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Veteran Advisor

8 - 6 Weather Update

Good Morning.  I feel like I was run over by a Mac truck this morning.  I'm really glad I didn't have a day shift this morning.  


Let's start out by looking at the 30 day rainfall totals for the US:

US: Monthly Rainfall Estimate



The winner for the last month - WI, AZ, and we better put MD (Maryland) in there.  IA, MN, IN were lacking, but most of those areas had moisture to cover for the last month.  There was some moisture stress out there, but it wasn't major (don't get me wrong here.  I know there are areas that are suffering, but considering the entire growing area, those areas are relatively small this year).  


This morning, we have the disturbance moving through IA.  This was supposed to be the big rain maker giving ALL of the Midwest the BIG DRINK that it needs, touted by the bears last week.  It's raining, not as much as the radar shows I would guess.  IA, MO, and IL will benefit from this event, most everyone else goes lacking.  We'll see what the totals look like tomorrow morning.


The bigger event is still a week away.  This system could give most of the corn and bean belt a drink.  This event starts next Wednesday with a series of Low pressure systems, stringing all the way from the Panhandles to Alaska.  Most of the intense Low activity is North in Canada, but this system along with the small Lows in the US is going to make for a multi-day, slow moving area of weather that is going to stick around, probably 3 days for most of us.  Here's what it looks like:


10 Day forecast of surface pressure and precipitation amounts from the GFS model



Add to that a somewhat favorable Jet Stream, especially over the more Northern areas (note that High Level here the Gulf is shut off, with a series of Highs over the Gulf and E Coast - ie - no hurricanes):


10 Day forecast of 300 mb winds and heights from the GFS model



So we're going to be a bit limited for moisture at the upper levels, but low level, we have this for Thursday, when things start to heat up:


10 Day forecast of 1000 mb (near-surface) temperature and wind from the GFS model



The Gulf is open to the Midwest, with a fairly strong convergence zone (white line from the Panhandles up though the Dakotas).   So we have 5 of the 6 elements in play.  Cold front, moisture, convergence, Jet Stream (though not as far south as many would like), temperature.  What we are missing is the upper air moisture.  That will somewhat limit the heavy downpour events where areas pick up copious amounts of rainfall.  But this event should be a fairly large coverage area - I'm going to call this one 80% less than 1/2 inch,  50% an inch or less, and 25% greater than 1", 15% greater than 2".   This should system should produce some rain.


For Broke Farmer out in AZ.


Until that High in the Pacific breaks down, you're going to have more of what the last month was like.  I'm going out on a limb here, and suspect that High off the Pacific Coast will break down, or at least weaken more, into late Sept and into Oct, as stronger fall and winter weather patterns begin to develop, and move northern air farther south.  El Nino years tend to give AZ more rainfall anyway, and I think, like I said, the pattern that you have seen, will continue.  Wetter than normal, near term from the semi permanent Low that has set up housekeeping over the BAJA and extending into AZ occasionally.  If there is moisture present, like you will have starting this weekend, that Low is enough to drop some rainfall over you.  Had there been moisture to work with, it may probably would be raining now and then into the weekend, but the atmosphere for you is just too starved for moisture.  That's my long term take on what I see for you guys.  Remember, I live in the Midwest, and I have a lot of experience with Midwest flatland weather.  But when you talk mountain chains, desert, the Pacific Ocean, local terrain features, it gets dicey giving projections.  I don't have enough experience with juggling all those various inputs in your area.  Given what I know and what I see, I feel this long term outlook should be OK.


So, we see what the bear bristle event turns out to be today, and then we watch to see how next week shapes up as we get closer.  Unfortunately, this forecast is just more dead meat for the bears to chew on.


I should mention temps I suppose.  Nothing threatening.  Just nice, summertime temps over the US.  That's it for now.


Any, yes, I do get some breaks at work.  Our lab scenerios run 45 minutes, and then there is a 30 minute or so break before the next scenerio (This 30 minute break is used by the student's instuctor to debrief the student, what they did right, did wrong, could've done better.  The next scenerio, the instructors swap, and the one who was teaching does the Radar, and the Radar person now teaches).  Two instructors work with a student.  One instructor plays the part of the Radar controller, the student is training to be a radar associate and works with the data and flight progress strips next to the radar person, and he/she has an instructor that works with them teaching the scenerio, then we have the class instructor watching over the 9 sectors (radar scopes) to ensure that everyone is teaching the same thing at the same level.  A couple of rooms away we have the other 1/2 of the class of students, they become the pilots talking to us on frequency from a detail sheet that tells them when to call, and what to say.  Next to them we have a person that is hired to help students operate the remote equipment, and they are also the "other" people that make our Air Traffic system operate.  They are the Flight Service Stations, Central Flow, Supervisors, etc making calls to the associate controller (the student that we are teaching) and telling them what they need to do - ie - 20 miles in trail on all Chicago O'hare arrivals.  That sorta thing.  Talk about a student teacher ratio.  Here, we are 3 - 4 teachers per student.  Yes, that's right.  By the time we get a student hires and through this academy, the government has a sizeable investment in these students.  I can't remember how much, it's a lot (I know you all want me to put a number to it, I think at one time, probably years ago, somewhere in the neighborhood of a $250,000 to $500,000 per student, but don't quote me on that, this one is a shot in the dark), and, the students here are employees already of the FAA, and are paid while they are here getting trained.  Not a lot, but a salary and they get per diem while they are here also.  I can tell you, the average Air Traffic Controller makes around $120,000 per year.  But it takes 1 - 3 years to become FPL (full preformance level) where you can work behind a scope by yourself.


Anyway, that's it.  I gotta make some breakfast.








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