WX-MAN's Musings

WX-MAN's Musings header image 1

NORAD & WX-Man.com Track Santa

Brian Neudorff @ 7:55 am December 24th, 2010 · No Comments

With not much weather to track around here for Christmas I figured I would track Santa today. I have worked Christmas Eve for the last 9 years and I really do enjoy it. One of the best things I get to do on this day is Track Santa. As far back as I can remember the local weatherman would always track Santa during the evening broadcast. With the onset of the internet it got a lot easier and with better graphics for TV weather you could really showcase this to the young and young at heart. (Click here to Track Santa)

NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) has been tracking Santa for 55 years. And from the NORAD Track Santa Website here is why they started to track Santa:

The tradition began in 1955 after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement for children to call Santa misprinted the telephone number. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief’s operations “hotline.” The Director of Operations at the time, Colonel Harry Shoup, had his staff check the radar for indications of Santa making his way south from the North Pole. Children who called were given updates on his location, and a tradition was born.

In 1958, the governments of Canada and the United States created a bi-national air defense command for North America called the North American Aerospace Defense Command, also known as NORAD, which then took on the tradition of tracking Santa.

It is so wonderful to see how they have adapted to technology. Not only is it through the web but now Google Earth and even on your mobile device. Because my three boys still believe in Santa Claus these nights are so exciting and wonderful. Merry Christmas to all of you.

→ No CommentsTags: Christmas · Holidays · Tracking Santa

NOAA’s 2010-2011 Winter Weather Forecast

Brian Neudorff @ 11:21 am October 21st, 2010 · No Comments

Winter Outlook - PrecipitationHigh Resolution (Credit: NOAA)

The Pacific Northwest should brace for a colder and wetter than average winter, while most of the South and Southeast will be warmer and drier than average through February 2011, according to the annual Winter Outlook released today by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. A moderate to strong La Niña will be the dominant climate factor influencing weather across most of the U.S. this winter.

La Niña is associated with cooler than normal water temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean, unlike El Niño which is associated with warmer than normal water temperatures. Both of these climate phenomena, which typically occur every 2-5 years, influence weather patterns throughout the world and often lead to extreme weather events. Last winter’s El Niño contributed to record-breaking rain and snowfall leading to severe flooding in some parts of the country, with record heat and drought in other parts of the country. Although La Niña is the opposite of El Niño, it also has the potential to bring weather extremes to parts of the nation.

“La Niña is in place and will strengthen and persist through the winter months, giving us a better understanding of what to expect between December and February,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director of the Climate Prediction Center – a division of the National Weather Service. “This is a good time for people to review the outlook and begin preparing for what winter may have in store.”

“Other climate factors will play a role in the winter weather at times across the country,” added Halpert. “Some of these factors, such as the North Atlantic Oscillation, are difficult to predict more than one to two weeks in advance. The NAO adds uncertainty to the forecast in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic portions of the country.”

Winter Outlook - PrecipitationHigh Resolution (Credit: NOAA)

Regional highlights include:

  • Pacific Northwest: colder and wetter than average. La Niña often brings lower than average temperatures and increased mountain snow to the Pacific Northwest and western Montana during the winter months, which is good for the replenishment of water resources and winter recreation but can also lead to greater flooding and avalanche concerns;
  • California and the Southwest: warmer and drier than average. This will likely exacerbate drought conditions in these areas. All southern states are at risk of having above normal wildfire conditions starting this winter and lasting into the spring;
  • Northern Plains: colder and wetter than average. Likely to see increased storminess and flooding;
  • Southern Plains, Gulf Coast States & Southeast: warmer and drier than average. This will likely exacerbate drought conditions in these areas. All southern states are at risk of having above normal wildfire conditions starting this winter and lasting into the spring;
  • Florida: drier than average, with an equal chance for above-, near-, or below-normal temperatures. Above normal wildfire conditions;
  • Ohio and Tennessee Valleys: warmer and wetter than average. Likely to see increased storminess and flooding;
  • Northeast and Mid-Atlantic: equal chances for above-, near-, or below-normal temperatures and precipitation. Winter weather for these regions is often driven not by La Niña but by weather patterns over the northern Atlantic Ocean and Arctic. These are often more short-term, and are generally predictable only a week or so in advance. If enough cold air and moisture are in place, areas north of the Ohio Valley and into the Northeast could see above-average snow;
  • Central U.S.: equal chances of above-near-or below normal temperatures and precipitation;
  • Hawaii: drier than normal through November, then wetter than normal December through February. Statewide, the current drought is expected to continue through the winter, with several locations remaining on track to become the driest year on record. Drought recovery is more likely on the smaller islands of Kauai and Molokai, and over the windward slopes of the Big Island and Maui;
  • Alaska: odds favor colder than average temperatures with equal chances of above or below normal precipitation. The interior and southern portions of the state are currently drier than normal. A dry winter may set Alaska up for a greater chance of above normal wildfire conditions in the spring.

