Wednesday, February 18, 2004

"Do you really want to hurt me, do you really want to make me cry?"

- Boy George

I'm sorry, there are probably not a lot of Boy George fans out there, but it kind of popped into my head as the best headline for today.

We're going to take a different tack with the next storm. This will hopefully prevent you from having to experience undue winter-related stress, thus having to invoke the winter stress tips again.

Now, with no intention of appearing smug or anything of the sort, I'm going to tell you that I know some things that you don't want to know right now. It would be like:
"Alex, I'll take the category: 'Too much information' for a hundred."

The only snippet I can give you right now is that aforementioned system moving in next Wednesday has the potential to be significant. But I've been wrong before. It is a complex arrangement of systems (when does that ever happen?) and it would take too long to explain right now.

So I don't really want to hurt you with any promises of anything. My plan is to enjoy the sunshine and rain the next couple days, and do some background research on this upcoming... event. This weekend we'll be going over the river (Susquehanna) and through the woods (Penn State) to visit Grandma. By Sunday I'll have a full, condensed analysis for you.

Until then, you can satisfy your snow hunger by viewing a recap of the March 1958 surprise 3-footer in the I-95 corridor. Check out the accumulation map on this one.


"These are the days, to hold on to. But we won't, although we'll want to.
This is the time...But time is gonna change. "

- Billy Joel

For those who enjoy calm, sunny winter days, this is the time. But for those who are waiting for the next round... time is gonna change.

To help our powderhounds survive the next 7 days of snow drought, here is the next tip for beating winter-related stress:

# 2. If you look out the window and see snow, the odds are overwhelming that it is snowing across a wide area. It is very rare to get snow concentrated within a one- or two-block area, the experts say.
Also, crews will be out salting and plowing in a storm, as they have routinely done for the last 50-plus years. Finally, if the snowfall is heavy, it will have an adverse effect on traffic, causing accidents and slowing commuting times. In other words, it is probably not necessary to turn on the TV to confirm that (a) it is snowing; (b) crews are plowing; (c) traffic is snarled.

Instead, relax and read a book. It will do you a world of good, the experts say.

OUTLOOK FOR THE NEXT 7 DAYS in the I-95 Corridor and Central/Western PA

Thu 2/19 - Warmer (around 50 F) and somewhat sunny for most everyone.
Fri 2/20 – Continued above normal temps, no rain, some high clouds
Sat 2/21 – Showers increasing with the day. But still warm and muggy for Feb. High near 60
South, mid 50’s south.
Sun 2/22 – Clearing but remaining mild, highs in the upper 40’s. Pittsburgh/Altoona area might get a little wraparound snow as the storm exits east.
Mon 2/23 – More clouds than sun and a little cooler, highs back in the low 40’s
Tue 2/24 – Clouds increasing throughout the day, but dry and cool. Highs around 40 F
Wed 2/25 – Cloudy and cool with light snow possible. That's all we can say right now.

So you can see the progression of events as described above. A low is moving east from the Rockies, and crosses the area this weekend. This brings much warmer air from the south along with the threat of mild thunderstorms somewhere in the region Saturday afternoon. The low departs east Sunday. Meanwhile this warmth is allowing cold air to once again start building in Canada. The longer it stays warm now, the colder it will be later, as the atmosphere does not like imbalances, especially during climatologically favored times for cold, like now.


A Canadian high is projected to move southeast by next Tuesday from the Yukon territories and settle near the Great Lakes. This is unlike earlier this week, where the high moved off the coast. While it is too early to say anything definitive, a high parked west of the St. Lawrence River Valley is usually a good setup for eastern snow. It depends on how long that high hangs there.

Although the southern stream is going “zonal” which means it will flow directly across the country from west to east, each system moving across will bring Pacific moisture with it. You will notice this comes Saturday with the soaking rains we are expecting. I cannot say with any certainty this setup will deliver a plowable snowstorm along the east coast. However, it is going to generate some kind of storm in our area by next Wednesday. There will be ample moisture, and the jet streams will be in the right arrangement. The setup looks very similar to the Dec 6 storm…a southwest to east track which took snow through the southern Ohio Valley, along the Mason-Dixon Line, and out to sea. The question will remain…does the high stay in place and deliver enough cold air to keep everything snow, or will it pull another fruit cup trick and we get rain?

Too early to tell, but I can tell you this….because you're reading this Thursday.....TOMORROW IS FRIDAY!

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