Winter Ideas 2012/’13

THE ACTION NEWS 2012/’13 WINTER OUTLOOK COMES OUT IN NOVEMBER.

Over the next month and a half you’re going to see and hear all kinds of wonderful explainations and thoughts on the upcoming winter season. You’re going to hear about the PDO, the AMO, the EPO, the PNA, the NAO, the AO, the EL Nino and God only knows how many other hemispheric and ocean patterns and cycles. I’ve actually seen and read about 6 or 7 of them now. Forecasted winter outlooks from big weather corporations as well as individual forecasters who have already put themselves out there so early in the game and have made their predictions. What Im going to do here with this blog is just simply explain to you why these guys are making the predictions that their making. The 2012/’13 Action News, Accuweather Winter Outlook comes out during the month of November.

The simplest way to explain some of the winter ideas that you may have read already is this…. the way that the ocean cycles (PDO & AMO) are set up this winter will force what we call a split flow in the jet stream to develop. You will have a northern branch, which controls the severity of the arctic outbreaks, and you will have a southern branch which supplies most of the moisture. Most of the time here in Philadelphia a split flow jet stream pattern during the winter months usually means some what above to above normal temperatures and dry conditions. So just this pattern alone would not bode well if you’re a winter weather fan. However, a weak El Nino is forecasted to develop this winter. Over the past 50 to 75 years climatology tells us that when a weak El Nino forms during the winter months while the ocean cycles are in the current state that there in, the jet stream comes together or phases frequently along the eastern seaboard. This tends to produce not only big winter storms (Nor’easters), but also big arctic outbreaks that travel southward from the Great Lakes states through the Mid Atlantic and into the deep south.

This is the reason why most forecasters at this point are going with a some what colder and snowier winter than normal around here. Most of the climate models are seeing this very same thing as well. The CFSV2 as well as the NASA model both show that cold look east of the Mississippi River, especially the NASA model. As a matter of fact the NASA model is going nuts and makes it look like Chicago around here. At least as far as the temperatures are concerned. So generally spekaing this is the overall idea out there, the foundation for the upcoming winter season. Your also going to hear about the NAO, the PNA and the AO. These are teleconnections that are used as cold weather indicators. Without getting too technical the three cycles mentioned above tend to give a hint as to what the overall jetstream pattern will do in the short term as well as enhance it. In other words what will happen here is this….let’s suppose it’s the middle of December and the El Nino has formed which has given us a split flow pattern in the jet stream with the northern branch running from west to east across the US/ Canadian border and the southern branch running along the Gulf Coast states. If the NAO goes negative that’s a good indicator that the two jets are getting ready to phase and you better look out for a big storm along the east coast followed by a big arctic outbreak! If the NAO is in it’s positve phase or being forecasted to go positive it will tell us to expect the split flow to continue for another week or two which would give us more of a mild, quiet look.

So this is the general idea that’s out there this winter season. Almost everyone that has already made their predicitons are going with a slightly colder to colder than normal and snowier than normal winter here in the Mid Atlantic. But again this is all dependant upon the development of the El Nino, the same El Nino that was suppose to develop this summer and never did. So if this El Nino doesn’t develop than that colder than normal idea this winter could be in serious jeopardy. The Action News/ Accuweather 2012/’13 winter outlook will have all the answers for you in November. Until then enjoy the weather out there the next month and a half because even though it will be chilly this weekend the climate models show a warmer than normal October and November overall.

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Did the upgrade to the New Orleans levee system actually make the flooding worse elsewhere?

Here was an interesting question that was asked last week by Jeff Masters (of weather underground) about the devastating flooding that took place in New Orleans from Hurricane Isaac. This just 7 years after Hurricane Katrina nearly wiped the city completely off the map.

Did the new $14.5 billion upgrade to the New Orleans levee system cause
worse flooding elsewhere?
Whenever a new levee or flood control structure is

created, you make someone else’s flood problem worse, since the water has to go
somewhere. Where did the water that was stopped by the new $1.1 billion, 1.8
mile-long Lake Borgne flood barrier on the east side of New Orleans go? Did it
flow south and contribute to the overtopping of the levees near Braithwaite? Or
did it go north and contribute to the 36 hours of storm surge in excess of 5′
observed along the Mississippi coast at Waveland? I posed this question to NHC’s
storm surge expert Jaime Rhome, and he said it was impossible to know without
doing detailed storm surge modeling studies.

Let’s bring this a little closer to home and use the barrier islands of southern New Jersey as an example here. Suppose for a second a flood wall was built in front of Sea Isle City, but only Sea Isle City and no other shore town. When a storm surges, it’s pushing ocean water inland. That ocean water continues to pile up or around or go where ever it has to go until the storm finally weakens and lets it back out to sea. So what do you think is going to happen in this example if a sea wall is built?

