Monday, September 24, 2012

Fall Foliage (and Precip, Where Art Thou?)

This just in: the Twin Cities is in the midst of quite a dry period. What's your guess as to when the next substantial rainfall will occur? And/or when do you think we'll accumulate an inch of rain over successive precipitation events? And when, pray tell, do you figure the Twin Cities will see the first flakes of snow cascade down from the sky?

Here are a few shots of the emerging fall color that were taken from the Ford Bridge over the Mississippi River, not far from TMF world headquarters. They were also mentioned in the must-read MPR Weather Blog.




50 comments:

  1. We may be waiting for a while before we get an inch of rain. Latest model runs really don't show anything in the near term, and after you get so far into the run the reliability falls off. There is a decent precip event that could include snow but it is at the very end of the 12z GFS run. It really could be mid to late Oct before we see a decent amount of precipitation. Once the leaf drop happens, if we stay warm with low humidity values it is just going to make the wildfire situation even worse. I guess people will have plenty of time to get those leaves raked or mowed out of their yards.

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  2. Awesome photos Bill,you were on the MPR blog not once,but twice that's a credit to those awesome photos.Now on to some sensible weather,now I never claimed to be a weather expert,just a weather enhusiat........I could see with our current drought conditions take the entire month of October to add a inch of rain and I believe one of those precip events will have a flurry/snow shower event on its backside(nothing to write home about),but I do believe our first measureable snow event will occur within the first 10 days of November!

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    1. Thanks for the kind words, Big Daddy. Paul Douglas also included them in his blog.

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  3. To Duane's post on the previous thread. To those that follow the ENSO forecast (la nina vs el nino), take the heaviest dose of salt you can find. Going back to 1951 I really can't find a year that was trending towards a developing El Nino that did not at least maintain it or strengthen it through the winter months. This year is very strange, the models have been showing a moderate EL Nino building through the early fall, but than falling into the neutral range over Dec-Feb. It looks like this is going to verify. We may be in uncharted waters here. At this time I think the major player will be the PDO (Pacific Decadal Oscillation) and the Arctic Oscillation along with the NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation.)

    I will have my winter forecast out by mid to late October. Hint: based on the best analog year I can find (depending on the PDO) and weighted to the best Palmer Drought Index from 1951- to present, (most forecaster's are not looking at the drought), and they should be..) I am looking very hard at 2006-2007, it appears to be my best analog year.

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  4. They just made our air this morning. Spectacular!

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  5. I should have mentioned this before, but I really like the pictures as well! I love fall and the awesome photos that come with it. Very nice work Bill!

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  6. Thanks all. Just added two other photos from that morning.

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  7. Well, while it may not be a huge change in the precip department, it does look like a pretty good change in the temp department about 7 to 10 days from now. Our mainly dry stretch will probably last through mid next week with some type of precip maybe making it into the area towards the end of next week. Tough to say for sure (you know the saying when in drought leave it out). Cooler temps will be the bigger factor with highs probably dropping into the 50's as we get into next weekend. The way things have gone though, even that cooldown may not last all that long.

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  8. CPC for 6 to 10 days out makes me think we will see our first snow soon:

    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/610day/610temp.new.gif

    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/610day/610prcp.new.gif

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    1. In addition to the model runs as well.

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  9. @bemaki,I have seen the gfs depicting that for a few runs now,but no one as of yet is mentioning the possibility of snow,but it will sure be cold enough,if your city didnt see frost yet,next Friday and Saturday will surely be frosty,this is a pretty cold shot coming i could see two nights in the 20's and highs stuck in the 40's,we'll see!
    @Duane....good to see you back,I really enjoy your input and knowledge here,always look forward to reading your comments.....just bring me more snow then we saw last year(I know that wont be hard since we didnt see much)at least double it!

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  10. Plymouth Weather LoverSeptember 29, 2012 at 11:26 PM

    Snow? Seriously? Don't pull my leg people!!

