Saturday, December 06, 2008


I am on a new blogging platform.

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Monday, December 01, 2008


Remember the old Saturday Night Live skit (Jane, you ignorant ....). Well, here is a back and forth on the current pattern.

Point: It's still early in the season, Heck, it's not even winter yet.
Counterpoint: Yes, but it's not going to stay cold all season and we're wasting all this cold air without seeing any snow.

Point: That could be sign of a long cold winter with lots of snow chances
Counterpoint: Or that we missed our chance early and Spring starts in late January

Counterpoint: By the way, what happened to your Dec. 4/5 snow storm idea?
Point: Well, it wasn't a forecast, just a period of time to look at.

Counterpoint: That sounds like spin.
Point: Well, it's still POSSIBLE we could see something.

Counterpoint: Is that so? Don't see it here on the last run of the GFS computer model.
Point: Yeah, but it's close -- see that area of precip just off the S.C. coast.

Counterpoint: Horseshoes and hand grenades .....
Point: And you're forgetting about the ensembles (basically, a cluster of models that supplement the main GFS model run). Check out these maps. About half of the 12 ensemble members show some sort of small to moderate snow event for the Carolinas.

Counterpoint: Does the European model have it?
Point: Uhhh ... almost!

Counterpoint: We need to rename this county, Almost County, when it comes to snow.
Point: Not this year, the overall pattern looks good.

Counterpoint: What about this long-range map -- doesn't look too cold to me?
Point: No, but it can't stay cold ALL the time. A lot of pro mets still believe December will be cold overall with better chances of winter storms the farther along we get in the month.

Counterpoint: Sounds like hedging to me.
Point: Well, we've been spoiled early in the season. Did you see Matt's comment in the earlier thread -- November was well below normal temps-wise. December could actually be warmer than November and still be around average.

OK, that's all for point/counterpoint. If anything materializes for our weekend non-event, I'll let you know. In the meantime, still gazing out over the horizon for a possible winter storm.

It appears a major low pressure area will form next week but will move from the lower Miss. valley either up or west of the Appalachian spine. This is a rainmaker for us. Then cold air looks to return.

Back from T'giving vacation -- update coming today

Will have a full update later.

Bottom line: We are wasting a bunch of good early season cold air.

Dec. 4-5 storm has fizzled. Only prospect is next weekend and it's a low probability.

More later today .....

Friday, November 21, 2008

Terrific pattern shaping up for next 2-5 weeks

If you like cold weather with a chance at an early season snow, you'll love the rest of this month and quite possibly well into December.

Both the major long term computer models -- the European and the American GFS -- show a prolonged stretch of cold weather locking into the eastern U.S.

It won't be super cold every day, but overall, the pattern is for below normal temperatures (speaking of below normal, how 'bout today's weather -- high of 43 with a stiff wind. BRRRRR! -- if you are headed to a high school game tonight, bundle up!)

Here are a few maps:

From this morning's run of the GFS, check out the extent of the cold in the long range.

Monday -- this is the warmest day I could find depicted in the next 15 days -- and it's still probably highs in the 50s to low 60s.

Wednesday -- by Thanksgiving Eve were back in the chill -- nothing like today, but highs near 50 with lows below freezing, still well below normal for this time of year.

Friday -- then it starts getting interesting. You can see a low pressure system in the lower Miss. River Valley which has dropped down from the Plains.

Saturday -- that ends up being a near miss for us, but the cold is retrenched.

From then on, it's one cold shot after another.

Two pro forecasters who I follow are both pointing toward the Dec. 1-5 range as a time for a possible winter storm for the east.

Regardless, almost all forecasters agree that the long range will feature prolonged cold in the east.

The NWS puts out an 8-14 day outlook. Here is their most recent map.
As you can see, we are smack in the middle of the below normal on temps. While it also shows below normal on precip, I'd much rather be cold, looking for precip than vice versa.

So, there's a quick update -- hope everybody has a safe weekend and Go Mountaineers, Chargers and Golden Lions!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Our first storm to track (sort of)

Well, as we barrel toward a late Thanksgiving and then December, with each day's passing our chances of seeing some winter weather increases dramatically.

One of the first milestones of the season is the first "fantasy storm" on one of the computer models.

What is a fantasy storm?

Basically, any storm that is depicted more than 7 days out.

Well, I've got a TRUE fantasy storm to show you today -- it's not 7 days out; it's not 10 days out; it's FOURTEEN days out!

Here is the 12z run of the computer model known as the GFS (a commenter on the last thread had a unique interpretation of what those letters stand for).

As you can see, it depicts a lovely looking low pressure system tracking off the Carolinas coast.

I show this to you for one and only one reason -- it's the first of many times the GFS or any other model shows a big storm more than 7 days out. The other 100 times this happens, you won't hear a peep from me about it.

One caveat -- a met who is knowledgeabel about N.C. winter weather issued an alert that this particular time frame (first couple days of December) would see a pattern conducive to a possible lower Middle Atlanta snow storm.

The catch? He issued that warning BEFORE this run of the GFS came out.


Let the fun (and torture) begin!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Outlook for 2008-09 winter

Well, the sounds of gas blowers, the approach of high school football playoffs and (mercifully) the end of an election means one thing for me: It's snow time!

Only one problem -- it apparently doesn't snow here any more.

At least that's been the case in recent winters.

But I'm here to sing a different tune, winter weather fans.

I'm getting my first report of the winter off to a bold start by saying this: We WILL have an accumulating snow of 2 inches or more this winter.

OK, now that I've made a fool out of myself, here is the prevailing view on this winter from people who actually know what they're talking about.

Mainly, the picture is this: most of the atmosphereic "signals" are weak or neutral.

Last year we were in a La Nina which ended up being a disaster for us.

An index called the NAO, was in its positive state for virtually the entire winter. What we want is a negative NAO -- which is loosely defined as high pressure over Greenland which "blocks" systems from progressing across the country and traps cold air over the lower 48 states.

There are some indications that we will see periods of -NAO this winter.

Another problem in the last few winters has been a strong "Pacific Jet" which sends systems crashing ashore in the Northwest. These systems cut across the northern tier, keeping cold air locked in Canada.

Again, there are indications that this pattern will not dominate the entire winter.

Using other even more complicated signals, a number of pro mets feel like late November and December might well be the coldest months of the winter. They forsee a January thaw, followed by perhaps one more shot of cold in February.

Looking at current model trends, some credence is lent to this idea. We will get quite cold this Saturday night and Sunday and into next week -- temperatures that feel more like mid-January than mid-November.

And there are indications from computer models that the cold air will be hanging around, perhaps until Thanksgiving and beyond.

While it is unusual to see snow here in November (remember the year it snowed during the Shelby parade not too long ago?) it's not impossible. And once the calendar turns to December, our chances of snow ramp up quickly with literally every day that passses.

So, I think we break our losing streak on snow this year and I wouldn't be surprised for us to see some snow threats as early as around Thanksgiving and certainly into December.

Keep an eye on this blog for updates all winter long and don't forget to signup for e-mail weather alerts if you want to know when my updates are posted.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Did Clary pull it out?

Clary lost Rutherford County by 1,299 votes.

She is ahead in Cleveland county by 2,193 votes for an 894-vote margin with only one precinct yet to report -- Kingstown.

The Kingston precinct voted heavily for Walter Dalton the last time this seat was contested, but with only 941 registered voters in that precinct, it seems impossible that it will be enough to send Melton to Raleigh.

From this vantage point, it appears Clary has survived.

Debbie Clary in trouble

Clary lost Rutherford County to Keith Melton by more than 1,000 votes and has lost the early/absentee vote to Melton by another 1,000-plus votes. That's a lot of ground to make up. We'll see.

President Obama

Fox News has called Ohio for Obama which means there is no realistic path to victory for McCain -- it's just a matter of "how much" not "if."

Barrack Obama will be the next president of the United States.

On track

The feeling going in was that this would be a big night for Democrats and nothing has happened thus far to change that. Pennsylvania has gone to Obama. While a number of states that McCain should have won easily -- Indiana and Georgia -- are still too close to call.

It looks like the GOP is hanging on to a few Senate seats it might have lost -- McConnel in Ky. will apparently survive and perhaps Saxby Chambliss as well. That means it is highly unlikely Democrats will get a fillibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

Too early to know much statewide, but Patrick McHenry appears to have held his own in Catawba County vs. Daniel Johnson which bodes well for his chances.

