Great Smokies solar eclipse images and animations

2:45pm looking across Rich Mountain and Cades Cove

For over a decade we’ve collected views from reliable weather web cams to build daily time-lapse animations for the Great Smoky Mountains. We’ve called the project Yesterday in the Great Smokies and offer a daily archive for the past three calendar years.

The August total solar eclipse in the southern Great Smokies offered a great opportunity to showcase some unique images from the archive.  [Read more…]

Weather station almost full!

Happy New Year to you! We invite you to our four year anniversary of documenting weather animations in the Great Smokies. When we move into 2016, we’ll cycle out the observations for 2012. Over the past dozen years we’ve documented weather for areas our maps cover. More recently, we’ve offered an online media library of webcam and satellite animations and daily weather summaries for the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. They’re offered as animated GIFs for three webcams and a visual GOES satellite for the region.

Four years of webcam animations

Four years of webcam animations

In short few hours, we’ll have four complete years of these webcams. If you need a nice sunset or sunrise, feel free to explore the archive.

As we look to the future, we’re excited to investigate the public data that many personal weather stations are feedings services like Weather Underground and Netatmo. We’ll start aggregating weather station data for our hiking areas and offer it here. That’s a goal for 2016!

New Weather Graphs

Weekly graphs of weather variables

Weekly graphs of weather variables

Weather Underground’s weather stations are an awesome resource. Volunteers with weather stations feed their observations to site’s ‘big brain’ and make it publically available. We inserted weekly weather graphs for two stations near the Great Smokies; one on the west side in Tennessee and the other on the east side in North Carolina. Visit our GRSM weather page and tell us what you think.

Cold Mountain web cam back up

Cold Mountain in May

Cold Mountain in May

After a severe winter, the Cold Mountain webcam is back in operation. As we move into summer, we hope all cams remain healthy so we can collect and archive animated scenes.

What we have now is pure spring delight, so please enjoy.

Kentucky transitions into fall

MODIS images of changing seasons in Kentucky, 2013

MODIS images of changing seasons in Kentucky, 2013

 

These satellite images are from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instruments on two satellites, Aqua and Terra. MODIS captures 36 electromagnetic wavelength bands to measure atmospheric water vapor, ozone, aerosols, land fire, surface temperature, and many other important variables of global climate. These images are visible light and clearly show the change in deciduous canopy cover within roughly a month of time. Spatial resolutions are between 250 m to 1 km.

Tale of Two Years

We have a late spring this year and you can see it with the Look Rock webcam. The first image is from April 1, 2013 and doesn’t show much greening of the trees. The second image is an animation from April 1, 2012 and you can quickly notice much more tender green.

[Read more…]

Early Spring Snow in the Great Smokies

Snow on Mt. LeConte

In winters past, the highlands of the Great Smokies could expect an average of 8-10 feet of snow. This winter we’ve had much less, though the average temperatures have about normal. On March 26, however, we saw a dramatic snowfall with Mt. LeConte getting about 20″ in one storm with little snowfall at lower elevations. These images clearly show the snow line and give a unique feeling to the mountain scenery.

[Read more…]

New GPS and PDF maps for the Great Smokies

We are introducing our new map and GPS datapack series for the Great Smoky Mountains. We’ve created an easily printable map for every trail listed in the Great Smoky Mountains Association’s Hiking Trails of the Smokies, the brown book, also known as the “Hikers’ Brown Bible.”

Our maps show forest canopy cover, trail intersection elevations, and mileage between intersections & backcountry campsites, all at 1:50,000 scale. Our GPS data is the most detailed and current data available. We’ve structured the GPX file so you can easily select your hike and save it to your mobile device or GPS unit. Our maps are offered as a printable, 8×10 PDF file with each page centered on the listed hike. Print your maps and save them to your mobile device, but never worry about losing or damaging your map again!

Currently we are offering two regions, Cades Cove and Cosby & Greenbrier.

Trails in the Cades Cove region: Abrams Falls, Ace Gap, Anthony Creek, Appalachian Trail, Beard Cane, Bote Mountain, Cades Cove Nature, Cane Creek, Cooper Road, Crib Gap, Crooked Arm Ridge, Finley Cane, Goldmine, Gregory Bald, Gregory Ridge, Hannah Mountain, Hatcher Mountain, Indian Grave Gap, Lead Cove, Little Bottoms, Rabbit Creek, Rich Mountain, Rich Mountain Loop, Russell Field, Schoolhouse Gap, Scott Mountain, Turkeypen Ridge, West Prong, Wet Bottom.

