Weather Records at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

The 2014 Winter Olympics have come to an end in Sochi, Russia and here is a recap of the weather records and extremes that occurred.*

  • The average temperature throughout the Winter Olympics in Sochi was 48.9 degrees F (~9.4 C). This is the warmest average temperature ever officially recorded during the Winter Olympics, surpassing the previous record of 44.8 degrees F (~7.1 C) set during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
  • On February 15, the high temperature in Sochi soared to 69 degrees F (~20.6 C). This was the 2nd warmest temperature ever recorded during the Winter Olympics. The record is 77 degrees F (25 C) set during the 1928 Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
  • The high temperature hit 60+ degrees F (~15.6+ C) for four consecutive days (2/12 – 2/15). This is the longest such streak ever officially recorded during the Winter Olympics. The previous record was 3 days during the 1928 Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

*Official weather records were not kept for all Winter Olympics sites in the past, so these records are based off all reliable data that was found.

Peak Wind Gusts from January 10 – 13, 2014

Last Updated: Monday, January 13, 2014 @ 4:00 pm CST.

A significant wind storm affected the Northwestern US, southern Alberta, the northern US, and along the Rocky Mountain Front Range. Here are the top wind gusts per state, broken down by day.

*Note: With only a few exceptions, winds must gust to at least 70 mph to be included in this list. All data should be considered unofficial unless otherwise stated.

**I may very well have missed some higher observations and this list will continue to be updated. If you know of a higher wind gust and have a link to verify the gust, please let me know and I will add it.

FRIDAY, JANUARY 10, 2014

MONTANA

  1. 92 mph at Logan Pass (6,646 feet) in Glacier Park, MT.
  2. 70 mph in Silver City.

COLORADO

  1. 109 mph at Kenosha Pass (9,515 feet) along US 285.
  2. 86 mph at Cottonwood Pass (9,826 feet).
  3. 82 mph at Tercio Ranch (7,957 feet).
  4. 74 mph near Coal Creek Canyon Park (7,881 feet).

WYOMING

  1. 66 mph in the southern Laramie Range (6,737 feet), west of Cheyenne.

IDAHO

  1. 95 mph on the peak of Soldier Mountain (9,530 feet).

WASHINGTON

  1. 105 mph on Sedge Ridge (4,300 feet).
  2. 82 mph on the peak of Grayback Mountain (3,800 feet).
  3. 75 mph on the peak of Crystal Mountain (6,870 feet).
  4. 69 mph on Rattlesnake Mountain (3,560 feet).

OREGON

  1. 64 mph at the Astoria Airport (9 feet).
  2. 64 mph in Pacific City (27 feet).

 

SATURDAY, JANUARY 11, 2014

MONTANA

  1. 115 mph at Logan Pass (6,646 feet) in Glacier Park, MT.
  2. 94 mph 17 miles W of Pendroy.
  3. 89 mph at Deep Creek (5,340 feet).
  4. 89 mph 12 miles W of Bynum.
  5. 87 mph at Heart Butte (4,439 feet).
  6. 87 mph in Babb.
  7. 85 mph in Browning, MT.
  8. 85 mph at Two Medicine Bridge (4,751 feet).
  9. 82 mph at the Cut Bank airport (3,855 feet).
  10. 82 mph 21 SE of Cascade.
  11. 78 mph in Livingston (4,501 feet).

COLORADO

  1. 109 mph at Kenosha Pass (9,515 feet) along US 285.
  2. 87 mph 8 miles W of Boulder.
  3. 86 mph at Cottonwood Pass (9,826 feet).
  4. 85 mph near Coal Creek Canyon Park (7,881 feet).
  5. 82 mph at National Wind Tech Center (6,086 feet).
  6. 77 mph at NCAR Mesa Lab.

WYOMING

  1. 100 mph on Mt. Coffin (10,870 feet).
  2. 89 mph near Dead Indian Summit Overlook (8,136 feet).
  3. 89 mph near Tolman Rd. in nw WY (4,659 feet).
  4. 86 mph at Hoyt Peak (9,800 feet).
  5. 83 mph 16 miles S of Highland (6,380 feet).
  6. 80 mph at Red Canyon (6,768 feet).
  7. 79 mph in Arlington on I-80 (7,800 feet).
  8. 78 mph in Bordeaux on I-25 (5,217 feet).
  9. 75 mph in Rock River on US-285 (6,906 feet).
  10. 72 mph at Cooper Cove by Arlington (7,652 feet) on I-80.

IDAHO

  1. 90 mph on Schewitzer Mountain (6,430 feet).
  2. 68 mph at High Camp (6,110 feet).

WASHINGTON

  1. 111 mph on the peak of Crystal Mountain (6,870 feet).
  2. 101 mph on Mission Ridge (6,730 feet).
  3. 94 mph on the peak of Denny Mountain (5,528 feet).
  4. 90 mph on Sedge Ridge (4,300 feet).
  5. 90 mph on Rattlesnake Mountain (3,560 feet).
  6. 82 mph on a ridge just south of Kennewick (1,991 feet).
  7. 81 mph on Gable Mountain (1,086 feet).
  8. 79 mph on Mount Baker (5,000 feet).
  9. 70 mph at Cape Disappointment (120 feet).

OREGON

  1. 89 mph in Prospect State Park (4,089 feet).
  2. 85 mph on Mary’s Peak (4,137 feet).
  3. 80 mph on Mount Hebo (3,160 feet).
  4. 79 mph near Astoria on the Oregon Coast Highway (355 feet).
  5. 76 mph near Lincoln Beach.
  6. 74 mph at Rockhouse (1,797 feet).
  7. 73 mph near Garibaldi (0 feet).
  8. 72 mph 2 miles WNW of Cook (2,990 feet).
  9. 70 mph on Sugarloaf (4,328 feet).

NEVADA

  1. 81 mph on Slide Mountain (9,650 feet).
  2. 81 mph at Golconda Summit (5,158 feet).
  3. 76 mph at the Galena Bridge on I-580 (5,026 feet).
  4. 76 mph near Walker Lake.
  5. 71 mph at the Mt. Rose Ski Area.

CALIFORNIA

  1. 120 mph on the peak of White Mountain (14,246 feet).
  2. 83 mph at Duncan (7,100 feet).

