Early Week Rumblings (July 8, 2013)

A weakening cold front will bring rain and embedded thunderstorms today. Near time of posting, the swath of rain was fairly impressive and is sure to bring a relief to a recent slowdown in rain amounts. Nothing like a nice rainy day now and then. Some storms do seem to be popping up ahead and in the complex. These should be brief with a few rumbles of thunder here and there.

Swath of showers and thunderstorms will move through Michigan this afternoon and early evening.

Swath of showers and thunderstorms will move through Michigan this afternoon and early evening.

Meanwhile, a stronger front with much cooler air will develop in the Midwest and track eastward on Tuesday. With this stronger front come stronger thunderstorm parameters. The usual players will be there. Lift will be provided by the cold front, moisture is already in place with high dew-points into the 60-70 range, and the atmosphere will have instability as CAPE values approach 3000 J/KG. Additional parameters to look at include wind shear; which is how the wind changes(speed/direction/both) from the Earth’s surface to 6 or so kilometers in the atmosphere, and occasionally the LI or Lifted Index(another indicator of instability); comparing a theoretical air parcel’s temperature to the environment temperature surrounding it.

The Storm Prediction Center is calling for a few solutions to this event, mainly around a few Mesoscale Convective Systems. These will birth in the Midwest and track eastward with the front. Main threat will be some strong winds and large hail with these systems. Tornadoes can be a threat as well, generally during initial discrete development, but not limited to.

Temperatures will be in the mid to upper 80s through Wednesday. Once these fronts pass early week, Thursday and Friday will be cooler before temperatures rebound into the 80s for the weekend.

Stay tuned to the Facebook page for tiny updates and cool weather stuff from the social media world.

Thanks for the read, feel free to comment/ask questions!


May 28 Southeastern Michigan Tornadoes

A warm front passing through the region triggered some morning/early afternoon thunderstorms across lower Michigan on Tuesday. These storms quickly organized into some linear squall lines with mainly heavy rain, wind, and frequent lightning. Heading into the early evening hours, more discrete storms emerged and tracked eastward. Like flicking a light switch, as soon as these storms crossed an invisible line just east of US-127, the storms started to exhibit rotation on radar and weather spotters on the ground confirmed these cases. I’d like to look into this case further as what triggered these storms to rotate all of a sudden, as it was visible in at least 2 of these storms.

Submitted to NWS.

National Weather Service survey crews from Detroit/Pontiac had their work cut out for them early Wednesday as they investigated damage across Shiawassee and Genesee counties.

Tornado findings by NWS DTX.

More information found by the survey crews can be found here, as well as map/track overlays with EF scale rating.

Interestingly enough, no watches were issued for SE Michigan Tuesday. The only Michigan inclusive watch was a Severe Thunderstorm Watch issued in the extreme SW corner for a developing squall line with severe rated winds coming out of the Chicago area. Watches are issued by the Storm Prediction Center out of Norman, OK. Warnings are the most important for public safety, but dangerous weather lead time provided by watches is always good to have.

I typically update my Facebook page frequently, as well as twitter, however the best ways to keep updated about storms in your area is to check out local news stations and NOAA Weather Radio. If you are not in any immediate danger, looking up the hashtag #miwx on twitter will also prove fruitful for Michigan weather sightings and damage. This can be adjusted by state by just changing the two letter abbreviation. County police/fire scanners are also a great option, these are usually available online.

Isaac’s Impacts and Remnants

Isaac was upgraded to a category 1 hurricane Tuesday afternoon and made landfall Tuesday night. During this phase, the storm movement slowed down, and close to 10 inches of rain have fallen in some SE portions of Louisiana. Isaac was downgraded to a tropical storm this afternoon. In a recent storm discussion, storm surge of 6 to 8 feet was still being reported by the National Ocean Service. Sparse tornado warnings have popped up, two locations in coastal Mississippi reported possible tornado related damage. Max sustained winds are now around 70mph.

Isaac makes landfall with eye developments.

While Isaac wallops the coast, one of my meteorology professors brought up a good point the other day.

One of the big weather topics this year has been the crippling drought in the nation’s midsection. Many areas affected by this drought are in the path of Isaac. As Isaac takes a path northwest, it will drop some much-needed rains across these areas.

Matching the drought locations up with the expected track of Isaac’s remnants, we see many spots on the eastern edge of the Extreme and Exceptional drought region to be relieved some.

Rain amount in inches.

Forecast models are starting to hone in on a track of remnants to travel through the northern Ohio Valley. While models have a better grip on the storm path since it’s arrival on shore, would like to wait until we also see what the continental ridge is going to do in its steering effects. This ridge is responsible for our warmer temperatures at the end of the week, perhaps topping 90.

The current Synoptic Meteorology course I am taking will be very beneficial to my understanding of making a good forecast, and putting all of the many factors of the atmosphere together. I am excited to learn about it, and reflect it on the blog. I would like to include more cause/effect demonstrations of telling why a storm system ended up at X rather than Y. That is, if I have enough energy to do so after said class load.

Wrangling the Tropics

Tropical Storm Isaac has been causing commotion through the Caribbean, and continues to affect parts of southern Florida.  While tropical storms are strong and nothing to mess with, Florida looks to get away with the lighter side of Isaac.

Over the next 48 hours Isaac is expected to strengthen over warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico. Isaac is forecasted to become a hurricane in the morning hours of Tuesday. While the expected path is yet to be nailed down, landfall locations range from the extreme western panhandle of Florida, to areas just west of New Orleans, LA.

Numerous forecast models show Isaac organizing well when it travels over the Loop Current in the Gulf of Mexico. Most model forecasts show a threatening storm when it makes landfall.

Central pressure reads just around 964mb on this GFS 18z run. This places Isaac as a possible strong Cat 2/ weak Cat 3 on landfall.

Current forecasts keep Isaac out of Major Hurricane status(Cat 3+), but as it clears land of Florida intensification will pick up.

Will be keeping an eye on Isaac as it treks towards landfall. Watch my Facebook page for a more up to date glimpse into things.