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Kirk Mellish Blog

    Showers tonight will average a quarter to half an inch but come to an end early Saturday with some fog. Most of Saturday will be dry. Then rain returns on Sunday with the heaviest and most widespread in the afternoon and evening.  Another relative lull in rain is expected Monday, before heavy rain comes in for Tuesday, that rain could include some thundershowers on Wednesday. On and off rain is expected the rest of next week into the following weekend.  FLOODING will become a concern next Tuesday into Thursday. ESTIMATED RAINFALL THE NEXT 24 HOURS: ESTIMATED RAINFALL TOTALS FROM FRIDAY NIGHT AND SUNDAY/SUNDAY NIGHT COMBINED: SATURDAY MORNING RAIN: SUNDAY MORNING RAIN: SUNDAY AFTERNOON RAIN: For more Follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • History is chock-full of pivotal moments where weather played a key role in the outcome, from Julius Caesar to the election of Mayors in Chicago and New York.  As a big history buff and meteorologist I am aware of many of them, but this story I had never heard before. It’s about America’s very first satellite launch. In our Cold War space race with the Soviet Union the pressure was on to join the Russian enemy in space after they lunched Sputnik. The U.S. first attempt was an embarrassing failure. A young meteorologist (Lt. John Meisenheimer) did not want to contribute to another. That young meteorologist stood up to his superiors to prevent that from happening and made key forecasts for success.  Strong jet stream wind shear threatened to tear the rocket apart so the meteorologist said no. No-go on two consecutive days before the data showed a window within parameters.  My thanks to the Orlando Sentinel for permission to excerpt the story. It was crucial that the man on top had his back even if his immediate supervisor was pushing for immediate launch. For that man (Major General Yates) was the meteorologist who gave General Eisenhower the D-day Invasion forecast crucial to Allied success in the WW II invasion of Normandy. So he told Meisenheimer to forecast it as he saw it no matter how long it took. After another day, the FORECAST: GO.  The wind shear had in fact subsided and the Juno-1 Rocket lifted the Explorer 1 satellite into orbit on January 31, 1958. I know what you mean sir, I know what you mean! Read the complete story from Chabeli Herrera here. For more follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • Some dry spells in-between periods of rain today, the morning fog will thin out over time. NO widespread severe weather is expected as of no but heavy downpours and strong gusty winds are likely. The morning surface weather chart above.  The chance of a severe thunderstorm is not zero, but it’s too low to worry about. A marginally severe storm is possible this afternoon and it will be windy at times even without thunder, not everyone will see lightning or hear thunder. [DOWNLOAD the WSB Radio App for severe weather alerts] The main rain window is mid-day with the worst between rush drive times. Showers before and after will be more scattered in coverage.  Rain amounts a half to one inch on average. The sun returns behind the front tomorrow. MID-DAY SURFACE WEATHER CHART: EARLY EVENING SURFACE WEATHER CHART: 24-hour RAINFALL ESTIMATE: SEVERE WEATHER RISK AREA TODAY: For more Follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • Polar air NW fights the sub tropical air over the Southeast and off the Southeast coast where the upper-level ridge keeps fighting back against attempts of cold air to penetrate into our corner of the country. This split-jet stream flow keeps two very active jet stream storm tracks going as highlighted with the black arrows in the two forecast 500mb maps above and below. This means above-average rainfall the next 15 days: It also means more back and forth up and down temperatures the next 15 days and likely beyond as seen in GFS and ECMWF Ensemble output: Yes the models show another colder surge and window of opportunity for snow or ice in the longer range by March or early March,  but since they’ve largely failed in past attempts South of I-40 I won’t get excited unless or until I actually see the right pattern taking shape. So I won’t waste anyones time showing those forecast maps. 
