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Kirk Mellish Blog

    Despite rising odds of rain the next 3-5 days there will still be plenty of dry weather in-between, so NOT a “rainy or stormy weekend” but your plans will need to dodge scattered showers and storms especially Friday and Saturday, put the umbrella on standby and have a plan B. The good news is this marks the start of the end for our 19 day stretch of consecutive 90 degree high temperature days and some areas should even seen morning lows below 70 by Sunday or Monday.  In fact high temperatures will be not only noticeably cooler by Sunday as a “wedge” builds in but temperatures will go below-normal by around 6 degrees. Atlanta on average has 37 days in the 90s, so far this year we’ve had 60. Lots of humidity and a slow moving atmosphere will mean where a storm does form it can dump copious rainfall in some spots for isolated flooding. An isolated strong or severe storm is also possible but widespread severe weather is not expected as of now.  The chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms will continue through Tuesday.  SURFACE WEATHER CHARTS TODAY-SUNDAY: 3-DAY ACCUMULATED RAINFALL AVERAGE ESTIMATE: GLOBAL MODELS ENSEMBLE TEMPERATURE OUTPUT: For updates follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB. MY LOCAL FORECAST
  • While you slept tropical storm Chantal formed but no threat to land anytime soon.  Of greater interest is a cluster of thunderstorms around the Bahamas associated with an upper level disturbance: For now the NHC and models give this a 20-30% chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm within the next 5-9 days (I think odds are more like 40-50%): So slow development is possible this weekend as the system tracks toward South Florida and then up off the coast of the Southeast U.S. next week. The odds of development could easily change in the days ahead so stay tuned.  Given there is not yet an organized low pressure center to track it is far too early to worry about potential track or strength of the system in the future given the high uncertainty factor at this juncture.  Another area of disturbed weather is around the Yucatan Peninsula: That feature is not CURRENTLY expected to become a tropical storm but bears monitoring just in case as the moisture heads North/Northwest next week: The tropical season has been unusually quiet in recent weeks, but this is the time of year when it typically begins to ramp-up on it’s way to peak season next month: Here is what climate history tells us about development and tracks the rest of the season: For more follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • The heat wave continues but unlike the past few days that had drier air, the humidity is back and the sun and heat are the match to spark scattered thunderstorms along with a couple low pressure systems in the area surface and aloft.  A few of the storms this afternoon have caused wind damage with trees down and hail up to the size of a half dollar in the far North Suburbs.  This pattern is expected to continue through the week but at least the increased cloud cover will drop temperatures a little after we reached 14 strait days of a high of 90 or above and 10 of 95 degree or higher days in a row, ranking 6th place on record.  Hit and miss storms, some heavy or severe through the week into the weekend but with plenty of dry areas and dry hours in between.  For more Follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • We are in a new weather pattern now called a “NW flow regime”. (side note: my Senior Thesis included this as part of a wider paper on severe weather) The above chart is the model forecast 500mb jet stream level with “vorticity” shaded depicting upper level disturbances in the wind flow valid Tuesday August 6th 2pm. It’s not the worst pattern in the world to be in for this part of the country, especially considering the alternative is usually a Great Smokies heat wave pattern with stagnant air and highs 95-100. In NW flow aloft the general chance of thunderstorms is usually less than most other summertime weather patterns, not zero but quieter.  It usually also results in a little less humid weather at least for a few days before the air mass modifies and upper level heights slowly recover to more typical levels. It sometimes will allow for good penetration of a cold front more to the South than is typical, something we saw happen recently. But before and after such fronts you get at least normal heat or above-normal heat especially in the Southeast where downslope compressional heating is added as the air comes down over the Appalachians.  This happens as the center of upper level high pressure and the core of heat shifts to the West or “4 corners” area, the counterclockwise flow around that high pressure ridge in the jet stream places our region along with much of the Midwest, NE and Mid-Atlantic in NW flow aloft.  