Trails in the Cosby & Greenbrier regions: Albright Grove, Appalachian Trail, Brushy Mountain, Camel Gap, Cosby Nature, Gabes Mountain, Grapeyard Ridge, Low Gap, Lower Mt Cammerer, Maddron Bald, Mt Cammerer, Old Settlers, Porters Creek, Ramsey Cascades, Snake Den Ridge.

First snowfall in the Great Smokies

From the Purchase Knob webcam, we can see the first dusting on snow in the Great Smokies. Mark the date, October 20. Though not much is seen here, the intense storm, which is our first midlatitude cyclone of the season, might produce a little more snowfall overnight and more at higher elevations. We will check the gauge at Mt. LeConte tomorrow and see how much they got. Winter is here in the highlands. [Read more…]

Road Closure Info for the Great Smokies

Planning a spring trip to the Great Smokies? We’ve collected and posted official updates on road closures on our weather page.

A day of weather in the Great Smokies

A somber late-winter day from Look Rock mountain overlook, March 5, 2011. [Read more…]

Archive of Webcam Animations

In the spring of 2009, I wrote a couple scripts to automate collecting webcam and visual satellite images of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and creating animations from them. Recently I put the archive of those animations online after a few requests. The archive also records the past 24-hour temperatures, precipitation, and snow depth for the day selected.

Questions like, when’s a good time to see fall colors, can be now be answered with a visual assessment from last year’s observations. Combare the days between October 10 and October 22, 2009, for a good answer. Between those days, the smokies received its first snowfall.

The archive can be found here: http://www.outragegis.com/weather/img/animation

Webcams for Great Smoky Mountains

After a few months of intermittent outage, the four webcams that cover the Great Smokies are all working. Now we can compare sky conditions on both sides of the mountain and also observe sunrise and sunset. The webcam animations also work, too!

You can view these webcams on our weather page: outrageGIS.com/weather/grsm

El Niño to make the mountains colder and drier this winter

Predicting climate in the old days relied upon observing cues in nature. The Farmers’ Almanac finds that people looked at woolly worms in late summer in get a sense of winter. The more black hairs on the worm, the colder and wetter the winter. Of course woolly worms come in all configurations of black and orange colorings so how could a worm’s coat predict winter? It can as an analogy;  you look at the forecast to decide which coat you’re going to wear before leaving home. I think you would want to wear a black coat as opposed to a white coat on a very cold and sunny day to maximize the amount of solar energy you could absorb. Woolly worms just plan far ahead.

Today we track global changes in wind patterns and sea surface temperatures to predict weather conditions. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center has issued a climate forecast for this winter based on the El Niño pattern emerging in the Pacific Ocean.

Below are winter predictions for the U.S. indicating greater or lesser chances for departures in average winter temperatures and precipitation.

temps

precip

El Niño is a departure from average sea surface temperatures created by a change in the intensity and direction of equatorial winds. In a normal period, strong easterly trade winds blow across the Pacific and upwell cold, nutrient rich waters on the west coast of South America. These same winds also pile up water in the western Pacific so that the sea surface is about 2 feet higher at Indonesia than at Ecuador.

Normal Sea Surface Temperatures in °C

In an El Niño cycle, the winds are not as intense and warmer sea surface temperatures extend further to east. This change has a global impact on weather with increased precipitation on the west coast of South America and the south & east coasts of North America. Warmer than normal conditions also occur at higher latitudes in North America and over the Pacific ocean.

El Niño Sea Surface Temperatures in °C

El Niño Sea Surface Temperatures in °C

First freezing night in the Great Smokies

Overnight the temperature dropped to 25° F at the Newfound Gap weather station, elevation 5,000 ft. Mt LeConte at 6400 ft above sea level recorded a low temperature of 31° F.  The slight warming at 1,400 ft higher in elevation is caused by a temperature inversion that most frequently happens in autumn mornings.

The lowest temperature recored at Mt. LeConte for September 29 was 24° F and that happened in 2003. The coldest night ever recorded since 1988 was -22° F, which occurred last February 4.

Station reports for 7:30 am, September 28 – 7:30 am, September 29:

STATION             ELEV    HIGH    LOW     PCPN    SNOW DEPTH
SUGARLAND CENTER    1600     75      45     0.00
NEWFOUND GAP        5000     62      25     0.00
CADES COVE          1900     73      44     0.00
OCONALUFTEE         2040     79      42     0.00
MOUNT LECONTE       6400     57      31     0.01

http://www.outrageGIS.com/weather/grsm