There's no way around it. Busted forecasts stink. As my soon-to-be three year old niece eloquently puts it, they're P-U-ski. It's an unfortunate reality of the science, but errors are inevitable. Computer models (in unison) led meteorologists across Alabama astray this weekend, and it's something we need to learn from. So what exactly happened?
FORECAST VS. REALITY: An upper level low spinning across the northern Gulf of Mexico was to serve as the spark for heavy rain beginning Sunday. Models were in agreement this upper level energy would translate northward into Alabama, helping push a frontal boundary and plentiful moisture into the region.
The combination of high moisture content and lift would have set the stage for rounds of soaking rainfall, heavy at times. But it never happened. Here's what did:
Instead of pressing northward, that energy went eastward, hugging the Gulf coast. The frontal boundary was never allowed to march inland...and neither was the heavy rain. It was a critical misstep models...and in turn we meteorologists...we're unable to pick up on until it was already becoming clear something was fishy.
The promise of rain given our dry status is a big one. Saying it's a reality of the business is little consolation for Mother Nature not delivering on what we promised. We put this event in our back pocket to serve as a memory for future similar situations and move on to the next challenge. And this time of year, the next challenge is never far away...
THIS WEEK: We're going to ride the roller coaster a bit over the next seven days. Contrary to traditional form, the air behind this system isn't cooler. A few stray showers will still be possible through about 8pm before fizzling out. It's not a bad forecast for the Central Alabama Fair kicking off tonight. As clouds exit Tuesday, sunshine will allow temperatures to warm into the middle 80s. We could do upper 80s Wednesday with more sunshine.
Our next weather maker will be a cold front targeting Alabama by the end of the week. Ahead of that front, isolated showers and storms will be possible Thursday with greatest rain chances along the front itself Friday.
Next weekend will be very different behind the front. Clear skies return as much cooler air filters into Alabama. Highs in the 70s with overnight lows way down into the 50s will be possible.
Many missed the much needed rain this weekend. But this time of year, you seldom have to wait long for another opportunity...
-Doppler12 StormVision Meteorologist Eric Snitil-