The bugaboo in this type weather pattern are what are known as “short-waves” bits of swirling energy within the long-wave jet stream flow and/or cold pools of air aloft. They are tricky to time, especially the small ones, and small ones may go undetected. The large ones are fairly easy to detect and time.  The relevance of this? MCCs or MCS (unique thunderstorm clusters) often can be sparked in the NW Flow Aloft aka “the ring of fire”. The worst of this usually occurs to the West and North of Georgia but sometimes we get in on it, too. They can bring flooding, severe storms, Derechos (special thunderstorm wind type) and occasionally a rare summer day thats cloudy cool and showery. Here’s an example I Tweeted last week of what an MCC/MCS looks like on Satellite: So while most days will be largely dry with just a stray thunderstorm or two, if one of these upper-level disturbances comes along, and if it’s strong enough it can really change things. You can end up with an MCS unexpected surprise anytime of the day or night. Models typically do not handle these well.  But getting the timing and location of those correct much in advance is hard, unless they are large.   We may get a front to move through by Monday but without much effect, with another chance of a cold front by mid-month. SEE the pattern evolve slowly over the next 10-days or so. Keep in mind the maps below do NOT show possible upper-air disturbances just the jet wind flow pattern (parallel to the black lines).  Blue shading shows cooler than normal at that level and yellow-orange warmer than normal at that level, white is near-normal: PROTIP: The 588mb line is a rule of thumb for a high of at least 90F. The Atlanta NWSFO forecast discussion from yesterday afternoon laid it out nicely: Here's a more detailed example with some color charts. A published scientific research paper on the matter. One of many you can google.  I’ll update my forecast as needed through the week so stay tuned for last minute updates and specific daily forecasts and my 5-day forecast on 95.5 WSB on all platforms. 
  • As of now at least, fewer storms expected today than yesterday. The shower and thunderstorm chance goes up some on the weekend but no wash-out. Plenty of dry areas and dry hours to go around.  Increased cloud cover will keep most areas below 90 the next 5 days but the humidity stays high.  A front will be linger over the area as seen below, so where a storm does develop it can dump copious rainfall and an isolated strong or severe storm is possible but nothing widespread. SURFACE WEATHER MAPS TODAY-SUNDAY: ESTIMATED RAINFALL AVERAGE NOW THROUGH SUNDAY: EXCESSIVE RAINFALL OUTLOOK SUNDAY/MONDAY: For more follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • Many people have had the experience of a large storm seemingly heading right toward them, only to end up with just a gust of cooling wind or a few drops or no rain at all. Year after year it seems to happen periodically each summer. It happens to me routinely.  So this leads people to believe there is something special about their town or neighborhood that “causes” this.  Some sort of magic effect or “bubble” or forcefield that deflects storms. Shields up Spock! It’s the river! It’s because I am in a valley! It’s because I am downtown in a big city! It’s because I am in the suburbs! It’s because I live way out in the country! It’s because our area is flat! It’s because I live near or in the mountains! It’s because of the Lake! It’s because I don’t live near the lake! It’s the old Indian burial grounds! (It’s because of everything even if they are opposites). LOL Informal polls have shown 97% of people believe there’s something special about where they live that makes the weather behave in a unique way for thunderstorms. A “protective bubble”.  But if almost everyone experiences the same thing, logically that alone should tell you that there is nothing special about your experience or perception or where you live.  Notice the importance of the words seems and believe in the sentences above. Perception is not the same as reality.  If it happens to everyone then no one is ever getting a storm and we know that’s not true.  So riddle me why weatherman... There are two basic types of weather, synoptic (wide-scale) and sub-synoptic meso/micro (small-scale). In the cooler seasons we get mostly synoptic systems that cover multiple states with rain, thunderstorms or snow/ice at the same time so pretty much everyone uniformly is impacted. So no mysterious invisible bubble of protection.  However, in the warmer seasons we get the sub-synoptic small scale weather. An individual thunderstorm can be less than a mile across. It has to start and end somewhere which is why you can drive in and out of it or even walk with one side of the street raining and the other dry. Garden variety “air mass thunderstorms” in the summer form, move and decay at random in the chaos of the atmosphere. They pop-up, intensify, then dissipate. Then the cool air they cause becomes the trigger for a new storm near-by. Rinse and repeat.  