Surprised we haven't seen any local results yet -- could be some technical problems.

Swain Co., N.C.

So far, it has the most precincts reporting percentage-wise -- 71%.

In 2004, Bush won the county by a whisker 52-48 (a total of 175 votes).

With almost 3/4 of the votes counted in 2008, Obama appears that he will carry this mountain county. He leads by 8 points.

Florida case study

Lake County is an excellent example of the apparent trend in this election.

In 2004, George Bush won Lake County, in central Florida, with 74,382 votes.

In 2008, with 89 percent of precincts reporting, John McCain has just over 78,000 votes.

Good news for the Republicans, right?


While Kerry only pulled 48,216 in 2004 for just 39 percent of the vote, Obama already has tallied 59,864 votes which means he's only down 13 points instead of 22.

In a state won by Bush by just 5 points, I don't see anyway McCain can hold on if those types of swings are manifested throughout the state.

Bottom line: It looks like the Republicans turned out -- but not nearly at the level of Democrats, if Lake County is any indication.

Similar trending in Virginia

Bush won Culpeper County 65-35. With 85 percent of precincts reporting, McCain leads 55-44.

Polls close in N.C. -- exit polls show tight race

N.C. will be close and is tilting toward an Obama win.

Exit polls show McCain winning the male vote 53-46, but losing females 56-43.

More from Indiana

Remember, these are REAL numbers, not exit poll numbers.

Bush carried Clinton County 72-28 in 2004, a 5,000-vote margin.

With all precincts reporting in 2008, McCain wins the county 56-43, a margin of only 1,600 votes.

If exit polls are to be believed ...

.... is going to be a huge night for Obama. The details are out in Indiana -- exit polls show Obama won females by 11 POINTS!!!! He tied with males, which obviously means he carried the state by about 5-6 points.

If that's the case, he will win a huge electoral college victory.

Could the exit polls be wrong? Of course --we know that from 2004. But they would have to be WAY WAY WAY off because this was a state McCain had to win easily Bush won Indiana by 20 points in 2004.

Polls getting ready to close ...

.. in ALL of Indiana, Ky. and also Georgia.

The networks will free up the full exit poll data from those states which will tell us alot.

Actual vote count -- good news for Obama

Looking at two counties in Indiana. Again go here for our interactive national map.

In Indiana, the county in the far northeast corner is Steuben. Using this USA Today stats package from the 2004 election, we see that Bush beat Kerry 66-34 in 2004. But in 2008, with 68 percent of the vote counted, McCain leads only 58-42.

Simiarly in Vigo county in the southwest, with 54 percent of the vote counted, Obama leads 56-44. What did that county do in 2004? It went for Bush 53-47.

McCain loses Indiana and we can all go to bed early.

Two exit poll stories

There are apparently two batches of exit polls floating around the Internet. One shows a very tight race. The other shows an Obama blowout (he would win all the tossup states like Missouri, Florida, N.C. Virginia, etc.).

Looks like we'll actually have to count the votes!

Trouble for GOP Senator in Ky.

If you check out The Star's interactive national elections results page here, you can zoom in on Kentucky, were returns are already coming in. One thing you can see is that McCain is outperforming incumbent Senator Mitch McConnell. Look at Floyd county in the far eastern part of the state -- it is almost dead even between McCain and Obama, but McConnel is getting trounced in early returns.

I bet he loses that seat -- maybe handily.

On the other hand.....

Drudge now saying exit polls show Obama by 15 points in Pennsylvania, surely an indicator of a blowout win.

Still standing by ....

First exit poll hint -- hmmmmm

Not sure of the reliability of (although it is considered to be, I believe, a liberal site) but here is its leaked Exit poll info -- MUCH closer than expected.

Shelby turnout update

The Star's Alan Ford reports that the "counter" at Shelby No. 2 precinct was at 529 at 2:30 p.m.. Combined with the 1,542 from that precinct who voted early and you have 2,071 votes cast.

According to the Board of Elections, there are 3,045 registered voters in that precinct meaning that turnout in Shelby No. 2 is already 68 percent with 5 hours left to vote, including the traditionally heavy late afternoon/early evening period.

Shelby No. 2 went 62-38 for Bush in 2004.

Exit poll data? Not so fast

According to this L.A. Times story, an effort is being made to make sure exit poll data doesn't leak until at least 5 p.m. EST. After the 2004 debacle (when exit poll data showed a huge night for John Kerry that obviously never materialized) more caution is being used.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Election night viewing guide

I've been recruited by the newsroom to bring you an election blog. This will start Tuesday when the first exit polls are released in the afternoon. These usually leak out to various sites -- I'll track them down and let you know what they say. These will be the first polls of actual votes and should tell us a lot.

I know some folks have a problem with these exit polls saying that they are a disincentive for people to vote, but I believe in getting out information ASAP so I'll pass them along.

Now, here's what to look for Tuesday night in terms of the race for president and Congress.

Mid-afternoon: Early exit poll data released. First of all, if you aren't hearing the words "shocking" and "upset" then it probably means McCain is going down to defeat. If you average all the polls out, Obama has a 5-8 point lead. Now, Clinton led Dole by as many as 14 points on the weekend before the 1996 election and only won by 6 and Obama polled about 3-6 points too high during the primaries, so it's certainly within the real of possibility that those numbers are off, but it's highly unlikely. If you are hearing from those exit poll numbers that McCain is "doing slightly better" or has "narrowed the gap" it is probably still code for "he's going to lose."

6 p.m. Polls in PARTS of Indiana and Kentucky close. There will probably not be a network call in either of these states until all polls close.

7 p.m. Polls close in ALL of Indiana, Kentucky, Virginia, S.C., Vermont, and Georgia as well as MOST of Florida and N.H. At this point, we will learn a lot. Indiana has been moved by many into the "too close to call" TCTC margin. The longer in the night we go without a call being made in Indiana, the worse it is for McCain. But if Indiana is called early for McCain, that's a sign the election could be tight. Same with Virginia --it's actual an Obama lean right now. If it gets called early for Obama, Dems might as well go ahead and pop the bubbly. Florida is obviously a must win for McCain.
Still, it's likely that all of these states will be TCTC right away, which brings us to Georgia. If it is ALSO TCTC, it's bad news for McCain. Kentucky should go for McCain early. If not, it's going to be a HUGE night for Obama. Also, keep an eye on New Hampshire. Those folks like underdogs and have always gravitated toward McCain -- could be an upset possibility.

Skip says: McCain gets Indiana, Kentucky, S.C. and Georgia; Obama wins Florida, Virginia, Vermont and N.H.

7:30: Polls close in N.C., W.V. and Ohio. McCain has to have these Bush states and the Dole-Hagan Senate race will also be very telling as to the final makeup of the Senate.

Skip says: McCain wins N.C. in a squeaker and W.V.; Obama wins Ohio. Also, Hagan over Dole

8 p.m.: Polls close in Pa., Missouri, Maine, Connecticut, Mass., New Jersey, Delaware, Md., D.C., Mississippi, Alabama, Illinois, Tenn., Oklahoma. By now, we should have an excellent idea what is going to happen. If states like Indiana and Georgia have still not been called, it's a big night for Obama. Or, if states like Virginia and Florida have already been called for Obama, the same will be true.

Skip says: McCain wins Missouri;, Miss., Alabama, Tenn., Oklahoma; Obama wins Pa., Connecticut, Maine, Mass., N.J., Delaware, Md., D.C., Illinois.

8:30 p.m. Polls close in Arkansas.
Skip says: McCain wins Arkansas.

9 pm.: Arizona, Colorado, N. Mexico, Minnesota, Michigan, Texas, Louisiana, Kansas, Nebraska, N.D., S.D., NY. Wyoming, Wisconsin and Rhode Island. If the race is still in the air, Colorado will be crucial. New Mexico has been decided by a handful of votes in the last 2 elections and there is no reason to think otherwise this year.

Skip says: McCain wins Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Kansas, Nebraska, N.D., S.D., Wyoming; Obama wins Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, N.Y., Wisconsin, R.I.

10 p.m.: Polls close in Nevada, Iowa, Montana and Utah. Iowa is solid Obama. Nevada is a tossup. Montana is usually solid GOP, but some polling indicates it might be close. If Obama wins states like this, the rout is on.