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    1. I am (hopefully) not pulling your leg. The GFS indicates some flurries on the back end of a low pressure system which is currently along the coast. There appears to be a large dip in the jet stream which follows this low, and the air behind it is cool enogh to get some snow flying before the system exits compleatly. However, the ECMWF predicts a system missing us JUST to the north, and then one JUST to the south, however, later runs bring the second system further north each time, compleatly defying the GFS's prediction that the first system will give us rain and, later, snow. The JMA thinks somthing similar to that of the ECMWF, however, it also leans toward the GFS by giving us precipatation from the first system. The GEM leans toward GFS and the NOGAPS leans toward ECMWF

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  11. It's looking more and more like northern/northwestern MN is going to end up seeing the most precipitation out of this end of week system. Depending on how quickly the cold air moves in there will determine if they see any snow as well. The overall long range doesn't look good either per the GFS. Outside of a decent system at the very end of the run, it's not too great looking for any meaningful moisture. The only thing that may help keep the fire situation down after this incoming system will be the colder temperatures and possibly calm winds. Who knows, maybe something will show up out of nowhere and help us all out a bit.

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    1. It now looks like the GEM and ECMWF are trying to strengthen the system expected to move into the area north of the metro on Thursday, with more moisture on the back side if it that has been shown in earlier runs. 850mb temps are surely cold enough for snow, but below that I am not sure yet. Won't know for sure until later today when I can get a closer look, after my work is done around the house.

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  12. It appears as though some type of winter headline may end up being needed for portions of northern MN and eastern ND on Thursday. The Euro is pretty ridiculous with the potential amount of precipitation that could fall in the cold sector. It still looks like those areas are going to see the most precip out of this. Tough goings further south, outside of maybe some light rain. It will be interesting to see how the weather service handles any potential headlines but honestly it wouldn't be too shocking to see a watch posted for some areas, with the potential to go with an advisory after.

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  13. So did anyone catch today on The Weather Channel that they will be naming winter storms this winter,sounds interesting to me,kind of like that,has an hurricane feel to it.......so my question is what does everyone else feel/think about it,Bill any thoughts?
    Well here's hoping that Winter Storm Athena(first name on list)has eyes on the Twin Cities!

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    1. Yep, I caught that Big Daddy. And I'm pondering an appropriate response. Stay tuned!

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    2. big daddy:

      Athena is about to be born in the 24-36 hrs and may have the biggest impact over ND and NW MN

      http://wxcaster4.com/nam/CONUS1_ETA212_SFC_ACCUMSNOWFALL-KUCHERA_72HR.gif

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  14. I would be willing to bet there is a big east coast bias when it comes to naming these systems. A storm that may drop a foot and a half of snow on North Dakota may not get a name, but a 6-8 inch storm in New Hampshire or New York will probably get a name. Ok, maybe that's a bit dramatic but I just get sick of such an east coast bias when it comes to forecasts. Yeah, they have a ton of people there so more are affected but it doesn't other areas should be ignored. I don't think they would give a name to the system this week. Probably not wide scale enough for it to warrant a name. Cool and blustery will be the rule Thurs and Fri but most of the major snow should stay in the far northern/northwest part of MN and in eastern ND. The drought continues.

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  15. @Randyinchamplin,I agree with Duane even though those areas you mentioned that will get nailed with a fairly sizable early snowstorm,not too many people care about ND and NW Minnesota,Athena wont be named just cuz of where the snow will fall and such a small area will be affected.On a side note did anyone see Accuweather's can of whoop-ass statement in regards to The Weather Channel,on how misleading and confusing this naming of storms will be to the public....pretty funny read considering how dramatic and hyped they get,not to mention how inaccurate they are,and dont even get me started on their 25-day forecast.

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    1. big daddy:

      After reading some things I think Duane and you might be right.
      It looks like one of the criteria is how many people it will affect. I strongly disagree with that reasoning. They want to name winter storms like they do hurricanes and tropical storms to increase the awareness to the general public. Tropical storms are named even though they may be just fish storms that do not affect any land masses, they do that so that shipping interest will be aware.

      Seems to me that if this should pan out, some places may loose power for several days, power lines will be down etc..
      Not mention likely white out conditions at the peak of the storm.

      If this decision by TWC is somewhat based on Marketing, I would call the idea brilliant and give it a A grade. Having said that, if this storm produces as forecast and it doesn't get named, the process in my opinion is greatly flawed and should be graded as a F.

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  16. The Weather Channel exists to make money. They discovered some time in the 1990s that weather doesn't make a lot of money (surprise!), so they began adding "content" like reality shows and other crap. So the naming of winter storms just plays right into that.

    The only way to make money on weather is to turn it into a carnival. No one has done this better than TWC (although AccuWeather tries; believe me, they try.). This is why you see clowns like Jim Cantore clinging to trees in 90-mph winds.

    Meanwhile, REAL weather geeks get their data online. I couldn't tell you the last time I turned on TWC for anything other than entertainment, and even that is very rare.

