Monday, December 14, 2015

El Nino 2015: The Year That Was and Looking Ahead

2015: The Year That Was

The projections of a Super El Nino going into 2015 surely didn't disappoint. The month of May in particular saw the biggest impacts with it being the wettest on record for much of Texas. It was a complete drought buster.

There were many flash flooding events that month, some events that stand out to me was the closing of many area lakes for the Memorial Day weekend as they were well above conservation pool. Lake Grapevine flooded so much it more than flooded a vital artery connecting Flower Mound to Grapevine, FM 2499.

Also, The Red River reached its highest crest on record as it came right up to the BNSF RR and I-35 bridges at the Gainesville crossing.

Then as if that weren't enough, TS Bill decided to add salt in the wound. The Spring rains in total helped to boost North Texas rainfall into the top 2% percent of annual rainfall.

With the departure of TS Bill came the end of the rains and the climo typical heat and dryness that is summertime in Texas. Things got so dry in fact that DFW hit 3rd all time on consecutive streak without any precipitation/3rd all time. And the heat continued into October as we saw 7 90+ days in the first half of the month.

Then things changed....

Even during hot and dry August/September months we knew that we were in a seasonal lull in record rains with the ongoing super elnino and that going into the fall and winter it was going to come back and hit us...and it did...

The combination of several factors came together late in the month for a sig multi-day rain/flash flooding event: high PW values, pronounced sub-trop jet, slow moving cf, and record setting TC Patricia. DFW only saw 6 days of measurable precip in October, which is normally the 2nd wettest month on avg, but those 6 days came in close succession and were so wet that it even with Oct. being the 2nd wettest month on avg, we reached 2nd all time for measurable rainfall for the month.

And this continued on into November with the Thanksgiving rains being almost a cc setup from that of the previous month, a combination of all same factors came together. That event, in concert with several previous days of nominal rains put November 2015 as wettest November on record for NTX.

The Thanksgiving event in particular was a result of a hemispheric blocking pattern which you can infer from the 300mb map below with NERN Pacific ridge and elongated positively tilted trough from CA to the Dakotas.

This blocking pattern resulted in a parade of shortwaves that helped dump several days worth of rain and freezing rain/ice on the SP as this system (being November) had a little more colder air to worth with than month before it. Below are some ice storm vines from my colleague Chris Sanner.

To put those last 2 events in perspective, my colleague Chris Robbins put together a scatter plot to show just how anomalous those events were...
I invite you to read his blog here
Also, while not NTX related, there was very unusual high end tornado event in November all up and down the High Plains with nearly every tornado being a wedge. We all know that shear is not a problem in November but getting the really necessary moisture that far up the Plains (NWRN KS even) is next to impossible but it happened.

The combination of the Fall rains with those in Spring pretty much put NTX over the edge in terms of all time annual rainfall, it was that much, all thanks to a super el nino, one that has rivaled that of 1997 and 1982/1983.

Looking Ahead 

Before we jump to 2016 Id like to look at what is shaping up to be one of the warmest Christmas holidays on record for much of the nation. It has already been an exceptionally warm December with as seen by the graphic below.

This trend looks to continue now as we head into the Christmas holiday as both the GEFS and ECMWF anomalies show exceptional warmth E of the Mississippi.
To put the magnitude of this anticipated warmth across the US in perspective, heres a look at where it would stand in the averages of 500hPa heights for the period of the cool season...
A more detailed look at the Christmas Holiday forecast can be found via a WSI article 

Now looking ahead to 2016 I particularly focused in one the first 3 months. I used the super el nino of 1982-1983 as that el nino is more mimicking this el nino wrt to national precip/temp records and continental upper air patterns (more on this later). Now before I go any further I must put in the disclaimer that short term teleconnections can and sometimes do trump the longer scale el nino impacts so nothing is clear cut or carbon copy. but what I did find through NCDC was 1 high end severe wx day between Jan 1-Mar 1 for the more climatologically prone severe wx areas of TX/LA/OK/AR/TN. There was also a rare PH tornado on February 2nd and NCDC archives has a nice write up on it. Ive included a snapshot from the PDF below.

Once the calendar flipped to March, however, all nature recognized was meteorological spring and not the typical astronomical spring. I counted a multi day severe event from March 3-5, March 25-26 (which produced a 3 in SERN KS), and regional event in the Ozarks on the 31st.

As for winter wx I have just decided to copy/paste from the NCDC archives

  • January

  • February 
  • March
No reports received though a hard freeze (20s) did hit much of OK/TX/AR mid month destroying numerous fruit crops 

Also while not in the southern region, its worth mentioning considering the biblical drought, the 3 month period of J/F/M 1983 saw a relentless pounding of coastal storms in CA with heavy snows, rains, and high winds. One such event crossing into March dumped 18" of rain in the LA basin.


