Stormy Weather

I was busy yesterday afternoon with some stormy weather that moved into Connecticut. I got an email from someone on the other side of the state who was unhappy I had broken into a soap opera.

That sort of thing comes with the territory. I have heard other weather people describing the same type of call or email. There is no question in my mind that I did the right thing. The writer will probably never agree.

At least the bad weather brought one thing – this unreal picture taken in Northfield, CT by Lou Belloisy. Lou’s an old friend and former chopper pilot for the station. I’ve seen his photography before, so this shot is no surprise.

I am jealous.

This is the kind of photo I’d like to take. Hopefully, I will. I understand the mechanics and technique, but there’s more involved. There will be more pictures like this one over time because more people with digital cameras will be willing to experiment, taking hundreds of photos and getting instant feedback.

Along with our thunderstorms, I’ve been watching two tropical systems closely because it looks like they might affect us – not as tropical storms or hurricanes, but as gusty rainstorms.

My forecast for Bonnie, the first, looks on target. Tomorrow should be very, very rainy. I’m not so sure about Charley, storm two.

Here’s the problem for me as a weather forecaster – I am very dependent upon the computer guidance. Every once in a while I’ll hear a forecaster poo poo the models, but that’s baloney. The reason we can have 5-6-7, even 8-day forecasts is because of computer modeling. No human could discern the weather patterns that far in advance without mathematical help.

Unfortunately, the medium range models, and to a lesser extent the short term ones, don’t see these tropical systems! They are compact, and usually occur in areas where data is sparse. As of this morning I can’t find Charley on the models we depend on for the first few days of the forecast, much less the extended forecast.

I know Charley will be there, so everything in the models he could interact with is probably wrong!

I try to look at special tropical models and integrate the data myself – but that’s not a great solution. There’s just too much physics taking place. I’m sure I’m missing things left and right. So, the extended forecast, when there’s tropical weather around, tends to be less accurate – which is a shame.

There’s no ‘level of difficulty’ excuse. If this forecast busts, people will be (correctly) upset. That’s what I get for claiming to be able to predict the future.

3 thoughts on “Stormy Weather”

  1. This HAS to be a composite. The barn is lit with daylight and there’s no way he could have triggered the shutter at the exact moment of the lightning. If he left the shutter open for a while to capture the lightning, the barn would have been way overexposed. He probably shot the barn during a nice sunny day, then got a great lightning shot from possibly the same location and composited the two.

    My apologies if I’m wrong, but I’m guessing that’s how this shot was made.

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