ALBERTA, CANADA

  1. 82 mph (132 km/hr) in Caraway.
  2. 80 mph (128 km/hr) at Waterton Park Dam.
  3. 70 mph (113 km/hr) in Stavely.
  4. 65 mph (104 km/hr) in Lethbridge.

 

SUNDAY, JANUARY 12, 2014

MONTANA

  1. 80 mph at Deep Creek (5,340 feet).
  2. 73 mph at Two Medicine Bridge (4,751 feet).

COLORADO

  1. 109 mph at Kenosha Pass (9,515 feet) along US 285.
  2. 86 mph at Berthoud Pass (11,860 feet).
  3. 86 mph on Sugarloaf Mountain.
  4. 80 mph on Pikes Peak.
  5. 77 mph at Loveland Pass (11,890 feet).

WYOMING

  1. 82 mph at EMKAY in the southern Laramie Range (6,737 feet).
  2. 80 mph 12 miles SSE Horse Creek.
  3. 76 mph at Hoyt Peak (9,800 feet).
  4. 75 mph at MM142 on I-80.
  5. 71 mph at Otto in the southern Laramie Range (6,981 feet).
  6. 70 mph along I-80, just west of Cheyenne (6,532 feet).
  7. 61 mph at the Cheyenne Airport (6,116 feet).

WASHINGTON

  1. 114 mph on Mission Ridge (6,730 feet).
  2. 87 mph on a ridge just south of Kennewick (1,991 feet).
  3. 80 mph on Sedge Ridge (4,300 feet).
  4. 77 mph on Rattlesnake Mountain (3,560 feet).

OREGON

  1. 72 mph at Butler Grade (1,789 feet).

CALIFORNIA

  1. 94 mph at Oak Creek (4,900 feet).

 

MONDAY, JANUARY 13, 2014

MONTANA

  1. 119 mph at Logan Pass (6,646 feet) in Glacier Park, MT.
  2. 117 mph in Augusta.
  3. 103 mph near Choteau.
  4. 94 mph at Deep Creek (5,340 feet).
  5. 90 mph at Two Medicine Bridge (4,751 feet).
  6. 84 mph in Babb.
  7. 83 mph on US-89 at MP 6 (4,199 feet).
  8. 80 mph 4 miles SSE of Bynum.
  9. 78 mph at Judith Peak (6,428 feet).
  10. 78 mph at Heart Butte (4,439 feet).
  11. 75 mph at Avon North (5,085 feet).
  12. 67 mph in Billings. **Record highest wind gust for January**

WYOMING

  1. 91 mph near Tolman Rd. in nw WY (4,659 feet).
  2. 81 mph near Dead Indian Summit Overlook (8,136 feet).
  3. 80 mph at EMKAY in the southern Laramie Range (6,737 feet).
  4. 78 mph on Highway 120 in nw WY (4,710 feet).
  5. 73 mph south of Wheatland on I-25 (5,217 feet).
  6. 71 mph at Hoyt Peak (9,800 feet).
  7. 70 mph in Rock River on US-285 (6,906 feet).

ALBERTA, CANADA

  1. 86 mph (138 km/hr) in Leavitt.
  2. 81 mph (131 km/hr) at Waterton Park Gate (4,252 feet/1,296 meters).
  3. 77 mph (124 km/hr) in Pincher Creek (3,904 feet/1,190 meters).
  4. 68 mph (109 km/hr) in Caraway.
  5. 66 mph (106 km/hr) in Lethbridge (3,048 feet/929 meters).

COLORADO

  1. 109 mph at Kenosha Pass (9,515 feet) along US 285.
  2. 84 mph near Sugarloaf Mountain.
  3. 83 mph 4 miles NE of Nederland.
  4. 82 mph near Coal Creek Canyon Park (7,881 feet).
  5. 79 mph at Tercio Ranch (7,957 feet).
  6. 78 mph at Cottonwood Pass (9,826 feet).
  7. 76 mph 4 miles WSW of El Dorado Springs.

UTAH

  1. 85 mph at Chepeta (12,120 feet).

WASHINGTON

  1. 97 mph on Mission Ridge (6,730 feet).
  2. 77 mph on a ridge just south of Kennewick (1,991 feet).
  3. 70 mph on Sedge Ridge (4,300 feet).

Extreme Winds From Colorado Front Range to Pac NW

Just about every winter, and on many occasions more than once per winter, a significant high wind event will affect areas from the Pacific Northwest eastward through Montana, and southward along the Rocky Mountain Range into Colorado. There have already been a few high wind events (Chinook winds) this winter across the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains from southern Alberta through southeastern Wyoming with winds gusting as high as 90 mph. However, it appears a prolonged and even more widespread/significant wind event is in store this weekend into early next week.

This is the forecast 700-mb RHU, heights, and winds from the 00Z GFS (1/8/14) valid Sat. 1/11 @ 18Z. Widespread 50-70 knot winds across the entire region, 80 knots across northwest Montana.

This is the forecast 700-mb RHU, heights, and winds from the 00Z GFS (1/8/14) valid Sat. 1/11 @ 18Z. Widespread 50-70 knot winds across the entire region, 80 knots across northwest Montana.

From the same run of the GFS as the image above, this is the corresponding MSLP, 1000-500 mb thickness, and QPF.

From the same run of the GFS as the image above, this is the corresponding MSLP, 1000-500 mb thickness, and QPF.

Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada

The global models have been coming into more of an agreement on the timing and evolution of the next system set to move into the Pacific Northwest Saturday. High winds will begin to affect coastal areas of Washington and Oregon Friday night as the surface pressure gradient tightens significantly across this area. Shortly afterwards, high winds will spread eastward across much of the rest of Washington and Oregon and eventually southward into northern California, most notably throughout the typical wind prone areas, such as: portions of the Willamette Valley, a large portion of the Columbia River Basin, near Mt. Shasta in northern California, the eastern slopes of the Northern Sierra Nevada Mountains, and across portions of the Blue Mountains in northeastern Oregon.

  • Wind gusts of 55-65 mph are expected across this entire region, with the strongest winds occurring Saturday.
  • Winds may gust to 70 mph or higher at times Saturday along the immediate coastal areas of Washington and Oregon as well as across portions of the Columbia River Gorge as the winds are at their strongest. Winds will weaken across this area Saturday night, although strong northwest flow aloft and a decent surface pressure gradient will continue through the end of the weekend across Washington and northern Oregon, so gusty winds will continue beyond Saturday.
  • The highest wind gusts across this region will likely be found in wind prone areas in northeastern Oregon, especially near the city of Union. Wind gusts of up to 85 mph are possible in this area.
This is the forecast 700-mb RHU, heights, and winds from the 00Z GFS (1/8/14) valid Sun. 1/12 @ 06Z. Widespread 50-60 knot winds across the entire region, 70 knots across portions of western Montana and southeast Wyoming.

