Sunday, February 22, 2004

"There is a great disturbance in the force..."

- The Emperor speaking to Darth Vader in Empire Strikes Back

It's a good thing I waited until today to come out with the official projections on this storm. As some of you noticed, the Weather Service Offices in both Philly and Baltimore came out full blast on Saturday with a doomsday Special Weather Statement, and then had to totally retreat this morning.

Why? The great disturbance in the force is the arctic high moving southeast. This time around, it appears to be too strong. In contrast, the Atlantic high off the southeast coast is too weak. Thus, the southern stream is not being shoved as far north as you would need it to were you desirous of a big snowstorm. The arctic high is, in effect, squelching the storm by pushing all the precip south of us. The Carolina coast and some of the Virginia capes will get hammered with very strong easterly winds, tidal flooding and coastal erosion.

But overall it does appear the influence of the northern components of this setup are indeed overpowering the southern components. BUT... I've been wrong before. So like the Star Trek movies, there's always a little hint of a potential sequel. I may have to come back in 24 hours and reverse myself. For now, you can put away your light sabre and breathe easier.

There is still light snow in the forecast for Wednesday, but it is intermittent and not enough to cause a school delay. So enjoy the sunshine!


For those of you in the Philly suburbs, you may remember the surprise wet snow dump of Friday, Feb 22, 1987. That was a storm which only delivered 4 inches at the PHL airport, but dropped 20 inches on my house in Paoli, PA. At one point overnight during the storm, it was snowing at 5 inches an hour. I remember, because I was up at 4 am measuring it. And the rest of that weekend, my family and I then measured how much Tylenol it would take to shovel all that heavy wet snow.

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