So when it seems storms are splitting or going around you, in reality it just fell apart before it got to you or just as it reached you. Then a new one formed beyond you giving the impression you have a protective bubble over your neighborhood.  What you may not realize is when YOU do get hit by a good storm, guess what? People only a few miles from you are watching it expecting it to hit them but it falls apart before reaching THEM.  In other words this is common and normal weather behavior.  Over the long term storms miss or hit you just as often as they hit or miss any other town in Metro Atlanta.  This is why forecasting the odds and coverage of this type of thunderstorm days or even a day in advance is frustratingly difficult to almost impossible! This type thunderstorm forecast can realistically only be predicted 2-4 hours in advance. 24-hours or beyond they can only be estimated.  This is why when it comes to standard “pop-up thunderstorms” we can start a day early morning expecting a 20-30% chance and end up 50-80%, or start out forecasting 60% and end up only 20% at the end of the day. The reason is the factors that influence air mass thunderstorm chances and coverage are sub-synoptic and therefore often fall in-between the weather net going undetected.  This is why there is no such thing as hour by hour forecasts on an APP on a web site or anywhere else for this type of thunderstorm. No such thing as neighborhood or backyard weather forecasts. That’s just sales and marketing. We can sometimes do this but only with large synoptic weather systems.  The best that can be done for THIS TYPE thunderstorm is to give a best estimate of the time frame window where a storm is more probable, and maybe a sub timeframe within that when peak coverage is most likely. I do this every morning on Atlanta’s Morning News hosted by Scott Slade on 95.5 WSB Atlanta’s News and Talk.  RADAR EXAMPLE FROM WEDNESDAY JULY 31 (SNAPSHOTS AT 5 MINUTE INTERVALS): CONSIDER... White, Cartersville, Kingston, Jasper, Nelson, Kennesaw.  Jump ahead an hour from the last image: Author Dennis Mersereau describes the amoeba-like nature of our hit or miss thunderstorm summer pattern: Example in motion.  Note comic strip at start of blog from xkcd.com.  For more follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • We enjoyed a week of below normal temperatures, open window weather at night with very low humidity and a rare string of days with ZERO CHANCE OF RAIN. Most summers never get such a thing. But it’s still summer and we’re still in Atlanta. So this week the temperature, humidity and chance of rain gradually return to normal (mTw air mass) as the week goes on, but pretty tame for the Dog Days of Summer. “Those lazy, hazy days of summer” as the song says. Fronts for the most part stall to our North: See the rainfall amount estimate for the next 3 days favoring the higher terrain: Likewise the 5-day rainfall amount estimate but building for the Metro area: The ensemble numerical equations have considerable disagreement on temperatures the next 7-14 days: I think temperatures will run about 3 degrees either side of normal or average for this time of year the next 7-14 days. The normal or average chance of rain or a pop-up thunderstorm this time of year is 34%. The next 7-days it looks like MOST days will have a chance that is normal or below. So more dry than wet the next 7 days but driest the first three.  As of now it looks like August will average out a little warmer and drier than normal but any extremes should not last long.  August is the time to start to keep a regular eye on the tropical storm season in the Atlantic. This month the soils have been drying out: For more follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • It’s not hard to see why it’s much hotter North than here, they have a dry layer of air at mid-levels providing ample sunshine while we have lots of moisture not only at the surface but in the mid-layers of the atmosphere providing more clouds and rain chances.  On top of that while our air mass is pure Gulf of Mexico tropical humidity, the air trajectories up North are tapping into some hot air from Texas and Oklahoma on a Southwest to NE air flow: FORECAST MAXIMUM HEAT INDEX LATE AFTERNOON NEXT COUPLE DAYS: But as I posted yesterday morning we ease back on the thermometer a little the next few days with the increased clouds and scattered thundershowers, then a major front next week brings relief from the abnormally high humidity we’ve had for weeks now.  See the frontal rain location Monday afternoon: Tuesday afternoon: The end of day Wednesday: FORECAST LOW TEMPERATURES WEDNESDAY/THURSDAY: Look at the change in dew point (surface moisture content of air) This weekend: FORECAST DEW POINTS THURSDAY MORNING: Certainly not dry air but much less humid to pair with lower temperatures. Look at total air moisture Tuesday: Compared to Thursday morning: Keep in the back of your mind that this time of year when a front gets into the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico a tropical system often develops on the old dying frontal boundary, something to watch next week and the week after. Nothing is shown by models yet.  