This is the forecast 700-mb RHU, heights, and winds from the 00Z GFS (1/8/14) valid Sun. 1/12 @ 06Z. Widespread 50-60 knot winds across the entire region, 70 knots across portions of western Montana and southeast Wyoming.

From the same run of the GFS as the image above, this is the corresponding MSLP, 1000-500 mb thickness, and QPF. A significant pressure gradient is evident across a majority of the area.

From the same run of the GFS as the image above, this is the corresponding MSLP, 1000-500 mb thickness, and QPF. A significant pressure gradient is evident across a majority of the area.

Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Dakotas

High winds will begin late Friday into Friday night across the mountains of northern Idaho, western Montana, and southeastward into southeastern Wyoming. As a second surface low begins developing Saturday morning across southern Alberta, winds will begin to increase significantly across this entire area. As this low moves off to the east Saturday night, additional shortwave troughs will continue to move across the area.

This means that high winds will continue much of the time from Saturday through Monday, before finally dying down late Monday across northwestern Montana and sometime Tuesday across southeastern Wyoming. The high winds will be most widespread Saturday into Saturday night as wind gusts of at least 55-60 mph will affect areas from eastern New Mexico northward through Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, western Nebraska, and portions of the Dakotas. There will be a few breaks in the extremely high winds here and there as one shortwave moves off and the next moves in.

  • Wind gusts to 60 or 65 mph are possible across portions of the Snake River Valley late Saturday into Saturday night as a cold front swings through and brings strong westerly winds to the area.
  • Wind gusts of 60 to 80 mph will affect a large portion of the eastern slopes of the Rockies from far southwestern Alberta southward into the Colorado Front Range and perhaps even into portions of east-central New Mexico (winds of up to 60 mph possible here). Wind gusts of this strength are expected Saturday right on into Tuesday (except Monday from northwest Montana northward). The winds will not be this high the entire time as there will likely be a couple of breaks here and there.
  • The highest wind gusts will affect the typical wind prone areas of western Montana and southeastern Wyoming. Wind gusts of 80-100 mph are possible in these regions! Some mountain tops or favored passes could potentially see wind gusts exceed 100 mph, especially in northwestern Montana. The most likely time periods to see winds of this speed will be Saturday, and then again Sunday night into early Monday.
  • Wind gusts of 60 to 70 mph may affect a large portion of central and eastern Montana, along with northeastern Wyoming Saturday into early next week. The strongest winds are most likely to occur Saturday and perhaps again on Monday.
  • Weaker wind gusts to 50 or 55 mph may affect portions of the western Dakotas Saturday night into Sunday, and possibly again sometime Monday.

2013 Thanksgiving Weather Outlook

Thanksgiving is a week away, and while it is still too far out to be able to provide detailed forecasts, we have a pretty good idea on what the overall weather pattern will be like.

As we head into Thursday of next week, just about all of the current model guidance suggests there will be some weak ridging across the central US with a trough across portions of both the western and eastern parts of the country. The ECMWF and the GFS are both similar in regards to the positioning of the trough across the western US, but differ significantly on just how deep the trough will become in the eastern US. Currently, the ECMWF is much more aggressive and shows a fairly deep trough across the eastern part of the country with cold air making it all the way into northern Florida.

ECMWF 500mb forecast for Thanksgiving morning.

ECMWF 500mb forecast for Thanksgiving morning. (Note: the trough is much deer Wednesday as it interacts with the cut-off low)

The reasoning for the ECMWF bringing frigid air that far south is because it “merges” the cut-off low that is currently over the western US with a trough that will be passing over the Great Lakes sometime during the middle of next week. As this trough picks up the cut-off low, it amplifies it and transitions the low into a short wave trough (no longer cut-off), thus allowing the cold air to invade areas farther south.

GFS 500mb forecast for Thanksgiving morning.

GFS 500mb forecast for Thanksgiving morning.

The GFS has the cut-off low moving across the same area during the same general time frame, however, it does not have a deep enough trough across the Great Lakes for it to greatly influence the low. Thus, it just keeps the cut-off low drifting eastward and eventually exiting the Southeast coast by the end of next week.

Below is the maximum temperature map that the ECMWF spits out across the entire country on Thanksgiving day. Don’t focus on exact numbers at this point, just look at the trend…below normal highs for a large portion of the country on Thanksgiving! And for comparison sake, the second image below is from the GFS.

ECMWF max temperature forecast for Thanksgiving day.

ECMWF max temperature forecast for Thanksgiving day.

fill this in

GFS max temperature forecast for Thanksgiving day.

EASTERN U.S. OUTLOOK

Regardless of which scenario is the correct one, the entire eastern US will likely experience below normal temperatures, with temperatures much below normal across the Midwest and Northeast. If the ECMWF solution is right, temperatures will be significantly below normal from northern Florida northward through the Northern Great Lakes and New England.

We are still several days from being able to narrow down the precipitation outlook for the eastern US. The speed of the trough and how it interacts with the cut-off low are two huge factors, and as of right now it is just not possible to know what is going to happen. Either way, for this to matter the trough would have to slow down quite a bit from what the models are currently showing. If they progress eastward at the speed the models are showing they would be off the east coast by Thanksgiving leaving behind mostly dry weather, though there would likely be some lake-effect snow if this were the case.

CENTRAL U.S. OUTLOOK

The Southern, Central, Northern, and High Plains look to see slightly below to near normal temperatures, while the majority of Texas will most likely see below normal to much below normal temperatures. This is thanks in part to the cut-off low that will move eastward over the state during the preceding days.

As far as precipitation goes, it looks like it should be dry pretty much everywhere across the central US.

WESTERN U.S. OUTLOOK

With a trough likely in place, it appears a large majority of the western US will also see below normal temperatures. A couple of exceptions could be the San Joaquin Valley and portions of the Desert Southwest near the Mexico border, where near normal temperatures are possible.

As far as precipitation goes, there will likely be a bit of rain across portions of the Southwest. The exact areas that will see the best chance of rain are too hard to say at this point, but there is a decent chance there will be at least scattered showers across portions of California.