    TWC was good in the 80s when I discovered it. That was back before they began hiring actresses and showing storm stories. But like I said, you can't make money on the old model.

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  17. I guess naming winter storms that only impact ND/MN don't qualify for names. 6 to 12 inches of snow...this isn't no Alberta clipper.

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    1. I think accuweather's rip on it was accurate. For one, hurricanes are named even if they don't strike our country. If a powerful winter storm forms in Canada, for example, they would not even think to name it, even if the storm affects millions of Canadians. For two, it is going to be way to biased. Like stated above, if a Nor'easter forms out east and dumps a foot of snow in Washington D.C., it is more likley to be named than a storm that dumps a foot of snow in Minot ND. Also, I think storms are covered well as it is. There is no need to name them when you have the HPC on them like a dart on a target.

      If I were weather.com, I would keep it as is, and get rid of all their reality crap as well.

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  18. First flurries tonight?

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  19. I am kind of curious to what the mrf is showing right now. It seems to think that a storm of some sort, maybe a snowstorm, maybe a rainstorm, but it looks pretty impressive. It is 8.5 days out. If you don't know already, the MRF is a long range model. I do not know it's accuracy yet, because I just discovered it.

    You can find it here:

    http://www.aos.wisc.edu/weather/content/mrf_model/

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  20. If you blinked you missed it.......few flakes in the air in Golden Valley around 8:30am..........hopefully winter is sooner rather then later.

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  21. Well, one week from today looks to be our next best chance at some decent precipitation. It has been a fairly consistent signal from both the GFS and the Euro of this happening. Everything has been consistent of this being a warm system so everything should fall in liquid form. No major snowstorms seem to be in the short term, but the cooler temps look to remain.

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  22. A little humor from the MPX AFD.

    IF YOU ARE WONDERING WHEN IT MAY EVER RAIN AGAIN...THE 06.00 GFS/ECMWF DO SHOW SOME HOPE FOR MORE SUBSTANTIAL MOISTURE NEXT WEEKEND. BOTH MODELS BRING REMNANTS OF THE CUT-OFF LOW CURRENTLY SPINNING OFF THE COAST OF NRN CAL ACROSS THE CENTER OF THE COUNTRY BRINGING A GOOD BIT OF QPF ACROSS THE UPPER MISSISSIPPI VALLEY. IN FACT...CURRENT QPF AMOUNTS WOULD SUGGEST MANY PLACES COULD SEE MORE PRECIP FROM THIS POTENTIAL SYSTEM THAN THEY DID ALL OF SEPTEMBER...BUT WHEN MOST PLACES GOT LESS THAN A HALF INCH LAST MONTH...ITS REALLY NOT ALL THAT DIFFICULT OF A FEAT TO ACHIEVE.

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  23. Decent storm system for this upcoming Saturday still looks to be on track, but the strength and exact timing is still up in the air. The storm itself is a cutoff low spinning well off the northern CA coast. It looks to slowly drift off to the east before dropping down the coast and hooking its way to the north. Per the NWS, the exact track will be dependent on a ridge that is supposed to build in the south. If the ridge doesn't build as much to the north, then the system will stay south. I grabbed an image of the low off the coast on water vapor, and drew a line of where the models take the low. The line isn't exact down to the mile, but it should be fairly close.

    http://i105.photobucket.com/albums/m203/duanewolter/WV-3.png

    The GFS is the strongest, and quite frankly could spell trouble for the central plains. It is a strong trough coming in from the SW, and could mean a decent severe weather event for those areas. Will we see that here? Well, it is simply too soon to say but at the very least we can hope for a good soaking to give us some much needed rain. 00z GFS still looks impressive. I'm looking forward to tracking this storm through the week. It is still a warm system, so there doesn't look to be any snowflakes coming in with this one.

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    1. Duane: I agree with what MPX said about the placement of the ridge, but the real driver as to how far the ridge will build up to the south and east of us is dependent on the movement of the trough over the Hudson Bay area, if that should be able to move just slightly to the NE it will allow the ridge to build up to our east, thus allowing better precip to effect Eastern MN, western WI. Having said all that, this may be the pattern change I was hoping for, more rain and moisture reaching into IA, my winter forecast is in a great deal of flux at this time.

