Sunday, March 28, 2004


3/29 MORNING UPDATE:
"I see skies of blue, clouds of white. Bright blessed days, dark sacred nights. And I think to myself, what a wonderful world."

- Louie Armstrong

I'll bet the spring-a-lings were humming that song throughout the land today, as it was a wonderful day to be outside.

But starting tomorrow, you will change your tune some, and by mid week you'll probably be singing a dirge and wondering where the wonderful world of spring went.

This may be the only post this week, because here at the Foot compound we are heavy into final preparations for our trip. The other reason this will be the only post is the reality of what the weather will deliver the next 5-6 days.

BEWARE THE UPPER LEVEL LOW MONSTER

There are two things I despise the most in spring time, and March is my least favorite month of all 12.
(1) Upper level cutoff lows with a polar vortex combo
(2) Stationary fronts that drag on and on bringing endless rain

For those who like sunny days, they are over for now as March will be going out like a lion. The atmosphere is set to deliver a deep upper level trough, and sliding into this valley will be a piece of the polar vortex. When this happens around the spring equinox, it means deteroriating weather with each passing day. The upper level becomes a whirling dervish above us, circulating the same clouds and rain around and around for several days, sometimes a week.

If we are fortunate, some monster high will charge in from Canada end of the week, throw this bad boy outta here, and the return flow on the high means improving conditons for the week of spring break. Sunday will have been the best day of the entire week. From here to next Sunday, everything will get worse each day... I mean lowering temps, increased rain and wind.

Just when it looks like things are clearing, another batch of grayness will appear on the horizon and return the doom and gloom. I am telling you this now so you can at least know and understand why the weather will be so unpleasant this week.

The silver lining is that the pattern looks to do a "spring break" in that it will crack by Sunday.

In closing, to cement in your mind just how bizarre the weather has been, a rare hurricane made landfall in Brazil today. This has only happened 3 times in the past 100 years. Tropical systems generally do not form in the southern hemisphere Atlantic, as the upper level wind systems are not favorable most of the time. Does it portend anything for our hurricane season? We shall see...

My British Columbia crew will be departing early Saturday morning 4/3, and returning Friday night 4/9. During that period, daily posts will be made on the trip website: http://whistler2004.blogspot.com to update our friends back home on the trip's progress.

Enjoy your holiday, sleep in and get ready for tornado and hurricane season!



Thursday, March 25, 2004


3/25 MORNING COMMENT:
"I know nothing stays the same, but if you are willing to play the game,
it will will be coming around again."

- Carly Simon

Brief comment this morning to say that the rain has arrived, but on the heels of it will be a brief warmup where areas in Philly and Baltimore will touch 70 F.

Then things cool down again until next week.

But if you're willing to play this warmup-cooldown game, it will be coming around again next week also. And for Spring breakers and spring-a-lings alike, we should see some real nice weather come the first week of April.

Oh yeah, now that's what I'm talkin' about.... time off and nice weather go so well together.

Monday, March 22, 2004


3/22 EVENING COMMENT:
"I'm leavin' on a jet plane, don't know when I'll be back again..."

- originally sung by John Denver

Thanks to loyal reader Chip for his identification of the artist for today's title.

I recall back in early March when it was nice and warm that I commented on the likelihood of a retaliation later in the month. Maybe someone can check the archives and see when that was.

Whether I commented on it or not, the retaliation is here. Bitter cold tonight in northern MD and PA... lows in a few spots up in the Zone may touch 15 F, with low 20's in Baltimore. Though it is spring, the chill is going to linger one more day. By Wednesday we should be rebounding toward 50, and 60 on Thursday.

However, what goes down must come up. You see how it is this on-going see-saw business? It was too warm in February, so March over-corrected to the cold side, which means that April will fire back with over-warming, which means May will be cooler. So for all you spring breakers who are staying stateside, you may be in for a nice toasty week here at home.

Which leads me to the final comment for the night...and the reason for today's title. On Saturday, April 3, I along with 19 other friends and family members will be heading to British Columbia for Spring Break. We are making a 3,000 mile journey to the largest ski and snowboard resort in North America... Whistler-Blackcomb.

(Oooo, I can just hear the powderhounds drooling.)

Yeah, if you didn't already guess, Mr. Foot and his brother Jeff are big time skiers. We're taking our wives, baby Jayla, our aunt, 4 kids from my homeroom, 4 kids from the Boy Scouts in PA, and a few other motivated snow-hungry hounds out to a place where there is 90 INCHES OF SNOW ON THE GROUND RIGHT NOW.

