Saturday, February 13, 2016

Bitter Cold NE; Continued Warm And Dry Here

The weather action continues over the northeastern third of the country with some snow and very cold temperatures. Web Cam view above is of Niagra Falls at 9:24 am EST this morning.

Here in southern Arizona it was a very warm week with highs at Tucson (from Monday through Friday) of: 81 (32), 83 (34), 84 (36), 85 (37) and 87 (37) F. The temperatures in parens are the lows here at the house, showing the large diurnal swings during the daytime each day (48 - 50 F).

The operational GFS model's forecast (below) continues to keep it dry here for the next week. The forecast below is for total precipitation from 5:00 pm MST last evening though 5:00 pm on Saturday, February 20th. More Chamber of Commerce weather for us - maybe after Washington's Birthday we'll see a change?

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Cool Season Precipitation So Far During 2015/2016

I have been looking at the interactive web pages of Mike Crimmins and Will Holmgren, both at University of Arizona, this morning. It has, to me, seemed like a fairly mundane winter, given all the hype about the strong El Nino and the likelihood of a very wet winter a couple of months ago. Both of these web sites allow one to "explore" this cool season (starting Oct 1, 2015) relative to other seasons within the periods of record.

 Mike's web site allows the user to examine either this cool season, or all the seasons in the record, and for a large number of stations in the Southwest, 


I've shown three examples here. Above is the current season for precipitation at Organ Pipe National Monument. There have been only two significant events at Organ Pipe and the season is now below normal out there.

The plot for TUS at the airport is shown below. We basically experienced the same two events (one in October and one at the start of January, and these two have kept the airport above normal, but the dry period since the start of January will soon take the airport back into the brown, unless another event materializes in the next several weeks.

For contrast, the second below shows the season for Van Horn, Texas - over in the Big Bend country. Van Horn is having a wet cool season so far, and wouldn't cross into the brown until April, if no additional precipitation occurs. Yuma provides the ultimate contrast to these stations, since there has been no cool season precipitation measured out there.

Will's website is very interactive for the TUS precipitation observations and allows the user to compare various years wrt the strength of El Nino conditions. 

I've highlighted the dark blue curve above, which is for the 1997/1998 season (note that the cool shades indicate stronger El Nino conditions). 

The very wet season that year had significant precipitation events here in February and March, so it's too soon to write this season off as bust. Will's site is at the link below.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Warm Week Ahead

We had a very nice sunset yesterday, highlighting the contours of the Catalinas under clear skies. The ASOS at the airport reported a high yesterday of 81 F yesterday after a morning low of 39 F. The low here at house was 32 F, so the diurnal temperature changes around the metro area were in the 45 to 50 F range. There were gusty winds at times, so there was a bit of "weather."

The morning forecast from the NWS (below) for the next week is somewhat monotonous. Highs are forecast to range from 80 to 83 F with the lows all week falling into the range 45 to 48 F. Looks like a perfect week to get out-of-doors and also to tackle early spring yard chores. Those forecast highs are around 10 to 15 F above typical values for this particular week of the year.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Sunday Sports Follow-Up

The Super Bowl wasn't very and Newton wasn't number 1 - that honor went to the Denver Crush defense that put more points on the board than both quarterbacks combined. It seemed like there were endless yellow and red flags flying through the air, continually disrupting what little flow there was in an ugly game.

Just to our north at the Waste Management Open it appeared that Rickie Fowler had the tournament wrapped up. However, he ended up flushed in the green, slimy looking lakes - ugly things that certainly are out-of-place here in the desert. Hideki Matsuyama stayed dry during final holes and didn't waste his opportunity, winning on the fourth playoff hole.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

500 mb Anticyclone And Ridge Dominate Over The West

Above graphic is ECMWF 500 mb forecast valid at 5:00 pm MST this afternoon, Sunday February 7th. Looks like Super Bowl L will be played, in San Francisco, beneath the core of the anticyclone. Meanwhile, in Scottsdale, Arizona, the final round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open will be played with subsiding air overhead. How's that for a totally gross sponsorship? The PGA must have really been blinded by greed when they let that go forward.

No weather/El Nino problems are going to impact these televised events. The 500 mb pattern actually has a Rex Block character, with a weak cyclone located beneath the strong anticyclone. Indeed, the global models forecast this ridge to dominate through the coming 10 days, as the anticipated, wet  El Nino winter remains missing in action here in southern Arizona.

Photo below is of the Broncos' first play during Super Bowl XLVIII, two years ago. The Broncos were smashed in that game by by the Seahawks, 43-8. Wonder what today will bring, other than endless hype and thousands of commercials?

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Milder Temperatures This Morning

Easterly winds this early morning (which models have been forecasting for several days) have led to much milder temperatures across most of the metro area.

Above is the forecast from the 12 UTC WRF-NAM model run yesterday - valid time of the forecast was 6:00 am MST this morning. Second below is same forecast but with wind gusts shown.

For some unknown reason there were some gremlins in the morning WRF runs yesterday, with small bubbles of very cold (below zero) air here and there during the night. Aside from these, the forecasts appear quite reasonable. The observations show a range of about 20 F from the northeast side of town out to Marana in the northwest. This reflects the very large range in wind gusts this morning, with very light winds many areas, and strong gusts along I-10 and especially downwind from the Redington Pass gap between the high mountains. It seems calm here and quite cold in the pre-dawn hours, and I'll add our low later.

Added at 8:30 am - low temperature here this morning was 26 F vs 43 F at the airport (TUS). Lows here Tuesday the second through this morning: 27, 19, 20, 25, and 26 F.

The time-series of temperature from Atmo at the bottom illustrates the considerable warming from yesterday morning to this morning.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

January Summary/Start Of February

The entire month of January had only one rainy period from the 4th to the 8th, but we had 1.36" of rain here at house during those days. This January was fifth wettest during past 17 years here - so not a bad month. The wettest during those years was 2.96" in 2010, while the driest was 0.00" in 2006.

Many cold mornings here during the month - 19 mornings with a low of 32 F or colder and 9 of these were at 28 F or colder, with 25 F on two mornings being coldest.

However, yesterday morning was the coldest morning here of the winter so far with a low of 19 F, and it feels about that cold again this morning.

February started with a damp day on the 1st, but the GEFS models don't indicate much hope for most of the month's first half. The operational GFS forecast of total precipitation through 00 UTC on the 14th is shown above. The GEFS QPF plumes through the 11th (below) have flatlined - so not much on the weather horizon.

The NWS CPC outlook for February is shown above, indicating good chances for a wet month in the Southwest. However, the current 6 to 10 day outlook (below) mirrors the GFS model and indicates dismal dryness through the 13th. So, if the month is to eventually turn out wet, we'll have to hope for an active pattern during the second half.