Tuesday, February 10, 2004


- last four lines of "Anywhere Is" by Enya

That's the challenge with late winter forecasting... we might be just beginning, we might be near the end. More and more indications in the atmosphere are lining up to say that we are headed for a very stormy and cooler (not necessary brutally cold) pattern to crash the February party the second half of the month. This little warm spell in the Northeast right now is just that... little, and a spell. I love warm weather anytime you want to send it my way, but I know in my bones that the warmer it is now, the colder it will be later. And the major players up above are entering their dressing rooms now and preparing for the stage call the middle of next week. The southern jet stream is just LOADED with moisture. You look for yourself on the NWS sites to the left and take a glimpse at the satellite. The southern stream these past 3 weeks has been busier than a rooster in a henhouse, and it shows no signs of letting up.

BOTTOM LINE? NO CHANGE TO THE STORM PROJECTIONS OUTLINED BELOW The atmosphere is setting up for a major East coast event Tuesday night into Wednesday of next week. The computer models do a "run" about twice a day, depending on the model. Their output is based on weather data observed from all over the world. The computer crunches the numbers for a few hours, and presto! out comes a detailed world-wide forecast complete with temperatures, precip, storms and more. The result? Almost every successive model run of the NWS GFS (Global Forecast System) is trending colder and snowier for the Mid-Atlantic next Tuesday night into Thursday. In fact, I could scare you with some of the data it is throwing out... like another 2 foot blizzard for Boston, 3 inches of snow an hour for 6 hours for Philly... all kinds of bizarre weather. But remember, this far out in time, the computer sees only the extremes. Once the event nears, it can refine it's projections and generate a more reasonable estimate.

But hey, at least it is fun to consider what could happen, ike DC-Baltimore snowfall estimates ranging from 4 to 12 inches, but I digress. So to conclude, I am going to feature a little humor piece provided by my weather-alert Mom up in the bustling metropolis of Paoli, PA outside of Philly. These are excerpts from an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer a couple weeks ago, and it is hilarious.

A shovelful of tips to beat snow woes by Inquirer columnist Tom Ferrick Jr.
Experts have identified two great stresses we must face in the winter: (a) the weather, and (b) weather forecasts. Not necessarily in that order. To help you avoid stress, I have consulted experts - psychologists, psychiatrists, priests, ministers, personal trainers and one guru - and have come up with a list. (Experts and journalists always come up with lists. In fact, it's No. 1 on "The List of Things Experts and Journalists Always Come Up With.") so here is my patented and copyrighted...


10. Don't channel surf between stations during the weather segment. It will only make matters worse. Stick to one forecast, even if it's wrong. Trying to determine the average of accuracy among five or six forecasts could do serious neurological damage, the experts say.

9. When in doubt, use the weather forecast in the newspaper. It may be wrong, but at least it won't get you excited and upset. Besides, it's nice for a change to look at a weather map where the isobars don't move. If they do start to move, consult an ophthalmologist, the experts say.

Tune back in tomorrow for #8. Each day will feature a new selection, and they get funnier with time.

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