Questions Answered

December 12, 2005

Looks like a ridge re-establishes itself right over the West Coast again the next few days.  The 00z GFS even has the ridge in one form or another through Christmas!  Except for that 10 day wet period beginning at Thanksgiving…it sure looks like last year so far (with respect to dry weather).

So…I’ll answer a few of your questions from the comments below since there isn’t much else to talk about.

WHEN WILL IT SNOW?  No time soon with a big ridge around…ignore the computer generated and stuff you find on the internet.  Often it’s just taking raw model output for the next 10-16 days with no human interpreting the results.

BROOKINGS IN EUREKA TV MARKET?  Good question, it’s actually in Medford’s TV Market

DOES COLD EAST WIND FREEZE ICE MORE QUICKLY?  Kind of, yes.  Like that answer?  If the air temp is at or below freezing, it’ll carry the heat away more quickly, so yes.  BUT, it can’t cool anything below the actual air temp (windchill temp doesn’t count).

DO WE ALWAYS HAVE AN ICE STORM OR SNOW EVENT AT THE END OF A CHILLY SPELL?  This or a variation of this has been suggested a few times in comments.  Not always.  Look at today, we had a sort of "onshore push" with the low clouds this morning, and even some light showers this afternoon.  But it warmed up just enough to keep us above freezing.  But if a deep low came at us from the southwest, that would keep the gorge wind and cold air coming in.  So the answer is that yes, sometimes we get an icy event just before it warms up, but we CAN exit a cold spell with no serious weather.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PARTLY CLOUDY AND PARTLY SUNNY?  Don’t get me started, but I use the term partly cloudy only, which to me means 50% clouds 50% sun.  I think the official definition (without bothering to get up and look) is partly implies less than half.

WHY HAVE A 7 or 10 DAY FORECAST WHEN 5 IS MORE REALISTIC, ESPECIALLY IN FAST-MOVING WINTER WEATHER?  Very good question…you may remember that it was only 10 years ago or so KOIN went to a 6 Day forecast (get it?  KOIN-6???, we thought we were so clever!).  Then quickly to a 7 Day.  I don’t remember when KATU went to 10 days, but it must have been about 1997-1998.  Statistics DO say that a 7 Day forecast now is about as accurate as maybe a 3-4 day in 1980, so longer forecasts ARE more accurate.  But here’s why I pushed for it way back then;  Jim Little and I were looking at weather maps PLANNING our own lives and vacations in the 1990’s, so after a while we figured we should share that information with the public if it was becoming good enough for us to use.  I think 10-14 days is a bit ridiculous, but 10 years from now it may not be.  Most important is that forecasters communicate uncertainty when the models are all over the place at days 5-6-7-8 etc…  For example right now they all agree on ridging through at least next weekend.

Time to get back to work!…Mark