4th Of July Forecast

I know many of you have holiday plans and travel plans for the 4th of July, so what’s the weather looking like for the lower-48? Well, it’s actually an overall calm picture; what you would expect for this time of the year. We do not have any major tropical systems moving towards the coast, which is great news. Please see the region-by-region breakdown of the forecast below this graphic!
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Southeast:
Afternoon showers and thunderstorms are possible across the region. The greatest chance lies along the coast due to afternoon sea-breeze activity; however, isolated storm chances exist further inland, too. Any storm will be capable of producing gusty winds and frequent lightning, so stay weather alert. For locations along the Gulf Coast, please watch out for waterspouts, rip currents, and lightning. Afternoon temperatures will top out in the mid to upper 80’s with high humidity. Drink plenty of water!

Northeast:
It is going to be very pleasant in this region. Isolated showers are possible in southern portions of the region, but should not be too widespread. Temperatures will top out close to 70 degrees–it’s going to be very nice!

South-central:
Afternoon storms are possible across this entire region. Any storm will be capable of frequent lighting, flash flooding, and gusty winds. Please remain weather alert if you’re on the Texas Coast or local lakes. Afternoon highs will be in the 80’s and low 90’s with high humidity. Make sure you’re hydrated!

North-central:
Overall it should be a nice 4th of July for this region. Partly cloudy skies should dominate with high temperatures nears 80.

Southwest:
It’s going to be HOT! Temperatures should top out in the upper 90’s to over 100. A few areas may luck out and pick up a couple storms (especially in southern Arizona/southern New Mexico). These areas with storm chances need to watch out for lightning, gusty winds, and as always, and storm in arid regions can produce quick flash flooding. Remain alert if you’re in a canyon of dry creek bed. Storms upstream can cause flooding in your area even if you haven’t observed any rainfall.

Northwest:
HOT, HOT, HOT! It’s going to be hot in this region with a high fire danger! If you’re in this area, please remain vigilant and do not do anything that could spark a wildfire. Temperatures will be int he 90’s and 100’s so drink plenty of water and Gatorade!

Winter Forecast 2015-16 Release Date and Other Announcements

Helen, GA snowstorm

Each summer, I release my preliminary winter forecast for the entire United States and attempt to give the Firsthand Weather audience an overview of what the upcoming winter could bring. My goal is to identify which regions could have colder or warmer temperatures, more or less snow/ice, above or below average rainfall, and much more. Some years are harder to forecast than others, and this could actually be one of those years. My goal is NOT to tell you how much snow you’re going to get in your backyard. That’s impossible to forecast even 24 hours out, let alone six months in advance.

The main reason I release a preliminary winter forecast is to have my months of research all in one place, and then I can go back and make corrections for my final forecast throughout the rest of the year. I typically release a very early winter forecast, and then my final winter forecast is released later than most. I have found that my preliminary ideas do not change much in the July to September time frame but tend to change more dramatically after October is over. Typically, I don’t have to make any huge modifications to the final forecast; however, each year is different.

On Sunday, July 19th at 2 pm ET, I will be releasing my preliminary winter forecast, a region-by-region breakdown that will include my official winter forecast map(s). In that article, I will be focusing on WHAT I believe each region should expect this winter, and the map will be numbered. Each numbered region will have a detailed forecast included. I will provide some of my reasoning behind the forecast, but it won’t be complicated at all.

On Sunday, July 26th at 2 pm ET, I will be releasing a winter forecast that will include the very detailed meteorology behind the forecast. This will be for those that enjoy a bit more of the heavy meteorology and written explanation. For most, the first forecast will be preferred. Both forecasts will be the exact same, except I’ll be getting much more into the WHY behind the forecast. I hope that you’ll consider reading both.

If that is confusing at all, just be on the site on both of those days at 2 pm ET, and you’ll see exactly what I mean!

