More Tsunami Satellite Pics & St. Pat’s Forecast

We have all seen the pictures of the devastation in Japan, but I think the most incredible pictures I have seen so far have been the before and after high-resolution satellite pictures along the coast.

Check out the following link for even more incredible pictures from Google. You can actually move the bar back and forth to see the before and after. The power of water is incredible. It is easy to understand after looking at these pictures why the greatest devastation from hurricanes comes not from the wind, but the water.

It is hard to go from those scenes of devastation to our quiet and nice weather this week. Let’s all count our blessings and do what we can to help the people in Japan.

We have not hit 60 degrees in SE Wisconsin since November 22nd when it was 65 degrees. We have a good chance of hitting 60 on St. Patrick’s Day this Thursday. I am being conservative and putting in 57 for our high right now, but if we get enough sunshine we could easily be into the 60s. This is starting to be a trend on St. Patrick’s Day. Last year we hit 59 and in 2009 it was a record 75. Maybe there is the luck of the Irish at work.

Our snow pack will likely disappear as the week goes on. Here is the current snow pack around the country.

The “signature” storm is still set to arrive Monday-Tuesday of next week. The early indications are that this will be a wet storm and not white. The low looks like it will stay well to our north. If the low stays far enough north and we can drag in enough warm air I am concerned about the possibility of severe weather in our area. Here is the GFS forecast for next Monday night.

The european model also has the low well to the north, but not in the same configuration as the GFS.

The GFS has a stronger low pressure center and the European model washes out the surface low as it moves across southern Canada. I would tend to side with the GFS when comparing this to the previous signature storms on February 1-2nd and December 11-12. As always, it will be fun to watch.



18 Responses

  1. Hi Mark!

    First, congratulations on your upcoming anniversary at WISN12 — on March 17, right? Do they do anything during “off air time” in observance of special days like that? I hope you stay around for a long time to come!

    Second, if the early indications have the “sig. storm” low well north — to which of the previous appearances does that compare most? I’m thinking October, when we got all the wind but little else?

    Also, keeping in mind that everything is subject to much change, when do you think you will have a firm hold on track and precip type for our area?

    Continued success in all that you do!


    • Thank you, Don. No off time. Maybe for next year’s 15th anniversary.

      This round of the signature storm will likely bring wind and rain. I don’t think it will come through dry. As for the track, it will likely change. I’m not convinced it will be as far north as it is on the models right now.

  2. While I am expecting the signature storm very soon, I am holding off on specifics until we get closer. In each of the past cycles, things didn’t clear up until 48hrs ahead of time..and even then, there were track adjustments in the models. We know it will be there, but how will it look this time?

    @Mark – bummer about no time off…but I guess you have had enough already this year, huh? LOL

    • We can’t wait that long! I am certain we will see the track meander.

      As for time off…is there never enough vacation time?


  3. It certainly has been the “Luck of the Irish” as of recent, but I researched further back and realize this is only a recent trend.

    March 17 highs…
    2008 – 35
    2007 – 37
    2006 – 35
    2005 – 32
    2004 – 33

    Then I went back even further and it is amazing that we have not had a St. Patrick’s Day in the 40s (which is supposed to be normal) in the past 10 years.

    2003 – 69
    2002 – 37
    2001 – 39

    • Thanks, Daniel G,

      “Normal” clearly does not mean that is what we are going to get. 🙂

      Nice research.


      • Uh oh. You said the “normal” word. Here is my favorite article regarding “normal” and “average” from Chuck Doswell…

        I think I have posted this before, but it is always a great read…makes you think after all…

      • lrcweather, you did post that before, and as I read Daniel G’s comment that article was the first thing that popped into my head. Thanks for sharing again. I enjoyed the article so much I blogged about the “normal” subject after I read it.

        As far as the future goes, I am not believing anything the models are projecting yet. 🙂

    • Chuck Doswell has too much time on his hands. That was quite an article. I had seen that before, but it had been a long time. Thanks for sharing.


  4. I’m looking forward to a good rain with the Signature Storm. It will give the roads and grass a good wash and remove the remnants of road salt. With temps in the 50’s, a good rain might jumpstart the lawns a bit too. Ahhhh, looking forward to that smell of fresh cut grass! Spring!

    • Dave, I’ll keep a close eye on the track. If it stays where it is we look to be on the rainy side. I’m with you on the smell of fresh cut grass. The first cutting of the spring is always the best!


  5. Very interesting watching the signature storm on the long range GFS…. it looks like it’s finally becoming a little bit more accurate….right now putting the rain/snow line in western or even central Wisconsin around 192 hours. And then everything seems to become much more generalized at the next frame – 204 hours. This one will be fun to watch!! I think heavy rain changing to a little snow doesn’t seem too far off at this point.

  6. Oh and doesn’t this model look very much like the blizzard? Showing a huge swath of heavy precipitation that looks awfully familiar… I remember how Kansas City got hammered during the blizzard, too.

    By the way, thanks for writing about Japan…. fascinating and horrible at the same time!!!

    • Dan,

      I was fooled again. Signature storm is more likely Tuesday into Wednesday. Monday will just bring weak low through. Big storm waits for Tuesday night/Wednesday. Should be fun. Track still quite uncertain, but I’m impressed that GFS is really picking this up well.

      • Oh you’re thinking it’ll be that early? i was thinking more like Wednesday.

        Yeah, the GFS seems to be doing well, but the low is jumping around a bit, right? It seems to jump due east, right? And during the blizzard, didn’t the low start further south and have more of a northward movement rather than east? Perhaps it’ll change like that in the coming days. I mean, it’s still at least 7+ days away! 🙂

        Also, remember how the storm jumped further north that the models anticipated in the last 12-24 hours? I wonder if it will be the same with this storm. Oh well, we’ll find out 😀

      • Dan K,

        I was duped into believing in the first low in my blog yesterday. It now looks like it will be late Tuesday into Wednesday. Could be a fun rain to snow forecast.

      • Sounds good… LOL i bet those are your favorites 😀

  7. I hope we get mostly or all rain, I am loving these temps in the 50’s this week. Stepped out my door this morning and heard robins. Also saw geese flying north this weekend. So well we still might get some winter like weather it looks like the wild life is trying to tell us that spring is almost upon us.

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