I try to post a daily weather prediction from wherever I am, first thing in the morning. The template is as follows:
- Weather Yesterday (maybe photos)
- Weather Today (maybe photos)
- NWS Forecast Summary: This is from the local office. I paraphrase the overall trends from their weather forecast.
- NWS Forecasts for selected areas: This always includes my current location, as well as any of significance. On a normal day, that is my home, where I work, and a few other places. When I travel, this is nearby places where I may visit later in the day. It normally includes high and low temperatures, sky conditions, chances of showers and thunderstorms, snowfall amounts and wind speed and direction.
- NWS Hazardous Weather Outlook/SPC Outlook: This can be two parts- the NWS part and the SPC part, depending on the circumstance. The NWS issues warnings and Hazardous Weather Outlooks. the SPC issues watches and outlooks. If they have issued Critical Fire Weather Risk or a Severe Weather Risk (Marginal, Slight, Enhanced, Moderate, or High), I will make note of this, and it may trigger other plots in the post. I may add CAPE or shear plots in severe weather, or Fosberg Index for Fire Weather, or Critical Thicknesses for snow.
- Visible or Enhanced Infrared Satellite Image
- 12Z Weather Balloon Sounding: This shows a profile of temperature and moisture, as well as available energy, shear, and general shape. I often reference “inverted v” soundings, where the red trace (temperature) and green trace (moisture) form an upside-down V. When this happens, it means there is moisture aloft, but less at the surface, and we often have gusty, downburst winds.
- Surface Observations: This shows temperature, dewpoint, sky conditions (as told by sensors), and wind speed and direction. This is seasonably variable: a dewpoint of 28 F could be “high humidity” in the winter, when the surface temperature is low, but it could also mean “low humidity” during the summer, when the surface temperature is high.
- Surface Pressure: This has been adjusted for altitude. If the adjusted pressure is much below 1010 mb, I consider this “low” pressure, and if it is much above 1018 mb, I consider this high pressure. I check the current observation and the RAP 2, 4, and 6 hour predictions to look for trends. Often, diurnal heating (meaning daytime heating) drops the surface pressure.
- 250 mb: The 250 mb chart shows the overall jetstream pattern. I give a qualitative speed and direction, and how it shifts through the day, if a major trough or ridge passes through.
- 850 mb/700 mb: In these layers, I look for thermal advection: are the winds blowing across a thermal gradient, bringing in warmer air (Warm Air Advection, WAA) or colder air (Cold Air Advection, CAA). In New Mexico, the most common of these is a “backdoor cold front”, which is CAA that approaches from the northeast, as colder air filters into the Great Plains. Traditionally, meteorologists use 850 mb for this, but because we are at a higher altitude, I look at the 700 mb plot as well.
- Simulated Reflectivity/Precipitation: This is like a suggested radar image. It doesn’t mean storms will fire exactly like this map shows; I look for trends. If nothing fires, I can speculate on whether there is enough moisture for precipitation. I use qualitative terms again like “isolated” or “scattered”. If there is precipitation, I will include the total precipitation, out to 12Z the next morning. If snow is possible, I will include that chart as well.
- Temperature Charts: I have one for high temperature and low temperature. Typically, the high temperature will happen in the mid afternoon, and the low temperature right before sunrise, though passing fronts can affect the timing.
- Dewpoint Chart: I throw this one in there to evaluate the surface moisture and dryline location (where the dewpoint changes quickly). Storms often fire along the dryline.
- Wind Chart: This one is tricky. I only post this one if winds are expected to be “purple” on this chart (~25 mph). If I don’t include it, we still may have a windy day, just not with winds over 25 mph.
- Simulated Infrared Imagery: This is an attempt at whether we will have clouds or not. The same caveat as the simulated reflectivity: I look for trends, not whether there will be a cloud over your house.
- Summary: This is my overall summary. If I disagree with something from the NWS or don’t like some of the model data, I’ll mention that. I normally tell you what my outdoor activities will be (working in the garden, wearing a heavy coat, etc).