Now while I did mention earlier that the Super El nino of 82/83 is more mimicking the current one than 97, there is a good blog write up I came upon that discusses this in greater detail and how going into Spring 2016 may actually be more like a more recent spring than 83. Check it out here.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Lake Benbrook flooding

The following are a series of pics and vids of Lake Benbrook flooding taken Sunday June 21. Please do not use without permission. 

On the Left is image I took on Sunday and on right is image from Google on Jan 2013.  For comparison, in the image on the right note the trees behind the power pole in the background; those are the same trees in the image on far right of the image on the left.
This wetlands is part of the lake is the dry area on the right side of the previous Google image
Traveling further down Park Rd the wetlands in the previous image is on the left and you can see where it has flooded the road on the right.

This is a video clip of the same image above

Once word got out of the flooding and closed Lakeside Dr, a throng of people showed up to walk along the dam

A look at the people walking along the dam

Short video clip of water running over the spillway

A look at flooded lake from top of dam

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Round 4?

Looks like NTX is in for yet a 4th round of winter wx come mid week with a Polar plunge late Tuesday followed closely by upper disturbances in the SW flow aloft. Below is the NAM and GFS forecast at 06z Wednesday. Notice the GFS is much faster than the NAM. With this being a true Cp airmass, id heavily lean on the GFS due to density nature of Cp air and momentum.
(Side note1: One thing I've noticed with all these winter wx events over the SP is the superb handling by the GFS and lack thereof by the NAM, suspicious its not from the NCEP upgrade last month)
(Side note2: wish blogger could put pics side by side but oh well)

By 12z the GF already has us experiencing frozen precip while EURO is still all liquid 

Finally by mid day its all frozen 

Will post another update on this in 24 hrs

UPDATE 3/2 3:14a

Confidence remains quite low with the evolution and impacts of the midweek system. Models are struggling mightily even just 54 hours out, however, it appears a high impacts event appears somewhat low though as we know it doesn't take much accumulation of any ptype to cause major issues. The GFS is the only one I'd trust right now cause it's the only one that has been consistent thru the process. Other models, i.e. NAM/EURO maintain a warm sector thermal profile through 12z Wed and I just don't understand how thats poss with a polar front. Just by its nature alone that thing is going to come and there aint nothing thats going to stop it. Id certainly hate to be an official met having to issue forecasts to clients or whatever bc going strictly with the GFS means putting all eggs in one basket and forecasting a worst-case scenario but attm I can't see doing anything else just by the nature of the cold air thats coming. All one has to do is look up north tonight and see how dense the air is. That being said I will leave you with the WPC ice prob outlook.

This will be the last update on this system as I have a full schedule from here on out.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

NTX Winter Storm: A θe Approach

Here's an abbreviated synopsis on the meteorological factors that will lead to North Texas' winter storm overnight the 22nd into the 23rd.

This event will be mainly driven by isentropic lift over the cold front/dome that passed early morning on the 21st. Below is the forecasted 293K layer showing moist advection of parcels from the Gulf up and over pressure surfaces (more below)

And below is the forecasted SkewT from the ECMWF that shows classic winter storm sounding with just a small warm nose between 800-700mb, which means this will be primarily a sleet event over ice and snow.

This is also supported by the sref plumes 

Its also not out the question we could have a brief period of thunder sleet per elevated instability

Now for those that don't quite understand isentropic ascent Ive whipped out the ol whiteboard in the form of a schematic bc thats really only way I know how to best explain it. Below is a cross section looking E or NE with DFW on left and the Gulf of Mexico on right. Warm moist air parcels from the Gulf are advected north (movement of air). Early on they reach their LCL (liquid condensation level), which means the parcel has saturated and becomes a cloud; this is in the form of stratus. The moist air parcels continue to rise up and over pressure surfaces on its journey northward until they reach their LFC (level of free convection) and they start to precipitate in the form of snow (SN). However, in our case, we have a very slight above freezing warm nose (thin red line) in which the snow falls through before reaching the boundary layer. This causes the snow to briefly melt to liquid but it very quickly reencounters subfreezing air (cold dome) where it becomes a supercooled water droplet but the depth of the subfreezing air is deep enough in the PBL that it refreezes as an ice pellet/grapeul/sleet. 


Here was the end result

Thursday, September 11, 2014

5 Day Forecast

Main concern with this forecast package is threat for heavy rainfall tonight
into Friday


At 1700 the stalled sfc front was located just south of a Hamilton to
Sulpher Springs line with 1km satellite showing well defined convective
circulations along the front.Temps South of the front were in the upper
80s to near 90 with cool...cloudy and moist 70s north of the front.
In the upper levels there are a number of features that will impact our
weather going is a tropical wave in the Bay of Campeche...
another is a tropical disturbance at the tip of Baja California...and third
is a mid-latitude shortwave diving down out of MT. On satellite...a convective
cluster of storms is moving out of the South Plains while it appears another
cluster is trying to form across parts of the Concho valley into the Big
Country. This is likely due to a weak wave embedded within the upper flow
emenating out of Chihuahua from the moisture feed of Odile.