Skip says: McCain wins Nevada, Montana, Utah; Obama wins Iowa

11 p.m.: California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Hawaii (later, Alaska)
Obama should be giving his acceptance speech by now -- if not, the night is a total shocker

McCain wins Idaho, Alaska; Obama wins California, Oregon,Washington, Hawaii.

Skip's final electoral tally: Obama 328, McCain 210.

Understand, however, that this is still much closer than it looks.

Flip Florida, Virginia and Ohio and McCain wins.

Free free to leave your own projections. If you don't want to go over every state, just tell me on which states you disagree with me.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Ike links, info

Hurricane Ike is a monster. Don't let the "category" or top wind speeds fool you. Even though Ike is "only" a strong Cat 2 or weak Cat 3 hurricane, it will impact the Texas coast as if it were a Cat 4 or 5. This is because the sheer size of the storm will generate a prolific storm surge -- possibly as high as 25 feet!

Here are some interesting links:

A site that compiles storm chasers' streaming video
A four-way view of local Houston television broadcasts
A tropical page with the latest information on the storm
Scanner traffic from Galveston, other areas of Texas
An Ike "situation page"

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Welcome rain Wednesday

After a long blogging absence, the weather brings me back.

We have a very unusual pattern developing over the next 36 hours -- the weather map looks more like fall or even winter than summer.

That won't be reflected so much in temperatures -- although it will be noticeably cooler Wed. under cloud cover -- but it will be reflected in un-summer like precipitation.

Usually, this time of year, our best shot at rain is from thunderstorms.

But tomorrow will see a prolonged rain event over parts of the southeast.

Here's the catch -- much like a winter storm, this is a close call for us.

SOMEBODY, is going to get well over an inch of rain over a wide area, but the cutoff is sharp from north to south.

Check out the latest run of the GFS computer model seen here.

As you can see, areas of S.C., Ga. and Alabama will see 2, maybe even 3 inches of precip from tonight through Wed. night.

BUT, as you move north through S.C., the rainfall totals diminish greatly -- Chester sees 1.25 inches, Greenville-Spartanburg .75 inches and by the time you get to Gaffney, it's down to .50 inches -- we're in the .25-.50 inch range. Nothing to sneeze at, but hardly drought-busting rain.

The latest run of the NAM model, seen here, paints a slightly rosier picture, giving us close to an inch of rain.

The folks that specialize in this forecasting with the NOAA have generated this precip forecast map.

It cheats toward the NAM's higher totals for us.

Bottom line -- we're going to see some rain tomorrow, in all likelihood. It will range anywhere from a minor .25-type event to a more significant .75- to 1 inch rain. Remember though, even if the totals are smaller, this will be more valuable precip because it will cover a large area as opposed to thunderstorms which hit some areas but miss others entirely.

For Legion fans and organizers, after Wednesday's rain, we fall back to typical widely scattered late afternoon and evening thunderstorms. Temperatures should be typical of this time of year -- nothing to severe in terms of heat.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

N. Shelby graduation address

I was incredibly honored to be asked to speak to the graduating class of North Shelby School -- an institution which has my highest respect. Below are my remarks, which lean heavily on a story to which I linked in this space a while back.

Good morning distinguished graduates of North Shelby School. And good morning as well to all students, teachers, staff, parents and other special guests.
We're going to talk baseball today. I'm a huge baseball fan -- used to have those Strat-O-Matic board games where you roll 20-sided dice and look on some chart with teensie type to see if the batter got a hit.
As an adult, there is nothing more relaxing than taking in a game at the ol' ballpark.
And there is nothing more exciting in baseball or softball than a home run. Announcers try to come up with a special "call" after a big blast. "Going, going, gone" "It might be, it could be, it is" and other famous calls bring back memories.
My favorite home run call comes from Hall of Fame broadcaster Dick Enberg, who, after a home run, would say "touch 'em all!" of course referring to the four bases.
And that brings me to a story I want to tell you about. You may have seen the story on TV.
In Washington state, a senior on a small college women's softball team comes to bat in one of the last games of her career. Despite being a solid player, she is small in stature. Yet, through scrappy play and hard work, she has kept a spot on the team. Still, she bats near the bottom of the lineup and she has never hit a home run in her career.
This time at bat, however, everything comes together -- she swings as hard as she can, makes perfect contact and the ball sails over the fence.
Imagine that euphoria! At the very end of her last season -- her first homerun!
In her excitement to circle the bases, she misses first base. Then, when she stops to go back, the unthinkable happens -- she steps awkwardly and severely injures her knee. Now, she is on the infield dirt, writhing in pain.
Obviously she is in need of medical attention, but what about the homerun?
By rule, she has to touch each base for the home run to count. Also by rule, her coaches or teammates are not allowed to assist her around the bases.
The umpires confer and decide that she will be awarded a single unless she can make it around herself.
She can not.
Just as the coaches were about to pick her up to carry her back to the dugout, extinguishing her dreams of a first-ever home run, another voice is heard.
"Can I help her around?"
The umpires, coaches and players turn to see that it is the first baseman making the offer. A MEMBER OF THE OTHER TEAM!
Her name was Mallory Holtman and she held every record in the book at the opposing team -- lots and lots of home runs dotted her stat sheet. She was also a senior
The umps confer and find no reason why an opposing player can't assist the baserunner. So she and another teammate lift the runner carefully and start around the bases. They stop at second so the injured player can gingerly rest her foot on the bag ... and so on , until they reach home plate.
Put yourselves in the shoes of those players. Really, close your eyes and feel the moment -- a dusty softball field. Pretend you are the first baseman -- you have literally chosen to help the other team score runs -- because it was the right thing to do. Now, the injured baserunner -- you are realizing a moment of glory that you could not have done without the help of others. And imagine the spectacle from afar -- in the stands. For one moment, the team colors all melt into one and the scoreboard reveals that all involved are winners. Talk about "touching 'em all!"
By the time the players turned for home, fans of both schools stood on their feet, cheering and crying and realizing they were witnessing the ultimate in human accomplishment, compassion and integrity.
There will be cheers and tears here today as well.
But lest you graduates think you are the injured player in this story, let me set you straight. I've spent enough time at North Shelby to know that you graduates and all North Shelby students are the first basemen in the lives of the staff, teachers and parents who are a part of this school as well as this entire Cleveland County community.
How many times have the folks at North Shelby turned their heads in wonder because of something you'd said or done? You inspire so many in so many ways. And you have taught us important lessons of life as well.
While you have learned a TON since being at this great institution, you probably didn't realize how much you have taught others during your time here.
Here are just a few of those things cited by the people who know and love you
Kierra Bostic,
Kierra has taught us all patience. She has also taught us that sometimes things fall apart but with enough strength and determination, she has always somehow been able to put things back together and continue on.

Nyda Thiypkomol

Nyda has taught us that great friends mean a lot in life. This is carried out through her daily activities and demonstrated through her facial expressions and body language when she is in social situations. She adores her friends and appears so comfortable with everything when they are surrounding her. She loves to join her friends in singing clips from different songs, and just laughing and talking in general.

Brett Washburn
Bret has demonstrated sharing and caring for others. He reminds us how important it is to be sensitive towards others and their needs. He has taught all of us that nothing is ever too small to say thank you for or to always remember how important it is to be mannerly by things like welcoming someone into our class and making them feel such a part of what we do. He is the best with teacher cadets, student nurses, HO students, volunteers, etc. of any student I have ever known.
O'Bryan Little
Friendship is important. He talks about how he likes to hang out and do fun things. He looks forward to doing something special everyday. O’Bryan has learned the value of money and how important it is for him to manage his money. He wants to live on his own one day and realizes that it is important to be responsible. He has taught me that once he was reliant on others for almost everything but now he has begun a new pathway in his life. He is moving into adulthood in a world that has so much he can capture and he has his net ready.
Orlando Lee
Most definitely, "To never give up" Through all his adversity and illness along the way, he always returns as good as new with a smile and often a hug. He has also taught us the importance of a beautiful smile.
I don't want to diminish the incredible education you have received here at North Shelby from the terrific staff here and the untold support of family, friends, churches and others.
But you need to be aware of what you have given in return.
While the world tries to tell you that you can't get around the bases to claim a home run, we know differently -- you get around and you help US get around!
And remember, any of us - -ANY OF US -- can take that awkward step back to the bag that causes us to be unable to continue -- it might be our fault, or simply a cruel twist of fate. But it's how we respond to others who have suffered that misstep that defines us every bit as much as how we react to our own tough times.
Truth be told, it is all of US who need your help understanding and practicing the truly important things in life -- compassion, caring, trust and love.
Often times addresses like these come with advice -- honestly, I wouldn't presume to offer advice to such an illustrious group. But I will leave you a few words of wisdom handed down to me over the years.
First, work hard, play harder.
Cry every once in a while, but laugh all the time.
Ask for help when needed, offer help before being asked.
And finally, be ready when someone lies on the ground in front of you, in agony because of a cruel twist. Whether it be with a simple smile or strength of body, mind or spirit, help them. Help them home.
Thank you for what you have done for your families, your school and your community.
Thank you for carrying us all around the basepaths with your smiles and your effort and your determination.
Thank you and congratulations to the North Shelby graduating class of 2009.
For all of you, this graduation is a long, towering, majestic home run.
Now, as you circle the bases, please look at the faces of family members and those associate with this school, and know that you touched 'em all.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

"Settled science?"