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    2. Yup that sounds right. I also want to clarify on my post above. I enjoy tracking storm systems in general. This does not mean that I hope for big severe weather outbreaks where people are killed or hurt. I didn't want someone to see that I'm looking forward to tracking the storm and think that I love seeing people lose their homes, towns, family, and friends. Weather is just something that happens, and there isn't much we can do to change that. I'm more looking forward to getting some badly needed rain. Even very slow weather patterns can have bad consequences like we are seeing with our drought and wildfire conditions. A quick peek at the Euro continues to show a nice soaking for a lot of areas that really need the rain. This one will be watched through the week closely.

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  24. Cant say you see the Storm Prediction Center paint a day 5 area for MN for severe weather in mid Oct every year.

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  25. Looks a pretty good set up for Saturday. Especially down near Des Moines and into Missouri. Looks like a typical Feb/March event for the Southern US with really high shear but not super high instability. I'm thinking we get a MDT risk maybe as far north as Rochester.

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  26. Looks like the best chance for any beneficial rainfall to impact the metro on Saturday will be on the far south fringes. The NW metro may stay high and dry. The upper level disturbance over Southern California will now come out of the Rockies in a more open wave as opposed to a closed low, leaving the vorticity maxes further south, meaning the surface low should track further south and east. Oh well time to continue watering.

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  27. Around thursday october 18th the mrf indicactes a potential storm for us. Being that this coming storm was accuratly predicted within 200 miles from this model, I think I am starting to get a respect for it.

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  28. El nino potential falling apart in pacific...

    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf

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  29. Well, we're getting at least a few drops of rain where I live. Unfortunately, the clouds will keep us from reaching the forecast of 68. I was really looking forward to some quasi-warmth today. It's been too cold lately.

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  30. I just really started to pour here, now hail, changing quickly as I type!

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    1. Now it has slowed down dramatically, like a switch.

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  31. Models are very interesting in depicting a semi-retrograde cutoff low coming over us in the Thursday Friday time frame. It drops out of Canada in a wave, stops in Wisconsin, moves straight north to lake Superior, then slowly retrogrades towards Duluth while bringing in a hammer of precipitation. Finally, it shoots off into Canada, propelled by a All eyes on this one, It remains stationary for a long enough time to allow air cold enough for snow to work its way down to here from Canada. If this event does materialize, it may be our first measurable snow of the season. Specific model runs:

    GFS:

    Depicts very long time frame, from Wednesday lingering into Saturday. First bout of precipitation in form of rain, coming over Wednesday. Break Thursday, “hammer” Thursday night. Snow starts Friday, low exits early Saturday. Above passage based off GFS predictions

    ECMWF:

    Initial bout of rain Thursday. Low condenses over far northern MN, by lake of the woods. Retrogrades towards Roseau, Grand Rapids. “hammer” comes in late Thursday night. Surface low weakens throughout the day Friday, becoming more upper level as run progresses. New surface low forms over Lake Superior and rapidly dissipates. Model ends with Upper level low over Illinois/Indiana.

    NOGAPS:

    Similar to ECMWF, but no cutoff, and low is further north, in Canada.

    JMA:

    Too simplistic for complex scenario like this. However, seems to go with GFS.

    GEM

    seems to side with ECMWF, although more progressive, with little to no retrograde action, and also the surface low remains as it goes into Illinois/Indiana. Almost between the GFS and ECMWF in their predictions.

    UKMET and NAM models end before storm materializes.

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    1. I like your description of what the models are showing, however, I believe most of the precip if not all of it will be the liquid variety, temps look to be a bit warm from 850mb to the surface, having said that a few flurries at this time is possible. Best guess at this time will be a very cold rain, with winds sustained at 25, with some gust as high as 40..buuurrr!

      Are we starting to see the pattern that will set up for the 1st part of Winter???

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    2. Hope so. Going to watch new GFS model come in here...

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  32. Uk met has it as well...

    http://raleighwx.americanwx.com/models/ukmet/12zukmet500mbHGHTNA120.gif

    If that link doesn't work let me know...here is the link to the home page.

    http://raleighwx.americanwx.com/models.html

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  33. Here is an update to my Analysis of the Models. I know that it is the 12z run, but I would like to watch the Vikings game, and I need to finish my homework after that:

    Potential storm I:

    Models are very interesting in depicting a semi-retrograde cutoff low coming over us in the Thursday Friday time frame. The predictability of storm is widely disagreed among the major models.