This seasonal outlook does not project where and when snowstorms may hit or total seasonal snowfall accumulations. Snow forecasts are dependent upon winter storms, which are generally not predictable more than several days in advance.

NOAA’s National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. NOAA’s National Weather Service operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy. Visit us online at weather.gov and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/US.National.Weather.Service.gov.

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources. Visit http://www.noaa.gov.

→ No CommentsTags: Discussion · Forecasting · La Niña · Long Range Forecast · NOAA · Seasonal Outlooks · Weather News · Winter 2010/2011 · Winter Forecast · Winter Weather

TROPICS REMAIN ACTIVE: IGOR & JULIA

Brian Neudorff @ 11:05 am September 13th, 2010 · No Comments

Originally posted on the News 8 Weather Blog

Friday September 10th was the statistical peak of the Atlantic hurricane season, and the season remains active. We have two named storms, hurricane Igor and tropical storm Julia as well as an area of development in the Caribbean.

The image above is of hurricane Igor from Monday morning. Dr. Jeff Masters over at Wunderground.com made this comment about Igor and I have to agree, “There are few sights in the natural world more impressive than a hurricane near maximum intensity.” As a category 4, Igor is very close to being a category 5 hurricane. Its maximum sustain winds are 150 mph, just 6 mph away from category 5 strength. Igor is the strongest hurricane in the Atlantic in three years. The last hurricane stronger than Igor was Category 5 Hurricane Felix of 2007.

Igor will experience little shear as well as stay over warm waters in the Atlantic over the next couple of days. It will most likely remain a major hurricane (category 3 or greater) for the next three or four days. The only weakening this storm might encounter is from its own design. Major and massive hurricanes like Igor go through eyewall replacement cycles, where the eyewall collapses and a new eyewall forms from an outer spiral band. This will weaken the hurricane by 10 – 20 mph when it occurs, but Igor will probably regain its lost intensity when the cycle completes.

Not much change in the current forecast track of Igor. There is still a lot of area for this storm to cover but current forecasts do not have Igor being a threat to the United States. In his blog, Jeff Masters noted that based on past tropical cyclones that have existed at Igor’s current location, about 15% of them have gone on to hit the east coast of the United States.

It will should remain on its current westerly movement until Tuesday or Wednesday when it encounters a broad area of low pressure in the western Atlantic. This will help to turn Igor to the northwest.

As you can see from the above forecast. It appears more likely that when Igor makes its turn to the northwest Bermuda could be right in the path of this storm. I want to point out that the cone does get much wider as we head into end of the weekend and weekend. There are small but possible scenarios where the storm could make a late turn or stay on a course more west than northwest. If that would occur, then once again the east coast of the United States would need to monitor Igor.

Over the weekend Julia was also named in the Atlantic. It is now located just west of the Cape Verdes Islands and will continue to the northwest. It will experience favorable conditions to become a hurricane by possibly Wednesday but won’t have enough time to become a major hurricane. Julia will curve out to see and not be a threat to the United States.

The final area that we are watching is a cluster and organized area of showers and thunderstorms south of Jamaica. Although it has some low wind shear and over very warm waters dry air to its north is keep this area from becoming better organized.

A TROUGH OF LOW PRESSURE OVER THE CENTRAL CARIBBEAN SEA CONTINUES TO PRODUCE DISORGANIZED CLOUDINESS AND SHOWERS. ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS APPEAR TO BE CONDUCIVE FOR SOME DEVELOPMENT DURING THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS AS THE TROUGH MOVES WEST-NORTHWESTWARD AT AROUND 15 MPH. THERE IS A MEDIUM CHANCE…40 PERCENT…OF THIS SYSTEM BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS. REGARDLESS OF DEVELOPMENT. LOCALLY HEAVY RAINFALL IS POSSIBLE OVER PORTIONS OF HISPANIOLA JAMAICA CUBA AND THE CAYMAN ISLANDS DURING THE NEXT DAY OR TWO. THESE RAINS COULD CAUSE LIFE-THREATENING FLASH FLOODS AND MUD SLIDES…ESPECIALLY IN MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN.

We will just have to watch and see but appears this may not be a threat to the Unites States either and stay south affecting the Yucatan Peninsula.

→ No CommentsTags: Discussion · Forecasting · Hurricanes · Igor · Julia · Tropical Storm · Tropical Weather · Tropics 2010 · Weather News

Earl Loses Punch Heads for Cape Cod

Brian Neudorff @ 6:29 pm September 3rd, 2010 · 1 Comment


Need to hit refresh to refresh the Radar image or click for larger image…

Here’s part of the 5pm National Hurricane Center forecast:

EARL HAS BEEN MOVING OVER COOLER WATER AND WEAKENING. BASED ON THE SATELLITE PRESENTATION AND EARLIER RECONNAISSANCE DATA…THE INITIAL INTENSITY HAS BEEN LOWERED TO 70 KNOTS. ALTHOUGH CONTINUED WEAKENING IS ANTICIPATED…EARL IS FORECAST TO PASS NEAR CAPE COD AS A HURRICANE WITH A LARGE AREA OF TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS. THESE WINDS WILL LIKELY AFFECT A LARGE PORTION OF THE MID-ATLANTIC AND NEW ENGLAND COASTS. EARL IS EXPECTED TO REACH CANADA AS A STRONG TROPICAL STORM AND THEN BECOME EXTRATROPICAL IN ABOUT 36 HOURS.