Next Sunday (July 5th), I will start sending out my newsletter again. Many of you are already signed up, but if you aren’t or don’t know if you are, click here to sign up. Be sure to go to your email immediately afterwards (check your spam box if it’s not in your inbox), and confirm that you signed up. I’ve already explained earlier this year what you’ll be getting out of the newsletter, and it was very popular among the first group who received them. I am almost certain that there will be issues with some of you not getting the newsletter. I promise I will get all of that resolved, and if you have any issues getting it, check your spam. If it’s not there, get in contact with me.

I believe this covers about everything. Be sure to share this information with all of your friends and family on social media. I’m excited to get my winter ideas out to the public, and if you have any questions at all, feel free to get in contact with me.

The photo below was sent to Firsthand Weather last winter by David Waid from Helen, GA. I miss the snow, but lets enjoy some more summer first! 🙂

Helen, GA snowstorm

Southern Plains Summer Cold Front

Rain chances and slightly cooler temperatures will begin to impact parts of Texas and Oklahoma due to a rare cold front pushing southward. This cold front will push into northern Oklahoma late Thursday evening and continue moving southward on Friday. Showers and storms will likely accompany the frontal boundary each day during the afternoon hours. The best chance for storms is Friday afternoon as the cold front pushes south of the I-40 corridor in Oklahoma and Arkansas.

NAM Simulated Reflectivity (Friday Evening):
Slide04

Afternoon heating, a very moist environment, and lift from the boundary will aid in thunderstorm development. A few of these storms may produce damaging winds and large hail as they move towards the south across Oklahoma, Arkansas, and northern Texas. The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has issued a slight risk for severe thunderstorms on Friday.

SPC Severe Thunderstorms Probability Outlook (Friday):
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Storm chances will slowly shift southward into most of Texas as the front progresses to the south. Widespread heavy rainfall and flooding is not likely with this setup; however, brief very heavy rainfall could lead to isolated flash flooding. Most areas, that pick up rainfall, will see .25-.50″, but a few areas that get under the heaviest storms may pick up a quick 1-2″ of rainfall.

GFS Rainfall Forecast Through The Weekend:
Slide07
Along with thunderstorms, cooler than normal temperatures will be ushered in behind the cool front; clouds and precipitation will also help keep temperatures slightly below average for this time of the year. The GFS is showing temperatures on average remaining 1-2 degrees Celsius below average for much of the Southern Plains over the next few days.

GFS Temperature Anomaly Through Monday:
Slide06

Enjoy the “cooler” temperatures and precipitation. June and July tend to be very uncomfortable across the Southern Plains, so we are very fortunate to have the precipitation chances.

Eastern U.S. Should Brace For Heavy Rainfall And Storms

3-Day Rainfall Map

Overall, the Southeastern U.S. has been exceptionally dry over the last two weeks other than some places getting the typical summertime pulse thunderstorms. The coverage of storms today has been a little more widespread across the Southeast due to a weak frontal boundary that has helped to spark up some activity with the help of daytime heating.

You can thank the persistent deep-layer high pressure ridge over the Southeast for the very hot and dry conditions that have been in place this month. The locations that have been most inundated by heavy rain have been along that “ring of fire,” which is the area right around the suppressing ridge. From Texas/Oklahoma through the Ohio Valley into the Northeast are the locations that have had well-above average rainfall, especially over the last 14 days.

Percentage Of Normal Rainfall Over The Last 14 Days:

Percentage of normal rainfall

Much of the eastern half of the U.S. is going to either remain or become more unsettled in the coming days. As I discussed last night in my article, after a couple more days of excessive heat, the Southeast ridge is going to weaken and break down as a trough digs unusually far to the south and ridging builds over the Pacific Northwest into Canada. A rather active northern jet stream (a fast-moving column of air in the upper-levels of the atmosphere) is currently located in the northern U.S. and will begin pushing pretty far southward.

In response to this digging trough and active jet stream, surface low pressure will develop and move across the Ohio River/Tennessee Valley and northeastward, dragging a cold front well into the Southeast, which will bring an increased risk of heavy rain/stormy conditions this weekend for the Southeast, Ohio/Tennessee Valley, and into parts of the Great Lakes and Mid-Atlantic/Northeast.