And you're saying.... "just rub it in, make me feel better already."

The kids will experience 5 days on 2 mountains that soar over a mile into the sky, totaling 7,000 acres of terrain.

The adults will conquer a village that boasts 200 shops and restaurants, and more adventure activities that there are days in a month.

The trip is sponsored by the Dundalk Adventure Booster Club, a parent-student travel group that formed out of the Dundalk High Ski and Snowboard Club.

SO WHY ARE YOU TELLING ME ALL THIS?

Because one of the advantages of being a loyal reader is that you will receive the exclusive inside details on the NEXT BIG TRIP in case you'd like to join us in the future. Plus you get to follow the daily adventures of this hardy crew as they trek across the nation. Below are website details on this trip and plans for the next several ones.

Because we are now into major trip preparation mode, I will only be able to post to the forecast site every other day. And expect no posts from Friday 4/3 until Saturday 4/10.

If you have wanderlust in your blood, the Dundalk Adventure Booster Club is dreaming up some incredible trips to great destinations all around the world. There are plans for a Six Flags trip for the kids, a possible journey to Cedar Point in Ohio one of these days, and also a Windjammer Cruise in the Caribbean. If you have the motivation, we'll take you there, wherever there ends up being. All you need is a heartbeat and money.

April 2006: Zermatt, Switzerland (or Whistler again)
June-July 2008: Portillo, Chile
February 2010: Whistler/Vancouver 2010 Olympics

Check out our websites for great pics and details:
http://community.webshots.com/user/dundalkadventure
http://whistler2004.blogspot.com

We will be posting hundreds of pictures daily on these sites during the trip.

Feel free to ask questions on the comment feature... it is never too early to start planning for the NEXT BIG TRIP!





Saturday, March 20, 2004

3/20 MORNING UPDATE:
"We'll drink and dance with one hand free, and have the world so easily, though we'll be a sight to see, back in the high life again."

- Steve Winwood, The High Life

Now this is not a song about getting drunk and dancing like a maniac, it is a nice, energetic upbeat song about the happiness and peace that can come from just accepting your life and being happy with the way it is.

And I'm sure the Spring-a-lings are livin' life today. Bright sunshine, feeling warmer, you can just hear them dancing out there with one hand free. Because by the time you read this.... SPRING WILL HAVE FINALLY ARRIVED!

Congratulations to all for surviving through one of the longest stretches of snow in recent memory. Throughout the coverage area of this site (I-95, Central PA), our snowfalls began December 5, and lasted until March 18. In Central PA last year, the stretch of snow began October 30 and did not end until April 6. That's snow in 7 of the 12 months of the year!

The final word on the March 18-19 snowfall is located here for Central PA:
http://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/ctp/features/snowmaps.shtml

After a brief period of showers tonight and early tomorrow morning, next week looks to fabulous, with warming conditions each day and abundant sunshine. Yeeeehaw!



Friday, March 19, 2004


3/19 MORNING UPDATE:
"In the middle of the night, I go walkin' in my sleep."

- River of Dreams, Billy Joel

Thanks to the baby, we were walking in our sleep last night as she decided to wake up at 2, feed. At 3:30 she was wide awake and ready to conquer the world. Daddy finally just gave up and put her back down at 4:30. Then I decided to face the truth...

That watching the weather channel for an extended period does not result in a storm magically turning around and delivering snow to an area it missed.

THE UNOFFICIAL STORM ROUNDUP


The winners...
I have not heard definitive accumulations from Central PA, but rumors are the amounts were less than the 6" NWS forecasted.

Phila, PA: This site called for 4-6" from Chester County on west. Totals were around 4", not the 5-8" NWS forecasted.

The losers...
No delays in Maryland as predicted. Haven't heard from our Zone observers, but it is clear there was no accumulating snow in the areas outlined yesterday.
A delay sure would have been nice for those stll dealing with the water main break. And for all the Mommies & Daddies out there who are worn out from being on teething duty for many nights in a row.

But at least it is Friday... and spring is arriving TOMORROW!


Thursday, March 18, 2004

3/18 MORNING UPDATE: "We all live in a yellow submarine."
- The Beatles

That's the song this morning for our friends in PA... where NWS has issued a Winter Storm Watch (which is traditionally a yellow color coding) for all of eastern and southeastern PA.