November 17, 2013 Tornado Outbreak

This page will be occasionally updated with the latest stats on the November 17, 2013 outbreak.

Last Updated: Thursday, 11/25/13 @ 10:00 pm CST

Six people died in Illinois and two in Michigan as a result of the severe storms.

The NWS has confirmed 71 tornadoes.

EF5 – 0
EF4 – 2
EF3 – 7
EF2 – 23
EF1 – 27
EF0 – 12

Interesting facts:

  • The 28 tornadoes that have been confirmed in Indiana ranks third (by just 1) most all-time for the number of tornadoes in the state in one day. First place is 37 tornadoes, which occurred on June 2, 1990.
  • Both EF-4 tornadoes occurred in Illinois.
  • Kentucky and Illinois had the most tornadoes rated EF-3 with 3 each – one of these tornadoes passed from KY into IL and then back into KY.
  • The EF-4 tornado with maximum estimated winds of 190 mph that struck Washington, IL was the strongest on record for Illinois in the month of November since 1950.  (reference)
  • One supercell produced four tornadoes, which were the ones to impact Pekin, Washington, Dana, Coal City, Manhattan, and Frankfort. (reference)
  • 101 of the 124 (~82%) tornado warnings issued by the NWS were for the state of Illinois. Dating back to 1986, only 196 tornado warnings (including this outbreak) have been issued in Illinois during the month of November. That means that 52% were issued during this outbreak. (reference)
  • There were only 5 killer tornadoes documented in Illinois in November from 1885 through 2012. The most fatalities from any November tornado or tornado outbreak was 2 on three separate occasions – November 17, 1892, November 11 1911, and November 12, 1965. (reference)

…Scroll down for the list of confirmed tornadoes…

Below is a graphic of all the tornado (124 – ~35%) and severe thunderstorm (230 – ~65%) warnings issued between 12z Sunday – 12z Monday (354 total).

All NWS warnings from 12Z Sun to 12Z Mon.

All NWS warnings from 12Z Sun to 12Z Mon.

All the NWS warnings and storm reports from 12Z Sun - 12Z Mon.

All the NWS warnings and storm reports from 12Z Sun – 12Z Mon.

damage

Damage in Washington, IL after a tornado moved through the town. Photo by @AnthonyKhoury20.

List of confirmed tornadoes via the NWS (will be updated once storm surveys are completed):

ILLINOIS (24** confirmed tornadoes)

*An EF-4 tornado touched down in northern Washington County near New Minden with maximum estimated winds of at least 166 mph. The maximum width was 200 yards and it traveled 10.6 miles. There were 2 fatalities from this tornado along with 2 injuries.

*An EF-4 tornado struck Washington, IL with maximum estimated winds of around 190 mph. This tornado affected portions of Tazwell, Woodfard, La Salle, and Livingston counties. The maximum width was 0.5 mile and it traveled 46.2 miles. There was 1 fatality from this tornado along with 122 injuries.

*An EF-3 tornado touched down near Gifford (Champaign, Vermillion, and Iroquois Counties) with estimated maximum winds of 140 mph. The maximum width was 0.25 mile and it traveled 29.7 miles. There were no fatalities and 6 minor injuries associated with this tornado.

*An EF-3 tornado touched down near Villa Grove (Douglas and Champaign Counties) with estimated maximum winds of 140 mph. The maximum width was 0.25 mile and it traveled 15 miles. There were no fatalities or injuries associated with this tornado.

*An EF-2 tornado touched down in Wayne County with estimated maximum winds of 134 mph. The maximum path width was 150 yards and it traveled 10 miles.

*An EF-2 tornado touched down near Westville (Vermillion County) with estimated maximum winds of 130 mph. The maximum width was 0.25 mile and it traveled 18 miles. There were no fatalities and 1 injury associated with this tornado.

*An EF-2 tornado touched down in Wayne and Edwards Counties with estimated maximum winds of 130 mph. The maximum path width was 300 yards and it traveled 8 miles. There were no fatalities and or injuries associated with this tornado.

*An EF-2 tornado touched down in Wabash County with estimated maximum winds of 127 mph. The maximum path width was 225 yards and it traveled 10 miles. There were no fatalities and 1 injury associated with this tornado.

*An EF-2 tornado touched down near Manhattan and Frankfort with estimated maximum winds of 125 mph. The maximum width was 200 yards and it traveled 5.5 miles. There were no fatalities or injuries associated with this tornado.

*An EF-2 tornado affected Grundy and southwest Will counties (Coal city) with estimated maximum winds of 122 mph. The maximum width was 200 yards and it traveled 12.9 miles. There were 3 injuries associated with this tornado.

*An EF-2 tornado touched down near Pekin with estimated maximum winds of 120 mph. The maximum width was 100 yards and it traveled 2.5 miles. There were no fatalities and 10 injuries associated with this tornado.

*An EF-2 tornado touched down near St. Elmo (Fayette and Effingham Counties) with estimated maximum winds of 120 mph. The maximum width was 200 yards and it traveled 11.5 miles. There were no fatalities or injuries associated with this tornado.

*An EF-2 tornado touched down in Wayne and Edwards Counties with estimated maximum winds of 112 mph. The maximum path width was 100 yards and it traveled 5 miles. There were no fatalities and or injuries associated with this tornado.

*An EF-1 tornado touched down near Atwood (Moultrie and Douglas Counties) with estimated maximum winds of 110 mph. The maximum width was 0.25 mile and it traveled 7.5 miles.

*An EF-1 tornado touched down near Pana (Christian County) with estimated maximum winds of 110 mph. The maximum width was *unknown* and it traveled 2.5 miles.

*An EF-1 tornado touched down near Opdyke (Jefferson County) with estimated maximum winds of 107 mph. The maximum width was 25 yards and it traveled a brief distance.

*An EF-1 tornado touched down near West Liberty (Jasper County) with estimated maximum winds of 100 mph. The maximum width was *unknown* and it traveled 3.5 miles.

*An EF-1 tornado touched down near Tuscola (Douglas County) with estimated maximum winds of 100 mph. The maximum width was *unknown* and it traveled 5.2 miles.

*An EF-1 tornado touched down along the Kankakee and Will County border. The tornado had estimated maximum winds of 100 mph. The maximum width was 150 yards and the tornado traveled for 0.8 miles. There were no fatalities or injures from this tornado.