  • Saturday is still the best the weekend has to offer. Sunday will not look or feel nice at all. Hat tip to the music group U2 for the headline pun. The good ole “wedge” or CAD is coming to town yet again this Sunday. When cold air near the surface “wedges” down the East side of the mountains while warm moist air rides up and over it aloft.  Mostly nuisance variety rain on Sunday and Monday, moderate to heavy possible Tuesday into Wednesday, warmer then colder as the roller coster ride continues next two weeks. But the wedge puts a real chill in the air for Sunday. Below are SUNDAY WEATHER and mid afternoon temperatures from NOAA/WPC and the various PivotalWeather graphic model images and F5 Weather. If you are new to following my blogs and don’t know a lot about the wedge, I’ve explained it a hundred times in the past and will go into more detail in the future. You can also google it.  NOTE: NOAA/NWS is more aggressive with freezing rain potential. I think, if any, it stays in NE Georgia mountains. I predict none for the Metro area.  For more Follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • I’ve been forecasting record warmth for today since Sunday and we look good to go. Our yo-yo temperature pattern is, as expected, continuing the next 5 days and beyond. Today we started with a morning low that was about 10 degrees above the NORMAL HIGH of 55 for this time of year. The MAP ABOVE shows forecast record highs circled. For Atlanta we should be about 22 degrees above normal this afternoon easily breaking the 82 year old record of 72 set in 1937. But a strong cold front arrives tomorrow crashing temperatures, it will be warmest before sunrise tomorrow with falling temps thereafter bringing the weather back in line with the calendar. Temperatures late tomorrow afternoon will be around 31 degrees colder than this afternoon! A “wedge” (CAD) on Sunday re-enforces the winter chill: The jet stream roller coaster ride keeps the ups and downs coming: RAINFALL a little above-average as a result of the temperature back and forth next 15 days: For more Follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • As local weather is in taste of Spring mode, now is a good opportunity to look at snow forecasts elsewhere in the country that have gone wrong. People in Georgia may have the impression that snow and ice forecasts only go wrong here. The truth is even up North in the dead of winter, where cold air is not even in question, busted forecasts for snow/ice still occur with regularity. The reason? As covered in prior blog posts, to get snow conditions have to be perfect and the margin between yes and no is insanely small.  A snow forecast is relatively easy ONLY if you’re in the middle of a cold enough air mass, and in the bullseye or “heart of the path” of a winter storm. If you are near the edge of a system, or have only marginally cold air the forecast has high bust potential.  Areas near mountains or coastlines are more difficult than in the center of the country because both mountains and Oceans interfere, and can change temperature and moisture at the last minute in ways difficult for models to capture. EXAMPLES OF FORECAST VS REALITY FROM THIS MONTH: IN REALITY, Southern Wisconsin only ended up with a dusting to zero, and Chicago and Northern Illinois only ended up with around half an inch while the 1-3 fell South of expectation across Central Illinois: INDIANA FORECAST: Great job in the middle of the storm, but as is typically the case, near the edges accuracy drops way off in reality: Some places in North and NE Indiana got more than expected areas of South-Central and South Indiana ranged from more to less than expected. This is normal, unfortunately Atlanta is almost always on the edge of winter systems not smack in the middle. We get interference from the Gulf, the mountains and the Atlantic Ocean.  Below is where snow fell in our region on January 29th with the cold front: FORECAST VS REALITY OHIO TO PA, WEST VA AND DELAWARE: The forecast was bad in Ohio and most of Pennsylvania and Delaware, it was good only in far South PA and the WVA mountains. Way too much was forecast in most areas which got only a coating or an inch, while Maryland and Delaware got 1-2 more than forecast.  A FORECAST LESSON FROM THE NORTHERN PLAINS: In any snow/ice forecast there is actually a range of possible outcomes which is known to forecasters while the public just thinks of one possible outcome, usually rooting for the highest number lol. Let me show you... Here is a snow amount forecast from up North just a couple days ago: 4-8 inches is forecast for the Northern reaches with 1-4” forecast for the Southern areas of the storm. But, but but but... There is actually a forecast range from the least amount (bust) to the (boom) or worst-case scenario shown below: So the range on the LOW end of REALISTIC EXPECTATION is 0-4 inches, while the HIGH end of realistic possibility is 6-10 inches.  