Through the remainder of the diurnal heating cycle expect the front to move
very little without the aid of upper support. The combination of a somewhat
cool and moist boundary layer north of the front and a warm mC airmass south
of the front will create quite a temp discrepncy during the peak heating hours
...with temps south of the boundary heating into the mid to upper 90s and temps
in the upper 70s to near 80 north of the boundary. Precip chances today with
the front will mainly hinge on mesoscale convergence and solar heating as upper
support will be nill till after sundown. A secondary area of precip is possible
across the western zones with the wave discussed above. Models haven't picked up
on this feature but a moist column is in place so any wave/source of lift will result
in showers and storms with threat of heavy rainfall. Will go 30 pops about 30 miles
either side of the front as SPC mesoanalysis is still showing noteable moisture
convergence along the boundary and short term hi-res guidance does show a broken line
of showers and storms along a Goldthwaite to Waco to Palestine line much like we saw
yday in the NW zones. Main threat with these showers will be locally damaging winds
from microburts. Expect these cells to die off with the lost of daytime heating.
Will go 30 pops as well across the western and northwestern zones for any showers
and storms that develop there in the afternoon. Expect anything out west will be
scattered at best. Will keep an eye on this throughout the day and amend the forecast
as needed.

Overnight the threat for heavy rainfall and potential flooding...mainly across
the southern zones...will increase due to a combination of several factors...
mainly being column moisture being 2 to 3 standard deviations above normal.
This moisture will come from the 2 tropical disturbances mentioned above. Lift
will come in the form of the aforementioned shortwave that will lead to isentropic
ascent along and north of the boundary. 850-700 flow will be nearly parallel to
the boundary so flash/flooding is/will be a concern during the overnight hours
into Friday morning. Large scale lift will begin to spread west to east from the
High Plains into North Texas with the aid of the shortwave approaching the region.
Hi res guidance such as the TT WRF show this well with large swath of precip
developing across the high terrain of West Texas late tonight. Have decided against
a Flash Flood Watch as (1) the upper wave will slide more through Central Plains and
(2) a lack of more robust instablity/lapse rates.  For those weather
geeks this setup is not all unlike that of a winter storm just without the Arctic

By midday Friday the upper wave will begin ejecting out which will result in the 850
front being shunted through the region thus ending precip northwest to southeast. While
this will end precip it will not make for a beautiful crips Fall weekend unfortunately. Upper
pattern will continue to be progressive which means the sfc high will move more east than
south into the Southern Plains. This will result in continued weak moist flow as boundary
layer winds slowly veer from northeasterly Saturday morning to southeasterly Sunday moring.
This will keep moisture trapped in the boundary layer for Saturday resulting in considerable
overcast skies and thus cool temps in the 70s for much of the day. Will likely see more sun
on Sunday as return flow off the Gulf commences along with a warm up. Highs will climb back
into the 80s on Sunday. Temps into the first part of next will return to seasonal norms
with highs in around 90 and an upper pattern that is more summer like with a series of low
amplitude waves propogating through the northern tier of states.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Oshkosh/Air Venture 2014

Below are some pics and videos of my trip to Rockford for B2OSH and subsequent time at Oshkosh/EAA Air Venture 2014

my B2OSH/Air Venture trip

Heres a GoPro video a colleague in the B2OSH formation put to together from the 2014 formation flight to Oshkosh, im in there somewhere

Heres a review of the Oshkosh/Air Venture 2014 that EAA put together

Friday, July 18, 2014


For the 2100 TAF main concerns are low cigs and potential for any overnight fog.

 Very tricky overnight forecast once again as we have October like weather in July with an unseasonably cool airmass in place with saturated ground. This is compounded by quite a significant difference in LAMP guidance from HRRR and GFS. As of discussion time/21z, 1km vis and area obs showed widespread VFR cigs in place across the region. H850 streamline analysis shows weak CAA from OK where RHs arent much different than down here in NTX. With this in mind and no signs of sig clearing across the region, will side more with the GFS LAMP but not go as aggressive with the low cigs overnight as there is a bit more dryer air in the PBL than 24hrs ago, however, there is a small window of lowered cigs/vis before sunrise as PBL reaches max cooling, esp given breaks in clouds but will not insert any change groupings attm. Expect winds to gradually veer around to the SE through the nighttime hours.

KDFW 182120Z 1900/2000 01008KT P6SM SCT025 OVC035
     FM 190000 08005KT P6SM OVC035
     FM 190900 10003KT 3SM BR BKN025
     FM 191500 14008KT P6SM SCT040
     FM 192100 14010KT P6SM FEW040