Don't you hate it when the facts get in the way of something that is supposedly no longer up for discussion.

Al Gore wants to call the question of global warming "settled." He may be right -- it appears to be "settled" that the earth is no longer warming and won't warm for another decade -- at least.

Check out this article which I doubt you'll see quoted on the evening news.

Much like Y2K and all sorts of other calamaties propagated by the far left to stamp out capitalism and grow the government, I fear that global warming will be viewed by historians as one of the greatest shams in human history.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

An amazing example of sportsmanship

I stumbled across this story on

I think you'll find it incredibly uplifting.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

History may not be kind to Al Gore

If this scientist's theory is right, Al Gore could very well go down as the biggest joke in American history. Further, the liberal "ski is falling" strategy might be dealt a deathblow.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A remarkable profile/essay on race

This piece from the Atlantic magazine is lengthy, but very compelling. The writers followed Bill Cosby around for an extended time and has used his observations and conversation as the basis for this essay. I'll be interested in your thoughts.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

American Idol

OK, now that I'm emerging from my "another-winter-without-decent-snow" funk, it's time to start blogging again on non-meteorological matters.

One of those is American Idol -- my family's favorite show.

This year, though, it seems to me there is a big problem -- it's a one-man show.

David Cook is CLEARLY heads above the other competitors -- can you ever remember it being so cut and dried so early in the show? There are still 7 contestants, but I don't think you can make a case that any of them belong on the same stage as Cook.

None of the four girls can compete and I'm quickly tiring of "Little David" -- too much like a Mousketeer.

Anyway, Cook is the man -- if the doesn't win it'll be because America is clueless not because anyone on the show can touch his talent.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Let's have fun with this ......

OK, this is it for the winter, so we're going to milk it for all it's worth.

The 18z run of the GFS is out ..

What do you think of the following two maps?

Monday evening at dusk.
Wee hours Tuesday morning.

It doesn't get much prettier than that -- more than an inch of precip -- temps look great. Plain and simple, it's yet another model run depicting an historic snow event for N.C. -- 6-12 inches.

I'm no more confident of this panning out than this afternoon -- and won't be until at least Friday, but it's hard to ignore maps that look so tasty.

I might stay up late for the 0z model runs - if so, update around midnight.

Late March snow? Can it happen? Yes!

I can't believe I'm writing this, but our best threat for snow this entire winter may very well be next Monday, THE DAY AFTER EASTER!!!

First, some history. You may think a late-March snowstorm is unprecedented. If so, you didn't live here in 1983. As you can see from the above map, we received a major 8-inch dump on that date -- exactly 25 years ago this Monday.
Now, to the current setup.
The first thing I want to tell you about is something called the NAO -- North Atlantic Oscillation. All winter, the NAO has been in a positive phase. This basically means that there is no "blocking" over Greenland, no high pressure in that region to "lock in" in the cold. This means that areas of cold air are transient, they move in and the high pressure slides off the coast before the next storm makes it end.
Well, the NAO is heading toward a negative state -- just in time for spring!
But before Old Man Winter heads into hibernation, he may have a trick up his sleeve.
I'm going to give you lots of links today, lest you think I've fallen off my rocker.
First, the NWS puts out a medium range forecast multiple times a day.
Here is the top of the latest discussion:
Now, on to the very latest run of the computer model called GFS: (if you want to skip to the good part, check out the Wee hours Tuesday morning map)
Sunday evening. You can see high pressure building in as our storm gathers over Texas
Wee hours Monday morning. Still cold, storm on the move.
Monday rush hour. Moisture streaming northward. Check out the three separate high pressures
systems to the north -- they are in perfect position to feed in cold air.
Monday early afternoon. The 850mb freezing line -- very generally a rain-snow line, although less so this time of year because of the higher sun angle -- is on a line from Macon to Augusta to Columbia to Wilmington. We pick up a couple tenths of an inch of precip.
Monday evening. Now, if I saw this map in January, I'd be going nuts. PERFECT! 850 line well to our south. About .5 inches of precip. A gorgeous looking map.
Wee hours Tuesday morning. Another tench of an inch of precip.
TOTAL PRECIP MAP FOR THIS PERIOD. That's about .75 inches. Even if you figure this snow is wet and slushy, we're talking 2-4 inches, perhaps even more.
What about other models?
The UKMET and the Canadian model both show a slightly more suppressed solution -- which is good, since the trend has been to move storms NW (BUT, remember, that's been in a world where the NAO is positive -- this is an entirely different pattern).
The 12z Euro JUST came out and .... KABOOM! A major hit for upstate S.C./all of N.C./and up the coast into Va.
So, what's working against us with this storm?
Well, other than pretty model runs just about everything.
1) Climatology. A good definition is: If it doesn't usually happen, it won't happen. While possible, it is quite rare to see measureable snow here this late in the season.
2) Sun angle. One of the reasons its rare is that the sun is much more potent this time of year. That's why the 850 boundary I mentioned before can't be used as a rain-snow line in March like it can in January -- still, that GFS run shows plenty of room to spare cold-weather wise.
3) This winter's pattern. The trend has been for storms to cut up the Appalachians rather than off the coast, where we need them to go. Of course, this is a totally different pattern.
4) Time. This is still 5-6 days out -- hardly a model "sweet spot." The models will very likely lose this storm, then regain it over the next few days. If the GFS or Euro shows the storm in its Friday runs, it will be time to get serious.
What's working FOR us?
1) This STORM's pattern. While the overall winter pattern has stunk, lots of good pieces are in place for this system.
2) We have some wiggle room. There is plenty of precip and we even have a degree or two of cold air to work with as the models continue to evolve.
3) For at least one run, we've got the Euro in our corner -- by far the superior mid-range model.
3) We’re due! Come on – we haven’t had real snow in eons. I don’t care if Peter Cottontail has already done his deal.

Bottom line: Regardless of what the models show, only a fool would predict snow 5-6 days out in mid-late March. But the truth is, we’ve got a chance, which is more than we’ve been able to say for most of this winter. At the least, the week of Spring Break for school children will be chilly and probably wet, at least at the start.

More to come!

3:02 p.m. WED. UPDATE. Wanted you to see an excerpt from the NWS HPC discussion which was updated just after I posted:


Sunday, March 02, 2008

Winter's final tease

The big upper low we talked about has shifted west -- according to the models. That puts us on the warm side of the storm which means no snow. This is not a big surprise, but hope springs eternal.

Which brings us to winter's last hurrah.

The 0z run of the GFS model -- remarkably, really -- shows a lovely snowfall for N.C. at the end of the week. The previous two runs of the model had taken a system that it originally showed missing us way to the south and gradually creeping it northward.

Now, it shows a direct hit.

Check out these maps:

Here we are early Friday afternoon. Low pressure forming in the Gulf. As you can see, strong high pressure is located over the Great Lake (not over New England and getting ready to slide off the coast which has been this winter's pattern).
Now, we skip ahead to the wee hours of Saturday morning. The storm is now crossing the Big Bend of Florida. Cold air is settling in as precip breaks out. High pressure in great spot.
By dawn Saturday, low is cranking off the coast, cold air funneling in. Snow falling.
Finally, the prettiest map of them all, early Saturday evening. A solid swath of 2-4 inches of snow.
And another inch or two late Saturday night/Sunday morning.

So will this happen?
Of course not!