Think about what happens when you build a sand castle on the beach. You decide to build a little protective wall in front of the castle to stop the waves from ruining your creation. Well what happens when the waves coming up? At first they hit the sand wall and they retreat. However, as the tide gets higher and higher, more and more water hits your little protective sand wall and starts wrapping around it because the ocean won’t let it back out to sea. The same thing happens with the flood wall or levee. The levee may have protected Sea Isle City from serious flooding, but now that water that would have originally flooded Sea Isle has piled up on the north and south ends of the island, making the flooding worse for the towns of Avalon and Strathmere that sit on either side. Yet had the wall not even been built in the first place Sea Isle City would have been flooded like everyone else, but the flooding in Avalon and Strathmere would not have been as severe.

The problem for New Orleans is that it sits below sea level and a levee system must be built or the Gulf Of Mexico will swallow the city up completely. Up until the past ten years it seemed as if the levee system had done a great job. However, I think what has happened now is up until the past 10 years the levee system had never truly been tested by “Mother Nature”.  Now it has, and now the city of New Orleans is seeing the reasons why it’s not a good idea to build a city that sits below sea level when it actually sits right next to the sea!

The storm surge expert from the National Hurricane Center said that it was impossible to determine for sure if the new levee system made the flooding worse without doing detailed storm surge modeling studies first. So it may be quite a while before this question is answered. But when you take a closer look at the areas that were flooded during Hurricane Katrina versus the areas that were flooded this time around by Hurricane Isaac, taking in to consideration the similar tracks, the idea makes sense.

Just thought this was interesting.

-CS

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Why It’s So Hot This Summer

In case you missed my explainer this past Sunday morning on why it’s been so hot this summer here’s a quick recap…..

Controlling Factors ….

1) Lack of El Nino

2) Moderate to Severe Drought

Back in April I based my summer outlook on the development of the El Nino which is an unusal warming of the tropical waters in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Peru (South America). Scientists know that this happens roughly every 3 to 5 years, but are still somewhat baffled as to why. Since everything in this wonderful world of weather is interconnected…. the oceans, the atmosphere, solar patterns, etc. when you change the temperature of a large body of water like this, it in turn changes the jetstream pattern (steers storms) around the world. The typical jetstream pattern in the United States during a summer El Nino is to run it right smack dab through the middle of the Great Lakes states and off the coast of the Mid Atlantic bringing cooler than normal temperatures to the Northeast (from the Delmarva to New England) and keeping the blistering heat west through the heartland of the nation.

Back in April when I made the summer prediction, the climate models had the El Nino developing in May.  Meanwhile, three months later here we are in the middle of July and it still hasn’t developed yet. So with the lack of a developing El Nino, obviously the cooler than normal jetstream pattern in the United States hasn’t materialized. By the way, this is also one of the reason why I laugh everytime I hear some big wig scientist talk about how 100 years from now we’re all going to be under water because all of the arctic sea ice is melting and temperatures will warm an incredible 2-4 degrees fahrenheit. Yeah right …. the climate models can’t even get next month right and you expect me to believe they are good enough to get the next 100 years right??? Give me a break! Anyway, that’s an argument for another day.

So the lack of an El Nino is point number one. Point number two is something that has really taken much of the country by surprise because of how quickly it has happened and how severe it has become. That point is the massive drought that has stricken the United States. As of July 17th nearly 60% of the continental lower 48 states is in either a moderate or severe drought. When we include the states of Hawaii and Alaska that number jumps all the way up to an incredible 70%. The US Department of Agriculture has declared 26 states in the heartland of the nation disaster areas now which is overall larger than the dust bowl era of the 1930′s.  This currently makes this year’s drought one of the worst this nation has ever seen.

Why is this a factor in our oppressively hot summer you ask? Well contrary to what many of you might think, the sun doesn’t heat the air. The sun actually heats the ground. The ground in turn heats the air directly above it. It’s a process called conduction. True story, look it up :). Winds then transport that heat around the globe. A process called Advection. This is why when you’re 25,000 feet up in a jet airliner you can touch your window and it’s cold. It’s because the sun’s not heating the air, it’s heating the ground.