*An EF-1 tornado touched down near Hoyleton and lifted near Centralia. The tornado had estimated maximum winds of 95-100 mph. The maximum width was 50-100 yards and the tornado traveled for 4.9 miles. There were no fatalities or injures from this tornado.

*An EF-1 tornado touched down near Breese with estimated maximum winds of 100 mph. The maximum width was 50 yards and it traveled 0.4 miles. There were no fatalities or injuries associated with this tornado.

*An EF-0 tornado touched down near Wellington  (Iroquois County) with estimated maximum winds of 80 mph. The maximum width was 75 yards and it traveled 4.6 miles.

*An EF-0 tornado touched down near Litchfield  (Montgomery County). The tornado traveled 4 miles.

 

INDIANA (28 confirmed tornadoes)

*An EF-3 tornado touched down S/SE of Lafayette and continued through Tippecanoe and Carroll Counties and finally lifted in Cass County with estimated maximum winds of 140 mph. The maximum width was 100 yards and it travelled 39 miles.

*An EF-2 tornado touched down in Knox County with estimated maximum winds of 130 mph. The maximum width was 100 yards and it traveled for 8.8 miles.

*An EF-2 tornado touched down in Clinton and Howard Counties with estimated maximum winds of 130 mph. The maximum width was 150 yards and it traveled for 25.8 miles.

*An EF-2 tornado touched down from Rileysburg to West of Covington (Northern Vermillion/Southern Warren counties) with estimated maximum winds of 130 mph. The maximum width was 150 yards and it traveled approximately 6 miles.

*An EF-2 tornado touched down in Fountain and Tippecanoe Counties with estimated maximum winds of 130 mph. The maximum path width was 75 yards and it traveled 12.8 miles.

*An EF-2 tornado touched down in Wabash and Kosciusko Counties with estimated maximum winds of 125 mph. The maximum path width was 150 yards and it traveled 4.17 miles.

*An EF-2 tornado affected southeast Benton County and continued into White County with estimated maximum winds of 125 mph. The estimated maximum width was 1400 yards and the tornado traveled 13.42 miles.

*An EF-2 tornado touched down in White County with estimated maximum winds of 120 mph. The maximum path width was 300 yards and it traveled 4.15 miles.

*An EF-2 tornado affected Grant County with estimated maximum winds of 120 mph. It had a path length of 12 miles and a maximum width of 0.4 miles.

*An EF-2 tornado affected the Howard County with estimated maximum winds of 120 mph. The maximum width was 75 yards and it traveled 0.5 mile. There were 5 injuries with this tornado.

*An EF-2 tornado touched down near Lebanon (Boone County) with estimated maximum winds of 115 mph. The maximum width was 75 yards and it traveled 3.7 miles. There were 2 injuries with this tornado.

*An EF-2 tornado touched down near Maysville (Daviess County) with estimated maximum winds of 120 mph. The maximum width was 125 yards and it traveled for 2.8 miles.

*An EF-2 tornado touched down in southern Tippecanoe County with estimated maximum winds of 120 mph. The maximum path width was 75 yards and it traveled 3.2 miles.

*An EF-1 tornado touched down in Miami County with estimated maximum winds of 110 mph. The maximum path width was 250 yards and it traveled 2.85 miles.

*An EF-1 tornado touched down in Montgomery County with estimated maximum winds of 110 mph. The maximum path width was 40 yards and it traveled 1.8 miles.

*An EF-1 tornado affected Pulaski County with estimated maximum winds of 110 mph.The maximum width was 100 yards and the tornado traveled for 13.29 miles.

*An EF-1 tornado touched down near Rensselaer in Jasper County with estimated maximum winds of 100 mph.The maximum width was 100 yards and the tornado traveled for 11.5 miles.

*An EF-1 tornado touched down in Atlanta (Hamilton and Tipton Counties) with estimated maximum winds of 100 mph. The maximum path width was 125 yards and it traveled 1.9 miles.

*An EF-1 tornado touched down in White county with estimated maximum winds of 100 mph. The maximum path width was 250 yards and it traveled 0.81 miles.

*An EF-1 tornado touched down in Kosciusko county with estimated maximum winds of 100 mph. The maximum path width was 250 yards and it traveled 1.1 miles.

*An EF-1 tornado touched down in Boone County with estimated maximum winds of 100 mph. The maximum width was 33 yards and it traveled 3.7 miles.

*An EF-1 tornado touched down in Tippecanoe county with estimated maximum winds of 97 mph. The maximum path width was 35 yards and it traveled 2.9 miles.

*An EF-1 tornado touched down in Kosciusko county with estimated maximum winds of 95 mph. The maximum path width was 275 yards and it traveled 1.7 miles.

*An EF-1 tornado touched down in Goodland (Newton and Jasper Counties) with estimated maximum winds of 110 mph. The maximum width was 100 yards and it traveled 5.6 miles.

*An EF-1 tornado touched down near in Lawrence County with estimated maximum winds of 90 mph. The maximum width was 50 yards and it traveled 1.3 miles.

*An EF-0 tornado touched down in Cass county with estimated maximum winds of 85 mph. The maximum path width was 150 yards and it traveled 1.13 miles.

*An EF-0 tornado touched down in Tippecanoe county with estimated maximum winds of 75 mph. The maximum path width was 50 yards and it traveled 0.3 miles.

*An EF-0 tornado affected central Grant county near Roseburg with estimated maximum winds of 70 mph. The maximum width was 275 yards and it travelled for a brief distance.

 

KENTUCKY (6** confirmed tornadoes)

*An EF-3 tornado touched down near Morganfield (Union and Henderson counties) with estimated maximum winds of 145 mph. The maximum width was 200 yards and it traveled 14.5 miles. There were no fatalities or injuries associated with this tornado.

*An EF-3 tornado touched down near Woodville with estimated maximum winds of 145 mph. The maximum width was 500 yards and it traveled 42 miles. There were 3 fatalities (all in Massac County Illinois) associated with this tornado and more than 13 others were injured. This tornado started in KY, passed into IL, and ended in KY.

*An EF-3 tornado touched down in southeast Hopkins County with estimated maximum winds of 140 mph. The maximum width was 200 yards and it traveled 8 miles. There were no fatalities and 1 minor injury associated with this tornado.