PHL NWS is calling for up to 6 inches in SE PA, I don't think you will get that high.

BAL NWS thinks the heavy snow will stay to the northern areas of Harford, Balto and Carroll County. A mix farther south, with rain below Baltimore.

The major issue this time is that roadways have had a couple days to cool down, and with temperatures hovering at or below 40 for today, it will not take much for precip that falls to begin creating widespread icy conditions by Friday morning.

And yes, I had to up the ante for this storm because the Canadian High near the Great Lakes is hanging tough and delivering more cold air into the system than the computer models originally anticipated.

HERE'S THE OVERALL CALL FOR THE AREA:

Central PA: Unfortunately the southern mountains from Blair County will see an enhanced effect known as "lifting" which will create heavy snow fall rates of over an inch an hour around midnight. So again, you'll go to bed with scattered snow showers, and wake up to another winter wonderland. Total accumulations of 4-8" are likely from Blair County east.

Eastern/Southeastern PA: Oh the powderhounds are stomping their feet this morning, as a rain/snow mix will arrive later this evening, and change to all snow overnight. You will see 1" and hour or greater in the early morning hours, leaving at least 3-4" throughout the area. And the snow will continue into the morning rush hours. Total accumulations of 4-6" from Chester County on west.

Baltimore Metro:
From Bel Air-Towson-Owings Mills-Ellicott City on north and west:

You have the best shot of accumulating snow, 2" or more (a few spots with 3") in the Zone and along the PA border. 1-2" closer to the beltway, and less than 1" inside the beltway on south to Annapolis.

WHAT ABOUT SCHOOL ON FRIDAY?


Central PA: Heh, easy call there. No school for Blair County Schools on east. Areas in the NWS Winter Weather Advisory will have a 2-hour delay.

Eastern PA: Heh, easy call there. No school for most of Chester County Schools on west. Philly schools on a 2-hour delay.

Baltimore Metro: Believe it or not, Baltimore County Schools could see a 2-hour delay only 3 days before spring. It all depends on if at least half the county experiences accumulation on the roadways.

Harford, Carroll, Frederick, Howard - Also a 2-hour delay
Anne Arundel, Cecil - No delay
Eastern shore - No delay

And hey, there's always a chance the storm moves a little farther south, and the heavy snow band shifts with it, putting the northern MD areas in the 3" plus area. If that happens, counties I listed as a delay will be closed.

Another update tonight as the situation begins to play out.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004


3/17 MORNING UPDATE: "Oh for the luck o' the Irish."


Some folks in Baltimore County, MD don't feel very lucky this morning as a water main break has left nearly 150,000 people without the wet stuff. Sorry gang. Now that's the kind of day that you need a delay.

However, we did luck out with parts of the forecast. Check out this site to compare my call of 3-6 inches in central PA and 5-8 inches in eastern PA against the results.

Maryland snowfall amounts ranged from less than an inch in the Baltimore metro area, 2" near the PA line, and 6" at Frostburg University in western Maryland. Also thanks to our trusty observer in the Hereford Zone, Ms. Williams. Fascinating how such a slight change in elevation can make the differentce between ice or no ice. However, a number of commuters to Dundalk High School reported a heavy burst of wet snow between 5:30 and 6:00 am, which was originally predicted.

New England and New England got slammed as expected.

IS THE SNOW DONE OR WHAT?

Maryland: Rain coming Thursday night will mix with some snow before ending but nothing to be concerned about.

Pennsylvania: You are under the gun again as it will be primarily snow for you Thursday into Friday morning. Could see 1-3" in the Phila metro area. Isolated areas in Central PA could see 2-3" but this is not going to be a major storm.

But hey, at least the grass will be greener once the sun comes back out. And spring is only 3 DAYS AWAY. HOORAY!


Tuesday, March 16, 2004


3/16 MORNING UPDATE:
"You ain't nothin' but a hound-dog, cryin' all the time..."

- The King of Rock and Roll, Elvis

I'll be a lot of people south of the Mason-Dixon Line are cryin' this morning and will be doing so well into the morning hours. Especially all y'all in the Zone, where students may be sitting in class while it is snowing outside. However, our PA friends are rejoicing in their new-found winter splendor, or cryin' at the return of OMW (Old Man Winter).

