he just didn't have it tied when I saw him at the News 4 gazebo.

Former WBEN News Director (and former News 4 producer) Steve Cichon is now the voice of the Erie County Fair. Of course he was wearing his celebrated bow-tie — he just didn’t have it tied when I saw him at the News 4 gazebo.

My Fair tradition is always to enjoy a slice of spinach and ricotta pizza from Louie's Pizza.  You're looking at my dinner!

My Fair tradition is always to enjoy a slice of spinach and ricotta pizza from Louie’s Pizza. You’re looking at my dinner!

Sandy -- who owns Louie's Pizza - lives in Florida during the winter months.  She created this little slice of Florida next to her pizza stand -- complete with a lighthouse that glows at night -- to remind her of her days beachside in Fort Lauderdale!

Sandy — who owns Louie’s Pizza – lives in Florida during the winter months. She created this little slice of Florida next to her pizza stand — complete with a lighthouse that glows at night — to remind her of her days beachside in Fort Lauderdale!

You may recall that donut burgers were all the rage at the Fair a couple of years ago.  It looks like they have now settled in as regulars on the 'fair food' menu.

You may recall that donut burgers were all the rage at the Fair a couple of years ago. It looks like they have now settled in as regulars on the ‘fair food’ menu.

You can't beat fried dough at the Fair -- and my choice is always cinnamon and sugar. Powdered sugar is way too messy!

You can’t beat fried dough at the Fair — and my choice is always cinnamon and sugar. Powdered sugar is way too messy!

This line for Ribbon Fries caught my eye.  I've never had them, but they must be good!

This line for Ribbon Fries caught my eye. I’ve never had them, but they must be good!

 Here's why people were lined up for Ribbon Fries -- they look so tempting.  These two little munchkins were just about to dive in!

Here’s why people were lined up for Ribbon Fries — they look so tempting. These two little munchkins were just about to dive in!

Remember the news stories we did last year when Chiavetta's got word that they were going to lose their building?  Here's what replaced it -- a sleek white tented concession area at the same location -- with lots of people inside.

Remember the news stories we did last year when Chiavetta’s got word that they were going to lose their building? Here’s what replaced it — a sleek white tented concession area at the same location — with lots of people inside.

The Fair has made some major improvements to the grounds, including this grassy park with fountains and seating right outside the Firefighters' Building.

The Fair has made some major improvements to the grounds, including this grassy park with fountains and seating right outside the Firefighters’ Building.

No trip to the Fair is complete without visiting the barns and looking over the animal exhibits.  There is always something new to learn and appreciate.

No trip to the Fair is complete without visiting the barns and looking over the animal exhibits. There is always something new to learn and appreciate.

Always fun to see the youngest animals born DURING the Fair!

Always fun to see the youngest animals born DURING the Fair!

Just 24 hours old, Rosie was the 'newest' newborn at the Erie County Fair, born August 9th.

Just 24 hours old, Rosie was the ‘newest’ newborn at the Erie County Fair, born August 9th.

The Grandstand was packed for the free 'Three Dog Night' concert.

The Grandstand was packed for the free ‘Three Dog Night’ concert.

Ed Hogle of Atlas Steel in Buffalo has made it a personal mission to display his 9-11 memorial -- which is inscribed with all the victims' names. He says he has watched a wide range of emotional responses as people gather to view it.

Ed Hogle of Atlas Steel in Buffalo has made it a personal mission to display his 9-11 memorial — which is inscribed with all the victims’ names. He says he has watched a wide range of emotional responses as people gather to view it.

Farewell to the Fair for another year!

Farewell to the Fair for another year!