When the ground is damp and there’s been recent rains, about half of the energy from the sun actually goes towards evaporating that moisture first, while the other half goes towards heating the ground. So the end result will be the ground will warm, but it will warm at a slower pace. However, when the ground is dry, like it is now, 100% of the energy of the sun is focused soley on heating the ground. This results in the ground heating up very rapidly. Well, that’s what we’ve had to deal with so far this summer. A dry ground can have a huge impact on our temperatures. In most cases it can add an extra 3 to 5 degrees. However, in situations where a drought covers an extended amount of real estate even that becomes enhanced. Take the plains states for example. There temperatures a few weeks ago were nearly 10 degrees warmer than what the models were predicting and that’s a ton! Unfortunately there was no way of knowing something like this would happen since no climate model is armed with the physics to show something like this. Therefore it was like a sneak attack. This is the main reason why I was so adament about how we needed the rain back in March and April. It’s a vicious pattern!

So where do we go from here? Well on a positive, the El Nino is finally starting to develop. Even though it’s three months late and only still in it’s infant stages at least it has finally started developing. The only question I have at this point is… the drought has become so severe across much of the country that I’m honestly not even sure that the developing El Nino will even matter now. I personally think it will make a difference, and I think there’s a strong possibility you will see that difference towards the end of the month and into August, but I can’t say that with much confidence. The forecast models still show quite a few 90 degree days to come this month.

If the El Nino doesn’t do the trick there are two other ways that this pattern can come to an end. The first is through tropical systems. You see, once we get a little rain out there, or at this point a lot of rain out there, the heat pump will pull back west because it naturally wants to go towards the driest and hottest point. That point is the desert southwest. So a couple of tropical systems coming right up the Gulf of Mexico and moving into the Tennessee and Ohio Valleys would put a serious dent in the drought and more than likely bring this oppressive summer weather pattern to an end. The second way to end all of this is with a change of season. A change of season will start up the monsoon out west. It will also change the pattern of the jetstream and bring more rain storms into the country. The problem with this scenario is that it’s still July and the summer season doesn’t officially end until the middle of September. So that’s a long way off.

So let us cheer on the El Nino for now and see if it can do the trick over the next few months!

-CS

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Thoughts On The Tropics

My thoughts on the tropics….

As was the case with my summer forecast there are several features that come into play when dealing with the tropics this year. However, unless you have a background in meteorology it’s rather difficult to understand, and with me still trying to figure out how to use visuals in this blog it’s going to be difficult for me to try to explain it. lol  So because of this I will keep things as simple as I possibly can and just focus on two of the main players….. 1) the developing El Nino  and  2) the ocean temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Basin.

The developing El Nino

I posted a visual on my facebook page about a week ago showing how the temperatures in the tropical Pacific off of the coast of South America are starting to warm. The temperature departures compared to normal are already climbing to above normal levels. That’s the early stages of a developing El Nino. By definition El Nino, for reasons still fairly unknown to scientists, is a sudden warming of the tropical waters in the Pacific Ocean off of the coast of South America, Peru to be more exact. This tends to happen every 4 to 7 years.

The problem with this sudden warming is “Mother Nature” doesn’t like this. The Earth is comprised of 70% water, 30% land. Out of that 70% water a HUGE chunk of that is the Pacific Ocean. So naturally, when you change the temperature of a large body of water like this it’s going to have huge repercussions on the weather pattern farther down the road. The reason for this is because the ocean and the atmosphere as well as hemispheric patterns and the solar cycle are all interconnected. You change one, it then changes the other and so on and so forth. It’s like the domino effect.

When an El Nino develops the waters become warm enough to start lowering the air pressures (off of the coast of Peru). This intern strengthens the easterlies. The easterlies is a wind that blows from east to west across the Atlantic Ocean between the Equator and the Tropic of Cancer. Hurricanes do not like the easterlies because it tends to rip them apart by displacing the upper level features of the storm from the surface features. Hurricanes need symmetry, top over bottom. This allows the storm to continue to develop and strengthen. If this displacement occurs the storm cannot sustain itself and it collapses. So even though the El Nino is expected to be weak this summer it may end up being just strong enough to limit the amount of storms that develop within the Caribbean and the topical Atlantic waters.

Ocean Temperatures

The second feature is the temperatures of the ocean. A warm ocean is a hurricanes fuel so to speak. A hurricane needs ocean temperatures of at least 80 degrees or higher in order to even begin developing. Without it, you’ll get nothing more than just an unorganized area of showers and thunderstorms. You may think that with such a mild winter that the oceans would be warmer than normal this time of the year. However, the fact of the matter is, overall, the northern hemsiphere this past winter was VERY cold. It seemed like the United States was the only land area that experienced mild weather. It truly was one of the strangest things that I have ever seen during the winter months in the 12 years that I have been forecasting.

