May 3, 2011

May 19-21 2011 Spring Itch Classic Forecast Attempt - Bring Your A Game

** Update 5/16 **

The 2011 Spring Itch Classic golf tournament is taking place May 19-21 in the Upper Peninsula of MI. My goal with this forecast is to give the ones attending the event a good idea of what gear they should bring knowing they will be enduring many hours outdoors during these days.

This pattern in each of the cycles has had a persistent northwest flow concentrated near the upper Great Lakes. All the way back to September it was evident in the 500mb plots and surface observations. As the pattern cycled it produced considerably cooler than average temperatures. Surface observations at OSNW3 during this time period regarding cloud cover included at least one full day with mostly sunny skies which would be key in overcoming early morning frost if it were to occur. Precipitation was minimal along with no recorded strong wind events. It is to be noted that what has occurred in and around Northeast WI on the surface is likely to be different than what has occurred on the surface in the UP during this pattern through the cycles. Without researching surface observations from the UP during these time periods, I feel I can still boldly state that temps will be at the least 5-10 degrees cooler than Oshkosh and the chance of a mostly sunny day is less likely due to the proximity of Lake Superior. With that said an overall forecast for this time period based on the LRC can be summed up in few words, in my opinion. Mostly cloudy, cold and breezy with a small chance of an isolated light rain shower. Which means, bring long johns, winter gloves and hats, and rain gear. Keep the shorts at home fellas.

This part of the pattern takes place about a week or so before the 'big warm up' many of us in Northeast WI look forward to in this years LRC. A nice 'night cap' to end the cool and wet period we have all endured many times before this season. How high will the temps climb for a day or two near the end of May giving us a taste of summer? We will wait and see.

(500mb plots)

OSNW3 surface observations can be found here.

To help keep LRC dates and data in order I created a LRC calendar. To keep time I highlighted this years signature storm and referenced the above comparisons in similar fashion. The LRC calendar can be found here. If there are any questions or thoughts on my research and analysis of the LRC or how I presented the material just let me know in the comments section of the blog. Good luck to all the golfers!

Thanks for reading!

** Update 5/10 **
Analyzing the latest model run for the 500mb vorticity, wind, and height for Thursday May 19, 2011 the flow doesn't seem to fit any other past cycle flows. Right now the projection is for a south southeast flow. Analyzing the AO and PNA Teleconnections however tell a different story in my opinion. The AO is trending negative and the PNA is mostly trending positive which usually means, if I understand them correctly, cooler times for our neck of the woods. It will be fun to watch the pattern evolve over the next week and a half.

(500mb vorticity, wind, and height forecast on May 10 for May 19)

** Update 5/11 **
And here it is. A complete change from one run to the next. This looks more like it! In the LRC I trust! Stiff north northwest flow early morning on May 19th lessening to a weaker west flow as the week ends. Notice the flow of the map below, compare it with previous cycles by clicking the links above. For a loop of the map below click here.

(500mb vorticity, wind, and height forecast on May 11 for May 19)

** Update 5/16 **
After analyzing the past few 500mb daily height contour maps and the 500mb vorticity, wind, and height forecast for Thu/Fri/Sat it seems I have misinterpreted the seasonal weakening of the jet and the effects it has on the LRC. The pattern will not be as potent from the north northwest as I originally thought back in the beginning of the month. In my eyes the signature storm cut-off from the main flow and is helping prevent the elongated north northwest flow and cool air of previous cycles. I am still learning and as spring turns to summer there is much more to learn. This instance being a great learning experience in my opinion. All in all, this is a GOOD THING. 7 day forecasts from the NWS give the area GOOD to GREAT WEATHER for spring golf in the UP. I would still keep the shorts at home and keep the winter hat, winter gloves and rain gear very close by, but as for the prediction of needing long johns because of the cold, I no longer see a need for them.

To find out more about the Teleconnections mentioned above click on the graphs at the top right.