WPC’s 3-Day Rainfall Map For Tonight Through Saturday Night:

3-Day Rainfall Map

It’s likely that this cooler pattern will persist right into July, but as I mentioned last night, I’m not ruling out that the Southeast ridge won’t try to build back in, which could warm areas farther south back up. The region located between the two air masses could be the zone for heavy precipitation into July. Getting the details ironed out on that possible location will take some time. Please stay updated at Firsthand Weather.

“Winter-like” Pattern Setting Up Across The U.S.

Probability of cooler temperatures

Before someone takes the title of this article to mean that winter temperatures are on the way in the middle of summer, that is not at all what I’m saying. The overall pattern that is going to start setting up across the U.S. this upcoming weekend is going to be very reminiscent of the pattern that has been quite common over the last two winters with a trough in the eastern U.S. and a ridge farther west. Even throughout last summer, the jet stream dipped unusually far to the south, keeping the pattern anomalously cool for much of the central and eastern U.S.

So far, this summer (meaning the meteorological summer) has been very different than what many of us have experienced over the last couple of years. Ridging has dominated much of the Southern U.S., bringing a heat wave to both the Southwest and Southeast. A weakness in the ridge has kept the Southern Plains cooler, which allowed Bill to work its way northward into the area and around the Southeast ridge. As the month has progressed, parts of the Northern Plains into the Northeast have cooled off quite a bit, but overall, the pattern has been stubbornly persistent.

The stubborn ridge across the Southeast is going to begin breaking down this weekend as a broad trough moves in and builds well south, bringing much cooler and less humid temperatures across much of the central and eastern U.S. with Florida being the only location in the eastern U.S. that hangs on to the above average temperatures. The change will be very noticeable. At the same time, a ridge is going to build over the western U.S. well into the northwestern U.S. and northwestern Canada. While the focus of the warmth in the West has been over the Southwest, that focus is going to shift over the Pacific Northwest, where temperatures will likely challenge or even break records. As you can already tell, this is the pattern of extremes that we have all become acquainted with by now. Many locations will get a shot at rainfall/storms by this weekend in the eastern U.S.

The Probability Of Above Or Below Average Temperatures From June 29th To July 3rd:

Probability of cooler temperatures

I wouldn’t be surprised if this pattern sticks around for awhile, especially keeping the Great Lakes and the Northeast cooler with the western U.S. staying warm into July. The biggest uncertainty that I have right now is whether or not the ridge will try to build back into the Southeastern U.S. as we head a little farther into July. Sometimes it’s hard to break out of a hotter pattern in the Southeast during the summer once it has already become established. The forecast models try to build Bermuda high pressure back farther west into the Southeast, which would mean more heat, however, if this ridge stays suppressed, the Tennessee Valley into the Mid-Atlantic and northward could stay cooler, while the Gulf coast states would get hot again. In between all of this, there could be a zone of very wet and stormy conditions, which would probably be into the Tennessee Valley and/or Ohio Valley and north/east. Anyway, I’ll get all of those details ironed out as we get a tad closer to July. In the meantime, enjoy the cooler temps in the central and eastern U.S. that will be arriving by this weekend or sooner for some of you.

Notice The Broad Trough Building In The Eastern U.S. With A Ridge Building Over The West:

Trough In Eastern U.S.

Lake Texoma Flooding

Lake Texoma

I have been keeping up with the water levels of Lake Texoma over the past few days, as have thousands of other people, so I wanted to give you all a brief update on lake conditions. Lake Texoma is continuing to flow over the spillway this morning; the current lake level is at 643.67 feet and rising. This is the second time in a month for the lake to eclipse the 640 feet spillway rim. Lake Texoma will continue to increase in level as the inflow is significantly greater than the outflow release, and should crest early next week around 645.8 feet. If this crest level does come to fruition, it would be the highest level the lake has seen since 1944–even beating the crest of 645.72 feet back in May of this year.

Lake Texoma Flowing Over The Spillway (May 2015):

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Looking Back On Bill

U.S. Rainfall Totals

The remnants of Bill are miles away from the Southern Plains; however, the impacts are still being felt as runoff (from creeks and rivers) floods lakes (across Texas and Oklahoma) and the cleanup begins. As we predicted on Firsthand Weather, the main threat was flash flooding. That threat came to fruition; many areas saw 3-6″ with isolated 6-14″.

