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    Wednesday is the last morning of Winter. The Spring (vernal) equinox occurs at 5:58pm today.  That’s on the calendar, for meteorologists and climatologists the Spring season starts March 1 and ends June 1 which marks the start of summer. Think of it as a weather accounting method.  It is a MYTH that you can stand an egg upright on the equinox easier or more often than usual. It has been scientifically proven by many experiments for many decades that it works on ANY day of the year. For some reason others prefer brooms. But the same principle applies. You CAN balance an egg today or any equinox. But you CAN balance an egg or broom on any other day of the year as well, with no more or less success, it’s just that people usually only give it a try on the equinox.  So if you want to try it today, fine. Just try it again Easter Sunday, and Halloween and Christmas Eve. lol (Snopes.com image) Scholastic.com explains: Accuweather: Experiments going back at least as far as 1984 have shown the egg and broom standing myth on the equinox is in fact just a myth, gravity doesn’t work that way.  It’s one of those old wives tales, urban myths, internet meme hoaxes that just doesn’t want to die. But this is the information age with facts available from legit sights on the internet so no need to be uninformed or misinformed now a days. One of the main uses of science and the scientific method is to dispel such beliefs.  Follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • The main reason the winter weather behaved so differently from expectation was the failure of the stratosphere, atmosphere and Oceans to become coupled or linked in the ways they have so often in the past given similar conditions.  Now we are seeing a more normal coupling of the atmosphere and oceans, however at the same time we are seeing the El Nino strengthening rather than weakening.  These are not quite typical pattern behaviors and hence they cast doubt on weather outlooks for the next 30-90 days reducing confidence. A weak El Nino favors an active Spring Jet Stream pattern across Dixie providing above-average rainfall.  Compared to a LA NINA spring tornado season research shows El Nino tornado concentration tends to be more traditional: So despite some news-worthy tornado outbreaks in the Southeast that does not necessarily mean the whole season will be more threatening than normal: Much modeling suggests warm trends. However, El Nino tends to lean cooler and a late strengthening of the Polar Vortex event signals loaded odds toward cool in May.  U.S. CFS2 MODEL FOR APRIL: U.S. CLIMATE MODELS CONSENUS FOR APRIL: INTERNATIONAL CLIMATE MODELS CONSENSUS FOR APRIL: The World climate Service research found that in 8 past years with a similar polar region pattern since 1950 all 8 had cooler than normal May temperatures: The National and International model equations on the other hand suggest warmer than normal for May. They also show above-average rainfall in May.  U.S. MODELS SEASONAL CONSENSUS FOR THE APRIL-JUNE AVERAGE: INTERNATIONAL MODELS SEASONAL CONSENSUS FOR APRIL-JUNE AVERAGE: SOIL MOISTURE BASED MODEL: Above-average rain for the rest of Spring and into Summer is something they all show. Most indications point to a fairly normal tornado season for the country. But if cooler than normal wins out then it would probably be a lower than average tornado season.  The VERY preliminary outlook for Summer in Georgia is for above-normal rainfall with temperatures near-normal to a little above-normal but with a lack of extreme heat. No reason to expect drought at this point that’s for sure.  I’ll update the Summer outlook in May.  For more follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • The showers and storms of last night and this morning diminish this afternoon with skies turning partly cloudy by tonight. Temperatures will drop into the 50s and 60s today as the cold front moves through and pushes to our East and South. After 5 consecutive weekends with rain on at least one of the days it still looks like this weekend will stay dry in Metro Atlanta. For more follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • The record breaking storm system in the news out West will have only a weak to moderate impact on our weather. During the day today only a nuisance shower possible with a better chance for a shower or thundershower late afternoon and especially overnight. But no heavy rain is expected and the risk of severe weather is mainly in the Northwest corner of Georgia. The weekend still looks dry and much cooler, after highs in the 70s today the weekend will see lows in the 30s right into early next week.  