The cold winter for everyone else in the northern hemisphere really cooled off the ocean temperatures in the Atlantic. The waters around the Bahamas, the Caribbean and the equatorial Atlantic are all well below normal for this time of year. As a matter of fact, when it comes to the tropics the only areas that are above normal is the waters right off of the coast of the Mid Atlantic (storms never develop there anyway) and the Gulf of Mexico. So a cooler ocean means no fuel for storm development, no fuel for storm development means no hurricanes. With the ocean temperatures as cold as they are right now it may end up taking quite a while for them to warm up.

Conclusion

With the developing El Nino (strengthening easterlies) coupled with the cooler than normal ocean temperatures I think what we’re going to see here is a much quieter tropical season than what we saw last year. Now in terms of the number of named storms this year,  I never make a call on that. Mainly because I sometimes feel the National Hurricane Center in Miami has it’s own agenda and tends to name every Tom, Dick and Harry storm out there for the sake of hitting their predicted numbers. So who knows how many storms will actually get named, but I can tell you this….the actual number of hurricanes this season (winds 74 mph or greater) should end up being lower than normal. Could we end up seeing a couple major hurricanes (cateogry 3 or higher)? Sure! Almost every year we do, but most of the time they stay out to sea and miss the United States.

AccuWeather, WSI and the National Hurricane Center are all going with a quieter than normal hurricane season this year. Based off of everything that I have just explained above along with other factors I see no reason to disagree with them. But I do want you to keep something in mind here. With the Gulf of Mexico as warm as it is, this could end up being one of those years where come August we suddenly get like 3 or 4 storms developing within a two week span down there. So I think it will end up being a quieter season overall with a sudden, quick burst in August (which is normal). I also would not be surprised if we get something developing during the month of June this year because of the temperatures of the Gulf, but again that does not mean it will be a busy season. It only takes one though. Last year there was only one hurricane to hit the US and that was Irene. Lets hope that one hurricane this year stays out to sea.

- Chris S.

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Summer Forecast

Well Memorial Day weekend is knocking on the door now and before you know it we’ll be celebrating the 4th. So because the start of meteorological summer (June, July & August) is right around the corner and a lot of you have already begun making plans, I have posted my thoughts on the upcoming summer season in the paragraphs below.

Before I get started I just want you to keep in mind that there are several influencing factors that I have taken into consideration, but in order to keep things simple I will talk only about the main ones that should dominate the weather pattern this summer. So if you read another summer forecast and they mention things that I haven’t (i.e. AMO, PDO, PNA, SOI, the tropics and so on), more than likely I have already looked at those as well. However, those types of weather cycles get a little technical and without visuals I may end up losing some of you as Im explaining it. So I will just keep things simple.

In short I think this summer season will be dominated by the ENSO cycle (La Nina/ El Nino). The winter season was dominated by the mild La Nina (along with other factors) that activated the Southeastern Ridge. The summer season should end up being dominated by it’s counter-part, the cooler El Nino which will activate the desert southwest ridge.

Lets focus our attention on the Pacific Ocean real quick. The Earth is made up of 70% water. Out of that 70%, a large portion of that is the Pacific. So the temperatures of the Pacific, naturally, almost always end up having one of the biggest influences year in and year out on our weather here in the United States.

The ENSO Cycle (El Nino/ La Nina) is a temperature cycle in the equatorial waters of the Pacific Ocean. For reasons still unknown to scientists every 3 to 5 years the waters off of the coast of South America (concentrated near Peru) turn unusually cold.  While this is happening the waters on the other side of the Pacific, near Tahiti turn unusually warm and an imbalance develops. This is called the La Nina. The El Nino is actually just the opposite with the unusually warm water off of the coast of South America and the cold water near Tahiti. Well everything interacts because in this wonderful world of weather, t’s all connected. The oceans, the atmosphere, hemispheric wind cycles, even the solar cycle, it’s all connected. So when you change the temperature of a large body of water like this it will end up having huge impacts on the atmosphere and the weather pattern further down the road, in particular the jetstream.  The ENSO cycle moves the jetstream (also known as the general storm track) all over the place thus having dramatic effects on our local weather.

This summer the El Nino returns which will activate the desert southwest ridge. This is the high pressure system that is responsible for the oppressive heat in the Four Corners states. While it is smoking hot out there every summer, during an El Nino this feature ends up becoming the main player in the weather pattern.  It will tend to shift east from time to time and as it does so the heat will shift east along with it. However, most of the time in an El Nino pattern this high pressure system will end up planting itself right over the Arizona/ New Mexico border. With the jetstream wrapping around to the north, the positioning of this high (in terms of latitude and longitude) usually allows the jetstream to bend southward into the eastern Great Lakes and Mid Atlantic States. The jetstream (storm track) divides the hot air to the south from the cooler, dryer, air to the north. So with the jet frequently diving into the Virginias this summer, that should keep us on the comfortable side of things. If this becomes the dominant weather pattern this summer, and I think it might, that would mean that most of the season should be fairly enjoyable around here.

