Why Long-Range Snow Forecasts are Wrong

In the past 7-10 days I have been asked about a major winter storm in the middle of next week. The problem with that is when all of this started it was about 10-14 days before the “storm”. Here is another way a looking at long-range snow forecasts. Any details you read about or share are most likely going to be wrong. My best advise is not to share that kind of information 10-14 days out.

4

Share

Posted under Long Range Outlook, NOAA, Winter Weather

This post was written by Schnack on December 2, 2016

ICYMI Nov 23 – Fogbow/ AERI/

Meteorologist are always looking for was to improve weather forecasting. An instrument called,  Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer, or AERI might help. The data it gathers might improve forecast models. Click here to read more information.

1


Fogbow in Scotland
2

Click here to see how fogbows form.


 

Share

Posted under Clouds, NOAA

This post was written by Schnack on November 23, 2016

New Weather Satellite Launches

Saturday, November 19th marked a big day in the meteorological and space world.  A rocket carrying a new weather satellite, called “GOES-R” (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite), launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 5:42 PM (CST).

goes r

This new satellite will be stationed 22,300 miles above Earth’s surface, and help provide improvements in detection and observation of weather here on Earth.  The new satellite will provide advanced imaging across the Western Hemisphere, improved lightning data, as well as monitoring space weather.

Once in operation, the satellite will be called GOES-16.

 

The new instruments within the satellite will give us more data and imagery faster than ever before (approximately every 30 seconds).  Read more about the GOES-R satellite here.

 

Share

Posted under Astronomy, NASA, NOAA

This post was written by Kyle Kiel on November 19, 2016

Tags: , , ,

ICYMI Nov 14 – No Snow/ Warm Temperatures/

As of November 14, only 0.2% of US has snow. In the last 14 years it is the lowest percentage on this day.

4

From NOAA: The map on the left shows average snow cover from 1981 to 2010 for the second week of November. (Data: NCEI) The image on the right shows the current amount of snow cover as of November 14, 2016. (Data: National Ice Center)

2


Here is a look at above normal average temperatures for a good part of North America today. Take a look at the colder than normal conditions on the other side of the globe. There is some cold air, but just not nearby.

3


 

Share

Posted under NOAA, Temperatures, Winter Weather

This post was written by Schnack on November 15, 2016

ICYMI Nov 13 – Earthquakes/Satellite Launch/Supermoon/Sunset

Two different earthquakes struck this morning – one in New Zealand and one in Argentina. The New Zealand quake was the strongest of the two, measuring in as a magnitude 7.8. This initial earthquake resulted in a tsunami.  Read more by clicking here.

nzquake

Many aftershocks were already felt by late morning.

A few hours later, another quake was felt across the planet. A magnitude 6.2 struck South America.

argquake


A new weather satellite is set to launch November 19th at 4:52 PM CST.  A rocket carrying the latest weather satellite from NOAA, GOES-R will fly 22,000 miles above Earth, giving meteorologist a view of what’s going on below.  Read more about the satellite by clicking this link.

goes4


You’ve likely heard about the November “Supermoon.”  Well, it is finally here!

Full Moon Graphic

We do have some clouds around tonight, but they are high clouds so we won’t be completely overcast.  It will also be visible Monady night, however we do have clouds in the forecast then as well.  Click here for more information. Below are some viewer pictures.

Todd Moon in New Albin

Todd Moon in New Albin

 

Photo by: Amber Stueben in Cedar Falls

Photo by: Amber Stueben in Cedar Falls

 

Photo by: Carol Pfister in West Union

Photo by: Carol Pfister in West Union

 

Photo by: Marty Dvorak in Bremer

Photo by: Marty Dvorak in Bremer


As mentioned, there are some high clouds in our sky Sunday night, which developed late Sunday afternoon. They made for a fantastic sunset earlier.  Here are several photos from KWWL viewers on Facebook and Twitter:

 

Mike Graber in Cedar Rapids

Mike Graber in Cedar Rapids

 

Dianne Borowski, just east of Decorah

Dianne Borowski, just east of Decorah

 

Wade Clark in Cedar Falls

Wade Clark in Cedar Falls

 

Corinna Smith in Urbana

Corinna Smith in Urbana

 

Douglas Davies in Jesup

Douglas Davies in Jesup

 

amber stueben

Amber Stueven in Cedar Falls

carol johnson postville

Carol Johnson in Postville

Share

Posted under Astronomy, Earthquake, Hot Shots, NASA, NOAA, Photo

This post was written by Rachael Peart on November 13, 2016

Evolving the National Weather Service

NWS Logo

Statement from Susan Buchanan, NWS Spokesperson

Nov. 1, 2016

On the Record

With a growing population at risk, an economy that is increasingly vulnerable to weather, an aging infrastructure and a changing climate, the National Weather Service is taking steps to evolve into an even more effective agency.