A Muggy Period, and then Back to Seasonably Cool

August 6th, 2013 at 11:36 am by under 4 Warn Weather

As temperatures and dewpoints begin climbing for a few days, we’ll be reminded it’s still summer. However, we’re not going back to the oppressive heat and humidity of mid July…just routine mugginess. Scattered showers & tstorms will become more likely on Wednesday and Wednesday night (and we’ll have to monitor those tstorms for intensity, although the Severe threat appears rather low). After a weak cold front goes by, any showers will be winding down early on Thursday on the Niagara Frontier, but they may linger longer closer to PA. In any case, this weak cold frontal passage will not usher in noticeably drier air. It will remain on the muggy side into Friday evening. A wave of low pressure riding that front will send more showers & tshowers into at least the southern half of our viewing area into Friday evening, with maybe some activity reaching up to the Niagara Frontier…the farther north, the lower the chances of showers. During Saturday, cooler & drier air will return with skies becoming partly to mostly sunny.

Overall, the northern branch of the jetstream will again dip over the Great Lakes, while the warm ridge of high pressure will remain planted over the interior of the western US. This pattern will prevent any return of truly oppressive heat & humidity over the next 16 days or so. At times, temperatures will run below average, and at other times closer to average. But true “heat wave” conditions are out of the picture well into the month.


Summer…”REAL” Summer…has Taken a Summer Holiday

July 29th, 2013 at 10:34 pm by under 4 Warn Weather

A persistent pattern of a ridge over the interior of the west (Warm) and a trough over the Great Lakes and the east (Cool) has developed, and appears likely to stay in place for at least a few weeks to come. There will be minor variations within the persistent pattern. However, without a strong eastern or midwestern ridge, or a Bermuda high to pump up warm, humid air, an extended period of hot & humid weather will be near impossible in the Great Lakes into mid-August. In fact, the scope of this pattern will keep temperatures running average to below average from north of Wichita to central Canada, across the midwest, Ohio Valley, Great Lakes, mid-south, and much of the NE and middle Atlantic states. The coolest part of this vast region will tend to be over the Great Lakes and the interior of the NE. This does not mean a ridge won’t rebuild after the 13th or 14th of August. It just means we won’t see such a ridge until that time at the earliest. This is a high confidence outlook, in that there is good agreement in all the ensemble means.

Of course, this is a vastly different pattern than that of 2 weeks ago, when we endured a week of heat and high humidity. At that time, there was an unusually strong and hot ridge of high pressure near us, blocking any advance of Canadian airmasses. Now we’re in a pattern during which one cold front after another will be crossing the region every few days. It may get cool enough again by Friday night for some lake effect showers to reappear, with chilly air aloft over the warm lakes. Speaking of the lakes, Lake Erie had reached 78 degrees 2 weeks ago, 6 degrees above average for that date. It has since slipped to 73, which is normal for July 29th, and is the normal highest temperature reached during the summer months over a period going back to 1927.


No Temperature Extremes for A While

July 22nd, 2013 at 9:52 pm by under 4 Warn Weather

After the drip, drip, drip of perspiration last week (which became a legitimate public health threat for elderly, asthmatics, and infants in non-airconditioned housing), the minor league mugginess at the start of this week will be very easy to take. Even that mugginess will not stick around long. Another fairly strong cold front will cross the region Tuesday night, followed by much cooler and less humid conditions on Wednesday, and only modest warming by the weekend. Another cold front will likely cross our region by Sunday, with cooler than average temps returning as early as Sunday into early next week.

In the overall scheme of patterns, all the major ensemble means (500mb) show no rebuilding of a strong ridge near the Great Lakes or the NE. This will allow occasional brief warmups, but only to “seasonable” warmth, a little above average. These will be followed by cooler periods, but not so cool (or wet) as to cause many disruptions in outdoor activities. We’ll probably see some scattered showers & tshowers or tstorms on Saturday in advance of that next cold front, in addition to those which occur on Tuesday (this week) in advance of the closer cold front.

None of this is to suggest “we’ve peaked”, since there have been hot spells (some of our hottest) in late summer quite a number of times. The recent extraordinary, brutal 600 DM ridge built itself up, after all, following a period of troughiness/coolness in the Great Lakes, NE & Ohio Valley. It IS to suggest, though, that my confidence is high we’ll see no “heat waves” in the next 16 days (date of this post is July 22).