I think we will end up getting quite a few hot days (90 degrees or higher) this summer, but before an extended heat wave can develop the jet will dip and throw a complex of thunderstorms our way, cooling us off. There will more than likely be some variation in this pattern from time to time, but this should end up being the overall set up.

So my thinking here is ENJOYABLE weather this summer with 10-15 days of 90 degree plus heat. On average Philadelphia usually sees about 18 of those days. So slightly cooler than normal temperatures when the numbers are all tallied up. I think we will see one to two heat waves ( 3 consecutive days of 90 degrees of higher). As far as precipitation goes I think we will end up seeing slightly more rainfall than normal as well. The wild card here however, is the tropics. AccuWeather is forecasting a slower than normal tropical season this year. But as we all know it only takes one of those storms to run up the coast and then you have all kinds of flooding problems to deal with. So assuming we do not see a tropical system this summer I am going with only slightly above normal rainfall.

 

How This Could Go Wrong

As is the case most of the time with weather, nothing is ever etched in stone. One of the ways this forecast could fail is lag time. Think of it this way, you ever wonder why in April and May you can have air temperatures in the 80s and 90s yet the ocean is still freezing cold!? It’s because of lag time. It takes much longer to warm the ocean than it does the ground because the sun actually heats the ground, not the air, in turn the ground heats the air directly above it. It’s a process called conduction. That’s why you can burn your hand if your holding a pot handle without a holder. The flame didn’t actually burn you, the handle did. Well how did the handle warm? Conduction. The ocean acts differently. Therefore, when you change the temperature of the water it takes time for the effects to be felt throughout the northern hemisphere. So the El Nino is already in the process of developing, now comes the process of lag time. In other words how long will it take for this new pattern to kick in. Assuming it takes about a month (May) then the forecast should play out. If the lag time takes longer than this forecast could bust. We’ll see. For now I like what I have.

 

So Im thinking that this should end up being an ENJOYABLE summer with our temperatures this year with a few hot days thrown in there from time to time. Then, of course, your typical thunderstorms. I don’t see anything out of the ordinary this year (wild card again being the tropics). So ENJOY!

- Chris -

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You guys ready for a Summer Outlook?

Over the past few weeks, while on air, I’ve started to drop subtle hints as to what Im thinking for this upcoming summer season. However, I’m yet to let the rabbit out of the hat so to speak because everything that Im looking at right now suggests one thing, yet what has actually been happening doesn’t support it. It’s like that darn precious metals stock that you bought at $25 a share. Fundamentally everything is saying buy buy buy, yet ever since you bought into it, the stock has done nothing but drop. Why is that you ask? Well in the world of finance there could be a number of reasons for the sell off.  I mean afterall, it seems every single day Bernankee gets up in front of the podeum and says something that investors don’t like, crushing the market. I can only imagine where the market would be right now if there wasn’t all of this Euro Zone fear to deal with and the constant on and off hopes for QE3. Anyway, that’s a different story for another time.

The world of weather can sometimes act the very same way. The La Nina has been slowly transitioning over to an El Nino within a developing mild spike of the cold phase PDO (Pacific Decadal Oscillation). Or at least this is the pattern that is in the process of developing, or forecasted to develop. I sounded pretty smart just then didn’t I ? lol

In short what that means is the pattern that kept us VERY mild this past winter and UNBELIEVABLY warm this past March is in the process of changing. I’ve heard a lot of people say that a warm winter usually signals a hot summer. Well remember this, just because the winter was unusually mild doesn’t necessarily mean that the summer will follow suit. It could! It almost certainly could, but the big question here is… will it?

Now that this wacky out of season nor’easter just hit us I have quite a bit of support now as to my thinking for ths upcoming summer season. Finally we’re starting to see some signs as to what the ensembles have been saying for over two months now. So I think I will take a stab at the Summer Outlook this weekend and adjust things during the month of May if I have to. I have not made up my mind as to which day I will do this just yet (Saturday or Sunday), but I’ll post it on my Facebook page as we get closer to the weekend.

The only thing that may prevent me from doing this, this weekenk is whether or not we get another day of rain Sunday. If this ends up being a quiet and for the most part dry weekend I will show it. If not, I’ll wait until the following weekend because it’s going to take up some time. Time that I more than likely won’t have if there’s weather to talk about.