Seriously, LOTS of thing working against this storm:
1) This winter's pattern. So far, virtually every storm has tracked to our west, even when models showed a near perfect track in the days prior to the storm. The only exception is the "non-snow" we had a few weeks back when the cold air didn't make it here in time.
2) The time of year. It's simply more difficult to get March snows than Dec. through Feb. One reason is the angle of the sun, which makes it harder to cool down the atmosphere.
3) We're still 6 days out -- hardly the model sweet spot.
4) We're talking about 1 run of 1 model -- not exactly a consensus.

On the positive side?
1) We're due! I mean, it's got to snow some day, right?
2) The Euro has the storm missing us to the south which means the inevitable northern trend would be our friend.
3) The main ingredients are in good position -- the 0z run shows sprawling strong high pressure positioned well to our north and the track of the low pressure through the Gulf and off the SE coast is PRIMO!

So, we're still talking about a very low odds event, but it's worth tracking and is our last real show, in all likelihood, until next winter.

Anyway, if you don't see any update, it means this one is fizzling like all the rest -- hopefully, though, lots of posts!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Weather update: Major storm looming?

As you probably know by now, the mountains got hammered with a nice snow today. A few stray flurries and snow showers even made it down to our neck of the woods.

Looming, however, is a potentially MAJOR storm. While it is not likely to impact us with snow (although not impossible) it could be a HUGE snow producer for the mountains of N.C./SW Va./Eastern Tenn./extreme NE Ga.

The main feature of this storm is a "cutoff" area of low pressure. These types of lows can be tremendous precip producers and come with a sort of "built in" cold air mechanism.

The big surprise snowstorm that hammered Charlotte and Rock Hill a few years back was from a cutoff low.

Here is a map showing the cutoff low at the upper levels (12z GFS run -- afternoon of March 5).
Obviously, there is tight temperature gradient.
Now, 6 hours later, the evening of March 5.

Now, here is the precip that has fallen, according to the 12z GFS during that span.

Amazingly, the European model shows a similar solution.

Now, a few points:

1) This would be an historic storms and historic storms that are projected on models 7 days out rarely verify.
2) We also are working against climatology -- March storms are rare -- not unprecedented, but rare.
3) It IS interesting that both the Euro and GFS are on to the same type of solution.

Bottom line: Way too early to even get excited about this a little bit, but definitely something to track. Whoever ends up just west of the path of this cutoff low -- if the low even materializes -- would potentially get hammered with many inches of snow. And if the low forms, wherever it tracks, drought-stricken areas of the southeast would likely see beneficial rains.

Stay tuned -- winter ain't over yet!!!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Quick update: No ice Sunday; cold shot early week

Models quickly and strongly backed off the idea of any sort of ice situation Sunday -- now we should just look for a chilly rain.

In the wake of that system a brief, but strong cold shot -- highs in the 40s, lows in the 20s type of thing.

Then another warmup.

Prospect for snow before month's end -- very low.

And as you know, once we cross into March, every day that goes by dramatically reduces our snow chances -- certainly possible (see:1993) but increasingly unlikely.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Good news: A shot at winter weather; bad news .... would be ice if we get it.

An interesting setup being depicted by the last two runs of the GFS model -- this is what is a called a "Miller B' system -- low pressure forms over the western Gulf coast or southern Mississippi valley, tracks northeast toward or even west of the Appalachians, then the low "jumps" east and reforms off the N.C. coast.

As you can see by the following three maps of the 18z run of the GFS, a cold-air damming situation occurs late Saturday into Sunday.

Here is the wee hours Sunday morning. You can see precip moving in. Note the strong (1033 mb) high pressure system parked over New England, pumping in cold, dry air.
Now for dawn on Sunday. The high is still over Maine (although slightly weaker at 1030 mb) and precip is flooding the area, even as the shallow layer of cold air is pumped in from the north.
And early Sunday afternoon. You can still see the CAD "signature" although it has retreated to the north.

Still, computer models are notorious for UNDERforecasting the strength of cold air damming events, so we'll have to see.

Bottom line -- still in the 5-6 day range -- far too soon to even attach probabilities to this. And to be sure, ice storms are events to root AGAINST, not for. But mainly, this is a reminder that we are still well within the window of time when winter events are possible.

Another note -- a few more frames ahead and you would see the low jump off the coast, then a big shot of arctic air will plunge southeast early next week. There are some hints we might see a system during that time, but that's all we have are hints right now.

Stay tuned.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Winter weather outlook for the next two weeks

For snowlovers, in a word: Yuck!

It's not a particularly warm pattern, but all the storms projected by models are "cutters" -- they drive northeastward toward the Great Lakes, passing to our west. There is almost no way to get winter weather in the Carolinas when storms pass to our west.

Anyway, this pattern rinses and repeats a number of times in the next 2 weeks.

There are SOME indications we move back to a more favorable pattern around Feb. 10 or so, but we'll have to see about that.

Bottom line: It won't be balmy by any stretch (highs generally in the 50s) and there will be some cold-air damming events that lead to chilly rains. But as far as snow goes, we're at least two weeks away from a realistic shot.


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Looking ahead to next week

Not sure what the hype is regarding potential storms next week -- models are not impressive.

There is some indication some light freezing rain might break out Tuesday morning before quickly changing to rain, but now the models aren't even forecasting much precip with that system.

Same with Thursday.

It will be a chilly week -- somewhat below normal (tonight, well below normal with lows in the teens to near 10), but doesn't look as storm as it did a few days ago.

Then, we warm up slightly the following week.

That will put us past the midway point of climatological winter, but February is a strong months for us in terms of winter potential, so don't give up the ship.

I'll be on a business trip next week, so updates will be less frequent unless I see something very compelling and have time to post.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

All over but the shouting

Radar upstream of us is thinning out -- it will get below freezing shortly, so whatever falls will stick, but I don't see much falling -- maybe a dusting.

Thanks for sticking it out all you observation posters -- I haven't looked closely at down the road, but the pattern remains decent so we'll have some more shots -- we'll get us a good one here soon, hopefully.

Sorry this one didn't pan out -- I sure wish it had.

1:45 p.m.: Snow showing up -- is it too late

Concerned that the radar back over N. Ga. is thinning out -- hoping our precip doesn't poop out before the VERY tardy cold air arrives in force. We'll be wondering how we lacked cold air tomorrow and tommorow night when it's bone-chilling cold, esp. at night with lows in the teens.

We can start posting comments in this post because the other had gotten so long.

It's really fun to share observations, but if you are trolling I will start deleting your posts.

11:00 a.m -- tracking the storm

OK, want to make a nice clean thread for observations -- use the comment tool to post conditions where you are.

Most of N. Georgia now changing to snow -- cold air racing down the mountains.

Will it beat the precip???????

10:30 a.m. update: Still hope

Frankly, my love for snow is being overcome with my fascination in this system.

First, temps and dewpoints are CRASHING to our north and west.

Go this link and then hover over "dew," which is dewpoints. You can see the arctic air pouring in from the northwest. As precip falls through this drier air it will cool the surface temperature.

Dewpoints in the mid 20s have made it as far as Henderson County.

Now, check out this radar loop.

Clearly, we are going to see precipitation.

Now, the fascinating part -- will the cold air beat or meet the precip?

This is why this is such an unusual system and why the professional forecasters have been pulling their hair out over it.

Good news: There has been a changover to snow in some places in N. Ga.

More good news: NAM puts us back in to about .4-.5 inches of precip.

Bad news: Clearly the models overestimated the speed at which cold air would arrive.

Verdict: There aren't many times you can be 2-4 hours away from an event and STILL not know what's going to happen.

I think we will see snow today -- whether it's a quick burst at the end of a long rain or accumulating snows remains to be seen.

Watch that radar and local observations for the verdict.

IMPORTANT: Rutherford County posters -- please share your conditions as well as Cleveland County folks on the west side of the county -- when you turn sharply colder, the rest of us will be soon to follow. Also, it will be interesting to know the intensity of the precip band that's moving in, so Gaffney folks and others on the southwest, let us know how hard it rains at the start.

Let's not give up hope!

6:50 am. update: Hopes are high

Overnight, the National Weathe Service saw something they liked in the radar trends. Check out this snippet from their area forecast discussion:


The "FA" is their forecast area and "warning criteria" snows would be 4 inches or more.

Radar trends look OK to me -- I don't see where we're a mortal lock for big precip, but the shield is definitely north of where models said it would be.

