Desierto norte de Chile

Friday, May 15, 2009

Whew it's muggy!

Now that it's mid-May in Annapolis, the moisture has finally surged into town. (Just in time for me to drive 1500 miles west only to hope and pray for 55F dewpoint on the northern high plains... ugh!) I think I've decided that while I like moisture, I also like dry climates where my body can sweat and effectively and efficiently cool itself. High moisture content is nice for on thing: thunderstorms, and last night we had a few comforting rumbles of thunder (enough to cause me to pull up and auto-loop the local radar!)

In other news: my car is all Rain-X'ed (accomplished in the parking lot at USNA) and ready to go, and now if only the atmosphere would cooperate and give us a decent western trough between now and the end of May. Given the likely state of the atmosphere next week, here's what I would prefer (still not ideal, but do-able!)

1- slight reorientation of the mostly zonal upper-level flow (from out of 285 to out of 265)
2- quick disappearance of any closed/cut-off Gulf of Mexico lows
3- subsequent faster return of winds south of 90degrees (implying moisture return)
4- no detrimental cirrus shields or overnight MCCs (not likely given dearth of moisture)

I'll try to blog frequently from the field. We'll depart 17 May from AVL and be out through 30 May, returning to AVL 31 May.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What will it be: trough or ridge? Dry or moist?

This Sunday I leave for the plains with the Severe Weather class from UNC-Asheville. My friend from grad school, Dr. Godfrey, has asked me to help navigate (& drive) during the trip, and I'm excited to join them on this adventure. Now if only the atmosphere will cooperate: the long-range global NWP models (GFS, ECMWF, and NOGAPS) are all depicting some form of western ridge-eastern trough setup for the first few days of our trip. The most troubling thing is that some models take the eastern trough into a closed low parked over the Gulf of Mexico, ensuring dry stable northerly surface flow over the Gulf through the weekend. We'll see how it the atmosphere actually behaves (144-hr to 180-hr forecasts aren't entirely reliable), but regardless the first few days of the two-week class do not look promising. On "down" days, the class will visit SPC, NSSL, the research Doppler radars, and a mesonet site, and will hear talks from Dr. Chuck Doswell and other scientists & researchers. Of the 12 chaseable days (the first and last day are "ferry" days), climatology dictates that we should have 3-4 with storms, and at least 1 of those days should be chase-friendly with tornadoes. Again, all I can say is "we'll see". Of course from the objectives of the course, any atmospheric day is ripe for teaching: explaining the why of the atmosphere is just as important on non-storm days as on storm days. (It's just not as exciting to verify your forecast on the non-storm days!)

Friday, May 08, 2009

Every little bit counts, right

My regular a.m. jogging route takes me from my condo association and through a series of middle to mid-upper class neighborhoods, then down by Back Creek and out to the peninsula. The first few times this happened, I figured it was just random luck and coincidence. But after today, I'm beginning to think there is a pattern! What random thing is this, you ask? Well, as of today, I have collected about $1.50 in coins and bills I found (literally jogged past) in the street, near this one intersection in the mid-upper neighborhood. Today I was running by and saw a full dollar bill lying crumpled in the street. Are people just that careless with their money, that they don't mind throwing out various coins, and even a dollar? My main goals in jogging are to stay healthy and start my day fresh, but hey, every little bit counts, right?

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