As part of this process, we are considering ways to realign staff and functions to deliver weather forecasts and warnings more effectively. We are not proposing to close local forecast offices. The proposal has all forecasts and warnings continuing to be issued by the local forecast offices to their communities. The products, services, data and information that communities and businesses have come to rely upon will still be provided by the NWS, but with more accuracy and consistency.

This is not an effort to automate forecasts, or issue forecasts from Washington, D.C., or another central location. This initiative will use a national blend of weather models as an initial starting point for forecasts, to achieve national consistency and more accuracy. Our local forecasters will take the initial national forecast and contribute their local knowledge and expertise before issuing forecasts and warnings to the public. We are building a collaborative forecast process that will involve all NWS offices at all levels of the agency.

We are not proposing to reduce our workforce. Everyone who has a job today will still have a job. The ideas and proposals of this initiative were developed with and by our workforce over a two-year period, with union members on the development teams.

Before being implemented, proposed changes will go through a rigorous and transparent test and evaluation phase to ensure they maintain or increase the accuracy of our forecasts and improve the decision support services we provide to a wide range of decision-makers at the local, state and federal levels.

Background for Reporters

We are proposing to continue the transformational shift from merely producing forecasts and warnings to linking those forecasts and warnings to decision-makers who are on the front lines saving lives and property. We call this active linkage Impact-based Decision Support Services, or IDSS. Our forecasters already provide IDSS, but we’ve heard loud and clear from our core partners at the local, state and federal levels and from analysis by the National Academy of Public Administration and the National Research Council that we need to provide better quality, quantity, and consistent IDSS to achieve the goal of building a Weather-Ready Nation – one that is ready, responsive and resilient to extreme weather, water and climate events.

We will ultimately test seven ideas that were generated by our workforce to free up our forecasters’ time and break down barriers that are impeding their ability to meet the nation’s growing need for IDSS. In the coming year, our priority is to test three of these ideas, which are: use of the National Blend of Models to initialize the National Digital Forecast Database, use of autolaunchers to automate sending up weather balloons, and the GS 5-12 career progression, which would ensure aggressive hiring and training processes and give our forecasters increased flexibility to serve our core partners and general public and to provide IDSS required at the local, state and federal levels.

These proposals were developed with and by the NWS workforce via five field teams as we analyzed and refined ideas that came out of an operations and workforce analysis conducted by McKinsey and Company. These teams included representatives from the National Weather Service Employees Organization at every step. As we move forward, we will continue our efforts to evolve the NWS, we will continue the robust internal and external engagement, seeking input and collaboration from our workforce and our partners throughout the country as we develop and test, refine and finally implement changes that will make the NWS Second to None.

Contact

Susan Buchanan, acting director of public affairs, National Weather Service

susan.buchanan@noaa.gov, 301-427-9000 (office); 202-834-5235 (cell)

Share

Posted under NOAA

This post was written by Schnack on November 1, 2016

ICYMI Oct 2…Fall Foliage/Hurricane Matthew/Weather Balloons

The first weekend of October is behind us, and now that the daylight hours are getting shorter and the nights are getting cooler, we are starting to see some color on the trees.

fall

Within the next few weeks, we will see an increase in vibrant colors across eastern Iowa as the leaves on the trees continue to change color, and eventually fall.  Here’s the peak fall foliage across Iowa, courtesy of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

dnr

If you have any fall photos you’d like to share with KWWL this season, feel free to send them our way.

Contacts FB-Twitter-Email


Our friends along the eastern seaboard (and weather enthusiasts across the country) are keeping a close eye on Hurricane Matthew, which continues to slowly move through parts of the Caribbean Sea.  As of Sunday evening (10/2), Matthew is a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 145 mph.  The trend has been for the storm to weaken a bit, then reorganize the eye and strengthen shortly after.  This is pretty typical for strong hurricanes.  National Hurricane Center forecast is fore Matthew to track slowly to the north, with major affects on Jamaica, Haiti, Cuba and the Bahamas early in the week.

HUIR Later in the week as the hurricane tracks north, it may indirectly impact Iowa, by slowing down the flow of the atmosphere, similar to Hermine last month.2015 Tropics


Each day National Weather Service offices across the country send up a “weather balloon”, which has a radiosonde attached the measures various weather parameters at different levels of the atmosphere.  These are sent up twice a day; 7 AM and 7 PM; and the information gathered by these balloon launches are then put into the numerous computer forecast models.  Several NWS offices near/along the east coast are sending up balloons every few hours to get a grasp on where Matthew will track, and how strong the hurricane will be.  Here’s a picture of one of those launches Sunday afternoon, from the National Weather Service office in Key West, Florida.