The forecast is verifying for this morning in the Baltimore area, but alas, the fruit cup was right again. It does not appear any delay will occur for any Balto metro schools. Looking at the "Mid-Atlantic Radar", the rain/snow line is edging into the Hereford area at 5:45 AM, and will move south for a couple hours before retreating north. It is presently a snow/sleet/rain mix in Dundalk.

It does appear that the area districts are hedging their bets that enough warm air will hang on into the commuting hours. Either way, it will be a slippery ride in this morning. Wonder what happened to the 3-6" Marty Bass was calling for yesterday? Hmmmm.

And believe it or not....there is another round of this same situation heading our way for Thursday night and Friday. So spring is out there somewhere my love.

Monday, March 15, 2004


3/15 LATE EVENING UPDATE:
"She'll be comin' around the mountain when she comes."

- Old Folk Tune, I forget the title

Two low pressure systems are teaming up as they move northeast from Tennessee to northern Virginia while a Canadian High is parking itself in just the right place...upstate New York and the Great Lakes... to deliver fresh cold air as the precip arrives. So yes, unbelieveable as it may be, but your snow will be coming around the mountain tomorrow morning.

A situation like this has not happened since March 1958, when spring had sprung in force for 5 days, and then a 3-4 foot snowstorm crushed barns and left some readers of this site to walk home in snowdrifts up to their knees.

We are not going to see 3-4 feet, more like 3-4 inches in Frederick County. This is not your father's snowstorm. But it is still unbelieveably bizarre to even me that the temperature is going to drop, oh, another 20 DEGREES between now (8:45 PM) and daybreak tomorrow. I mean it was like MAY late today, and I was just about ready to dance in the streets like a dyed-in-the-wool spring-a-ling. I'm out in the school parking lot thinking....

WHAT STORM? I DON'T EVEN SEE CLOUDS!

But if we turn to that old Vulcan, Mr. Spock, he would say: "The universe will unfold as it should." And so it will starting at daybreak Tuesday. Are you dreaming of a white St. Patrick's Day?

HOURLY ESTIMATE OF PRECIP IN BALTIMORE AREA

12 am - Clouds increase.
2 am - Wind picks up from the northeast.
4 am - Temperature has dropped to near 40. Sprinkles and flurries in the city.
5 am - Sprinkles and flurries continue, changing to light snow and rain.
6 am - A mix of heavy wet snow and rain arrives in force throughout the area. Areas north of Baltimore will see a burst of heavy snow sometime after 6 am, as the atmosphere rapidly cools with the onset of snow.

8 am - A mix of snow and rain from the city on south. Snow hangs on longer north of the city, accumulating 1-2 inches on grassy areas, sidewalks, etc.

10 am - South and east of Owings Mills, Towson, Perry Hall will see a changeover to all rain. North of that area, the snow may hang tough until after lunch.

12 pm - Storm begins exiting, pulls precip east of the area. Lots of leftover clouds and just a raw, miserable afternoon. Better to just go home after work and curl up with some peppermint tea and relive the good old days on the archives of Foot's Forecast.

HOURLY PRECIP ESTIMATES FOR CENTRAL PA

2 am - Light snow moves in from southwest to northeast.
4 am - Snow continues and becomes heavier as daybreak approaches.
6 am - You awaken to a winter wonderland. At least 2" on the ground.
8 am through noon - snow continues, mixing with rain for a brief time in southern areas (near Pittsburgh). Total accumulations 3-6 inches.

HOURLY PRECIP ESTIMATES FOR PHILADELPHIA AREA

6 am - Light snow and rain mixed starts the morning.
8 am - A burst of heavy wet snow for perhaps an hour will leave an inch or two on grassy areas. Chester County could see up to 3 inches by noon.

3 pm - Storm exits east, but lots of wrap-around precip means leftover snow showers and cloudiness the rest of the day. It will be like the beauty of Monday never happened.

6 pm - Might be another burst of snow towards the end of the day as the storm redevelops off the coast before slamming New England.

WHAT ABOUT SCHOOL?

MD:
Frederick, Carroll - Start with a delay, then re-evaluate.
Baltimore, Harford - Despite the fruit cup, if snow is falling over much of Baltimore County by 6:00 AM, they will start with a delay, possibly 2 hours.
Howard - Delay is doubtful given you are farther south

If you see any of the metro area counties call for a delay by 5:00 AM, then it will be a domino effect.

PA:

Chester County - This will be a tough call... as the precip will start later in the rush hour and it will be mostly snow. I will predict schools actually try to start on time and get students in before it gets bad.

