Mother's Day showers-- perfect for the flowers

...Of course, the fact that we'll stay soggy straight into Tuesday isn't all that great. Flooding possibilities should be manageable though.

Happy Mother's Day!

Some of you web-junkies will have no-doubt already seen the Google Doodle for the day today. I enjoy throwing a few seconds of my day at it here and there, but this one is pretty cute. They always make a neat little thing out of their name based on something that happened that day in history (or someone's birthday, etc.) Check it out by going to their home page at www.google.com

Another absolute must-read is Tony Cavalier's latest blog post entry: "The White Carnation". What a heart-felt and warm tribute to mom! It is so important to honor mom, and to develop that "attitude of gratitude" so that she feels good about the people she poured her life into and now gets to see less and l can echo many of his sentiments of mom being the best "coach" I've had.

Of course, for me as a husband and father, I'm half-dreading the time when the kids start entering the ages where the "coaching" instinct takes off in my wife. She's already been a wonderful/spectacular mother to our four children, but there's four of them! I hope there's some space in there for me somewhere (the Google Doodle doesn't give me much to work with ;-) I'm going to be a little annoyed if, by the time the kids are out of the house and I finally get her to myself again that all she thinks about are those kids scattered abroad-- but, that's the way it's been, and it will probably be the way it goes. So I'll just have to keep doing what I can to make/keep her happy (because if Momma ain't happy ain't nobody happy). I can see it now: my occasional messages to my adult children to "Call your mother!"

Okay, that probably should have been a tangent-thingy... my bad. Let's get to the forecast. It's a wet one. Here's the HPC surface map rendering:

They have the same element we talked about a few days ago that would be showing up on the map, the "inverted trough". It will be focusing some steadier showers through Kentucky and parts of West Virginia during the day today, but primarily we will see a jump from one side of the Ohio river to the other as the mountains play with the dynamics of this storm system. As I write this, it is pouring the rain down closer to lexington and right down through Tennessee, with precious little toward Charleston. However, the next set-up we will see will put this same axis of heavier showers directly over the eastern mountain counties. There will be some steady rain for the folks in between, but the primary area of flooding concern will be over in the mountains this time around.

The next question becomes: when will it all end? (I mean the rain anyway) Well, the models are telling a differing story, and it's because of how they are handling the upper-air dynamics rather than exclusively what's going on at the surface.

GFS - Tuesday AM WRF - Tuesday AM
GFS - Tuesday AM (Vorticity) WRF - Tuesday AM (Vorticity)

The GFS wants to move the rain through the mountains more quickly, and the WRF shows the showers hung-up for a while longer such that the umbrellas are out on Tuesday. Yesterday these same model runs were both keeping the rain in town for at least part of Tuesday. When you look at the upper air dynamics (the "vorticity" map on the lower row), the reasons for the difference emerge. In any long-wave trough or elongated low pressure system there are going to be these smaller impusles that will be carried along the prevailing winds aloft. On the maps above, they are represented by the red blobs with the "X" in the middle. In this case, they are rotating around the base of a trough in the upper atmosphere (believe it or not, meteorologists have to keep an eye on troughs and ridges, highs and lows, at many different levels of the atmosphere). Simply, the GFS finishes the last such impulse through the area while the WRF shows another one coming in. These little buggers can be finnicky, so it's quite a challenge to see different computer models retain the exact same representation of how this vorticity is combining, separating, moving, and shaking :-)

In this situation, the meteorologist will step in, recognize how the models have been handling this system in previous runs, identify the climatology of the mountains as being one that l-o-v-e-s to hang up showers a little longer overhead, and edge toward the WRF model in the final forecast.... So sorry, I'm thinking we're getting rained-on on Tuesday as well ;-)

Here's the precipitation estimate as it stands now:

HAS Precipitation Forecast HPC Precipitation Forecast

 In the immediate term, the rain is heavy just to our west (and we'll have to keep an eye on things in case flooding becomes a problem). But, eventually, you'll see that shift that hops over and refocuses on the mountains. Here's a rendering that covers early next week as well:

HPC - Rainfall Estimate - By Wednesday AM

Obviously any over-lap between the two phases of this storm is going to cause some problems here, but the hope is that we'll stay at the high-end of the 'manageable' phase. Thunderstorms are not expected to play a large role in this event, so the idea of 'flash' flooding will not be as likely. It'll just be those steady, longer-form rain showers that don't allow for many cracks in the clouds. We'll be keeping an eye on it!

And, oh yes... Call your mother!

Regional Radar/Satellite with Warnings Tracking

Accuweather Radar

Temperatures HD Doppler Radar Estimated Rainfall Active Warnings
Current Temperatures HD Doppler Radar Estimated Rainfall Active NWS Warnings
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Have a great day everyone!

-B

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