In conclusion I will give you this much….this summer will not be like last years. You guys all remember that don’t you? We typically average 17 days of 90 degree plus heat during the course of the year. Instead, last year’s blow torch produced something like 45 days! We also had two tropical systems hit us that produced 1 in 100 year floods. Things will be different this summer. Or at least they better be or this will be the last time I take a stab at a summer forecast! lol

- Chris Sowers -

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90s Alert! Could we see some heat next week?

The unseasonably, unbelievably, ridiculously warm weather continues as we move into April. Although generally speaking, overall,  not as warm as what we saw in March (sounds kind of strange doesn’t it?).  By the way, if you can think of another adjective to describe the warm weather thus far please feel free to let me know  lol.

With that said, there is going to be a 2-3 day stretch of weather that will end up being the warmest weather that we have seen so far this year. As far the timing, it appears as if it will end up being  Sunday-Tuesday ( 4/15 – 4/17) of next week.

Surface Map – Another area of high pressure will once again anchor itself off the coast of the Carolinas. This will drive a very warm west, southwest wind into the Delaware Valley. With the angle of the sun being as high as it it right now, the fact that the ground is so dry and a large amount of sunshine expected I could very easily see high temperatures climbing up into the 80s! What does the dry ground have to do with anything you ask? Well a lot of people don’t realize that the sun does not heat the air. The sun actually heats the ground. The ground in turn heats the air directly above it. It’s a process known as conduction. When the ground is moist, damp or flooded a good deal of energy that is emmitted from the sun is reflected back into the atmosphere. This means temperatures will never reach their full potential. However, when the ground is dry, ALL of the rays of the sun are absorbed and the ground heats up very quickly resulting in much hotter temperatures.

The physics within the forecast models do not have the ability to take this into account. Therefore, they will not show this kind of warm weather coming ahead of time. This is why the high temperatures on the 7 day forecast that you see right now for Sunday – Tuesday are fairly conservative, 80 degree highs.  But as we get closer and closer one of two things will end up happening. One, the forecast models will begin to catch on last minute and you will see a sudden spike in the forecasted highs a day or so beforehand. Or two, the models will never catch on and Sunday, Monday and Tuesday will end up being 5-10 degrees warmer than the forecasted highs that are being shown right now. This is known as a  temperature “BUST” within the forecast models.

Here is my thinking for Philadelphia and the surrounding area Sunday – Tuesday of next week. This is subject to change, but right now my confidence is about a 8.5 on a scale of 1-10. (Upper 80s are highlighted in bold).

Sunday’s Highs: Philadelphia 82,   Dover 85,  Atlantic City 82,  Millville 83,  Allentown  78

Monday’s Highs: Philadelphia 86,  Dover 88,  Atlantic City 87,  Millville 88,  Allentown  84

Tuesday’s Highs: Philadelphia 85,  Dover 88,  Atlantic City 86,  Millville 86,  Allentown  80

It looks like extreme southern Delaware, Baltimore, Washington DC and east central Virginia all may end up seeing there first day of 90s at some point during this timeframe. I think some locations in our viewing area may get close as well, but in the end will come up just short.

- Chris Sowers -

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The Revel in Atlantic City is the game changer!

Atlantic City has been my backyard play ground for the past fifteen years now. Over that span of time there’s been a lot of really nice additions and changes to the casinos and even the city itself. Honestly, I wish I could show you pictures of how dramatically it has changed from when I first graduated high school to what it looks like now. For many of you that don’t get a chance to really get down there all that much I think you would be absolutely floored with what it looks like now. Lots of new shops to see, restaurants to eat, casinos to gamble and outside beach bars. They’ve really cleaned this place up nicely! (It’s sort of like that girl you see walking her dog in the park, you think to yourself…. she’s kind of cute. Then you run into her again later that night when shes out for a night on the town with all her girlfriends and your like WOW!) She just went from cute to smokin! That’s kind of how AC has changed over the past 15-20 years. lol

A bunch of us decided to check out Revel yesterday and I have to tell you, it did not disappoint. With that said, if you go down there to check it out, you have to realize and understand what the vision of this place is all about or you will be disappointed. If you want to spend the day gambling (playing roulette, blackjack and poker) your probably better off at the Borgatta down the street. Yes, Revel has a casino floor, but the Revel is more designed towards nightlife, entertainment and resort type stuff.