For more follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • We look to stay in a soupy “air you can wear” tropical air mass with hot afternoons and warm muggy nights: temperatures above normal day and night for at least the next 3 days. The big heat wave gripping most of the nation will shift out West next week.  High moisture air will be provided at times by the Bermuda High Pressure and at other times by Easterly Trade Waves off the Atlantic. That combo plus an upper-level trough of low pressure over us will provide a potentially unstable air mass each day.  The sun will be out at times with hazy conditions and random scattered hit and miss showers and storms each day, a few heavy or strong. An early morning or late night thundershower can’t be ruled out, but the main “window of opportunity or risk” will be 1pm to 10pm. (subject to adjustment each day-- hear that on WSB radio) but not raining the whole time so plenty of dry hours each day, no wash-out days foreseen as of now.  Remember the dead horse I’ve been beating for decades: thunderstorm forecasts UNLIKE others sometimes need to be updated every two hours or so (The complex reasons I’ve explained many times before- you miss a blog you miss a lot). At least daytime highs should start to come down by next week with added clouds we break the back of the heat wave. We could even see high temperatures drop to the low to middle 80s and MAYBE drop morning lows to 70 or a bit below.  Early next week the Rossby long-wave jet stream pattern will be shifting the big heat dome ridge to the West allowing a long-wave trough into the Eastern U.S. helping to lower our temperatures but keeping the rain chance at least normal if not above-normal through early next week.  The GFSV3 Global Model indicates a cold front will bring drier air and low 80s starting next Wednesday. However, that would be a rare occurrence, fronts don’t often get that far South this time of year,  so I’ll believe it when I see it and hold off putting it in my forecast for now.  SEE HOW WHAT I DESCRIBED ABOVE PLAYS OUT IN JET STREAM WEATHER MAPS (shaded areas disturbance energy swirls): GFS ENSEMBLE 500MB JET STREAM LEVEL HIGHLIGHTING AREAS ABOVE OR BELOW NORMAL: SURFACE WEATHER MAP DAYS 3-7: SURFACE COLD FRONT PROJECTED NEXT WEDNESDAY: This time of year the normal or average (climate mean) chance of a thunderstorm is 40%.  In the weather pattern above the chance will be at least normal but occasionally 50-70% and on a lucky day 30%, but that can only be determined on a day to day basis and sometimes only 2-4 hours in advance.  ESTIMATED AVERAGE RAINFALL ACCUMULATION BETWEEN NOW AND 8AM MONDAY: For more follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • Some interesting notes on Barry from hurricane expert Philip Klotzbach of CSU.  *Barry is the FIRST hurricane of the 2019 season, almost 30 days earlier than the average first date of August 10th.  *It made landfall as a Category 1 near IntraCoastal City, LA. *The first hurricane to land in Louisiana since Nate in 2017 and the first in the month of July since Cindy in 2005. *It’s the 4th on record back to 1851 to make a LA landfall in July the others being Bob 79, Danny 97, and Cindy 05. Fortunately rainfall amounts were much less than NOAA/NWS/WPC/NHC anticipated but flooding was widespread none-the-less with many evacuations and numerous roads closed in Louisiana and Mississippi along with a scattering of tornadoes.  It was quite unlike any prior Gulf storm, as radar indicted 20 inch plus rains held offshore even as the center of Barry was 50 miles inland! Mid and upper level dry air and wind shear caused the asymmetrical shape of the rain field cutting down the anticipated rain amounts.  Despite the rain forecast being off on Barry it’s worth remembering how spot-on rain forecasts were well in advance of Harvey in 2017 (Houston record flooding) and for Florence record flooding in NC/SC just last year 2018. That’s two out of three nailed.  And the track and intensity forecasts for Barry were excellent.  In fairness, the National Weather Service DID update rain forecasts to much lower numbers as early as Saturday as the storm made landfall including just a couple inches for New Orleans. Also of note is that Barry originated over land in the U.S. (rare thing) in Kansas and YET was accurately forecast to move into the Gulf and become a tropical system 8 days in advance! Barry almost back to point of origin (10/11 day trip), from Dr. Philippe Papin: Rainfall rates up to 3 inches per hour were observed. Rain totals have still amounted to trillions of gallons over a three state area.  Many homes were damaged by falling trees.  The pumps worked and the levees held in New Orleans which was spared the heaviest rain: Flooding was still bad and widespread across multiple states: It’s not over til it’s over, Depression Barry today: Follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.

