Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Becoming Better and Beta


Today's weather map shows a large high pressure area centered over Ontario and a deep low pressure area (yesterday's nor'easter) centered over the Maritime provinces of Canada. The pressure gradient force between these two features, modified by the Coriolis force, is producing a geostrophic wind in the form of strong northwesterly breezes over the Northeast and Mid Atlantic states. Here in the Washington metro area, winds have been gusting as high as 26 mph, keeping temperatures in the mid 50s despite abundant October sunshine. Overall, it's a much better day than yesterday.

Chart by from NWS dataimage
Yesterday's 0.59" of rain in the Official Bucket puts the new record for October precipitation at 9.41", vs. the previous record of 8.81" in 1937. This month is now tied for 22nd wettest overall in 135 years of record in Washington.

Tonight and Tomorrow

Tonight, diminishing winds and clear skies will help temperatures dip to the coldest levels so far this season: near 41 inside the Beltway, as low as the mid 30s in the outer suburbs. There is a frost advisory in effect for the western and northern suburbs. Temperatures will have a hard time rebounding tomorrow as clouds increase and highs remain in the mid 50s.

Beta on Deck

That low pressure area in the southwest Caribbean is showing more signs of becoming Beta. The afternoon tropical weather discussion from NHC points out the "hallmarks of development": dropping pressure, curved convection bands on satellite becoming better defined. It's most likely an artifact, but the latest image I'm viewing as I write this shows an eye-like feature; it's just northwest of the label for longitude 80W.

Media Mutters

Once again, the WaPo trashes science for the sake of generating "news". It took 2 "Staff Writers" to find enough morons to produce a story on how some Florida residents were "surprised" by the strength of Wilma, particularly on the east coast. Even the mayor of Fort Lauderdale is quoted as saying he expected a Category 1 storm. Excuse me, but what part of Category 2 don't you understand? Even if there were any reputable forecasts of Category 1, which I most seriously doubt, the fundamental rule of preparedness is to anticipate one category higher than forecast. In any case, a number of people (I believe 6) died as a result of ignoring the risk of Katrina when it was a Category 1 in the Miami-Dade area. Rather than pointing out the outstanding accuracy of the forecast track even before the turn away from Yucatan, the article digs up a bureaucrat from Silver Spring HQ to mumble about the difficulty of forecasting intensity.

Broadcast News

The dcrtv blog reports the latest chapter in the misadventures of former Channel 9 weatherman and now inmate Bill Kamal. When Kamal's former station in Miami was knocked off the air by Wilma, someone put on an old hurricane preparedness tape by Kamal. The tape ran for about 10 minutes before the mistake was noticed and it was taken off.

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