Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Be sure to fill up before Thursday

Before Irene hit the Eastern Seaboard the price of gas increased just a bit in the fear that the refineries in the Northeast would be damaged by the storm. Now that Irene passed through the area with little affect on the refineries, one would expect the price of gas to drop. However, it looks as though a little surprise could form in the Gulf of Mexico that would cause the refineries in Texas and Louisiana to be in danger. Lee could form later this week.

We have been advertising that the strong ridge of high pressure that has been in control of our weather for most of the summer would split by Thursday allowing an upper air trough to take shape across Texas. This would allow for a tremendous amount of Gulf Moisture to move into the area cooling temperatures and giving us a good chance of rain. It now appears a tropical low will develop in the Gulf on Thursday and depending on how fast it develops, we could see Lee before the Holiday Weekend.

All of the models we use to generate our forecasts have now picked up on the fact that a tropical system will develop in the Gulf. There is however a very large spread in the strength and time of this system. We are also watching a cold front that will be moving towards the Red River on Sunday which could play a huge roll in where this system eventually ends up. If the new short range high resolution model is correct, we could be looking at a strong category 1 hurricane near the Sabine Pass on Friday evening. If this does occur we should see plenty of rain move across East Texas before the cool front arrives on Sunday pushing this system to our south and west. That is the good news. The bad news is the winds would be very strong and we could see wide spread power outages.

Again the above scenario is the worst case scenario now. A lot could happen between now and then that stops this system from developing or keeps it away from East Texas. One thing is for sure though. Once the oil companies get wind of this system developing, the price of gas will go up. All the oil companies have meteorologists on staff so it won’t be long until they are hearing this worst case scenario I mentioned. So the sooner you can fill up, the better.

Friday, August 26, 2011

When Will It End?

Yesterday another mile stone was reached in Tyler as it was the 70th day Tyler reached or surpassed 100 degrees. Yes, 70! To put that number in perspective, the old record for the most 100 degree plus days in Tyler was 47. So Tyler has surpassed the all time record of 100 degree days by 23 days or over three weeks. If our seven day forecast is correct, and I believe it is, Thursday will be day number 77 giving us a month of days above the previous all time record.

The situation is a little different for Longview record wise but it has still been hot. Yesterday was the 62nd day at or above 100 degrees; 2 days shy of the all time record of 64 days set in 1934. Again based on the seven day forecast this all time record will be broken as well.

So when will it end? Well looking at the medium and long range forecast models, there is a chance that Thursday of next week could be our last 100 degree day of the summer. The strong ridge of High pressure that has been dominating our weather for the past 90 days looks as though it will split placing an upper air trough across East Texas starting Wednesday of next week. If this happens it will allow much more Gulf moisture to move across the area and with daytime heating, we would see scattered afternoon storms. It looks as though this pattern could continue through much of the second week of September keeping afternoon storms in the forecast, giving us more soil moisture, allowing for cooler afternoon temperatures. So depending on exactly what happens; September 1st could be the last day we see 100 degrees for the summer of 2011.

But the way this summer has gone, I have to believe we would see at least a couple of days in September at or above 100 degrees. By this time period Tyler could be approaching the total number of 100 degrees day for the years 2001-2010 combined; 83! What we really need to happen is a huge shift in the Jet Stream binging the first real autumn like air mass. Last year this did not occur until the 26th of September when we saw a front move through knocking our highs down into the middle 70s and lows into the lower 50s. The earliest this has occurred in the past 5 years was on the 16th in 2008 after Ike moved through. Today’s long range forecast model shows this occurring on the 10th right now. It is a little early for this to happen but at least the trend is moving in the right direction. Surface temperatures are forecast to be in the middle 50s Saturday morning the 10th with highs in the 70s. Although this forecast is too far out to be very accurate, after this summer I think we all deserve an early arrival to fall.