It's warm -- low 40s -- but don't let that fool you -- the arctic air is racing in from the east -- it's snow in places like Tuscaloosa and other points in Alabama and Ga. have winter precip. As mentioned before, we'll start out as a short period of rain before changing over -- if we do, in fact, see precip.

I'm going to look at some more data but it's primarily radar-watching time.

Fingers crossed!

Friday, January 18, 2008

0z GFS: Guess what?

It trended west -- not a lot, but by golly, by the looks of the maps it checks in back up to about .3-.4 inches of liquid.

Where does that leave us?

Apparently, only the snowman knows.

You saw my call earlier today (felt like I needed to put a prediction out there before, you know, the event actually begins, which it will in about 12 hours).

It showed the highest probability being 1-2 inches
Next highest 1 inch or less
And next highest 2-4 inches.

I'll stick with that while confessing I really have no idea what is going to happen tomorrow -- those are nothing more than educated guesses.

Off to bed -- I'm going to try and get up early for an early morning update -- by then we should know how the event will unfold.

Thanks for all your support!

0z NAM: A painful betrayal

The NAM has been our friend in the leadup this storm. It's the one that first latched on to the storm and it's the model that has kept the highest precip totals over the past few days.

Tonight, after all that flirting, it dumped us.

The 0z NAM lurched south taking most of its precip with it. Instead of a 4-6 inch snow, it leaves us with a paltry .25 inches of precip -- barely enough for an inch, maybe 2 of snow. This puts it squarely in the GFS camp and means the chances of a big snow -- as I have feared all day -- have greatly diminished.

Here is the 0z NAM precip map for the storm.
Here's the same map, but from the 18z NAM.

While from afar the differences may seem subtle, if you zoom in, you see that the dark blue area of precip (.5 or higher) that brushed the southeast corner of Cleveland County has retreated 80 miles to the southeast (we were hoping for an 80 mile move THE OTHER WAY).

Now, there is model agreement that this is a very minor event for us. Worse yet, any type of further move east could result in just a dusting of snow or no snow at all.

Is there hope?
A glimmer or two. First, temps are great. There may be a quick initial period of rain, but it will quickly and permanently be cold enough for snow. Second, radar trends from the Gulf Coast still aren't matching up with the models' short term forecasts. It could be simply a complex system that the models are not and will not correctly forecast -- it has happened before. But that's hoping, not forecasting.

I would now place heavy emphasis on a marginal to minor event from a dusting to 1 inch, possibly 2.

Maybe the 0z GFS will do the same flip flop the other way, but this one is looking like a very near and very frustrating miss.

3:30 p.m. update: Some good signs

A few good signs.

1) The 18z NAM inched west. It now gives us .5 inches of precip again -- probably a 2-4 inch snow. 18z GFS out later this afternoon -- it will REALLY tell the tale.
2) Radar trends are good. None of the models projected precipitation making it north of the La./Ark. border, which has obviously happened -- for us it's all about north trends with precip. You can follow this all night
3) The EURO -- which had not been our friend for this entire storm -- made a late jump north this afternoon. The very short term is hardly this model's specialty, but we'll take any trend we can get.
4) WBTV -- a weather operation which I greatly respect -- is calling for 4-6 inches in our area. Frankly, I can't believe they did that and I don't think that will verify, but it shows that some pros have confidence in the upper end of the forecast.

The new weather service forecast is, I said earlier, for 1-3 inches. I think that's prudent and probably where I would fall if you pinned me down.

Precip will likely start as a rain snow mix before quickly changing to all snow -- heaviest precip should be late morning/early afternoon.

Here's the latest breakdown:

No precip: 2 percent
All rain: less than 1 percent
Marginal event (1 inch or less of snow): 27 percent
Minor event (1-2 inches): 34 percent
Moderate event (2-4 inches) 24 percent
Major event (4-6 inches) 8 percent
Big dog event (6 inches or higher) 5 percent

As you can see, I'm giving us a 58 percent chance of an inch of snow or more. Of course, the half empty way to look at it is 30 percent chance of a dusting to nothing.

We'll see!

2:30 p.m.update: Advance word on NWS forecast

It appears that our Winter Storm Watch will become a Winter Weather Advisory for the new forecast package.

Expect snow accumulation forecasts somewhere between 1 and 3 inches.

Frankly, if we got 3 inches out of this I'd be thrilled.

Also, I keep forgetting to mention how cold it will be Sunday and particularly Sunday night -- if we have snow cover, lows could very well make it down into the single digits Monday morning.

Finally, there are positive indications from radars down in the Gulf Coast where precipitation is being reported north of where models said it would fall. This is the kind of trend we're looking for.

11:30 a.m. update: Bust potential high -- either way

This storm is a mess. I wouldn't want to be a NWS forecaster right now. Take Atlanta -- the 12z NAM says: 8-12 inches. The 12z GFS says: 1 inch. What do you do?

Here, the differences aren't that sever, but are marked.

The NAM held steady with a nice 2-4 inch snow for us with just under .5 of liquid. The NAM actually twitched back the west a little bit.

The GFS, however, nosed further to the east with OUR precip-- I can't get to numeric guidance yet, but we look to be at about .2 inches of liquid, which would be a dusting to 1 inch snow, maybe 2 inches tops. Yet, the area of .5-.75 precip and higher (4-5 inch snow) is in Union County, N.C. -- just 60 miles away! And the .75-1.0 inch sector (6-8 inches of snow) is only about another 75 miles ESE of that.

Meanwhile, another short range model called the MM5 gives us about .6, even more than the NAM.

Still waiting on the Canadian and UK models (which have been the farthest east).

Bottom line: I have extremely low confidence in this forecast. With a 70 mile error further east we could see a big fat nothing. With a 70-mile error further west we could see a half a foot of snow.

Then there is the differences BETWEEN the models -- the NAM gives us more than TWICE the precip as the GFS.

And we're less than 24 hours from the start of the event (still some time tomorrow morning or early afternoon).

My best guess right now is that we'll see an inch or so out of this, but that could change dramatically based on current radar observation in the Gulf or anything else for that matter.


7 a.m. update: Trend is not our friend

The model shift overnight continued to ease east -- that move is ushering in plenty of cold air, but taking precip with it.

Instead of looking at models with .5 to .8 of liquid falling - a 4-6 inch snow storm -- we are now down to the .2-.5 range -- more like 1-3 inches.

Still not a bad consolation prize, of course. And to wit, the National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for Cleveland County and other counties to our east.

You'll notice, though, that we are the western most county in the watch area -- never like being "on the edge."

The 12z models will be crucial -- if the east trend is arrested and current model projections are close, we won't walk away empty handed.

But if the models continue to trend east, we will end up with little to nothing in the way of snow.

Also, this is a rare time when KM and Grover stand to do better than Casar in this storm -- the farther south and especially east you are the better.

Full update after the 12z model run late this morning.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

11 p.m. update: This one's going down to the wire

Have you ever watched a basketball game and even though it's early in the second half, you can see that both teams are evenly matched and that the game will be decided in the final moments?

That's the feeling I'm getting from the Saturday event.

The 0z NAM stubbornly hangs on to a snowy solution for us (and many other areas -- from Northern Miss. through Alabama, especially northern Ga. where Atlanta would get hammered).
Taken literally, the NAM spits out about .7 inches of liquid - at least a 4-6 inch snow.

The 0z GFS, on the other hand, eased a little farther east and took some moisture with it. Whereas it showed a nice moderate event at 18z, now it has scaled back to .3-.4 of an inch liquid, a 1-3 inch snow.

Here's the difference between the 18z and 0z runs -- for Saturday early afternoon.


You can see that we're solidly in the dark green on the first map, but barely in it on the second. It's subtle shift of less than 100 miles, but that's the kind of shift that is going to be very disappointing for someone in the southeast.

Could be us, but barring a real model consensus developing, we probably won't know until the event is right on top of us.

Now, I need to correct a point I think I made earlier. The NAM actually did better with the precip on last night's event. We had almost 1 inch of liquid. The problem is, so much of it was as sleet (a real precip eater -- 1 inch of rain equals 12 inches of snow, but 1 inch of rain equals just 2 inches of sleet) and then freezing rain.

Coming later tonight, the UK, Candian and Euro, but that will be past my bedtime (esp. after last night!).

I'll update first thing in the morning.

