Nice Labor Day? What happened?

It was not a nice Labor Day across our area, but I don’t need to tell you that. A forecast bust on a day when thousands want to be outside enjoying a last taste of summer is not something I am proud of.

It was a day that started with a surprise. The sound of thunder woke me up and I was none too happy to hear it. I never thought we would still have thunderstorms ongoing into Monday morning. Not only thunderstorms, but severe storms. Take a look at the pictures from Tim Snopek in Waukesha.

You can see the hail pelting the deck and taking down some leaves. Here is a picture of the largest hail.

One inch hail is officially considered severe. Thanks for the pics, Tim.

So what in the world happened. First of all, none of the computer models that I use picked up the storms in the morning. I should have raised a red flag when there were storms last night that none of the models initialized well. That means that the models were not picking up the rain and storms that were ongoing at 10 pm last night. When this occurs, you usually should throw out the models that did not show the storms. The problem was that none of the models were performing well. When this occurs, the meteorologist should really pay close attention to what is occurring upstream of our location. I did not do a good job of this last night. The models were missing the strong warm air advection happening at the 700 mb level of the atmosphere. This is approximately 10,000 feet above the surface. The surface was dry, but warm, moist air was pouring in aloft. There was a weak stationary boundary that set up over our area last night and that became the focus for storms into the morning. The clouds hung around for most of the day and that kept our temperatures down. We had a high of 77. I had forecast a high of 84. Not a good day.

Now, on to tonight and Tuesday. A line of storms is developing across Iowa and Minnesota right now.

A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect until 1:00 AM for SW Wisconsin, NE Iowa, and SE Minnesota. This line will likely weaken as it moves into the more stable air across SE Wisconsin. I will watch closely. If these storms hold together, they would arrive in our western counties by midnight.

Tomorrow a very strong pressure gradient will develop tomorrow as a low pressure center moves to our north and high pressure tries to push in from the west. This will create very windy conditions. A wind advisory has been issued for our area from 11am until 7pm. Winds may gust as strong as 50 miles per hour.

Thanks for reading. Have a great night.



5 Responses

  1. Mark, it happens. You took your best educated guess and some variables you hadn’t counted on came into the picture. No problem. None of us are so sweet that we’ll melt from a bit of rain, trust me on that score. Thanks for the apology, the explanation, and the update as to what we can “look forward” to. The one thing I was liking about the no rain? The lack of grass cutting. LOL!

    Take it easy and thanks for all you do. 🙂

  2. All the meteorologists busted today. You’re the only one to admit it though so that’s something we can all appreciate. Besides, who needs any more 80s… we had more than enough during summer anyways.

    • Thanks, Daniel. Not my best effort yesterday.

  3. I just want to say the same thing others have posted already. Not to sound like a jerk, but it’s very ‘cool’ to see the chief meteorologist FINALLY not just say they were ‘wrong’ but to _EXPLAIN_ what went wrong with the forecast. If every time it rained when it was not forecasted or never did when it was, I wouldn’t care. I just am very curious about knowing the why and the scientific/atmospheric reason(s) for it happening the way it did.

    Not to belabor a point, but it was really cool to hear Mark explain _why_ things didn’t turn out how he had forecasted. The fact that he wrote about it is awesome!!!


    • Thank you, Michael.


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