Bitter cold now, but a warm-up is on the way!

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Main threats

Tonight: Bitter cold temperatures. Make sure everyone is warm, that pets are sheltered, and pipes protected (leave faucets dripping).

Friday morning: Wintry mix that could have significant impacts to the morning commute (stay tuned)

With today and tonight’s dangerously cold temps, the NWS reminds us of what the chill factor is. This is also referred to as the “feels like” temperature.

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Summary

While we have some snow flurries flying around out there this morning, the BIG headline is the bitter cold temperatures. We are 18 degrees right now (8:30 a.m.) and we are not going to get much warmer than this all day. Add in a north breeze and you’ve got yourself a real bone chiller of a day! Tonight, we plummet to near zero.

Temps begin to rebound on Thursday and by Thursday night clouds will begin to thicken ahead of our next system. This one will have to be watched, not for significant wintry precipitation, but for just enough wintry precip to create some real travel headaches Friday morning. Stay tuned to that part of the forecast. If the precip holds off until temps can climb above freezing, we’ll have no worries.

The official forecast calls for snow flurries/showers Friday morning, but I’m concerned that too much warm air aloft will set the stage for some light freezing rain to mix in. Let’s hope that’s not the case. Stay tuned. It only takes a very small amount of ice to create a travel headache.

A really nice warm-up begins this weekend. There are indications that we may be flirting with 60 degrees by the start of next week!

Discussion

This morning there were some snow showers scattered across Middle TN. I had a dusting of snow at my house this morning. Some of those snow showers were putting down some heavier bursts of snow around the Nashville area. Of all the places in Middle TN to concentrate on, the snow showers seemed to target the Nashville area, creating a travel headache for many early-morning commuters.

Below is the current radar, showing those snow showers in the Nashville area. Earlier, they were much more concentrated on the city. They are drifting toward Chattanooga.

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I don’t want to say too much about this, but I do want to say a few words. It’s not a secret that the snow forecast was a bust on Tuesday. It happens. That’s why I always try to disclose in the blog that there’s always a chance we will get nothing, especially with these little snows. I had one person ask, “What happened to that 4-6″ of snow?” Read the blog, I never forecast that. I kindly replied with a link to my blog.

I only received one snarky email, from a gentleman who prides himself on getting it right and saying we would get nothing. I congratulated him. Other local meteorologists dealt with much ruder responses. These are fine folks that I have nothing but respect for. They don’t deserve disrespect. There’s no room for that kind of talk.

I want to thank you all, though. I am blessed with awesome blog followers who know how to behave and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that. You all are awesome! This plateau offers some of the most challenging weather forecasting in the country, but that challenge is one of the things that made coming back home so appealing to me.

The popularity of this blog has been nothing short of incredible and I am beyond shocked that so many of you are so interested in what I have to say. That is very humbling and it’s a responsibility I never take lightly. A lot of work goes into this blog but it’s worth it! So, thanks for hanging in there with me. The plateau is sure to make our weather one heck of a roller coaster ride!

Records

If you like warmer weather you are going to wish you had a time travel machine! On this day in 2002 we topped out at 72 degrees for a high here in Crossville. That’s more than 50 degrees warmer that we’ll be today! DANG!

On this day in 2013 we were warm enough for a tornado outbreak. You may not want to go back in time for that, unless you’re like me and are always dying to chase some naders (ha). Thankfully, most of the nearly two-dozen tornadoes that struck the Midstate were weak. However, three of the tornadoes were EF-2s (like what hit Rinnie a few years ago).

Thankfully, none of these tornadoes came onto the plateau. Notice how concentrated all the touchdowns were in the Nashville area.

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Almanac

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Record high: 72 (2002)

Record low: -15 (1966)

Today’s sunset: 5:05

Tomorrow’s sunrise: 6:40

Today’s day length: 10 hrs 24 mins 04 secs

Tomorrow’s day length: 10 hrs 25 mins 53 secs

One year ago today

The cold front that passed through a year ago yesterday brought some very chilly air a year ago today. The high struggled to get above freezing, topping out at 35 degrees. That was after a morning low of 21 degrees. No precipitation fell and skies were fair for about the whole day. Winds were very light from the northwest.

Astronomy

Sky viewing conditions: POOR

Moon phase: waning crescent, 25% illumination

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News

Cleared for lift-off!

That’s what I should title this section. Now that the government shutdown is over, the liftoff of DEMO-1 can now begin to be planned for. SpaceX is planning a February launch now. I have been officially cleared by security, etc and am just waiting on my instructions from NASA. I’m getting excited, but I worry about another government shutdown that could put a kink in the plans. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen!

In case you don’t remember, I was one of 120 people selected to get exclusive access to this launch. It is the test launch that precedes the manned launch coming this summer (yes, I’ll be there for that too!). This is the first time in years we have planned to send astronauts up into space from American soil. The manned launch in the summer will take 9 astronauts to the International Space Station.

I’ll be keeping you all updated every step of the way with this launch!

Exciting times, folks…

You all have a great day!

2 thoughts on “Bitter cold now, but a warm-up is on the way!

  1. Hi Mark! My husband & I love your blog posts tho we choose to receive them as emails.

    We’re originally from IL & are so glad we aren’t there right now! Our daughter still lives there in Evanston, about a mile from Lake Michigan.

    We’ve been here almost 5 years & we constantly hear how difficult it is to forecast the weather on the plateau & how plateau temps are always different than Cookeville or Knoxville or certainly Nashville. We get that Knoxville is “in the valley” & Nashville is much further west. Still not too sure about Cookeville but I know they’re not on the plateau.

    Can you explain to us specifically why “being on the plateau” makes it so hard to accurately forecast our weather? Perhaps we can then try to explain it to our friends back home!

    Thanks for your time! Jan

    On Wed, Jan 30, 2019 at 9:20 AM Meteorologist Mark wrote:

    > Meteorologist Mark posted: ” Main threats Tonight: Bitter cold > temperatures. Make sure everyone is warm, that pets are sheltered, and > pipes protected (leave faucets dripping). Friday morning: Wintry mix that > could have significant impacts to the morning commute (stay tuned) With t” >

    1. Good afternoon, Jan. Thanks for following the blog! I sure do appreciate that. The difficulty in predicting weather for the plateau comes primarily from the rugged terrain of the landscape. The hills of Crab Orchard, for instance, can trap cold air. Sometimes moisture overruns that trapped cold air and leads to some freezing rain on the interstate, which is always a disaster. At the same time, other parts of the county could be just fine. As systems move up the western edge of the plateau they can intensify, esp around Monterey, producing more snow or rain than was expected. Then, sometimes severe storms come into contact with the plateau from the west and completely fall apart, while other times they grow stronger. Our location in the U.S. puts us close enough to the Gulf of Mexico to be heavily influenced by it, while also being influenced by cold air coming in from Canada. Our geographic position lands right in the battle zone of air masses more often than not. That’s one reason why our state is often on the line between rain and snow, with our plateau sticking up right in the middle, offering even more challenges because of our complex terrain. This is probably more than you wanted to know! (ha) Basically, our location in the U.S. puts us in the battle zone between warm, moist air masses from the Gulf, and cold, dry air masses from the north (That’s why Dixie Alley is so close to us, with a higher incidence of tornadoes). That, coupled with our very complex terrain, puts us in a very complicated position for weather forecasting.

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