Rainfall Map Of United States:

U.S. Rainfall Totals

Rainfall Map of Oklahoma And Northern Texas:

Oklahoma Rainfall Totals

Slide4

I also mentioned wind gusts and isolated tornadoes would be a threat with Bill. That also, unfortunately, came to fruition too. Northern Texas, the Coast of Texas, and Southern Oklahoma saw wind gusts between 30-60mph. This downed many trees and power-lines across the areas.

Winds Associated With Bill:

Oklahoma Wind Gusts

Texas Wind Gusts

So how did we do overall? I think the forecast was very accurate overall. The one issue with Bill, however, is the precipitation was mainly to the west of the center. This is unusual, and due to this, my heavy axis of precipitation needed to be shifted to the west by 50 miles.

Firsthand Weather’s Rainfall Forecast For Bill:

Slide1

Luckily, Bill is over for the Southern Plains; however, the remnants are about to impact the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. These areas will see heavy rainfall (2-4″) over the next day or two. For those of you in the Southern Plains, enjoy the dry weather because it’s about to heat up!

Rainfall Forecast For Mid-Atlantic/Northeast:

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Bill Will Bring Flooding To Many, Southeast Heat Continues

Visible Satellite Bill

Bill is still a very healthy-looking storm with the mid to upper-level atmosphere remaining favorable, allowing the storm to maintain itself fairly well over land. As expected, the flooding situation became pretty serious across parts of Texas and Oklahoma, and parts of the mid Mississippi Valley have already gotten and will continue to get some heavy rainfall from this system, too. Anytime you throw a tropical system into the mid-latitudes, the forecasting period becomes challenging, and it doesn’t help that the model guidance is usually off a bit.

Visible Satellite Image Of Bill Over Arkansas/Missouri:

Visible Satellite Bill

Bill Bringing More Flooding Rains; More Heat/Some Storms Expected In Southeast:

As I’ve discussed on the site for several days now, there has been a persistent heat ridge over the Southeastern United States. Because of its position and strength, the air has been very stagnant. When you have a blocking ridge like that over a certain area, that region gets cut off from the main flow, so systems (such as Bill) just go around the ridge. That’s why it’s sometimes referred to as the “ring of fire,” because all of the rain is located on the outskirts of the ridge. The ridge has begun to flatten out over the Southeast and is temporarily weakening, so some of these areas will have a shot at getting some pop-up afternoon and evening storms today and this weekend. In fact, there is a decent microburst threat today across parts of the Southeast. Simply put, microbursts are strong winds (downdrafts) that develop in a storm and push to the surface. Once those winds hit the surface, they spread out and can cause damage.

The remnant precipitation from Bill may end up moving farther to the south than I originally anticipated but not by much. However, this can be the difference between someone getting a lot of rainfall and not. As I stated, the position of the ridge and how much is breaks down/flattens out is key to how far to the south this storm is able to track. Since Bill has probably had more of an effect on the overall pattern, northern parts of the Tennessee Valley could get more rain than originally forecasted, with places like Kentucky, lower Illinois, lower Indiana, lower Ohio getting heavy rain also. The rain will eventually spread eastward into the Mid-Atlantic states. This system will trek right along a stalled frontal boundary.

WPC’s 2-Day Rainfall Forecast Based On Latest Model Guidance:

2-Day Rainfall Map

Will The Heat Ever End Across The Southeastern U.S.?

Many of you across the Southeast are probably wondering if this heat is going to let up, and the answer is no, at least for the next week to ten days. The heat ridge is going to begin to reestablish itself next week, which could bring temperatures that could challenge or break records. As I have been warning for months now, many areas are going to really get some of that summer heat this year, and I was particularly adamant about that in my June/summer forecast. The big wildcard right now is whether or not this ridge will break down once we get into July. I believe the Northeast definitely has some cooler weather on the way (even this month), and forecast model guidance strongly suggests that cooler temperatures will dig fairly far into the Southeast towards July, with the exception maybe being right along the southern Gulf coast states and Florida. This would be right on schedule with my seasonal forecast, if that occurs. We have plenty of time to discuss that though. Right now, we’ll focus on the coming heat.