An EF-1 tornado touched down near Huntsville (Butler County) with estimated maximum winds of 105 mph. The maximum width was 200 yards and it traveled for 5.3 miles. There were no fatalities and 1 injury associated with this tornado.

An EF-1 tornado touched down near Princeton (Caldwell County) with estimated maximum winds of 100 mph. The maximum width was 200 yards and it traveled for 4 miles. There were no fatalities and or injuries associated with this tornado.

An EF-1 tornado touched down in Muhlenberg County with estimated maximum winds of 100 mph. The maximum width was 80 yards and it traveled for 0.9 miles. There were no fatalities and or injuries associated with this tornado.

 

TENNESSEE (3 confirmed tornadoes)

*An EF-1 tornado touched down near Orlinda (Robertson County) with estimated maximum winds of 90 mph. The maximum width was 100 yards and it traveled for 1 mile.

*An EF-0 tornado touched down near Howell (Lincoln County) with estimated maximum winds of 85 mph. The maximum width was 25 yards and it traveled for 0.6 miles.

*An EF-0 tornado touched down near Portland (Sumner County) with estimated maximum winds of 70 mph. The maximum width was 50 yards and it traveled for 0.5 mile.

 

OHIO (5 confirmed tornadoes)

*An EF-2 tornado touched down in Paulding and Putnam counties with estimated maximum winds of 130 mph. The maximum path width was 440 yards and it traveled 8 miles.

*An EF-2 tornado affected Wood and Lucas counties with estimated maximum winds of 120-125 mph. The maximum width was 150-200 yards and it traveled approximately 12 miles.

*An EF-1 tornado affected central Wood county with estimated maximum winds of 105-110 mph. The maximum width was 75-100 yards and it traveled approximately 1 mile.

*An EF-1 tornado touched down in Van Wert county with estimated maximum winds of 100 mph. The maximum path width was 150 yards and it traveled approximately 2 miles.

*An EF-0 tornado touched down briefly near Elmore in Ottawa County with estimated maximum winds of 95 mph. The maximum width was 50-75 yards and it traveled for 0.75 mile.

 

MICHIGAN (4 confirmed tornadoes)

*An EF-1 tornado touched down in Cass county with estimated maximum winds of 110 mph. The maximum width was 50 yards and it traveled for just under 0.5 mile.

*An EF-0 tornado touched down in extreme southern Otsego county with estimated maximum winds of 65-75 mph. The maximum width was 150 yards and it traveled 0.3 miles.

*An EF-0 tornado touched down near Leslie in Ingham county. The maximum width was less than 100 yards and it traveled 0.25 miles.

*An EF-0 tornado affected extreme eastern Muskegon and southern Newaygo counties with estimated maximum winds of 75 mph. The maximum width was less than 100 yards and it traveled on an intermittent path for 50 miles.

 

MISSOURI (2 confirmed tornadoes)

*An EF-3 tornado touched down in Scott County with estimated maximum winds of 140 mph. The maximum width was 600 yards and it traveled 19 miles.

*An EF-0 tornado affected Perry County with estimated maximum winds of 70 mph. The maximum width was 50 yards and it traveled 150 yards.

 

Here is how my initial forecast verified with this severe weather outbreak along with the verification of the Day 3 SPC forecast. (Note: the SPC forecast was created Friday, Nov. 15 @ 8:32Z and I created my forecast Friday, Nov. 15 @ ~17Z and released it that evening)

The area shaded in orange is where I had severe storms with isolated tornadoes and gusts to 70 mph. The solid red line denotes the area I outlooked for the “best chance of tornadoes”. Storms did not fire, or at least did not become severe, as far south as I had outlooked, but aside from that it verified pretty well. Also, every tornado report but two fell within my area I had outlooked for the “best chance of tornadoes”.

The yellow shaded area is where I had scattered storms Sunday night with isolated wind gusts to 60 mph. The southern half of this area verified perfectly, while the northern half had no reports of wind damage. (Click to enlarge)

verification

*This report is preliminary and subject to change.
**This includes a tornado that passed through both Illinois and Kentucky.

Sunday (11/17/13) Severe Weather Outbreak

**For full statistics on this outbreak please see this post**

It continues to look like there will be an outbreak of severe weather tomorrow, Sunday, November 17, 2013 from portions of the Lower and Middle Mississippi Valley to the Great Lakes and even into the Northeast by late Sunday night into early Monday morning. The most widespread severe threat will by far be damaging winds, however, there is a potential for isolated tornadoes in certain areas as well. I talked more about the overall dynamics in a post a couple of days ago, so I am going to focus more on the timing of the storms and the effects they will have in this post.

Severe weather outlook for Sunday (11/17/13). Thin, solid black lines indicate the approximate timing of the frontal location. The thick, dashed black line indicates the eastern extent of where isolated tornadoes are expected.

Severe weather outlook for Sunday (11/17/13). Thin, solid black lines indicate the approximate timing of the frontal location. The thick, dashed black line indicates the eastern extent of where isolated tornadoes are expected. The solid red line highlights the areas where tornadoes are most likely.

Storms will be ongoing early Sunday morning across portions of the Tennessee Valley and northward into the Lower Great Lakes. As these storms progress eastward through the late morning and early afternoon, cloudy skies will persist farther west. The combination of weak diurnal heating and strong warm air advection (WAA) will lead to CAPE values on the order of 500-1,000 J/Kg ahead of the cold front from the Lower Great Lakes southward into portions of the Lower Mississippi Valley. If there is enough diurnal heating, a few areas could see as much as 1,500 J/Kg of CAPE.

Scattered storms will likely start developing ahead of the cold front Sunday morning across Illinois/Indiana and points south southwest. The intensity of these storms will largely depend on the amount of instability present. If more than 1,000-1,500 J/Kg of CAPE can develop (as the NAM suggests) there will exist the potential for several tornadoes, some of which could be strong. However, if CAPE values are confined to around 1,000 J/Kg or less, the possibility for strong tornadoes is much less. Regardless, any storm that is able to develop in this area ahead of the cold front will be capable of producing damaging wind gusts to 75 mph, isolated tornadoes, and perhaps some marginally severe hail.

Storms will begin to explode along the cold front during the early afternoon hours and will nearly instantly become linear. A well defined squall line will be present by the late afternoon and it will race eastward across the area outlooked in the above graphic. Even though a linear nature is expected with these storms, there may be areas of embedded rotation within the squall line, especially before it reaches the Appalachians.