Say you are forecasting for or live in or near Watertown, Sioux Falls, Sioux City, Norfolk, or Minneapolis. Here is your forecast snow amount with this storm, 2 inches for Watertown nothing for those other cities: HOWEVER, here is the known forecast RANGE OF POSSIBLE OUTCOMES from low to high: So Watertown in reality of the forecasters known data could get not a flake or 4 inches, Minneapolis zero OR 1 inch, Sioux Falls/Sioux City and Norfolk zero OR 1-2 inches. Remember in the FIRST map of the three above, the forecasters did not give a range but just put out a forecast of their BEST ESTIMATE, even though they know the range includes much less and much more. Meteorologists know this, it’s time the public did, too. Now you do. If you’re a long time reader of my blogs you knew this decades ago. Spread the word.  Here’s what mother nature decided to do in the case above: Watertown got an inch or so while the other cities we talked about got nothing on the ground but saw snow flurries, the 4-8 inch amounts stayed well to the North and West of where we looked. Remember, this was the forecast: A good forecast for the Northern most areas which were in the bullseye or “heart of the storm path” like North Dakota and most of Northern Minnesota. Too much was forecast further South as well as in NE MN, Northern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan! The real world of weather is so much more complicated and complex than the models on our computer or the visions in our heads.  Unless the forecast is perfect for “my backyard” the only thing that can be counted on is:
  • The clouds break in time for an open roof at the Super Bowl in Atlanta at the stadium. Just a little quick blurb taking you on a journey through the early Sunday morning Feb 3 atmosphere because it’s a great example of how a small and unimpressive weather feature in the jet stream can create a good deal of weather as seen in the visible satellite image above.  Starting at the top way up high we look at the 250mb jet stream wind chart (34,000 feet or 6.4 miles high). Notice how the black lines “dip down” or take a dip jog or kink from Northern Indiana to the Gulf of Mexico and there is a jet stream streak or wind max of 100mph rotating through the base of this upper-level trough or short-wave: We drop down one standard level to the 300mb jet stream wind level around 30,000 feet high, about 6 miles up on the chart below. Note how there is a southward jog or kink in the black pressure/height lines with a cyclonic turning of the wind flow. There is also jet streak wind max triplets shown in pink on the underbelly of this upper level low pressure area with divergence aloft (air spreading up and out and away causing lift and spin):  Down one standard level to the 500mb jet stream (about 18,000 feet or 3.4 miles high) chart below. Notice a similar kink in the lines with a cold pool of air -20C shown by purple dotted line and 70% humidity in light green and a moisture feed from the Pacific Ocean to the Georgia coast 80% humidity.  At the 500mb we also look at vorticity a clockwise or counter-clockwise spin in the troposphere (red shades positive vorticity, blue negative) same kink in the flow is seen. All these represent what we call a “short-wave” or short-wave trough of low pressure in the upper-level winds: The positive vorticity advection (PVA) helps lift and spin air parcels lowering pressure and creating surface low pressure.  Vorticity is mathematically defined as the curl of the velocity field and is hence a measure of local rotation of the fluid. This definition makes it a vector quantity. Lowering one standard level again to 700mb (about 10,000 feet or 2 miles) you see a similar pattern as the higher levels but weaker with 70-90+% humidity over parts of Georgia: Leveling down one more standard to 850mb chart (about 5,000 feet or 1 miles up) note a very broad kink in the height field black lines and lots of moisture saturation over much of Georgia 80-100% humidity providing low clouds light fog and in some areas light rain or drizzle: One more standard level down to the 925mb chart (about 2,500 feet or half a mile high) a closed low just off the Georgia coast and high humidity except in East Georgia where a weak wedge provided some drier air but you can see a kink in the temperature field 10C orange line over North Georgia: Everything “aloft” leads to this one more standard level down to the surface weather chart early