As of 5pm, Earl was a weak category 1 hurricane with maximum sustain winds of 80 mph, and it was moving to the northeast at 22 mph. Dr. Jeff Master on his WunderBlog has a good forecast for Earl over the next 14 hours.

The latest set of model runs from 8am EDT (12Z) this morning show little change to Earl’s track. Earl is still expected to pass 20 – 50 miles southeast of Nantucket and Cape Cod, Massachusetts, at about 2am Saturday. The latest SHIPS model forecast of wind shear continues to show that shear will increase to the high range, 20 – 30 knots, on Saturday. Ocean temperatures will plunge to 20°C early Saturday morning, resulting in considerable weakening. Earl will probably be a strong tropical storm with 70 mph winds early Saturday morning, when it will make its closest approach to New England, and have 65 mph winds on Saturday afternoon, when it is expected to make landfall in Nova Scotia or New Brunswick, Canada. I have no substantive changes to make to the impacts likely for New England and Canada that I discussed in this morning’s post.

Lots of rain and gusty winds will be me the main problem for those in New England tonight. Although Earl is weakening, tropical storm force winds still extend out 205 miles from the center. It will be a very windy night on the Cape.

→ 1 CommentTags: Discussion · Earl · Forecasting · Hurricanes · Tropical Storm · Tropical Weather · Tropics 2010

Earl Passes Very Close To North Carolina Tonight

Brian Neudorff @ 5:19 pm September 2nd, 2010 · No Comments


Need to hit refresh to refresh the Radar image or click for larger image…

Although weaker that it was earlier today, Earl is still a very large,  major hurricane at a category 3 with sustained maximum winds of 115 mph. Earl continues to move north at 18 mph and is 180 miles south of Cape Hatteras, NC. Eventually it will make a turn to the north-northeast. When it makes this turn this evening or tonight will determine how close it gets to the Outer Banks. I still think it closes in about 50-100 miles east of the Outer Banks.

From there it will weaken some more over colder waters and quickly move to the north-northeast around 20-23 mph. Gusty winds and rain could impact parts of Mid-Atlantic coast. Most of what will be experienced from Virginia up to southern New England will be tropical storm conditions.

The next concern is does Earl pass just east of Cape Cod like it should with the North Carolina Outer Banks or will it’s center cross over the cape. The National Hurricane Center give the likelihood of Cape Cod experiencing hurricane conditions 20 to 30 percent. Part of me thinks it is a little more like 30 to 50 percent but we will have to wait and see how Earl interacts with the trough beginning to build into the eastern United States.

As my friend and amateur meteorologist Brendan Loy begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting points out on his blog, “…it’s important to emphasize that Hurricane Earl is not a point on the map, but a broad storm system with a geographically large wind field. The exact course of the eye is important, especially for storm surge purposes, because the strongest winds and most damaging surge — especially when it reaches New England, by which point its forward speed will be accelerating, even as its rotational winds decrease — will be in the storm’s right-front quadrant.”

Hurricane force winds extend 70 miles out from Earl’s center with tropical storm force winds extending outwards of 205 miles. All along the east coast will feel Earl’s impact one way or another. From Jeff Masters’ WunderGround.com Blog

Regardless of Earl’s exact track, the U.S. East Coast can expect a long period of high waves today and Friday. Significant beach erosion and dangerous rip currents will be the rule, due to waves that will reach 10 – 15 feet in offshore waters. Waves are expected to reach 25 – 30 feet along the Cape Hatteras, North Carolina shore tonight. Beach erosion damage in the mid-Atlantic states will likely run into the millions[.]

Hurricane Earl Resources – [NHC Earl Tracker] [NOAA Earl Satellite Images] [NHC Earl Public Advisory] [NHC Earl Forecast Discussion] [Earl Model Plots] [NOAA Buoy Observations] [NOAA tidal gauges] [StormPulse.com] [Wunderground.com Earl Resources] [Skeetobite Weather Earl Forecast Intensity and Path] [AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center] [AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center]

North Carolina Resources - [Morehead City, NC Radar] [Morehead City, NC NWS Office] [Carolina Coast Online] [Google News]

More great insight in the following weather blogs – [Dr. Jeff Masteres Wunderground Blog] [Houston Chronicles SciGuy Eric Berger] [Brendan Loy - Sullivan's Travelers] [AccuWeather.com Weather Matrix Blog] [RaceWeather.net Tropics Discussion out of Texas]

→ No CommentsTags: Discussion · Earl · Forecasting · Hurricanes · Tropical Weather · Tropics 2010