WeatherNation Blog

“Perfect” Wedding Weather

Ask any soon-to-be bride and they will tell you that one of their many concerns is the weather on their wedding day.  As a meteorologist, you can imagine how many times I analyzed and then re-analyzed the weather situation for my own wedding day.  This is such a popular concern that some have turned wedding weather forecasting into a business.  Some websites offer planning guides for purchase on how to chose your wedding date for optimal weather conditions.  You can give yourself better odds by choosing a location and a season where favorable weather is more likely.  But when it comes down it, no one can be certain that you will have pleasant conditions for a wedding more than a couple of days in advance.  

I have had the pleasure of attending several outdoor weddings in recent years.  One of the best was in Montana in August.  This is a safe bet for an outdoor wedding because in the month of August there is on average only about .85 inches of rain all month. On the wedding day, there was actually some rain just prior to the ceremony so it was momentarily postponed until it cleared and then it was a beautiful evening.  I recently attended another outdoor wedding in Minnesota in July where there were plenty of nature’s version of fireworks in combination with torrential downpours and this did not clear up like the Montana wedding.  But this was not at all a complete disaster as you may suspect since a substantial tent was sufficient in keeping the guests dry and the party going.  Rain isn’t the only weather condition that could potentially ruin an outdoor wedding – there are also extreme temperatures.  A few years ago I was a guest at an outdoor wedding in Vail, CO in October.  Now this is a much riskier location for this time of the year.  Although the average monthly rainfall is only about 1.5″, the average temperature is 37 degrees!  So, needless to say, it was quite chilly.  And on the flip side, I have also attended an outdoor wedding with sweltering heat. High temperatures climbed into the 100 degree range.  At this particular occasion, the bride was accommodating by encouraging the guys to wear shorts to be as comfortable as possible.  All of these weddings were very happy occasions even though it didn’t turn out to be exactly how it had been envisioned.  As I have been going down memory lane here, it occurred to me that I have actually never attended an outdoor wedding where the weather was considered “perfect.” (Whatever that means).  So with some careful planning, I suppose it is possible to pull off a a successful outdoor wedding as long as you are aware of worst case scenario and you can be flexible enough to deal with it.  (And maybe thats a lesson that can be applied to the the marriage as well). 

By the way, Chelsea Clinton will be married today in Rhinebeck, NY.  The details of this event have been carefully hidden it is most likely that some portion of this event will be outside.  On average, August is one of the rainiest months of the year but she will luck out.  The rain will hold off until tomorrow and today we are expecting plenty of sunshine with the high temperature resting comfortably in the low 80s.

Trouble in the Southwest

From wildfires in California to wind gusts up to 80 mph in southern Arizona, it has been an active week past couple of days.  Monsoonal moisture continues to move through Arizona today.  Yesterday thunderstorms developed in portions of southern AZ.  Some of those storms produced severe weather weather in and around the Phoenix area.  Most of the damage occurred from strong wind gusts and heavy rain.   This map shows those reports. 

Some of the reported wind gusts were as high as 80 mph.  Police officers reported a 5 car garage had collapsed.  There was even damage at the University of Phoenix Stadium where the Arizona Cardinals play.  There were pieces of the roof that have been reported to have blown off and debris from the roof was on the playing field.  Training camp begins today and first game is only a couple weeks away, on Aug 14.  It is assumed that the repairs will be completed by then.  Heavy rain was also apart of the mess with some places reporting over an inch of rain.  In Florence Junction, AZ 1.1 inches of rain feel in only a half hour.  This much rain in a short period of time led to several flooded roadways.  The rain isn’t over yet either.  Showers and thunderstorms remain in the forecast through the weekend with temperatures below 100 degrees.  The weather pattern changes at the begining of the week with drier and warmer air moving in.  Temperatures return to around 105 for the middle of the week.  

In California, wildfires continue to spread through Los Angeles county.  But in some circumstances, the weather is actually helping the situation instead of hurting it.  Over 1,000 homes have been evacuated and one of the fires is only about 5% surrounded at this point.  Near the coast it will be cool and moist and that will help some of the fires that are further north.  Towards the south, breezier and drier conditions will hinder some of the efforts.  The causes of these fires are still unknown. Wildfires usually start to pop up in late summer and the threat for wildfires to develop will continue into the November.

Desert Monsoon

It’s the time of year when the deserts of the US get the most rainfall. The monsoon season lasts for several weeks. So far this year, Tucson, AZ has had 1.37″ of rain according to the preliminary climatic data. However, the city is behind on rainfall. A recent drought outlook reports states like Arizona will see lower amounts of rainfall for the next three months. Today, the deserts could see heavy rain and the Storm Prediction Center has parts of Arizona and New Mexico under a slight risk for severe weather. Heavy rainfall is likely. Here’s hoping rain will add up over the next few weeks to avoid an extended drought.