First off, I can’t imagine how awesome this place is going to be on a Friday or Saturday Night during the summer. The outside pools, bars, fire-pits, decks and views of the ocean all look like something that should be in Miami or Vegas. Yes, it is that nice! As for the entertainment, it’s everywhere! Here’s where the casino floor is really neat … even though it’s not as loaded as other casinos with a ton of gambling machines and tables, what makes it unique is that it is surrounded by bars, lounges, restaurants and cat walks. A lot of these places even have their own mini stages where girls will dance or bands will play. One of the coolest spots that I hung out at was a places called “The Social”. Fella’s trust me, you will like The Social! lol But it didn’t matter where I was, where I looked, where I turned …. there was entertainment everywhere in this place! The stage where Beyonce is going to play Memorial Day weekend is ridiculous! I forget how many people it sits but it’s really, REALLY nice! It has a huge sound system and nice, spacious cushioned seats. You ever watch a play or go to see a concert or something and your seat is just terribly uncomfortable and your cramed next to the person sitting next to you? It makes the concert uncomfortable right? Well you won’t have that problem in this place, it’s very, very comfortable and should make for an enjoyable show.

Revel also has it’s own personal beach that is still being constructed. They are in the process of adding more sand and designing it to resemble South Beach in Miami. If the ocean isn’t your cup of tea you can sit in the pool all day. It is both and indoor and outdoor pool that is heated during the winter and overlooks the ocean. The view is amazing! You can feel the breeze, smell the salt air and look at the ocean all while enjoying a coctail in the comfort of a pool. There are also several hot tubs on the side as well.

As for the restaurants we didn’t really get a chance to sit down anywhere and eat. There was just so much there that we needed a break. So we decided to take a stroll on the boardwalk and got something to eat at the Hard Rock Cafe in the Taj Mahal. But again, that was only because there were so many people at the Revel for opening day so to speak that we just wanted to get away and feel the outside sun for a little bit. By the way, what a gorgeous day it was down there yesterday!

I didn’t get to see every little thing there and I didn’t spend the night (although I have seen the rooms and they’re INCREDIBLE!), but I can honestly say that this is going to be the game changer for Atlantic City. You could honestly spend the entire weekend in this place and never even leave the Revel the entire time unless you wanted to. It has everything you would need for the entire weekend, (casino, bars, lounges, pools, spas, restaurants, beaches). Im hoping that this place really takes off  this summer, this way other big acts like the MGM Grand and the Pinnacle will follow the Revel and set up shop right here in our own backyard. With Revels huge line up of concerts this summer I can’t possibly imagine how this place doesn’t do well. I enjoyed it and will be spending quite a few days off there this summer. Go down and check it out!

- Chris Sowers -

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Easter Weekend Could Be Chilly

We’re still about two and a half weeks away from Easter, but we can already get an early idea of what may happen by looking at the trending patterns. For that we turn to the European weeklies and monthlies. This is a long range look ahead that shows the positioning of ridges (highs) and troughs (lows) across the country.

What is interesting is that the pattern that is being forecasted is very typical for this time of year. However, because it has been so warm out there lately and Easter is a little early this year it may end up being much, much cooler than some of you may like.

Just a reminder that what im about to explain to you here is strickly going off of the forecast data. It is not my forecast (although I do like the idea) and by no means is it etched in stone. With that said, the weeklies have been very accurate as of late, so we’ll see how this plays out.

Ok here we go…. the trend is for the warmer than average weather that has brought us 60 degrees or better 15 out of the past 18 days (8 days over 70 degrees) to begin retreating back to the west across the high plains. This will allow a trough to set up along the Mid Atlantic and Northeast. This means that our winds (upper levels) which have been predominantly out of the south or west over the past two weeks will shift to a more northerly direction. That will usher in cooler weather from Canada and drop our high temperatures down quite a bit from the 80 degree plus weather we saw just two days ago.

The big question here is exactly how chilly will it be. By April 8th (Easter 2012), our normal daytime high temperature climbs up to 62 degrees. If our highs reach 62 degrees that is still a very nice day around here for this time of the year. The problem is we have gotten so use to the 70s and 80s for the past two weeks that it will make it feel even cooler than it is. However, I personally don’t think we will even end up being that mild. I think the first week of April is a toss up. It could go either way, mild or chilly. But by the week of Easter the trough should be nicely established at that point. So I think Easter weekend will end up staying in the 50s with lows in the 30s. Then, when dealing with a trough you have to watch out for unsettled weather. Troughs are breeding grounds for storms. So the atmosphere will be ripe for the pickings so to speak. So the potential is there to go even cooler should the weather turn downhill. It is still a little too far out to give exacts, will it rain? Will it be sunny? How chilly will it be? But this should give you a good idea as to what you can expect.