News

  • Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch have made their marks as professional wrestlers. Now, both believe they have formed a perfect match and are ready to grapple with married life. >> Read more trending news  The WWE stars announced their engagement Thursday, with Lynch, 32, announcing the news on Instagram.. “Happiest day of my life,” Lynch wrote in her post. Lynch and Rollins’ fellow WWE stars shared their congratulations in the comments section, along with Nikki Bella and her sister, Brie Bella, People reported. “Awww yay! Love this so much!” Nikki Bella wrote. “You deserve all the happiness in the world!!! Love you Becky!!!” “Yay!!!! Congrats!!! So happy for you both!!!” Brie Bella wrote. On Twitter, Rollins called himself the 'luckiest man alive' and posted a photo of Lynch showing off her engagement ring.
  • Lindsey Vonn and P.K. Subban are making the switch from Olympic rings to wedding rings. >> Read more trending news  Vonn, 34, a gold medalist in the 2010 Olympics and winner of 82 World Cup skiing events, made the announcement Friday on Instagram. She and Subban have been dating for at least a year, ESPN reported. 'He said YES!!' Vonn posted. 'Can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with this crazy/kind/handsome/hyper/giving man.' Subban, 30, won a gold medal as a member of Canada's men's hockey team at the 2014 Olympics, ESPN reported. He was traded from the Nashville Predators to the New Jersey Devils in June. The couple met two years ago at the Nickelodeon sports show that follows the ESPYs, Vogue reported. The pair made their relationship official in a red carpet at the CMT Music Awards in June 2018, People reported. “Right off the bat, I knew he was different,” Vonn told Vogue. “But I’d been married before, so I was pretty hesitant to let myself think that I could find someone that I would want to be married to again. After a few months of dating, I knew he was the one I wanted to be with, though. He makes me happy, and he’s so positive and energetic.” In addition to her marriage to skier Thomas Vonn, Lindsey Vonn dated golfer Tiger Woods for nearly three years until they split up in 2015, ESPN reported. 'Lindsey's the best thing that's ever happened to me,' Subban told Vogue. 'There are people in life that deserve to be with good people. They have that person who takes care of them and makes them smile, and she deserves to be with someone who loves her more than anything else in the world, and I do.' Vonn said the couple has not set a date for the wedding but will live in New Jersey, Vogue reported. We’re in such a busy time right now. We’re trying to move to New Jersey,” Vonn told the magazine. “I just want to enjoy the moment and the engagement. We’re not in a big hurry to get married. It kind of depends on his playing schedule, and when we have time to sit down and go through it. I don’t want to stress him out because he has a big season coming.”
  • A school resource officer is out of a job after she filmed a nude video of herself inside an elementary school bathroom during her shift. >> Read more trending news  Kissimmee Police told WFTV the woman removed her badge, uniform and gun when she went to the bathroom at Kissimmee Charter Academy to make the video for her husband in December. The video, which is heavily blurred, shows the woman asking the recipient what they thought of her video. The video was unearthed after the Osceola County Sheriff's Office investigated a personal incident with the school resource officer and her husband.  An investigation showed that while she was on lunch break, she was subject to recall at any point. Police said she was fired because if a shooting had occurred, she wouldn't have been able to respond.  The officer said that she locked the bathroom door and does not believe she should have been fired.  WFTV did not include the woman's name, as it was redacted in the report. 
