Sunday, October 5, 2008

Fallin' off the deep end?

The two charts above are from one of our long-range computer models, the backbone of our 7-day forecasts you see on KWCH. The charts depict what it thinks will happen with the weather this Saturday, October 11th. On my shift the last 2 days, this particular model has been showing a significant cool down by Saturday. In the first picture, the solid black lines depict the mid-level pattern at roughly 15-18,000ft. It shows a big area of lower heights in the middle of the country.
Why do I say lower heights instead of low pressure? OK, quick meteorology lesson! On that first chart, all of those solid black lines are at the same pressure: 500mb. What varies though is the height to which you must ascend to in order to reach that pressure. Let's say you're in a hot air balloon over northern Minnesota and for fun you have a barometer with you. As you go higher and higher, the pressure falls. In our example here, when you get high enough where the barometer reads 500mb of pressure, you would be about 5460 meters above the ground. However, if you took that same balloon for a trip over Arizona, you'd have to get up over 5800 meters before your barometer said 500mb. Still with me? Great!
The second picture is less confusing: it depicts the high temps across the country on Saturday. For Kansas, it's forecasting highs in the 50s!!
In the same breath though, another long range model I use in the morning (not depicted) is MUCH slower in the arrival of the cool shot, not arriving until Sunday.
What does this all mean? Nothing yet...but it will bear watching this week. There's always disagreement in computer weather forecasts, especially this far out in advance. Right now, we're forecasting highs in the 60s for next weekend. We'll get a better handle on the timing of the front and cool air behind it as we go through the forecast process this week.
On a completely unrelated note, I just realized this morning that 11 years ago today I made my debut here in the Wichita TV market. How is it that 11 years have gone by so fast?! Wow...hard to believe!


Anonymous said...

hi rod,

I remember you at another station on Wichita before coming to channel 12, good to have you at 12 too. What are your predictions for the winter?

Rodney Price said...

5:29...sorry for the delay in posting your note and my reply. As a security measure, I publish comments only after I receive them. Well, for some reason I didn't get the email notification saying I had a comment. (I hadn't logged onto Blogger for a couple of days.) Again...sorry!

As for the upcoming winter, it's hard to say at this point. The Farmer's Almanac says a colder than normal winter while the info from NOAA says temps will be above normal. That said, their official winter outlook hasn't been posted. We'll let you know what they say when that arrives.

My forecast wouldn't be much of's hard enough to figure out what will happen over the next week, let alone the next several months. That kind of climatology forecast is quite different from our day to day forecasts we make here at KWCH.