Even though instability will be extremely limited, or perhaps even non-existent, from around the Appalachians and points eastward, such strong dynamics suggests there will be continued potential for damaging wind gusts throughout portions of the Mid-Atlantic and across much of the Northeast right into Monday morning.

Select cities that have the potential for damaging winds and perhaps tornadoes include: Chicago, IL, Indianapolis, IN, Nashville, TN, Louisville, KY, Cincinnati, OH, Toledo, OH, and Detroit, MI.

Severe weather likely Sunday (11/17/13)

UPDATE (7 PM CST 11/15/13)

Here is a graphic depicting my thoughts on the upcoming severe weather this Sunday (click to enlarge).

Sunday Severe

ORIGINAL POST BELOW

The trough that will be responsible for snow tonight through Saturday across western Canada and the Pacific Northwest will continue to dig southeastward through Sunday morning, after-which it will begin to lift northeastward across the central CONUS and Great Lakes region. The ECMWF and NAM are in fairly good agreement on the timing of this negatively tilted trough, while the GFS and CMC are a few hours faster. The most likely scenario with the timing of the trough will be a compromise between the ECMWF/NAM and GFS/CMC.

A more significant difference in the models appears when looking at the surface features. The ECMWF is the farthest south (near the IA/MN border) with the surface low by Sunday afternoon, while some models have the center of the surface low as far north as Lake Superior. The exact position of this low will of course depend upon the evolution of the mid and upper level features. The main trough is just beginning to take shape in the eastern Gulf of Alaska, so the models will have a better handle on everything in 24 hours or so.

Overall, the dynamics will be very strong with this system and by Sunday evening a well defined cold front will extend from the Northern Great lakes through the Lower Mississippi Valley and likely into portions of southeastern Texas.

A very strong low level jet (LLJ) will develop out ahead of the cold front Sunday with winds likely in excess of 55-60 knots. Below is a forecast sounding from the NAM for northern Kentucky, valid 21 UTC Sun 17 Nov 2013. You can see just how impressive the dynamics are from this sounding. While the thermal profile is not necessarily representative of a very large area, the wind field will likely be fairly representative of much of the area ahead of the cold front from the Great Lakes southward.

NAM forecast sounding showing the strong dynamics present. Courtesy TwisterData.

NAM forecast sounding showing the strong dynamics present. Courtesy TwisterData.

Now on to the thermodynamics. It is going to be a pretty messy setup Saturday night into Sunday morning across the area of concern. Decent isentropic lifting will be occurring during this time frame, so we will likely see rain develop from portions of the Ohio Valley southwestward into the ArkLaTex region.

Below is a look at an isentropic chart from the NAM valid early Sunday morning. The strong southerly winds cross perpendicularly with the mixing ratio lines (green lines) and the isobars (blue lines) along a constant potential temperature of 295K. This means higher moisture values are being transported northward across the region. Notice how the isobars are not close together where the higher moisture values are being transported northward. This means that the air is rising slowly since the slope is gradual. The GFS has more condensed isobars across this region (second image below) which translates to the air having to “move” up a steeper slope and would thus condense more easily. This is part of the reason the GFS spits out so much more QPF than the NAM Sunday morning.

NAM forecast isentropic lift for Sunday morning.

NAM forecast isentropic lift for Sunday morning.

GFS forecast isentropic lift for Sunday morning.

GFS forecast isentropic lift for Sunday morning.

So which one is correct? It is too far out to say for sure, but I would tend to lean only slightly more towards the NAM. It tends to handle this type of situation better, but it is also 66 hours out, and I typically prefer to rely more on the NAM inside of 48 hours. So I will go with a general compromise, with a slight edge towards the NAM.

This means I do expect rain to fall across the aforementioned areas late Saturday night into Sunday morning, though I do not think it will be quite as robust as the GFS is suggesting, and a little more robust and widespread than what the NAM suggests.

This will create issues for instability Sunday afternoon, but it should be far enough east by noon or so for enough heating to take place ahead of the cold front from the Great Lakes southward into the Lower Mississippi Valley. The more significant severe threat will likely develop behind this initial band of rain, but just because there will be very little in the way of instability ahead of the band of rain progressing eastward throughout the afternoon does not mean there will be no severe threat. With such strong dynamics it does not take much to produce damaging winds or isolated tornadoes. This was exactly the case back on Halloween.

Storms should develop Sunday afternoon ahead of and along the cold front from the southern Great Lakes into the Middle Mississippi Valley. Any cells that stay discrete will have a chance at producing tornadoes, along with damaging straight line winds. Some marginally severe hail will be possible as well, but that will not be a very big issue with this severe set-up.

By the evening hours a squall line will likely develop ahead of the cold front posing mostly a damaging wind threat. However, due to the strong dynamics, areas of embedded rotation will likely persist through at least the first part of the night, so an isolated tornado cannot be ruled out.

This will be a very fast moving squall line and I think the damaging wind threat will continue all night Sunday and into Monday. This means places such as the Mid-Atlantic and perhaps even portions of the northeast will see severe weather. There will be no instability across these areas, but like I mentioned earlier, with dynamics that strong, it doesn’t take much to mix down damaging winds to the surface.

Winter blast heading for the Pacific Northwest

It has been mild recently across the Pacific Northwest. In fact, Seattle tied their record high temperature of 60 degrees yesterday (11/12/13), also set in 1953. That is all about to change as we head into the weekend.

A mid-level trough will cut across the area Thursday, initiating a slight cooling trend in temperatures. Precipitation with this initial trough will be very light and portions of the Washington Cascades will see anywhere from 1 to 3 inches of snow above 3,500 feet.

Mid-level trough position late Thursday afternoon (denoted by dashed lines).

Mid-level trough position late Thursday afternoon (denoted by dashed lines).

The trough of interest will start diving into the Pacific Northwest Friday and will likely bring some of the coldest air yet this season to the region. Precipitation will start Friday morning/afternoon across western Washington and will continue progressing south and east through much of the rest of Washington and into Oregon by Friday night.

The trough of interest enters the Pacific Northwest.

The trough of interest enters the Pacific Northwest.

Snow levels will initially start out around 3,000 feet in Washington, but will fall to around  2,000 feet by late Friday night or Saturday. Farther south, across the Oregon Cascades, snow levels will start out around 4,000 feet or so and will fall to near 2,700 feet by Saturday night.