European Model Shows Ridge Building Back Over Southeast Next Week:

Ridge Builds Back In

Firsthand Weather Fundraiser:

I want to thank everyone who contributed to Firsthand Weather’s 10-day fundraiser. In just a few hours of launching the fundraiser, Firsthand Weather reached its goal. You still have 9 days to donate, and we will be using any extra money for many of the projects and updates that we plan to do! You can click here to view the fundraiser, and get more details on what the money will be used for. Thanks for all of your contributions and support.

UPDATE: Lake Texoma History Is Soon To Be Made!

I wanted to do a brief follow-up on the article last night about Lake Texoma. Lake Texoma will go over the spillway for the second time in a month due to the heavy rain associated with Tropical Depression Bill. Many locations within the Lake Texoma watershed picked up 6-13″ of rainfall last night. The current level of the lake is 639.84 feet and continuing to rise fairly quickly, so it should exceed the spillway ‘rim’ within the next hour or two.

Lake Texoma Exceeding Spillway (May 2015):
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The lake should crest early next week around 643 feet. Please note, this is historic because the lake has only gone over the spillway four times (1957, 1990, 2007, and May 2015) since the dam was finished in 1944. The most recent flood, May 2015, set an all time record high elevation of over 645.72 feet.

Firsthand Weather Needs To Raise $1200 By June 28th

Fundraiser

Click here to view the fundraiser! Firsthand Weather is needing to raise $1200 by June 28th in order to keep the website running after July 1st and to pay for the newsletter for 6 months, which will be sent out weekly. There are currently around 8,400 people signed up for the newsletter, and as long as that stays under 10,000 subscribers, the costs will not go up. $600 will be used to purchase a one year hosting plan that will support two million monthly visitors to the website. We typically run well under that mark during the summer, however the visits on the site rise dramatically in the fall and especially the winter. While views are typically lowest during the summer months, Firsthand Weather is having record views compared to previous summers, and Firsthand Weather is well on the way to having a record year.

Firsthand Weather’s growth is dependent entirely on viral growth and word-of-mouth. No money has gone into advertising, and we will likely continue with that strategy through the rest of 2015. Also, Firsthand Weather has no web design or web developer costs since I do all of that myself, which saves A LOT of money.

Originally, I decided to try to fund the newsletter for a year, but I have come up with another way to possibly fund it after the six months are up. I’ll discuss that later in the year.

Also, I had planned to try to fund a mobile app, but Firsthand Weather is just not ready to pull off something like that yet. While development continues on the app, the active weather last winter slowed down the entire process. That’s going to be a big project that is going to continue to take months of planning and development. We will start raising money for that when we’re ready.

So basically, it’s simple. Firsthand Weather needs $1200! This fundraiser is beginning Thursday, June 18th and will last 10 days. If we go over our goal, then that money will be used for buying new software, upgrading the website, providing additional services on Firsthand Weather, funding a mobile app, and much more!

ANY amount is appreciated! Seriously, a couple of bucks can make a huge difference when many people are contributing to something. If you contribute $5 or more, your name will be listed on the newly designed Firsthand Weather website later this year, if you choose. If you contribute $15 or more, you will be guaranteed early access to the mobile app as a beta tester, along with having your name listed on the site. Keep in mind that we’re currently behind on the development of the app. If you contribute $25 or more, I will send you a one to two paragraph early 2015-16 winter forecast for your exact location, along with making you an early mobile app tester and adding your name to the site. Just to estimate, you should get this forecast sometime in July or August, depending on how many people give $25 or more. This would be after the national winter forecast is put out publicly on the site later in July.

I hope that you’ll consider helping us out. Amazing things are being done at Firsthand Weather, and I’m excited for what the future has in store. Click here to go to the fundraiser, and then click “Back This Project” if you decide to donate!