Altoona/State College - 2 hour delay is a good bet, possibly closed depending on the intensity of the snowfall.

CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS, WE ARE STILL TALKING ABOUT SNOW?. And I was ready to issue the Hurricane Forecast. Pshaw.

Baby Jayla has started to teethe in force. You can always tell with babies that there could be something wrong when they are arching their back, stiffening their legs, screaming at the top of their lungs, and have turned a pretty shade of bright pink, refusing all food, drink, etc. So anyway, I'm sure Jayla and I will be checking on the progress of the storms tonight (the one in her mouth, and the one outside).

Hopefully if I'm not too wiped out, I can do a follow-up post tomorrow morning before heading off to school at 7 AM (nudge, nudge, wink, wink).


3/15 EARLY EVENING UPDATE: AND THE FRUIT CUP SAYS...


Since Mr. Peiser of the Dundalk Science department has decided to retire the fruit cup for the season, we had to resort to a plan B. Mrs. Foot and Jayla were witness to the un-peeling of a Del Monte Mixed Fruit Cup at 5:55 PM today.

The results?
BALTIMORE COUNTY SCHOOLS ARE ON TIME TOMORROW. The cup did not "splurt" out any juice, which is an grossly un-scientific indication that the ambient air pressure is high. Thus the storm will hold out for a later onset, in which case it will be primarily rain when it arrives in the Baltimore Metro area. I know the NWS has a winter weather advisory for northern Baltimore County, but I still think the onset will be too late to make a difference.

I also heard from the Marty Bass patrol that the codger called for 3-6 inches. And I thought I was marginally insane.

But then again, he and I have both been wrong before.... :)

To our friends above the Mason-Dixon Line...you will get socked with 3-6" of heavy wet snow. Check back after baby's bedtime (around 9 PM) for another update.

3/15 MORNING UPDATE: "Beware the ides of March."


Quick overview of the accumulation forecast for tonight through Wednesday.

1. Central PA: 3 to 6 inches by Wed afternoon.

2. Eastern PA: (north of Chester County) 5 to 7 inches by Wed evening.

3. Philly area: (Chester County on west) 1-3 inches by Wed evening, mainly on grassy areas.

4. Baltimore: 2-3 inches north of a line from Towson,
Owings Mills, Bel Air. Coating to an inch south of that line.

5. UNBelievability factor: On a scale of 1-10, this is a 27. Because it feels like late spring this morning here in Baltimore, and we may approach 60. So snow on the heels of that seems ridiculous.

WHAT ABOUT SCHOOL?

Central PA has the best chance of missing school. I think Baltimore area districts will start with a delay, and then re-evaluate. I really don't think Bay area Maryland schools will call off, but there could be some delays, especially if there is a burst of heavy wet snow right around 5:00 to 6:00 AM.

JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT IT WAS SAFE TO GET READY FOR SPRING.

Results of the fruit cup forecast posted later today.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

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.

Thursday, March 11, 2004


3/11 EVENING UPDATE:
"All quiet on the western front."

- Title of a reknowned novel about the trench warfare of WWI

A peaceful weekend setting in for most of you. A clipper system heading northeast on Friday will bring scattered snow in upstate PA, NY and New England. The city folk from Philly on south will not any of that. Behind the storm will be breezy conditions for everyone on the East coast. Those wind will slack on Saturday, leaving a wonderfully sunny day. Sunday will be warmer and less windy. Rain returns Monday for all of the 95 corridor.

NEXT WEEK'S OUTLOOK

Monday - Rain but mild. Highs around 60 south to low 50's north.

Tuesday - Clearing, cooler, mid 50's PA and MD.

Wednesday - Warmer, southwest winds kick in. Low 60's.

Thursday - Spring-a-lings rejoice as we approach 70 south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Friday - the warmth may hang on yet another day, but storm clouds are gathering.

For those of you reading this Friday... Happy Friday. Only 10 days left until Spring!

Wednesday, March 10, 2004


3/10 SPECIAL MORNING UPDATE:
“Just when you think you have it all under control, you have no idea what is going on.”

- Murphy’s Law

SOME OBSERVATIONS FROM THE AREA:

Philadelphia: Light snow and rain mixed. Temp 38, Dewpoint 36 F
Baltimore: Light snow, Temp 34 F, Dewpoint 34 F
Washington: Cloudy, Temp 37 F, Dewpoint 28 F

WHAT’S GOING ON?