    GFS:

    Low enters region from Canada Wednesday, almost “slipping down” from it. New low forms over southern Wisconsin as original center dissipates. New low moves north onto lake Superior, over Marquette. Retrogrades towards Duluth and the arrowhead, and upper level low associated with system cuts off. From there descends towards Amery, WI, bringing powerful “hammer” of rain with it late Thursday, early Friday. Low weakens as it returns to southern Wisconsin, and continues into Michigan, singling a gradual end to precipitation.

    ECMWF:

    Storm enters region late Wednesday/early Thursday in a trough of low pressure, solidifies into a low pressure near Grand Forks, MN. This low proceeds into North Dakota, rapidly dissipates. Upper level low cuts off early Thursday. New low forms over Iowa/Wisconsin border. The storm proceeds throughout the day Thursday slowly towards us, bringing in “hammer” precipitation. By dinnertime, low is directly overhead. From that point, low moves rapidly southwest, and well into Nebraska by early Friday. Low weakens and dissipates over Wednesday, upper level low remains cut off. Eventually, the upper level low returns to the jet stream or dissipates as well as it pushes up a new wave of precipitation over Pennsylvania as the model ends.

    NOGAPS:

    Similar to GFS, with minute differences, including pushing the low further west almost to Fargo.

    JMA:

    Too simplistic for complex scenario like this. However, seems to dismiss retrograde entirely, and seems to predict very little in the way of precipitation.

    GEM

    Similar to ECMWF, but keeps low in Iowa as it loops back before ejecting it back into Canada

    UKMET

    Exactly like NOGAPS

    NAM model end before storm materializes.

    Potential storm II:

    At this point, the only two models that go this far out are the GFS and the MRF models. Being that it is so far out, I will not specify what the model predicts but it intrigues me that if this storm were to materialize, it would be a doozy of a snowstorm. The MRF was the first to notice the storm but since has dismissed it. But the GFS has picked up upon it and is now forecasting that same storm!. This storm comes at the end of the “accuracy zone” of the GFS, and even includes some of its “inaccuracy zone”. I will watch to see how it plays out.

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  34. And for those of you longing for warmer days:

    On Tuesday, forecasters are predicting a brief shot of warm air before the storm comes, with forecasts ranging from th uppper sixties to even the lower seventies. We will see what happens...

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  35. For more info:

    Forecast discussion from NWS:

    WEDNESDAY THROUGH SATURDAY...SUNDAYS SUPERPOSITIONING OF THE
    SUBTROPICAL AND POLAR JET OVER THE GULF OF ALASKA WILL MAKE ITS WAY
    EASTWARD AND CROSS THE ROCKIES TUESDAY NIGHT WITH 15 TO 20M/HR H250
    HEIGHT FALLS IN THE LEFT EXIT REGION. THE UPWARD FORCING OF BOTH THE
    AGEOSTROPHIC DIVERGENCE...AS WELL AS THE POSITIVE VORTICITY ADVECTION
    ON THE POLEWARD SIDE OF THE JET WILL CAUSE A SURFACE LOW TO DEVELOP
    OVER THE UPPER MIDWEST. HAVE INCREASED THE CHANCE FOR POPS ON
    WEDNESDAY WITH COLD RAIN SHOWERS LIKELY ACROSS MOST LOCATIONS.
    FORECAST SOUNDING REMAIN TOO WARM FOR ANY FROZEN PRECIP.
    ALSO...DEPENDING ON THE EXACT LOCATION OF THE SURFACE
    LOW...NORTHWEST WINDS MEETING OR EXCEEDING ADVISORY CRITERIA MAY BE
    A CONCERN WEDNESDAY NIGHT INTO THURSDAY. LOOKING AHEAD...THE RAGING
    JET WILL DIG OUT AN UPPER LEVEL TROUGH WHICH WILL LINGER ACROSS THE
    REGION THROUGH THE END OF THE WORK WEEK. COLD TEMPERATURES COMBINED
    WITH PERIODS OF UPPER LEVEL ASCENT HAVE RESULTED IN SLIGHT/CHANCE
    POPS FOR THURSDAY AND FRIDAY. GFS 14.00 IS MORE PROGRESSIVE WITH
    TROUGH THAN THE ECMWF 14.00...BUT TRENDED TOWARDS THE ECMWF AND HAVE
    COOL TEMPS AND CLOUDY SKIES LASTING INTO SATURDAY.

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  36. I expect that the metro will see at best a 1/2" of rain....most likely around a 1/4" as we get dry slotted big time

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