SURFACE WEATHER CHART MID-DAY THURSDAY: SURFACE WEATHER CHART END OF TODAY: SURFACE WEATHER CHART FRIDAY MORNING: SURFACE WEATHER CHART END OF DAY FRIDAY: FORECAST RAIN AVERAGE AMOUNTS ENDING 7PM THURSDAY: FORECAST RAIN AMOUNTS NEXT 48 HOURS: SEVERE WEATHER OUTLOOK THURSDAY-THURSDAY NIGHT: GFS AND ECMWF MODEL ENSEMBLE 15 DAY TEMPERATURE GUIDANCE: For more follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • The giant and powerful “Spring-Winter” storm system forming out West will be making headlines much of this week with a blizzard on the NW side and severe weather on its Southeast side, a textbook March storm as two low pressure areas merge (phase) and experience explosive development/deepening (known as bombogenesis). Locally we get some gusty winds from it and some rain and thunderstorms to end the week but nothing crazy expected here so far.  Behind the system a jet stream change and a change of air mass from warmer than normal to cooler than normal. Minimum temperatures will drop into the 30s by Sunday morning. Temperatures will remain below normal for a stretch following the change before the next big warm-up, so the see-saw thermometer patterns goes on and on as expected. It probably will through April as well. But cooler will also be drier. In fact, we may even get a completely dry weekend coming up. There’s even a chance it turns into an extended dry period. But then a more active storm pattern resumes by the last week of the month into the start of April and the April warm-ups will of course be noticeably stronger. 15-DAY ABOVE AND BELOW NORMAL TEMPERATURE AREAS: 15-DAY ABOVE OR BELOW NORMAL RAINFALL AREAS: March is known for big storms. Nobody who lived through it will ever forget the 1993 blizzard with thunder and lightning which struck days after high temperatures in the 50s and 60s: Follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • Surface weather map Saturday afternoon shown above. More dry hours than wet this weekend. Some areas of fog and drizzle and a few scattered showers during the day. Best chance for a shower or thunderstorm comes late tonight into early Sunday. Still no severe weather expected in Metro Atlanta. SURFACE WEATHER MAP SUNDAY AM: SURFACE WEATHER MAP SUNDAY AFTERNOON: ESTIMATED RAINFALL AMOUNTS DAYTIME SATURDAY: ESTIMATED RAINFALL THROUGH SATURDAY NIGHT: ESTIMATED TOTAL RAINFALL THROUGH SUNDAY EVENING: Follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • Surface weather map for Friday shown above. When you add it all up there will be more dry hours today, Saturday and Sunday than wet hours. So plenty of dry periods despite scattered showers and thunderstorms in the region at times the next few days. Temperatures will remain mild through the weekend. The threat of severe weather is not zero but it currently looks low.  The higher risk of severe weather or flooding North and West of Metro Atlanta. SURFACE WEATHER CHART SATURDAY MORNING: SURFACE WEATHER CHART SATURDAY NIGHT: SURFACE WEATHER CHART SUNDAY MORNING: SEVERE WEATHER RISK AREAS SATURDAY/SATURDAY NIGHT: The CIPS Analog severe weather guidance lends support to the official SPC outlook: SPC SEVERE WEATHER RISK AREA SUNDAY: ESTIMATED RAINFALL AMOUNTS FRIDAY/FRIDAY NIGHT: ESTIMATED RAINFALL AVERAGE TOTALS THROUGH SUNDAY NIGHT: As long forecast the thermometer roller coaster ride goes on and on, after a spell of mild weather another period of below-normal temperatures returns later this month: The El Nino fed active sub-tropical jet stream pattern will continue keeping new chances for rain or thunder coming every few days right into the end of the Month: For more follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • I covered some of this in my previous blog on last Sundays tornado outbreak. A sad mix of meteorology, terrain, topography, poverty and lax rules make many in the South extra vulnerable to tornadoes.  The number or tornadoes, violent tornadoes, and tornado related deaths and injuries varies every year and decade. We have actually been in a relative tornado “drought” in recent years and thus naturally the number of deaths and injuries has been way down. Just last year we were on pace for the fewest twister deaths since 1875.  2018 was the first year since 1950 without an EF-4 or EF-5 tornado and continued the down trend in U.S. tornado occurrence since 2011.  