A piece of the southern storm is being left behind as the main system moves east. This piece of ocean-enhanced moisture is interacting with cold air filtering in from a high east of Maine. The air temp and dewpoint at 2,000 feet, which is where snow forms, is just about equal, at roughly 28 F. Below and above 2,000 feet, the dewpoint and temperature separate. That means there is no long term stability to allow the snow to continue for an extended period. So thanks to the warming Atlantic and a cool airmass nearby, we’ve had a brief burst of “ocean effect” snow. The main system will take over, drag remaining moisture out to sea with it. There might be a leftover burst of snow later this evening in Southeast PA as colder air returns.

SO NOW WHAT’S THE FORECAST, WISE GUY?

The earlier call this week has verified… which was to say we expected at least “One snowflake on one crocus somewhere in Baltimore County by Wednesday.” A spotter in the Zone (Hereford, that is) reported snow on her crocuses.

The snow will not last, and SCHOOLS WILL NOT BE CLOSING EARLY. If anything the snow will mix with and change to rain from east to west as the morning progresses. Daytime warming, the influence of mild ocean air and higher sun angle all will conspire to kill the snow. Roads are warm, so expect nothing more than slick spots for the drive home.

However…
Isolated areas in Baltimore, Harford and Cecil Counties may end up with a half inch on cars and grassy areas before it is over.

SO ENJOY THE FINAL FLAKES WHILE THEY LAST… I BELIEVE THIS IS WINTER’S SWAN SONG FOR SNOW.

If you are a Powderhound, might as well hang it up, and check back in November. If you are a Spring-a-ling, there is lots of fun on the way… rapidly fluctuating temperatures, thunderstorms, warm spells, cold blasts, the best March has to deliver.

3/10 MORNING UPDATE:
BABY IS DOING BETTER, I'M BACK IN BUSINESS


Things to be thankful for:
1. An infant who takes 3 naps during the day.
2. A job that allows Daddy to stay home and take care of her.
3. A nor-easter that decides to stay off the coast and spare us the agony.

RECAPPING PREVIOUS FORECASTS

1. I originally said last weekend that we would not top 50 F in the 95 corridor until Friday. We may poke at 50 on Thursday, but will not move appreciably above that until Saturday.

2. The fruit cup wins again. Storm stayed to our south, no accumulating snow was reporting in the Baltimore metro area. You will notice breezy and gusty winds today though, even in Central PA. Might be some lingering flurries in the Philly area.

LOOKING AHEAD TO THE WEEKEND

Thursday - Warmer and less wind. High around 50 in Baltimore, upper 40's in Philly, mid 40's in Central PA.

Friday - Cooler, some clouds. Highs generally under 50.

Saturday - Mild again, highs generally above 50.

Sunday - Warming trend continues, highs in mid to upper 50's. Forecast models usually underestimate the impact of higher sun angle this time of year, which is why I'm trending warmer than the TV forecasters.

Monday - Continued warming ahead of next front slated to move through mid-day. Coaches... looks like rain for practice. Mild but windy. Temps near 60. A thunderstorm late in the day.

WHEN IS THE NEXT BIG WARMUP COMING?

If you are looking for another round of 70+ days with sunshine, you will have to wait probably until April. The pattern setup does not appear it will allow the Bermuda High to strongly influence our weather for at least several more weeks.

WHAT'S BEYOND THAT?

I have been doing some preliminary research on the Hurricane Season Forecast. I'm sure this comes as no surprise to you that this will be another active hurricane season. In fact, we are likely into a pattern that resembled the 60's for those of you who remember Donna, Camille, etc. And in 1962 (I think) there were 3 storms that charged up the East Coast, dropping heavy rain in all the major cities.

So when you are doing your spring cleaning, think about what kinds of repairs or improvements might be needed to your roof, property, windows, etc that became an issue during Isabel. It is better to take care of those potential problems when you are in cleaning and fix up mode than when you are in vacation mode (August) and back to school mode (September).

More on the Hurricane Forecast later this month, including whether or not the East coast cities will see another "Isabel" this year.





Monday, March 8, 2004

3/8 EVENING UPDATE: AND THE FRUIT CUP SAYS...

1. No snow this week, thus...
2. No delays or other weather-related problems

There is hoopla with the forecast models projecting the possibility of a surprise coastal snowstorm Wednesday, but I say...