Looking even farther ahead I think the summer may end up being much cooler than we would like around here as well. Certainly much cooler than the summer we had last year when the mercury cilmbed up to 90 degrees or better more than 40 times (18 is normal). The monthlies show quite a bit of unsettled weather and chilly temperatures for June, July and August and then much cooler than normal weather for the fall. Again, it is not etched in stone and could very easily change. But the point in bringing this up is to remind you that the pattern that we’ve been seeing around here seemingly all winter long does not and will not necessarily mean a warm summer for us. The winter warmth was brought on by the La Nina that is now weakening into a weak El Nino (complete opposite pattern). So where as this is not gospel, the signs are for cooler than normal down the road and not the other way around.

- Chris -

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Tornado Season 2012 Off To An Alarmingly Quick Start!

When I look at the devastation that struck the Midwest this past Friday (March 2nd) my heart just aches for these people and what they’re going through. I saw my fair share of tornado damage when I lived in Kentucky and I can tell you right now, for as bad as it looks on television, it’s ten times worse in person. The sites, the looks on peoples faces, it is a horrifying feeling.

I moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky in the fall of 2005 and within the first three months of me living out there we had a tornado outbreak. I remember going wall to wall and staying on the air for four hours non stop. The storms were relentless, they just kept coming. At one point we had three tornadoes actually on the ground at the same time within my viewing area alone. The hook echos that I was whitnessing on the radar looked like images that you would see and read about in text books. The damage reports that were coming in to the station that evening were so severe that it was almost difficult to even believe or imagine!

I remember the following day taking the news van and going out to one of the hardest hit areas. The first reaction I had was a jaw dropping, blank stare, how could something like this happen, look. There was a church that was literally cut in half, cars were sitting on top of each other upside down and every tree was stripped bare. It seriously looked like a bomb had hit the town. It was certainly a site that I will never forget.

For as bad as that event was, the tornado outbreak that struck this past Friday was much, much worse. It reminds me of the Super Tornado Outbreak of 1974 with the amount of states that were affected from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes. That event will always be remembered for the vast area that was affected, the damage that occurred and the tremendous amount of fatalities.

Preliminary numbers from Friday’s outbreak show close to 100 tornadoes. Nearly a third of them struck the Bluegrass State of Kentucky, and an estimated 17 others hitting the Volunteer State of Tennessee. More then 200 tornado warnings were issued with this event and at one point there were an estimated 19 tornadoes on the ground at the same time. Two of the hardest hit areas were the small towns of Henryville, Indiana which was struck by an EF4 and West Liberty, Kentucky which was hit by an EF3. Here is a link  from weather.com that shows the before and after pictures of West Liberty. I can tell you now, there’s nothing left. Roughly 90% of this small town is completely gone. This link shows the destruction out of Henryville. Again, there is nothing left standing.  Finally, this link shows the complete March 2-3, 2012 tornado outbreak from USA Today.

The 2012 tornado season has gotten off to a fast start with an estimated 95 tornadoes touching down in January, 33 in February and now 95 more through the first two days of of March. Now this number will begin to edge lower as storm teams from the National Weather Service head out and survey the damage. They will more then likely determine that the same tornado created multiple areas of damage thus lowering the numbers, but you get the idea here. We are on a record setting pace through the beginning of March. An estimated 223 tornadoes have hit the United States so far this year. On average there should only be 65 through March 2nd.

The weather pattern that has kept the country unseasonably warm this winter is also responsible for the wild weather that we’ve been seeing lately. In a La Nina year the severe weather season starts earlier than normal. This is because La Nina’s tend to keep the country mild during the winter season, which in turn keeps the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico mild. Milder water temperatures mean higher dewpoints (atmospheric moisture) and higher instability levels. That air is drawn north into storm systems that run across the country. This fuels thunderstorm development. The storms then begin to rotate because of the winds blowing in opposite directions. The good news here is the tornado season during a La Nina year also ends early. So I would not be surprised one bit if things quiet down quite a bit by the end of April or first week of May. The question is though, how many more of these outbreaks are we going to see within that time span? The average number of tornadoes that strike the United States during the course of the year is roughly 1300. Through the first 62 days of 2012 we’ve already picked up neary a quarter of that!

When we look at a map of tornado alley it’s a rather large area that sits in the Central Plains states. It stretches from Texas northward through Oklahoma, Kansas and into southern Nebraska. It also includes eastern Colorado and eastern New Mexico to the west and western Missouri, western Arkansas and western Louisianna to the east. However, a La Nina shifts tornado alley east into the Ohio and Tennessee Valley’s which is a much more heavily populated area. Therefore, there’s a much greater chance of a tornado producing extensive amounts of damage this year than during a normal tornado season.

- Chris Sowers -

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