By: Winn Soldani
Welcome to week two of the CYC Wx Challenge! Matt and I are appreciative of everyone’s participation last week and hope we see even more of you this week (we’re talking to you, east coasters…we saw you sitting out KORD…don’t be afraid…).
This week, we’re forecasting for Providence, RI—the closest climatology station we have to the sailing mecca that is Newport, RI. We’re forecasting for the T.F. Green international airport (ICAO Code: KPVD).
Let me start by saying this—I’ve lived in/near two of the cities in this challenge—Chicago and Miami. On the other other hand, I’ve been to Rhode Island once (to Point Judith to see and buy my first keelboat, an X-yachts ¾ tonner). I’ve seen Narraganset Bay, but never really watched the weather in the area. So please feel free to jump in and add to/correct what I say!
Fighting local bias is key. For our Chicago competitors, this meant shifting from a lakefront focus to an inshore one, as O’Hare is off the lake.
Similarly, it’s easy to think about KPVD as “Newport”—and it’s not. In fact, as locals know, it’s not even Providence, really. The airport is in Warwick Rhode Island, south of Providence.
If you want to be a real weenie, like me, you can even see the actual AOS station where the data are collected in a google maps view of the airport. You can zoom in more than I did here, but to provide perspective it’s located to the SE of the main terminal (which you can see in top left of this photo).
As with KORD let’s start with the norms for KPVD. These are for the days we’re forecasting for (available with some digging here: https://w2.weather.gov/climate/xmacis.php?wfo=box )
Day of Month
Looks beautiful, right? But like ORD, looking at the extremes is eye opening!
|DATE||Record high||Record Lowest high temp||Record low||Record highest low temp||Record precip|
As you can see, like Chicago, the word of the week is “volatility.” It can rarely get into the 90s. It can fail to get out of the 40s. Again, like ORD, identifying whether the pattern is benign or volatile is key to a good forecast.
The wind rose for the days we’re forecasting is remarkable:
Your attention is immediately drawn to the amount of time the wind is out of the S or SSE. This is clearly a sea breeze or at least has some sea breeze element to it. The temperature of the ocean and the bay, therefore, will be a major factor in temperature forecasts for PVD.
With a big sea breeze/breeze off the ocean component to the weather, water temps are a must to understand. One way to get a big picture overview of the water temperatures is via satellite measurement (here is one site: https://marine.rutgers.edu/cool/sat_data/?product=sst®ion=southNE¬humbs=0 )
Watching and thinking about the fetch (e.g. a local thermal breeze vs a deep synoptic breeze) over water seems like an important issue to consider for PVD. In general, the wind direction seems like a major controller of temperature. Air masses originating over land will result in much different weather than bay or ocean breezes.
The Boston NWS says the following about precip in Providence:
Measurable precipitation occurs on about one day out of every three, and is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. There is usually no definite dry season, but occasionally droughts do occur.
Thunderstorms are responsible for much of the rainfall from May through August. They usually produce heavy, and sometimes even excessive amounts of rainfall. However, since their duration is relatively short, damage is ordinarily light.
The thunderstorms of summer are frequently accompanied by extremely gusty winds, which may result in some damage to property.
Once again, we have a challenging forecast, with local effects of relatively cold ocean and bay water playing a role in the forecast. We wish you the best of luck in KPVD!