FUGGETABOUTIT. You've seen this song and dance before.. clipper moves east, redevelops on the coast rapidly. All these factors come together at the right time, yadda yadda yadda. Maybe Central PA will get a dusting to a couple inches, but that is it. Temps will cool more than we expect behind this front. This time of the year, the sun angle is too high which keeps the roads warmer longer. So if any snow were to fall, the ground is too warm for it to stay very long.

That's all for tonight. Baby Jayla has a bad cold so I will be staying home to play caretaker. Wish us well, hope she sleeps tomorrow. (And all the moms out there say, "yeah, fuggetaboutit.")

Sunday, March 7, 2004

3/7 EVENING UPDATE:
"When you get caught between the Moon and New York City, I know it's crazy, but it's true...the best that you can do is fall in love..."

- Christopher Cross, from the Soundtrack of "Arthur"

That's probably where you feel like you are tonight. Our weather is caught somewhere between the Moon and NYC.. Is it going to be rain, a thunderstorm, snow, thundersnow, all of the above, none of the above.

The best that you can do is fall (out) of love with the complexity of March weather. This is the battleground month. This is where they got the idea for March madness before basketballs were even invented. I've seen 80 F in March some years, and 18 inches of snow fall in 6 hours other years. My relatives this weekend commented on one March where they witnessed a thunderstorm in Boston turn into 14 inches of snow.

And this weekend, weather turned tragic in the Baltimore harbor as you all know. Despite the cold waters and suddenness of the water taxi overturning, outcome, it is fortunate that 21 people did survive. Our thoughts and prayers to the families of those who just taking the water taxi on a Saturday afternoon.

Weather is one of those constants in the universe that right or wrong, will treat everyone equally with no regard for age, race or income level. It can be fascinating and horrifying in the same breath. But the lesson for us all to remember is that it is good to be humbled every now and then by a force no amount of money or power in the world can control.

THE SITUATION THIS WEEK

I maintain my position that at least ONE crocus in Baltimore County will have snow on it before Wednesday is over.

The Philly suburbs, Central PA, the mountains and extreme northern areas of Frederick, Carroll, Balitmore, Harford, Cecil counties will see some wet snow mixed in at the tail end of this front passing through Sunday night. Or you might see some flurries Monday morning.

Baltimore metro and Philly metro areas will see only rain. Then gradual clearing Monday with scattered flurries in PA and sprinkles in MD. Another clipper drops south on Tuesday. We'll see what the fruit cup says about that one.

SPORTS PRACTICE WEATHER (Baltimore only)

Monday - Cold, windy, wet fields. Highs not cracking 45.

Tuesday - Cold, windy but drier. Highs low 40's

Wednesday - A little warmer, AM flurries then near 50 by practice time. Fields dry by then.

Thursday - Mild, less wind, dry fields. High around 50.

Friday - Best day of the week. Sunny, mild. Highs mid 50's.

POWDERHOUNDS VS. SPRING-A-LINGS

I have decided to take a leap of faith and jinx the rest of March for this group. While I see on the horizon another one of these wet snow/rain mixed deals coming down the road in 7 days, I have put away my shovel.

I am doing this only to placate the spring-a-lings, who were again dancing in the streets this afternoon at the glorious weather here in Baltimore Sunday. I am admitting that yes, winter is probably over.

However, you know as well as I that Murphy's Law states if I keep my shovels out, it will not snow. If I put the shovels away, especially like way downstairs in a hard-to-reach place, it will snow again. Believe it or not, the forecast models are calling for couple days of daytime rain followed by nighttime snow... when else, but MARCH 21. I am not making this up.

We'll give the fruit cup a crack at bat for that one.



Friday, March 5, 2004

3/5 MORNING UPDATE: HAPPY FRIDAY!

Had a nice detailed post yesterday morning and managed to delete it, so I will try again.

SPORTS PRACTICE WEATHER

Friday
- Might hear distant thunder, but no risk of a local thunderstorm between DC and PHL. In the cities, we are going to crack 70 today. Farther north in PA, you'll hang in the mid 60's.

Saturday - Overnight and into the morning, big time rain will move in, but not everyone will get drenched. Expect some localized thunderstorms and brief but torrential rain. Then clearing late in the day. Highs start in the 60's, then drop as the front passes.