NWS Key West weather balloon

Share

Posted under Fall Colors, NOAA, Photo, Tropics

This post was written by Kyle Kiel on October 2, 2016

ICYMI Sep 30…Rain Totals/October Outlook/Matthew

Here is a look at the rainfall across Iowa and the Midwest. The highest rain total reported in Iowa was 2.4 miles SSE of Nora Springs with 17.25″ of rain.

1

Now take a look at the rainfall for the Midwest.
2

_____________________________________________

The Climate Prediction Center, outlook for October is above normal temperatures and above normal precipitation in NW Iowa.

3

___________________________________________

The latest update on Hurricane Matthew puts as a category 4 storm with winds up to 150 mph. The map below shows that it is forecast to turn north this weekend and weaken to a category 2 hurricane after it moves over Cuba.
2015 Tropics
Click here for the latest forecast track.

__________________________________________

The leaves are starting to change. Here is a look at when the average peak colors are across Iowa. Click here for the latest update on the fall colors.

4

______________________________________________

5

Share

Posted under Astronomy, Fall Colors, Long Range Outlook, NOAA, Precipitation Totals, Tropics

This post was written by Schnack on September 30, 2016

NOAA Weather Radio is Off The Air

1

From the NWS:

...NOAA WEATHER RADIO WXL-94 AT WATERLOO IS OFF THE AIR...

The NOAA Weather Radio transmitter WXL-94 at Waterloo Iowa is off the
air due to a communications or hardware failure. Technicians have
been notified but there is no estimated restore time.

Additionally the Waterloo transmitter WXL-94 will be off the air
due to scheduled maintenance on this Tuesday, August 30th for
approximately 8 hours. This is due to a new transmitter being
installed at the site. More information will be sent once the
transmitter is back on-air from the current failure.

The Waterloo NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts on Channel 7...or a
frequency of 162.550 MHz...and services the following counties in
Iowa...Black Hawk...Bremer...Buchanan...Butler...Chickasaw...
Fayette...Floyd...and Grundy.

Neighboring transmitters that service some of these counties include
KXI-68 at Saint Ansgar broadcasting on Channel 3 or 162.450 MHz...KXI-
60 at Decorah broadcasting on Channel 6 or 162.525 MHz...WWG-86 at
Prairie du Chien broadcasting on Channel 5 or 162.500 MHz...KXI-98 at
Marshalltown broadcasting on Channel 5 or 162.500 MHz...and WNG-
666 at Iowa Falls broadcasting on Channel 6 or 162.525 MHz.

We apologize for this interruption and will have service restored as
soon as possible.
Share

Posted under NOAA

This post was written by Schnack on August 26, 2016

UPDATE: NOAA Weather Radio at Waterloo is Down

WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: The weather radio at Waterloo is still down for maintenance:

...NOAA WEATHER RADIO WXL-94 AT WATERLOO IS OFF THE AIR...

The NOAA Weather Radio transmitter WXL-94 at Waterloo Iowa is off the
air due to a communications or hardware failure. Technicians are
working on the issue but there is no estimated restore time.

The Waterloo NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts on Channel 7...or a
frequency of 162.550 MHz...and services the following counties in
Iowa...Black Hawk...Bremer...Buchanan...Butler...Chickasaw...
Fayette...Floyd...and Grundy.

WeatherRadio
From the NWS Des Moines:

NOAA WEATHER RADIO WXL-94 AT WATERLOO IS OFF THE AIR UNTIL WED
MORNING

The NOAA Weather Radio transmitter WXL-94 at Waterloo Iowa is off the
air due to scheduled maintenance. Service is expected to be
restored tomorrow morning.  

The Waterloo NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts on Channel 7...or a
frequency of 162.550 MHz...and services the following counties in
Iowa...Black Hawk...Bremer...Buchanan...Butler...Chickasaw...
Fayette...Floyd...and Grundy.

Neighboring transmitters that service some of these counties include
KXI-68 at Saint Ansgar broadcasting on Channel 3 or 162.450 MHz...KXI-
60 at Decorah broadcasting on Channel 6 or 162.525 MHz...WWG-86 at
Prairie du Chien broadcasting on Channel 5 or 162.500 MHz...KXI-98 at
Marshalltown broadcasting on Channel 5 or 162.500 MHz...and WNG-
666 at Iowa Falls broadcasting on Channel 6 or 162.525 MHz.
Share

Posted under NOAA

This post was written by Schnack on August 2, 2016