The challenges of forecasting for a coastal area

The challenges of forecasting for a coastal area
MGN Online
Weather Talk
Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 9:59pm

It's always fun filling in for Chief Meteorologist Robert Bettes.

The weather is completely different from what I am used to, which is a dry and warm climate.

As many of you already know, or may have guessed, I am on my way to barely obtaining my Meteorology Seal, which would allow me to become a certified Meteorologist.

But that doesn't discourage me from attempting to forecast the weather and help you know in advance what to expect.

The weather in Brownsville is not the easiest to forecast, especially being hundreds of miles away from the actual city. 

How many times have you caught me forecasting the highs in the the 80's, for example, and finding out the next day, those highs turned out to stay in the 70's?

Like I said, its a real challenge.

For example, in El Paso, TX where I am from, forecasting is a challenge in itself, but it's something I am able to better work with.

There are some basic rules to understand that helps me forecast a little more accurately in the desert.

For example, the basic rule of understanding how strong the winds will  be the next day, and from what direction are they coming from.

Usually if the winds are coming in from the west, you know they will be warm winds, helping us heat up the next day, unless those winds are accompanied by a cool front, then the opposite applies.

If the winds are coming in from the east, you can expect a backdoor cool front to move in helping the borderland to cool off the next day. Or if there is no cool front, then those winds wouldn't heat us up as would the westerly winds.

I have come to realize, that in Brownsville, these basic rules do not really apply.

The way to forecast for the area is through pressure gradients.

Here is another example, for tonight in the Valley, the pressure will be lowering across the Texas Panhandle tonight which will delay the winds from cooling the region.

This is why we saw those temperatures in the 70's at about 9:00 p.m.!

I am always awed by the weather in the Valley.

One day I will see temperatures in the 90's, and within the next 24 hours, those highs don't get out of the 70's.

The desert is a bit more predictable.

To further explain, in El Paso, TX if there is a high pressure system settled over the region, you know you will have happy weather, which in turn will heat us up for as long as the system remains over us.

So of course, you would expect the highs to gradually increase from 87 to about 92 the next day.

In Brownsville, we are currently under the same high pressure system, but look at the temps, staying at a constant level.

As a learning student, I love spotting weather phenomena like Cold fronts, upper waves, and of course the storms that some times follow a cool front.

It's jaw dropping watching the clouds align ever so perfectly as they uniformly move across the map.

I can't explain how amazing I find my job to be, and I can't wait to one day be as good as Robert Bettes at forecasting for an area that has plenty of weather going on during it's active weather season.

In this blog, I really want to thank the viewers for being patient with me as I attempt to deliver your forecast, and I do promise, that for as long as I am allowed to forecast for your region, I will do my best to get it as close and accurate as your Chief Meteorologist does.

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