Sunday - Clearing and cooler. Highs in the 40's north (PA) to low 50's south (MD)

CROCUS WARNING NOW IN EFFECT

Monday - Much cooler as return flow after the storm passes will deliver cold air from Canada. Might see some flurries later in the day as a clipper slowly moves east. Snow will redevelop overnight for a few hours, providing a gentle coating but generally less than an inch. Although the crocuses have been poking out and there are even reports of tulips appearing, they may have a new coat of snow on them by Tuesday morning.

Tuesday - School closed? No way. A delay? Perhaps, if accumulations overnight go beyond an inch. Is there a historical parallel to this storm? You bet...

March 9, 1984. A slow-moving March clipper slices across the Mid-Atlantic. What was thought to be a dusting to an inch rapidly developed off the coast, tapped increasingly warmer Atlantic waters, and delivered a whopping 9 inches in Philadelphia, and 6 inches in the northern Baltimore suburbs.

Do my "Zonefolk" remember that one? I sure do, as I was walking through snowdrifts to the bank that day since we had no school, thinking... "Gee, this is a lot of snow for March."

AND NEXT WEEK WILL FEATURE THE RETURN OF THE EVER-POPULAR FRUIT CUP FORECAST ON MONDAY

Overall, the cold will linger for much of next week as no area in the Mid-Atlantic will crack 50 until the weekend.

Next post on Sunday afternoon. Enjoy the wonderfully wild weather heading your way!



Wednesday, March 3, 2004

3/3 EVENING UPDATE:
"You gotta know when to hold up, know when to fold up, know when to walk away, know when to run..."

- Kenny Rogers, The Gambler

Quick post tonight as I am tired and it is late (for me.)

I think this time next week we will be officially folding up the snow shop for this winter in the I-95 corridor. Granted it will not rocket to 75 degrees and stay there. If anything you will not see a discernable warming trend for most of March. But what happened last spring I think we will see again....

March and April got confused with each other... it was too warm too early, so April retaliated with persisent cold rains and wind for a good part of the month. Last March started super cold, then got real warm real quick, then the paybacks came in April.

Well we are already on schedule to have Pete and Repeat as our starting runners for this Spring's "Track" Team. Meaning that starting Sunday morning we go back into to fridge for most of next week. And then a series of storms will track across the area, leaving us wetter, colder and less happy.

The LAST shot I see at measurable snow along 95 will be the middle of next week. After that I think the ocean and bay will be too warm for any snow to materialize out of coastal storms. There are still going to be several coastals, but they will result in mountain and upstate PA snow.

That's why I say we'll be singing Kenny's song by next Wednesday. Henceforth we can look forward to first calls on Thunderstorms and the ever-important Hurricane Season forecast.

You thought I was ballistic with winter storms, just you wait until we get another hurricane brewing.

Thursday I'll do a first call on the weekend and next week.





Monday, March 1, 2004

3/1 EVENING UPDATE:
"Oh I just can't wait to be King."

- Simba, from Disney's Lion King

For the spring-a-lings who were dancing in the streets this weekend, you just can't wait for Spring to be King can you? Sunshine, blue skies, nice refreshing breezes, not too hot, etc. I love those days too. In fact I get just as excited about an extended period of sunshine as I do about a big snowstorm.

SPORTS PRACTICE WEATHER (in Baltimore and Philly)
Tuesday - Rain but mild, mid 60's
Wednesday - Clearing. Fields should be dry by end of school.
Thursday - Warmer, dry.
Friday - Nice, warm and dry.
Saturday - Rain, much cooler.

The Arctic Express is gathering it's forces for one more invasion sometime later this month. But for the moment it has gone into retreat as the Bermuda High and an approaching low later this week are going to join forces. That's right folks, you heard it here first... if it all comes toegether with the right timing...

WE MAY CRACK THE 70 DEGREE MARK ON FRIDAY!

That is a turnaround from my previous forecast, which had falling temperatures as the week progressed. That cool off will not come until Saturday though Monday. So in advance of the cold front that will deliver that blast is going to be some really enjoyable weather come the end of this week.

We will have to take the rain Tuesday however, but it will clear nicely for Wednesday and Thursday... and allow those crocuses to do their thing.

I must remind you that there is ONE MORE round of snow in our future, but it many only be enough to coat the crocus, not bury it. Remember.. this whole crocus business revolves around one concept:

WHEN THE CROCUS BLOOMS, THERE WILL BE ONE MORE SNOWFALL.

That is the theory of my stepfather Tom's up in Philly and I have hereby adopted it for this site. We shall see how things pan out between now and March 15.