How warm does it get Friday? (7-5-12)
We have seen our share of 90 degree weather so far in Syracuse this year (in fact half a dozen days in just the last two plus weeks). Tomorrow we are headed in that direction again. 90 degree weather seems to be a cinch but the real question is just how warm can we get.You hear us talk about the computer models all the time in our blogs and they do give quite a bit of guidance as to what we ultimately have in our forecast. After several decades of fine tuning by computer scientists and meteorologists they are to a point where they paint a pretty accurate picture of the upcoming weather. However, the goal of a good meteorologist is to know when the models are on target and when they need a little ‘tweaking.’ The forecast for tomorrow (Friday) is a case in point. While the models are forecasting a hot day tomorrow we don’t think they are forecasting temperatures high enough. Here are what the models are giving us as their best guess as to the temperature tomorrow in Syracuse. These numbers come from the morning run of the models on Thursday:
This product is MOS or Model Output Statistics and is a statistical technique that will objectively look at raw computer model data to produce useful guidance like surface temperature, wind speed & direction etc. The MOS data for the NAM and GFS are both readily available on the internet. The Timecast number comes from an in-house model we run at NewsChannel 9. You may ask yourself “If the models are so good why don’t we have 92 or 93 in our forecast for Friday?” This is where many times it pays off to look beyond the computer numbers to get a good dose of reality. First off, the forecasted temperatures from the models all week long have been lower than what has ultimately happened. For example, the day before the 4th of July, the NAM and GFS were forecasting 90 and 88 respectively for the high temperature on the holiday. We ended up reaching 94 degrees. Next, we looked at how the lower atmosphere over us will be different Friday versus the 4th of July. We’ve looked at the data over the last couple of days and the forecasted temperature at about 5,000 feet is about 2 c warmer on Friday. That tells us we have the potential to also be 2c warmer down at the ground than on the 4th of July.Finally, the 800 lb gorilla in the room is the massive heat wave in the middle of the country. It’s not like we have to manufacture the heat; it is already there and it will be moving east over the next 24 hours.So there, in a nutshell, is why we decided to go 97 for tomorrow (Friday) which would be the hottest day so far this year. Could we be wrong? Sure. A patch of clouds at the wrong time of day could cost us a couple of degrees as could an ill-timed shower or thundershowers. Right now, that doesn’t seem to be a problem as we will be warming aloft as well as down at the ground. It is that warming aloft that serves to ‘cap’ the atmosphere which should inhibit the growth of clouds and ultimately any precipitation.This is just one of the give and take arguments we have in the weather office on a given day. Today we are splitting hairs over high temperatures the next it might be over thunderstorm potential. That’s what makes our job so interesting. Each day brings a different challenge.
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