  • A Nevada man overcame a weighty problem to become the first member of his family to enlist in the U.S. Army. >> Read more trending news  Seven months ago, Luis Enrique Pinto Jr., of Las Vegas, weighed 317, which meant he could not pass the Army's weight requirements, Army Times reported. The 18-year-old embarked on a program of exercise and diet and shed 113 pounds, allowing him to report to basic training, KNTV reported. Pinto now stands 6 feet, 1 inch and weighs 204 pounds, the television station reported. Pinto had been an offensive lineman in high school and had a steady diet of carbohydrates, but he changed his diet and dropped the pounds. 'I had struggled with weight my whole life. I’ve always been a big kid,' Pinto told KNTV. The biggest hurdle to losing weight was cardio training, Army officials said in a news release. Pinto began to combine jogging and sprinting to improve his times. 'Running wasn't my strong suit,' Pinto said in the news release. 'Carrying all that extra weight and trying to run definitely increased my time.' 'When no one was looking, I was doing push-ups in my room, eating right, knowing what to eat,' Pinto told KTNV. 'I feel like everyone has the power to know what they take into their body, so I just took that into consideration. I just did the right thing at the end of the day,' Pinto's work ethic impressed his friends, family and his Army recruiter, Staff Sgt. Philip Long. 'There were a couple times where he hit a plateau. He would lose a pound or two, maybe,' Long told KTNV. 'But to continue to push forward and put the effort and dedication in, it inspires me and it should inspire you.' Pinto will report to basic training in September, Army Times reported.
  • Six inmates were injured -- two seriously -- during a prison riot Friday night at a San Diego prison, officials said. >> Read more trending news  The disturbance began at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility shortly after 8 p.m., The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. Cal Fire San Diego spokesman Capt. Thomas Shoots said approximately 100 prisoners were in the prison yard when the riot broke out, the newspaper reported. It was not clear how many inmates were involved in the riot, the Union-Tribune reported. Officials with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said a fight involving several inmates on the recreation yard escalated into a riot, KNSD reported. According to KSWB, staff members ordered the inmates to stop fighting. When the fighting continued, 'officers used several rounds of less than lethal use of force to quell the disturbance.' Two of the inmates were seriously injured and airlifted to area hospitals, Shoots told the Union-Tribune. No prison staff members were injured, KNSD reported.
  • Identity theft may have entered the final frontier if accusations from a woman against an astronaut are true. >> Read more trending news  Summer Worden, a former Air Force intelligence officer living in Kansas, was married to astronaut Anne McClain. Now in the middle of a yearlong divorce and parenting dispute, Worden claims her former spouse accessed her bank account from space, KPRC reported. Worden filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, accusing McClain of identity theft and unauthorized access to the bank account, according to The New York Times.Worden claims McClain broke into her bank accounts while she was aboard the International Space Station, the newspaper reported. Through her lawyer, McClain admitted she had accessed the bank account from space on a computer system registered to NASA, the Times reported. However, McClain said she was merely keeping tabs on the couple's still intermingled finances, the newspaper reported. “I was shocked and appalled at the audacity by her to think that she could get away with that, and I was very disheartened that I couldn't keep anything private,” Worden told KPRC. McClain's attorney, Rusty Hardin, told the television station in a statement that 'family cases are extremely difficult and private matters for all parties involved.' 'Neither Anne nor we will be commenting on this personal matter,' Hardin said. 'We appreciate the media's understanding and respect, as maintaining privacy, is in the best interest of the child and family members involved.” In a statement to KPRC, NASA said it had no comment on the matter. 'NASA has no statement on this and does not comment on personal or personnel matters. Anne McClain is an active astronaut.' NASA officials told the Times they were unaware of any crimes committed on the space station. McClain, who returned to Earth in June after her six-month mission, took an under-oath interview with NASA's Office of Inspector General last week, the newspaper reported.  “She strenuously denies that she did anything improper,” Hardin told the Times. Hardin told the newspaper the bank access from space was an attempt to make sure there were sufficient funds in Worden’s account to pay bills and care for the child they were raising. Hardin said McClain continued using the same password and claimed she never heard an objection from Worden, the Times reported. The fight from space might be the first case, but Mark Sundahl, director of the Global Space Law Center at Cleveland State University, said it probably will not be the last one. “The more we go out there and spend time out there, all the things we do here are going to happen in space,” Sundahl told the Times.