Deadliest Tornado Since 1923 Hits Montana

Montana’s storm season has been much more active this year than it has in a long time. On July 27th, 2010, 2 people died in a rare tornado that struck near Reserve, MT.
The National Climatic Data Center reports only two other deadly tornadoes in the state since the 1950s. This makes Wednesday’s storm quite a headline maker. It’s also noted that it’s rare to have a deadly tornado in Montana because of a low population.
According to reports, McCone County saw a deadly tornado in July of 1983 and another was recorded in Wibaux County in 1952.
The Associated Press reports the tornado Wednesday pulled a farmhouse from it’s foundation. A 10-year-old boy and a 46-year-old man died.
Winds reached an estimated 150 miles per hour and a National Weather Service Spokesman says there have only been four tornadoes in Montana that have reached EF3 status.

A Quiet Tropics, Todays Severe Threat, Possibly Record Hail, and a Rare Montana Tornado

Good Tuesday to you all! We have for you today a quiet tropics and severe weather in the Midwest, along with some other meteorological nuggets.

Quiet Tropics

We are in a lull right now in both the Atlantic and Pacific. What you see above is a satellite image from earlier today of the Atlantic basin from NOAA, and nothing is brewing, and looks to stay that way for the next few days. While there are a few waves out there that we would typically watch for development, there is currently a lot of dry air and some moderate wind shear, both factors keeping the storms from developing. The dry air is keeping the waves dry aloft, meanwhile the wind shear is tearing storms apart. We need to closely watch the tropics about a week from now though. Some of the longer term models are hinting that conditions will start becoming more favorable for tropical development. August and September are typically the busy months for tropical development, with the “peak” around September 11th — no matter what the “forecasts” for the season say. But with many analysts forecasting a busier than normal season, I would not be surprised to see the Atlantic become very active in a few weeks. For now, though, enjoy the calmness of the Atlantic!

Meanwhile, today marks an important day in hurricane history. Back in 1943, Lt. O’Hair & Col. Duckworth became the first people to every fly into a hurricane, marking the beginning of Air Force flights into hurricanes. The readings we get from these flights are very helping in determining the strength and likely future of these storms.

Severe Weather Today in the Midwest

We are tracking the threat of severe weather up in the Midwest once again today. Much of Minnesota and Wisconsin is under a Slight Risk of Severe Storms for the day today. What sticks out, though, is the tornado threat.

The Storm Prediction center has areas from the Twin Cities into northern Wisconsin in a 10% chance of tornadoes for today, basically meaning that there is a 10 times greater chance of a tornado today than on your average day. We’ll be watching for the threat later today, mainly late afternoon and early evening, look to be the peak times today. Large hail and damaging winds appear to be a great threat today also.

Speaking of large hail…

The largest hail stone on record was 7 inches in diameter, having a circumference of 18.75 inches, recorded in Aurora, Nebraska back in 2003. The Aberdeen, South Dakota Weather Forecast Office, though, has pictures of a hail stone that could break that record.

This picture was taken in Vivian, South Dakota, after strong storms rolled through July 23rd. According to the ruler under the hail stone, it would appear that the stone is 8 inches in diameter and, if verified, it would become the largest hail stone on record. It will take NOAA a few months to declare whether this was a new record or now, but it is certainly interesting to look at a hail stone this big! We know that winds in the updrafts of a thunderstorm have to be about 103 mph for softball size hail (4.5″) to form, so I can’t imagine how high the winds must have been to create a stone this large.

Washington DC Storm Imagery

This is a satellite image of strong storms that rolled through the Washington DC area on July 25, causing numerous downed trees and power lines, and leaving hundreds of thousands without power. There was even a report into the National Weather Service from 1 mile west of the White House. Crews are still working frantically to restore power to parts of the DC area. You can view more from NASA here on these amazing satellite images of the cloud tops.

Tornado in Montana

Last night, a tornado touched down in the northeast portion of Montana near Reserve and sadly there were two deaths associated with it. This is an important stat for Montana though. According to the National Climatic Data Center, there have been only 2 other deadly tornadoes within the state of Montana since 1950, the last occurring 27 years ago on July 9, 1983. A total of only 2 tornado deaths had been recorded in Montana since 1950 prior to last nights deaths. Certainly a tornado that is out of the ordinary for Montana, especially this portion of the state.

Well, that’s what I have for you today. Hope you are now well informed! I hope you’ll come back tomorrow for the latest weather information to help get you through your day.

D.J. Kayser from WeatherNation

July 2010
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