Cooler Springs than in the past over a large portion of the nation have a lot to do with that, since it’s heat energy responsible for much of the instability that leads to severe weather. Much more accurate weather forecasting and detection/warning has contributed greatly to fewer deaths and better public safety. In the South unlike the Plains and Midwest trees and hills often obscure the twister until it’s right on top of you, also our tornadoes are often “rain-wrapped”  which hides them, and many occur at night hidden by the dark. Mobile homes or “manufactured homes” are NOT SAFE from tornadoes OR severe strait-line winds. They do not provide shelter no matter how nice they may be. You can not BE in a safe spot in the bathroom, bathtub, the closet, or a cubby-hole in a mobile home. They are unsafe from a tornado and so like a vehicle, they must be abandoned for a more substantial structure or designated storm cellar.  The Southern U.S. has an outsized number of mobile homes and trailer parks adding to population risk from a tornado. Most do not have a tornado cellar or designated safe shelter building, economics and lack of legal requirements are the reasons. Also some people somehow don’t get the forecast or the warnings, or when they do they don’t know the right thing to do or where to go.  Is Georgia @GovKemp better prepared than Alabama or any other state? I doubt it! Since we in Georgia are in “Dixie Alley” the ‘Tornado Alley’ of the South this is important, especially since some research shows tornado frequency may be growing East from it’s traditional location in the Great Plains: Unless people are prepared IN ADVANCE, know what to do, know the forecast, understand watches and warnings, can and do take the right action then it’s just a matter of luck.  Waiting to see the tornado, or get “confirmation” from friends/neighbors/relatives, or Twitter or Facebook can get you killed. So can opening the garage or front door to look and listen for it like so many dumb people do during a tornado warning.  Here is a great forecaster twitter discussion on the topic: Even regular houses are vulnerable especially if they are frame with little or no brick. (Three little pigs story). The safest place to be in a tornado is BELOW GROUND. Most “basements” here in the South are NOT really below ground, they are walk-in or on the same level as the ground...having floors above does not make it a true basement, but it’s still the best place to go.  Tornadoes do not dig down below ground, it’s the debris in the wind above ground that kills or injures. Most deaths are from head injuries which is why a sturdy helmet should be worn during a tornado threat. The safety advice has been the same for decades, I recommend you google it and memorize it. Have a tornado emergency safe-kit and make sure the whole family knows all of this before it is needed. Last Sunday included an almost 70 mile long track path of an EF3/4 tornado: For more read this coverage.  East shifting tornado trends in the South. Follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB and download the WSB RADIO APP.
  • The big chill forecast more than a week ago is here with frost and freeze this morning and the next couple mornings. Take precautions for pets, pipes, people and plants. Above map shows minimum temperature this morning.  We warm up starting Thursday afternoon.  The El Nino having coupled to the atmosphere at long last but expected to continue to fade away heading into Summer suggests up and down temperatures will continue the rest of March with above-average rainfall. In other words, more of the same of what we’ve seen the past four months.  A continued enhanced sub-tropical jet stream suggests an elevated risk of active severe weather across the South through the Spring with the worst generally to the West of Georgia.  The back and forth is probably going to continue in the Month of April, before more hot and dry weather starts taking hold in May and especially June with high pressure ridging taking more of a hold over the Southeast U.S. Despite the unseasonably cold weather (10-20 degrees below-normal) no record lows (circled in white) are expected in Georgia. GFS FORECAST TEMPERATURE ANOMALY NEXT 15-28 DAYS:  FREEZE WARNING 6pm TUESDAY THROUGH 11am WEDNESDAY: FORECAST LOW TEMPERATURES WEDNESDAY MORNING: FORECAST LOWS THURSDAY MORNING: TAKE NOTE OF THE WIND CHILL FACTOR TODAY AND TOMORROW (plot for Mid-Town/Buckhead): Follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • Four confirmed tornadoes in Georgia Sunday, so far, the survey count continues.  As forecast more than 7 days in advance a brief but significant cold wave has begun that will include several mornings with frost and or a hard freeze.  Coldest air since late January.  The chance of light sleet or snow flurries in FAR South Metro Atlanta or Central Georgia late tonight is small but not zero. Little or no accumulation expected. Freeze for much of the state before big warm up to end the week into the weekend. We’ll have to monitor another severe weather risk next Sunday.  For more Follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.