Sunday morning. You can see the upper level short-wave trough and vorticity created surface low pressure in the Gulf and off the Atlantic Coast, with the surface high pressure of the wedge to our Northeast helping to make the clouds and drizzle to start the day. The clouds around sunrise Sunday: Early Sunday AM radar and surface pressure: The amounts were very light, in most cases just enough to wet the ground just a Trace to 0.03”: So you see what happens way up impacts us here on Earth even when the weather “features” are weak and unimpressive looking at the weather charts. Also note how most people just “see” the weather out the window or as they are out in it. Meteorologists on the other hand analyze and attempt to predict it’s future condition by viewing the atmosphere the way it is... 3D, really multi-dimensional: For more Follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • Over the past 4 months are thermometer has been on a roller coaster ride that would make the stock market blush and it will probably continue through at least March. It looks like the seeds are already being sown to back off the big warm up with below-normal temps returning in the medium to long range.  The jet stream pattern map ABOVE shows the ECMWF forecast 500mb mean pattern the next 7 days.  The model jet stream forecast map shows the mean pattern change between the 10th and 15th: Temperatures will respond accordingly the rest of this month: GEFS Model concurs with the ECMWF Ensemble: CIPS Analog guidance is supportive: Top analogs from the GFS model show high pressure ridge blocking at 500mb over the Polar regions (red) forcing the jet down below: Forcing another Polar airmass Southward as seen in projected 850mb temperature anomaly: Daily fluctuations seen in the 15-day GFS Ensemble surface above or below forecast: No brutal cold shown in our region yet but that could change once models sort out the chaos happening again in the South Pacific ENSO/MJO regions.  Rainfall the next 5 days looks on the light side: But a little above-normal precipitation first half of February according the ECMWF model ensemble: NOAA/CPC 30-DAY OUTLOOK: ENSO and SSWE analogs are colder for the month on average: Then the analogs get warmer mid-March: And APRIL: NOAA/CPC is more restrained: For more follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.

News

  • Annie Berry turned 105 on Jan. 18, and Thursday she got to experience the thrill of holding her great-great-granddaughter, WUSA reported. >> Read more trending news  Five generations of Berry’s family gathered at the Genesis Larkin Chase Center in Bowie, Maryland, to watch their matriarch hold 1-week-old Olivia, the television station reported. “I think she’s cute like Grandmama,” Berry told WUSA, winking and laughing as the baby cried. Berry was born in Meridian Mississippi in 1914 and recalled picking cotton, shucking corn and milking cows. “She said before I leave this earth we will see a black president,” Berry’s granddaughter, Annie Sewell, told the television station. “I didn’t think it, but it came to pass.” Berry migrated to North Carolina where she worked as a caretaker. She got married and worked as an administrator for a school system before retiring and moving to the Washington, D.C., area to live with family members, WUSA reported. Berry told the television station that her longevity is due to 'obedience to the Lord.”
  • A Florida man was killed Friday when the motorcycle he was driving on an interstate highway clipped a motorcycle in front of him, sending him over a concrete barrier and 100 feet to his death, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. >> Read more trending news  The FHP is calling the incident a hit-and-run accident, according to several media outlets. According to state troopers, the two motorcycles were headed east on I-4 in Tampa about 3:30 p.m. when they collided. After impact, the motorcycle driven by Eric Lee Jordan, 35, hit the south shoulder barrier wall on an overpass, WTSP reported. The impact ejected Jordan from his motorcycle and over the wall, and he fell to the road beneath the interstate, the television station reported. The other motorcyclist and his passenger, Amy Jones, 30, of Dover, were in front of Jordan and stopped, WFLA reported. However, state troopers said the driver fled, leaving Jones at the scene, WTVT reported. Jordan was taken to a hospital, where he died from his injuries, WFLA reported. The driver who left Jones is described as a white male and possibly named “A.J.,' WTSP reported. He was driving a black motorcycle, the Florida Highway Patrol said. Anyone with information is asked to contact the FHP at 813-558-1800 or by dialing *347.
