Friday, December 19, 2014

Fighting the "Crap App" Issue

One of my goals for the Region 8 Storm TEAM is to make our apps even better. A meteorologist in Birmingham often calls weather apps "Crap Apps" because the forecast does not match the forecast that you see on air. I'm happy to report that we do not have a Crap App at KAIT.

We have two apps. One is all weather and one is our news app that has a weather section. One of the big complaints we had when we first ventured into the app business was that our forecast on the app did not match what we had on television. I agreed with you 100%, but had my hands tied. It was driven by computer models and we could not change it. THAT HAS CHANGED! The forecast you see on both of our apps now, matches the forecast that you see on air. Make sure you have updated both apps in the App store or on Google Play:
The above image is from our news app. I like its layout. You can see the forecast, current conditions, and watch a video forecast from the latest newscast. 

Another project in the future is to make the radar product better. It's good now, but there's always room for improvement. I'd like to see higher resolution radar data and roads and cities over the data instead of under the data. I'll keep you posted on that!

If you have any suggestions to make our weather app better OR the weather section on our news app better, tweet me at @ryanvaughan or email me at

Have a good day!

Monday, December 08, 2014

"Geese" Clouds!

I frequently tweet radar images of what I believe are geese and ducks. The area that I see ducks and geese on radar the most is from Big Lake, AR to the Missouri Bootheel. With new radar technology, I know it is not precipitation. Here's an example from a few days ago. The right image is correlation coefficient. "Non-precipitation" will show up in grey and blue, while precipitation shows up in red, yellows, and oranges:
Today, it was confirmed. Zach Worrell sent me these pics from Rives, Missouri! These are some of the most amazing pics I have ever seen. He took them with his quadcopter! This is what we have been seeing on radar!

The pics speak for themselves. This is awesome. Thanks Zach!

I'm leaving to drive to Gosnell soon. I hope to grab some images from the ground as well.


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Freezing Rain Possible on Monday

First off:
  • This should not cause any huge problems.
  • Jonesboro will likely see rain only.
  • Best chance for icing will be in the Ozarks.
  • School closings unlikely.
There is a chance of freezing rain for PARTS of Region 8 on Monday. We will have a sharp drop in temperatures along a cold front, as it passes through the area. You'll know when the front moves through when the winds start coming from the north instead of the south. Look at the arrows on this map. Can you see the wind shift south of Memphis on Monday morning?:
Temperatures will drop as we go through the day on Monday. Here are the temperatures in the morning hours across Region 8, based on this model:
And here are the temperatures at the end of the day:
The colder air is sliding south, but starts to stall to our south. This cold air is not that thick, meaning there is warmer air aloft. This cold air is "slicing" into the lower parts of the atmosphere, but 5,000 feet up, still has the mild air that we are experiencing this weekend! I think we will barely stay above freezing in Jonesboro, but as you head into the Ozarks, there could be some light icing. This model shows the areas that could be seeing freezing rain on Monday PM. Icing is in pink:
I'm not expecting any huge problems, but we will keep an eye on it!

Have a great day!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Cold November, But 70s Soon?

The wind woke me up this morning! Wind gusts went over 40 mph in Region 8 this morning and some people lost their power. It's still a little breezy and colder than yesterday.

Despite being a little warmer yesterday, Jonesboro is still on track to have the SECOND coldest November on record. The overall average temperature this month, so far, is 43.3°. Here are the Top 10 coldest Novembers on record prior to 2014 (NWS):
As you can see, we have been colder than 1951, but not quite as cold as 1976. Despite having a very cold November, I still think the average temperature for  the upcoming Winter may be "average"... but the weather may be active.

For those that are sick of the cold weather, I have some good news! This map shows the temperatures well above average for the start of December:
After looking at some long-range data this morning, I think some places may flirt with 70° to start December! I like that, but it could lead to some severe weather. It's still early and the data could change, but all indications are pointing to a warm-up at the start of December.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday Night SNOW

It looks like we are going to get some snow tonight. As always, let's simplify everything with some bullet points on my thoughts as of 7:30 am this morning (Sunday):

  • I expect the rain to change to snow this evening.
  • Some areas could see 1-2", with some isolated areas seeing 3".
  • I expect several schools to close tomorrow.
  • With Monday and Tuesday being at or below freezing, roads could stay slick in spots.
  • With it being an early storm, it's hard to know how the roads will respond.
  • I'll be on air with LIVE updates at 5:00 and 10:00 tonight, with Andrew Wilson.
Justin and I spoke this morning and adjusted the accumulation map based on our thoughts on the latest data. This may change this afternoon:
I think if anyone sees more than 2", it would be SEMO and possibly Clay or Greene counties. We'll adjust this map as needed, as new data arrives, and the storm unfolds. 

If you know me, you know I'm not a fan of winter. To get snow in November does not make me happy, but that's life! LOL As I mentioned earlier, the hard part about this forecast is how the roads will respond to the first snowfall of the season. I'm not a road expert. I have a pretty good idea about how much precipitation should fall and what the temperatures are going to do, but I'm still not a road expert. My gut feeling tells me that with snow falling at night and temperatures around 30°, the roads are going to get slick. It has been very cold over the past week and I think the snow will stick easily, ESPECIALLY on bridges and overpasses.

Also, I'm worried about how long the roads stay slick. Temperatures on Monday and Tuesday may not go above freezing in many locations. This may leave roads slick in spots, especially shady areas. Can you imagine school being out for 3 days for 1-2"? It's happened before... Never say never.

I hope I am dead wrong. It would not hurt my feelings if it were all rain! It would not hurt my feelings if the roads stayed wet. Let's prepare for the worst and hope for the best. This might be good training for when Winter actually begins!

Here's a timeline. At 6PM, rain is changing to snow in places like Hardy, Melbourne, Mtn. View, etc:
At midnight, snow and sleet covering most of Region 8. Notice the heavier band setting up where we believe the highest snow amounts will be located. We will have to watch the storm unfold to see exactly where that bands sets up:
By 6AM, we are left with flurries or freezing drizzle:
I hope this helps! I'm heading to church, but will be at work by 2:00 PM. If anything changes, I will give another update. Also, follow me on twitter at @ryanvaughan and on Facebook at