Snow will be heaviest across the Washington Cascades late Friday through Friday night and will begin to taper off Saturday afternoon. Snowfall totals of 3 to 6 inches are expected above 2,500 feet and 6 to 12 inches appears likely above 3,000 feet. Of course, mountain peaks and favored upslope regions could see more than a foot of snow.

The Oregon Cascades will see their heaviest snow late Friday night through Saturday before it tapers off Saturday night. Totals of 1 to 3 inches are expected above 3,000 feet with amounts of 3 to 6 inches likely above 4,000 feet. As you get above 5,000 feet in elevation, totals may exceed 6 inches, especially in favored upslope regions.

In addition to snow falling in the Cascades, snow will fall across the Blue Mountains of Oregon and portions of the Northern Rockies and eventually across the Wasatch Range and Central Rockies. I am not going to talk about totals here just yet, though it does appear pretty safe to say these areas will see accumulating snow.

As far as temperatures go, Seattle will likely see lows in the middle 30s or perhaps even lower 30s Saturday and Sunday night. Portland will see temperatures dip into the upper, perhaps even middle, 30s Sunday night.

A majority of the precip will fall before the coldest air arrives, so there is an extremely small chance of there being any lowland snow. Sorry, snow lovers in Portland and Seattle.

The cold blast won’t last long as the ridge across the eastern Pacific shifts east a bit early next week significantly warming things up.

Why did so many people not evacuate ahead of Haiyan?

Days prior to landfall, extreme emphasis was put on the danger posed to the Philippines from Super Typhoon Haiyan. Everyone all around the world was talking about it, and the Philippine government began taking their precautions two days prior to its arrival.

The Philippine Area of Responsibility typically sees around 20 tropical cyclones per year, 6-9 of which generally make landfall in the Philippines, so they are no stranger to natures fury. However, no tropical cyclone of this size and strength had ever affected the Philippines before in recorded history. Meteorologists, news agencies, and the local government all stressed that this would be among the most powerful storm on record.

Before the storm made landfall, President Benigno S. Aquino III warned that the nation faced a calamity. Authorities had evacuated more than 800,000 people prior to its arrival, but as is always the case, people chose to stay behind as opposed to evacuating. Unfortunately, in this case, it appears thousands of people chose to stay behind, and it cost many of them their lives.

So what possible reason was there for people to not evacuate? Yes, the Philippines are made up of islands, but most of the islands rise a significant distance above sea level. This would suggest that there was no excuse for people to not evacuate to higher ground. The hardest hit city – Tacloban – sits at sea level and should have been entirely evacuated. This is especially true considering Tacloban City sits back in a bay of sorts and the Typhoon would funnel all the water right to the city. According to local residents, they were expecting a storm surge of 6-7 meters, or 20-23 feet. Peter Harwood left this comment on a story on Accuweather.com.

I am in the path of the eye of the storm and we expecting 6-7 meter storm surge but we are below ground level. We are 50 meters from ocean and there is no high ground to run to. If it true the evacuation centers will be under water also. Thanks for your prayers

First off, I hope you are alright, Peter, and if you happen to read this, please send me a message letting me know you made it out safely!

As Peter mentioned, evacuation centers could be underwater with a storm surge of that size. If that is true and there really were evacuation centers less than 25 or so feet above sea level, they should never have made those shelters. It has already been reported by multiple news agencies that many people (number unknown) died even in evacuation centers. Some deaths were due to buildings collapsing, while others were overtaken by storm surge.

It is unfortunate, but understandable that buildings in a fairly impoverished country could not stand up to such strong winds for a sustained period of time. There is, however, absolutely no reason that evacuation centers should have been overtaken by the storm surge. This was either an extremely poor decision on part of the local officials, or they had absolutely no other choice, which I find hard to believe. They could have set up additional shelters on the other side of the island that was clearly not going to see much in the way of storm surge. This would have at least eliminated one significant danger.

“Elderly people told CNN’s Ivan Watson they preferred to stay put and wait it out rather than risk evacuating.” I am not really sure why anyone would have this mentality, especially with all the dire predictions of what was coming. As for a majority of the rest of the people that stayed behind, some said they were worried about looters after the storm and some underestimated the risk.

What really gets me is that it appears so many people were not expecting such a high storm surge and that some said they didn’t even really know what a storm surge was! Take this for instance, from CNN interviewing a local:

If we’d have been warned about a tsunami we’d have known not to be in the coastal area. But the fact they warned of a ‘storm surge’ … we frankly didn’t know what that was. We didn’t know how deadly that was.

To me, that is shocking that someone who lives in a place that sees upwards of 6-9 tropical cyclones per year “didn’t know what that [storm surge] was”. Perhaps this is an extremely isolated incidence – at least I sure hope it was. Regardless, it appears that there were somehow communication issues regarding just how destructive Haiyan would be. Clearly something needs to be done about this, but I will leave that up to those who devote their life to figuring out just this sort of problem.

Mass evacuations are always a huge logistical headache, but there was obviously something else that should have been done in the Philippines. There are clearly fewer areas for people to evacuate to in a country comprised of islands, so what else could have been done to prepare for Haiyan?

- For starters, everyone should have evacuated the city of Tacloban, no exceptions. How you implement this, however, is an entirely different matter.

- More shelters should have been set up on the west side of the island as opposed to the east side where they could have practically eliminated the storm surge threat.

- People should have used common sense, but I guess there is really nothing you can do about this.

What are your thoughts on this topic? What else could/should have been done to better prepare for Super Typhoon Haiyan?

What is the Difference Between Partly Sunny and Partly Cloudy?

We have all heard the terms partly sunny and partly cloudy used in forecasts countless times. So what’s the difference?

Technically, there is no difference. Both terms mean there will be a mixture of clouds and sun and it is entirely up to the forecaster to emphasize sun or clouds. Officially, partly sunny is meant to be used during the day and partly cloudy is meant to be used at night, but partly cloudy is often used during the day as well. Here is the official definition from NOAA.

Public perception is an entirely different matter, however. Most people think that a “partly sunny” day will have more sun than clouds, and that a “partly cloudy” day will have more clouds than sun. Personally, I have always thought of a partly cloudy day to have more sun than a partly sunny day, but don’t ask me why.

Do you consider “partly sunny” and “partly cloudy” to mean the same thing? If not, what are the differences you perceive between the two phrases?