  • Union County sheriff’s detectives were staking out an area Thursday near Wesley Chapel, North Carolina, when they saw two males leave a red vehicle. >> Read more trending news The suspicious people put on ski masks and hoodies and kicked in the front door of a residence. Detectives 'noticed they started putting on ski masks covering their faces putting hoodies on their heads, then they made their way toward the house and kicked the front door in,' said Tony Underwood with the Union County Sheriff’s Office. Patrol officers were called in and after a short time, the intruders left the house carrying a bag and got back into a vehicle where a driver was waiting. Authorities stopped the vehicle near Goldmine Road and Corporate Center Road. 'I heard sirens, and I saw a lot of Sheriff's Office deputies driving really fast down the street,' neighbor Shannon Skiscin said. Two of the suspects were taken into custody and the third fled on foot but was apprehended a short time later. Inside the vehicle, authorities found a 9 mm handgun, Taser, cellphones, ski masks and about 1,100 Xanax bars. The three suspects were Gabriel Alexander Oyuch, 20, of Matthews, Jaydan Burwell, 20, of Charlotte, and Michael Lamonte Byrd, 24, of Charlotte.  'I've never (sic) known nothing to happen,” neighbor Tammy Heath said. “I've fallen asleep with my door unlocked.' Detectives then executed a search warrant for the home and found marijuana, about 200 Xanax bars, Roxicodone and more than $2,400 in cash. The two people arrested in the home were Michael Joseph Tabbit, 18, of Wesley Chapel, and Jonathan Troy Sierski, 20, who lives at the house. Oyuch was charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon, conspiracy to commit a felony, felonious breaking and entering and possession with intent to sell and deliver a Schedule IV controlled substance.  Burwell was charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon, conspiracy to commit a felony, felonious breaking and entering, felony larceny and possession with intent to sell and deliver a Schedule IV controlled substance.  Byrd was charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon, conspiracy to commit a felony, felonious breaking and entering, felony larceny and possession with intent to sell and deliver a Schedule IV controlled substance.  Tabbit and Swierski also face numerous drug charges. “Outstanding police work,” Union County Sheriff Eddie Cathey said. “Deputies were in the right place at the right time to apprehend armed criminals who boldly entered an occupied residence in the middle of the afternoon. A situation like that could have ended much differently.”  The home invasion was not a random crime, authorities said.
  • Police are searching for a man accused of stealing a car from a Midtown high-rise condominium parking garage last week. The car was stolen from the Spire condos at 860 Peachtree Street on Feb. 5, Atlanta police said in a Friday news release.  The man slipped through the side of the parking gate and began pulling on car door handles and entering vehicles, the release said. The car that was stolen was a 2009 Honda Accord, which the victim said had been left unlocked with the key inside, the release said. A 9mm Glock handgun was also inside the vehicle when it was stolen. Anyone with information on the this incident is asked to contact CrimeStoppers at 404-577-8477 or online at www.StopCrimeATL.com. Tips can be sent anonymously and information that leads to an arrest and indictment in this investigation can earn tipsters up to $2,000. In other news:
  • One man was arrested after police in Florida said he allowed an underage girl to take the wheel during a trip to the store, according to the Brevard County Sheriff's Office. >> Read more trending news Officials said a vehicle was observed be driven into the opposite lane and into dirt off the side of the roadway Thursday in the area of North Tropical Trail at about 6:15 p.m. Police came in contact with the vehicle, where 62-year-old Mark Papczynski said he allowed the girl to drive to the store 'to get her a snack and himself another 18 pack of beer,' according to an arrest report. Papczynski admitted that letting the girl drive was dangerous. In a post-jail interview Papczynski said, 'I was brought up in the old school, where parents always taught their children the ways of life,' in regards to the incident. He also said that 'it wasn't like she was doing it for the first time.' He faces two charges of child neglect without great bodily harm and permitting an unauthorized person to drive, according to jail records.
  • It was a busy day for Atlanta rapper 21 Savage Friday, starting with a pretaped appearance on “Good Morning America,” followed by being booked into a South Georgia jail on a felony theft by deception warrant. He was later released, according to the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office. >> Read more trending news The Friday legal matter is connected to a concert booking from 2016 for which a promoter paid the musician, whose real name is She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, $17,000, TMZ reported. The rapper kept the money but did not perform, so the promoter filed paperwork to get a warrant issued for his arrest, according to TMZ’s report. “The warrant is from some years ago, and he went through the process and addressed the issue,” Liberty County Sheriff Steve Sikes told the Coastal Courier newspaper in Hinesville.