7:35 update: Saturday could be "all or nothing"

The 18z runs of the NAM and GFS look similar -- both gives us a moderate to heavy snow on Saturday.

Here is the NAM at dawn. Precip just moving in.
Then just after lunch. A nice snow.

Total accumulation for this model run is about ...

Now, here is the GFS at dawn. Looks pretty similar, huh?
And early afternoon. The field of precip looks different, but the amount is about the same.

Both atmospheric profiles show all snow, perhaps starting as rain for an hour or so.

Total snowfall for the NAM would be 5-8 and for the GFS would be 3-6.

I'd take either of those, wouldn't you?

The Euro, though, gives us just a dusting. The UK model nothing.

So, very much up in the air, but two of the most reliable models say we get a significant event starting Saturday.

Here's my first percentage breakdown on the storm:

No precip: 30 percent
All rain: Less than 1 percent
Marginal event (1 inch or less of snow): 5 percent
Minor event (1-2 inches): 10 percent
Moderate event (2-4 inches): 15 percent
Major event (4-6 inches): 25 percent
BIG DOG event (6 inches or more): 15 percent

Now, this might look odd, but there is rhyme to the reason. The gradient for this storm is going to be sharp. So, you'll have a broad area with major snows a broad area with nothing and then a small area with totals in between. So, it's kind of an all-or-nothing setup which means we have a 40 percent change of a major or big dog event and a similarly high percentage of nothing at all.

I would call this a particularly low confidence forecast, given the major model disagreement this close to the event.

2:30 p.m. update: Big, bad model shift

Boy, what looked so promising a couple hours a go took a big hit this afternon. One after one, new models runs shifted the track of Saturday's system south and east -- the Euro, UK and Canadian models all moved east of even the GFS this afternoon, giving us zippo in terms of precip.

Now, you've got the GFS hanging onto a minor 2 inch-type even for us and the NAM a major westward outlier model.

We're VERY close to this event meteorologically, so what I would expect is the outlier to "blink" and move toward the other models, but we'll have to see about that.

Right now, my expectations are very low -- would be happy with another minor event like the GFS depicts.

12z GFS -- Good ... but close to great

The 12z GFS reminds me so much of the maps in the days leading up to our big Feb. 2006 storm.

As you can see, it shows us getting just under .5 inches of precip -- a 2-4 inch snow which would be fine with me.

But if you slide that precip field just 60 miles west -- that total doubles or triples and looks like the NAM.

The issue here is called "phasing" and it has to do with interactions between disturbances in the different jet streams. I don't really understand it, but when there is phasing (as the NAM is showing moreso than the GFS) storms tend to be bigger and are drawn together, which often means a more northerly component to the track.

Anyway, if the GFS moves as far west on its next run as it does on this one, we'll be in the jackpot. Btw, temps look good on this run -- close, but good.

OK, need to get some real work done -- I'll update again late this afternoon or tonight.

Sat. storm update: NAM gives us a foot

I'm not saying it's right, I'm only saying -- this is what the 12z run of the NAM shows starting Saturday morning. Check out these maps and tell me if you've ever seen anything snowier.

Dawn on Saturday. Precip moves in with temps below freezing
Early Saturday afternoon. That's more than .75 liquid in a 6-hour period -- apparently all as snow. If accurate, that's 1-inch per hour snow for 6 hours. You do the math.
Saturday evening. Storm winding down, but not before another 2-3 inches falls.

Only thing about this run is temps look a little iffier, so we'll have to look at 12z GFS very closely. Still, the amazing thing about this event is that it is so CLOSE -- onset us just 48 hours away!

More to come......

7:50 a.m. update: This event is over; next one looms

Well, after my last post at 1:45 a.m. I took one last walk outside and darned if it didn't change to sleet just as I headed back inside. So, I wasn't surprised to see basically the same picture out my window when I woke up as when I went to bed.

The event looks to be over. Temps are at or above freezing, as best I can tell, in and around Cleveland County.

Looks like snow amounts ranged from 1-2 inches in Cleveland County. Rutherford County reported 3 inches with 4-6 in some mountain locations. I haven't gotten outside to check on the ice coating, but looking out my window, I don't see any trees dramatically bent over or branches on the ground.

The 1-2 was squarely in the middle of my "minor event" range in which I had the largest percentage chance of happening.

Now, on to Saturday. Unlike the relative model consistency we had with this storm, there is wide divergance just 54 hours on Storm No. 2. The meteogram attached to this post is from the 6z NAM.

Check out the second area of precip (on the right). As you can see 850 temps are solidly below freezing and we are AT freezing at the surface -- ALL SNOW. If taken literally, we're talking 6-8 inches.

Now, remember, the NAM overestimated the precip on our current system.

The GFS, on the other hand, misses us almost completely to the east. It is just as "wet" as the NAM, but that moisture is not over us. As a result, we get just a dusting of snow.

BUT, our old friend the EURO is solidly in the Saturday storm camp, spitting out a 2-8 storm across the region. There is also support from the Canadian and UK models.

So, VERY interesting and actually better POTENTIAL than this current storm, for which temperatures was always going to be an issue (and they still could be for the next storm, but there looks to be more leeway there).
Feel free to post your final observations and thoughts in this thread -- I'll update later today on the Saturday storm.

1:45 a.m. update: Packing it in -- but important parting thoughts

Couple things -- first off, when sleet and freezing rain begin to fall they will compact the snow that has fallen, so depending on when you crash and when that changover occurs, you might see less snow when you wake up then when you went to bed.

Secondly, however, some great looking bands getting ready to move through -- wouldn't surprise me one bit to wake up to 4-6 inches of snow.

Third, models are making a stunning move toward a SATURDAY snow storm (I've touched on this recently).

Now, pro mets who have early access to the Euro say it has come around and shows a snow here Saturday.

More on that in the AM.

Thanks for hanging with me folks -- I'll be up early to catch up.

12:45 a.m. update: Snow in Shelby

Finally (although actually right on schedule) it is snowing here in Shelby. Sounds like much of Cleveland County is getting snow. Next up -- when will snow start to accumulate and how much.

Keep those reports coming!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

11:50 update: It's time

Just got a report of moderate to heavy snow in Gaffney -- I believe this is the band that will graduate us beyond flurries to some real snow -- temps are dropping across the county, evident that the column is being saturated and all the precip can start making it to the ground.

I expect (gulp) that by 1. a.m. at least the southern locations of Cleveland County will some decent snowfall.

Famous last words? We shall see.

Keep those reports coming! If you're going to make fun of us snow lovers, you're comments will have a short life.

11 p.m update: Does snow observe state lines?

It's almost like a wall at the N.C./S.C. state line -- have to keep reminding myself that this is just what the models forecasted -- onset of precip at around midnight, give or take. Still, it's tough to see the snow on radar just 30 or so miles away -- and hear reports from Gaffney and Spartanburg.

0Z GFS actually came in wetter -- giving us .8 inches of precip -- it's highest total so far. And upstream radar still filling in over Alabama, so still hours upon hours of precip to go.

But, if you're like me, you want the snow NOW, darnit, NOW!

I'll be very anxious to hear observations from Gaffney/Blacksburg/Boiling Springs/Mooresboro/Earl and other areas south and west.

On toward midnight!

10:20 update: A new radar look (time sensitive)

Here is the NWS radar out of GSP. See the darker bands getting ready to hit Greenville? I think that's what "breaks though" our brick wall of dry air and brings us snow -- probably an hour or 2 away, maybe less.

Also, here is the 0z NAM snowfall map somebody requested in a comment. Still a range of 5-7 inches (8 up in the South Mountains).

9:45 p.m. update: Great looking radar

If you check out this radar loop, you'll see the precip backfilling nicely in Alabama -- that's a long way for precip to go to clear our area. We just have to be patient and let the precip work through all that dry air. Could be after midnight before it really starts coming down -- generally speaking those in the southwest part of the county (B. Springs) should see heavier snow first, with Fallston and Toluca last, although there will be exceptions to this.

By the way, NAM makes a big jump later in the period and gives us another hit on Saturday, as you can see here.

Keep those reports coming -- I might pull an all-nighter. Who's with me??????

9:20 update: Very light flurries in Shelby

Light flurries falling at my house in Shelby right now.

8:30 p.m. update: Snowing in Spartanburg

Not much new to report -- our wetbulb continues to sit at around freezing, so once precipitation starts falling through our very dry air, the temperature will drop.

