3/14 EVENING UPDATE:
"What we got here is a FAILURE to communicate."
- Cool Hand Luke
That's a special quote I've been saving for my stepfather for just an occasion like this. CHL is one of his favorite movies and that is a great line I was hoping I could use this season when the forecast went totally bonkers.
Before we get into everything.. this weekend is the 11th anniversary of the March 11-14, 1993 Storm of the Century. Check out your accuweather.com forecast site for a couple neat graphics and relive the memories with your family at dinner tonight.
Also... we need to activate the Marty Bass Patrol for Monday morning. Post a comment if you can and tell us in Baltimore what the bass-meister is saying about this storm.
In summary, beware the ides of March, because what we have got here is a failure to communicate about the forecast.
FIRST, LET ME ADDRESS SOME QUESTIONS YOU MIGHT HAVE
1. What happened to the forecast for this week? You mean the one from earlier posts? The one that said 60 and rainy for Monday? Well, throw that out. It will be sunny and 55 on Monday, but the weather for the rest of the week has to be totally redone.
2. How in the WORLD can it snow now? I'll explain that in a minute.
3. I thought you said the snow was OVER for the winter! I'll explain that one too, in a minute.
4. Got your tail between your legs there, little doggy? Yup. (Whimper).
BEFORE THE FORECAST, SOME CLIMATOLOGY
- By March, the Gulf Stream is really heating up off the Carolina and Virginia coast. This provides any "warm core" storm the equivalent of enriched uranium for a nuclear power plant. If a low pressure system which is warm at it's center, like most spring storms are, gets near the Gulf Stream AT THE SAME TIME A COLD HIGH IS LURKING NEARBY... lookout. That's how late season storms can deliver snow when it was sunny and warm the day before.
It's the same setup as a standard December-February winter storm, except that it has set itself up in March.
- Sun angle this time of year is equivalent to mid October. So roadways stay warmer longer. But you all know that in October, once the sun goes down, it gets mighty cool quick. A neat little stunt called radiational cooling allows heat from the day to escape into space. If clouds and precip move in after most of the heat has escaped, BINGO.. you can have snow falling out of the sky when only 12 hours earlier it was sunny and 55 F.
- But then again... higher sun angle and other factors also point to snow having a very difficult time falling for an extended period (as we saw last week) and is usually not stickable to roadways, etc. Yes, stickable is a technical meteorological term. So it may be pretty but it will not last.
ENOUGH WITH THE WEATHER-SPEAK, GIMME THE FORECAST
Monday: Abundant sunshine but you will notice a light northwest wind, switching to northeast as the day progresses. That switch will also begin to usher in clouds late in the day. High 50 F in Philly, near 55 F in Baltimore.
Monday overnight: Clouds thicken all night long, light winds. As with previous storms, it'll take a while for the precip to moisten the atmosphere above. Temps will be cool enough aloft for precip to begin as snow. In areas north and west of Baltimore (Owings Mills, Towson, Bel Air on north) you'll see flurries and light snow by daybreak. Areas south of that line, it will be light snow/rain mixed. If it holds off, expect only rain, and wet snow in the Zone.
Tuesday morning: Right now, this does not appear to be a big surprise storm. But a lot of dynamics could change the outcome, such as a brief period of heavy wet snow that quickly covers roadways. That would cool the ground surface and the lower layers of the atmosphere, delaying a changeover to rain. But overall, it is a safe bet that the warming sun will change any snow over to rain by late morning. Accumulations? On cars, sidewalks, lawns, tops of the buses. Etc.
SO WHAT ABOUT SCHOOL?
Philly suburbs north and west of the city have a greater chance of a delay Tuesday morning than Baltimore or Washington area schools. It will all come down to what is the weather exactly at 5:00 AM. If heavy wet snow is falling in your area, expect a delay. If there is light rain and snow mixed .... NO DELAY. The longer the precip holds off, the better chance it has of falling as rain and not snow.
ANY CHANCE THIS WILL BLOW UP UNEXPECTEDLY?
Well, the powderhounds think so. But they're always looking for snow, even in July. Actually there's more of a chance that the storm slows down and arrives during daylight hours, delivering only rain.
BOTTOM LINE... DON'T GET YOUR HOPES UP ABOUT THIS STORM. It's just a late season fluke.
The rest of the week:
Wednesday - Mix of sun, clouds, flurries and leftover sprinkes. Cold and windy. High 45. Fields will be dry for practice.
Thursday - No big change, still cold, windy but no precip.
Friday - Finally some milder weather returns. High nosing above 50 F.