Friday, December 6, 2013

The Weather Man

There is an oft quoted saying around these parts – “If you don’t like the weather here in St Louis, wait a day or two – it will change!”

That may seem like a defensive plea by local weather forecasters, who seem to have a success rate in the lowest quartile. How wouldn’t mind having a job where you are wrong 75% of the time – and still get to keep that job?  I have no job to lose – happily retired – so I just look out the window to see what’s going on, ‘weather-wise’. Which ways is the blowing? Easy-peasy: - from the South-East today

Anyone living here knows that what they saw on Monday about Thursday’s weather may well be unrecognizable when they see the forecast a day or two later. In their defense, we are situated near the Mississippi / Ohio valleys confluence, a location about which many ‘fronts’ seem to form – often with moist Gulf air on the advance side and Arctic air on the rear. On this map, St Louis is located between the upper two ‘L’s on the front.

So, it is not uncommon for our weather to change radically as the fronts move from southwest to northeast, with their divergent weather patterns on either side. It can also make a BIG difference whether you live on the north or the south side of St Louis. It may be less than 30 miles from one to the other - as the crow flies - but that proverbial bird can morph from a parrot to penguin in that distance if a front lies between. 

To illustrate my point about changing and diverse weather, just look here. Remember, this was Monday, December 2nd:

Yes – 66F (19C) that day; bright, sunny and perfect to enjoy a cold beer on my deck as I read a book. But, did you notice what I foretold about weather later in the week? That is what the weather man said – and who am I to doubt him, even if he has a 25% success rate?

Roll on to Friday morning (today), December 6th. Whoa! I do the ‘look out the window’ thing when I got out of bed about 5:30 am – still dark of course (sunrise not for another hour yet) but not too dark to see something IS different. Yes, 1/2” of snow on my deck!  I check the local news on TV and learn that 20 miles south of St Louis, there has been as much as 8” to 10” of the stuff!  See, all that Gulf moisture south of the front – luckily it stayed south of my abode. Oh yes, cold too – “Cold as a witch’s ti . . .” well, you know. How cold?  It was 21F (minus 6C) at that moment – headed to the local coven if tonight’s forecast is to believed: a chilly 7F (minus 14C) – see here:

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