Remember, the earliest we were expecting snow was 10 p.m., so anything before then is just a bonus.

There is some concern upstream that the snow in N. Georgia switched to freezing rain sooner than expected. We'll have to keep an eye on that.

Still like the 2-4 inch EDIT: SNOW! with some sleet and/or freezing rain after that.

Anybody reading this in the Gaffney area, please post when snow begins to fall.

7 p.m. update: Snow reported in Clemson, Augusta

1 inch on the ground in Dawsonville, Ga. and areas around Atlanta.

Precip having a VERY hard time overcoming our dry atmosphere -- the low dewpoints help us when it comes to getting snow instead of rain, but we lose some accumulation because it takes awhile for the atmosphere to be moistened. Don't be surprised if you check out a radar and it shows precip right over your house, but you go outside and nothing's happening -- that precip is drying up before it hits the ground -- but as that is happening, your temperature will start to drop.

Right now we're at 40 with a dewpoint of 14.

Update: Now snowing in Atlanta, headed our way

Widespread reports of snow in Not-so-hotlanta.

The final verdict on the 18Z Nam is a historic snowstorm of 6-12 inches. The 18z GFS is colder and snowier, but with less than half the total precip -- so more like 2-6 inches.

I'd be happy with any of that, wouldn't you?

Right now, I'd bank on about 4 inches of snow followed by a layer of sleet and ending as a glaze of ice, but we could get double (or half) that snow amount and it wouldn't surprise me.

You'll find all sorts of links to coverage on our home page -- if you take pictures of the storm with your cell phone or camera, send them in. Also, you'll be able to share storm reports. Finally, we'll be sending out The Star car to cover the storm.

More updates through the night!

FLASH: 18Z NAM goes nuts!!

It's almost too late to look at models, mainly because they rarely change in this tight to the actual event.

Don't tell that to the NAM.

It just turned a moderate to major winter storm into a Big Dog storm. NAM precip jumps from .8 inches in Cleveland County to a whopping 1.25 inches.

If that is all frozen we will have a collosal winter storm.

If that's all snow -- 8-12 inches.

If it's half snow, half ice, 4-6 inches of snow with a cripping coating of .5 inches of ice on top.

If it's mostly ice -- let's not even go there.

Haven't been able to analyze the temps yet, but this run is incredible if even close to reality.

Weather update: From marginal, to minor, to moderate, to major?

It seems very clear that this storm is going to be stronger than many expected. I will be shocked if the NWS does not upgrade us to a Winter Storm Warning.

The cold trend in the models from overnight and early today is now being verified (if not STILL underdone) in current conditions. Snow is breaking out over central Alabama and Georgia.

Winter weather advisories have been extended far to our south - as far south east as Orangeburg, S.C. and as far southwest as Augusta, Ga.

Also, after trending yesterday to a more icy event, there is now a move to a sleetier and especially snowier event.

Here's how the event should unfold, based on the observations of a number of mets who post on message boards and model trends -- we will experience a considerable amount of what is called "virga" late this afternoon and tonight. Virga is precipitation that can often be picked up on radar, but which dries before it reaches the ground.

This begins the process of cooling the lower levels of the atmosphere (see earlier post on evaporational cooling and wet bulb temps).

By around midnight, give or take 2 hours, precipitation will start reaching the ground. It's possible this will be as rain for just a few minutes before snow kicks in.

Right now, it looks like snow will fall for at least 4 hours and as long as 8 or possibly even 10 hours. After that time, whatever it is, we will see a transition to sleet, then perhaps freezing rain. It's possible the CAD will be so strong that we stay below freezing for the entire event.

Here is the final percentage breakdown:
No precip: 0 percent
All rain: less than 1 percent
Marginal event (less than 1 inch of snow; very light icing): 10 percent
Minor event (1-2 inches of snow; .1 inches of icing): 25 percent
Moderate event (2-4 inches of snow; .1-.25 inches of icing) 45 percent
Major event (4 or more inches of snow; .25 or more of icing) 20 percent

Look for more updates throughout the day and night and morning!

Good radar link

Here is a good link to follow precip moving our way.

And here's another good link to follow temperature/dew point/wet bulb temperatures.

Speaking of temps, I'm a little concerned by this bright sunshine which was beating down until about 30 minutes ago.

Temps up to 42, but dewpoint still just 12.

One "s" word I should have mentioned ....


I don't understand how to read the soundings and other date to determine the atmospheric profile that indicates freezing rain vs. sleet, but apparently, someone in the SE will receive a good amount of sleet from this storm. Remember that big sleetstorm we had a few years back? I don't remember the year, but I recall that it was in the 60s one day, then by that night we had an inch of sleet on the ground.

One thing to look for today....

We are in "nowcasting" mode -- that is, the models become less relevant compared to actual observered conditions.

With that in mind, one thing to look for today is our high temperature.

The NWS has us reaching 47 degrees as a high.

My guess is, that will be vastly overstated -- if some cloud cover moves in, we'll be lucky to break 40.

And if we don't get to 40, that could have huge implications for the storm.

Will this dream map come true?

6z NAM snowfall map for the Southeast.

You'll note that the upper part of the county is in the 5-inch swath with 4 inches for the rest of us.

These maps are significantly less reliable than some of the numeric data, but still fun to look at and wish for.

7 a.m. weather update: Ramping it up!

The late trend is for a stronger storm. This started with 0z model runs and was strengthened with the 6z runs.

The 6z NAM shows us getting 2-3 inches of snow followed by a significant ice glaze. The 6z GFS has the same kind of temperature profile, but has markedly less precip -- it shows us with around an inch of snow followed by .1 to .2 glaze of ice, which is in line with the current NWS forecast.

Right now, I'd probably split the difference and go for 1-2 inches of snow and a .2 glaze of ice -- this would be very close to enough snow/ice to do damage to trees so this even now bears close watching in that respect.

More updates through the day.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Weather update: 11 p.m. Tuesday

Very brief because I'm very tired -- 0z GFS come in a tad colder but is still way short on precip when compared to the NAM -- about half.

If you took GFS temps and NAM precip, you'd have a major winter storm -- vice-versa, not so much.

I'll update my percentage tomorrow morning -- might go for slightly stronger system based on tonight's model runs.

National Weather Service issues Winter Storm Watch

Cleveland County is under a Winter Storm Watch as of about 30 minutes ago.

The latest run of the NAM is a trend back toward a more significant event -- the run is not over so I can't check detailed data yet, but taken at face value it looks like perhaps an inch of snow and then more ice than model showed earlier today.

I'll update again tonight after the 0z GFS run.

Weather update: Time for a call

This appears to be a minor, perhaps even marginal, event -- of course, when you've gone two years without ANY event, even minor events are worth SOMETHING.

Here's how it looks:

Precip will begin sometime between midnight and 5 a.m. Thursday morning, probably as a brief burst of snow. It will mix with, then transition to sleet rather quickly. At best, the snow and sleet are enough to cover the ground, but there may not even be that much.

Then we transition to freezing rain. We'll see light icing -- on the order of .1 to .2 inches, then it will turn to rain with temps holding between 32 and 35 for the rest of the day.

This is very close to what the NWS forecast which comes out later today will show and falls in the "marginal event" which was tied for my highest percentage probability Monday afternoon.

What can go wrong: 1) The model trend toward warming continues and we end up with all or nearly all rain. 2) Precip is so light that evaporational cooling does not kick in fully and we end up with all rain

What can go right: 1) Models significantly underestimate the strength of the CAD and we see a longer period of snow, giving us 1-2 inches, before a changeover to ice. 2) The NAM is right, precip is heavy and "dynamical cooling" helps keep precip frozen.

We're still about 36 hours for onset -- that is enough time for changes.

Current percentages:
No precip: Less than 1 percent
All rain: 35 percent
Marginal event (dusting of snow/slight ice glaze) 40 percent
Minor event (1-2 inches of snow/minor ice coating) 20 percent
Moderate event (2-4 inches of snow/moderate ice coating) 5 percent
Major event (4 or more inches of snow/major ice coating) less than 1 percent

Also, an important note, the UK model shows ANOTHER system affecting us Friday night into Saturday. The Euro and GFS suppress the system to our south and east -- this would be either snow or nothing (no ice or rain --- too cold). Looks like a long shot, but worth keeping an eye on.