Friday, November 16, 2007

Cold as Ice To Nice In Time for the Weekend!

Riverside Ice Skating Rink at Tapawingo Park

The picture above certainly tells the story. It was as cold as ice last night and then some as many locations fell into the upper 20s by the 11 p.m. newscast. Riverside Ice Skating Rink will be opening next Friday and yesterday evening they were already preparing the ice. It was perfect ice-making weather last night. That contraption you see above is actually a boom-sprayer that spreads a thin coat of water at about 160 degrees over a refrigerated cement pad that is set at 16 degrees. This helps the water to freeze immediately. The ice does have problems with sunshine and temperatures above 40 degrees. Looking at the latest maps I think we should stay below 40 degrees even for high temperatures during much of Thanksgiving weekend. So get those skates laced up and keep out the heavier coats. This pattern of colder than average weather looks like it will be with us for at least the next two to three weeks if not longer. Any mild spells will be brief at best. The last time we had 4 days of below average temperatures was way back in July so we were certainly long overdue for a much different pattern. This weekend I do not see the vicious wind chills we experienced on Thursday and we should even have some sunshine, especially on Sunday. So we can call it nice weekend on the way. Keep in mind, it will still be brisk at times with highs only in the middle to upper 40s. So what is causing this big change? Take a look below.

We have high pressures building in the Gulf of Alaska and Greenland and this causes a funnel effect that moves polar air masses from near the North Pole straight into our backyards. This pattern tends to lock in for at least a couple weeks at a time, if not longer. I did forecast a colder than normal December and it was based on a strong La Nina and the formation of those blocking high pressures you see above. So right now everything is on schedule. Now in this pattern you usually get at least a couple of really cold arctic outbreaks and ahead of them you can get some big storms to develop on the southern edge. This pattern tends to intensify the jet stream where storms like to form and the big temperature contrast that sets up also tends to feed developing storms. Next week some of the maps are verifying this as you see below.

We could have rain and 60s on Tuesday and Wednesday. But on Thanksgiving depending on the storm track we could go from thunderstorms to snow with accumulations not out of the question. The problem is we have a jet stream moving at over 140 to 150 mph across the country and it will be tough to pinpoint everything until we get much closer. But I can show you who went from thunderstorms to snow yesterday in 12 hours. Take a look below.

Thanks to Meteorologist Ross Ellet

Ross Ellet our former Weather Team 18 meteorologist is doing very well in Beckley, West Virginia and says a big hello to everybody. I was very happy for him on Thursday and when I saw this picture I was also jumping for joy. I think this snowy scene could be repeated here at home in the near future. Time will tell. Today, I am heading out to Glen Acres Elementary and we will be doing a lightning experiment. I will make sure to take pictures and explain how it all turned out here on the blog. It should be lots of fun! Thanks for another great week of e-mails, pictures, and wonderful weather talk. Have a great weekend.


Anonymous said...

Hey Ross! A big Hello to you and yours from Indiana! You live in a very beautiful part of God's earth. I have been through Beckley and remember it as being very scenic. Happy weather-ing to you :-)
Mary Anne in Remington

Neal said...

Hey Ross,

Having grown up in Bluefield, I know what a challenge it can be to forecast the weather in the mountains. I think back once to when I was in high school. We were getting 18 inches of snow. The principal kept calling the school board office in Princeton, 10 miles away and asking if we were going to close for the day. They were just getting rain. Finally they figured out what was going on and told us to shut down for the day.

Neal in Rossville