Friday, January 21, 2005

IS THIS "THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW" OR WHAT?

WHEW! I don't know where to begin. You probably have whiplash from just trying to keep up with the earth-shattering changes in the forecast since early Friday morning. I only have a few minutes to do a quick analysis and respond to some great comments and observations.
The storm does seem to be taking on almost a mythical aura as it has turned into the most monstrous looking "clipper" I have ever seen in 20 years of following and forecasting weather.
I think the original ideas about this storm are beginning to pan out, best summarized in
"The Final Word" I issued Friday morning:

QPF (liquid equiv in atmosphere) will be HIGHER than expected, temps will be COLDER than expected, the primary low will eject off the coast a LITTLE SLOWER than expected, thus everyone will receive slightly MORE than forecasted.

That certainly seems to be the case with the entire I-95 corridor... GO BOSTON AND NEW YORK CITY/LONG ISLAND/SE NEW ENGLAND! You take the prize for the most rapid about face in a forecast I think I've ever seen. Snowboards call it catching air, I think the NWS guys at Upton were probably spun around so fast by the model changes that they did a 720.

SO WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

1. Please continue to post your observation if you can, in between shoveling and resting with those neat back warmer things. Kids... go out and make money with this storm!

2. Will accumulations change again from here? Now that the ante has been upped all to Day After Tomorrow Status (NYC, Boston getting pummeled with crippling historic blizzard), I don't know how much farther up they can go..but it is possible some areas top 3 feet with the way this is panning out.

3. You can tell we've entered the twilight zone of forecasting when you start seeing calls like: "Total storm accumulation 1-2 feet" it's what the kids call "off the charts." The snow ratios will probably end up being 30:1 in New York and Boston, 20:1 in Philly and Baltimore.

4. Is there a chance this busts like the March 2001 NOstorm and falls apart? We had a similar forecast that time for 12-24 inches across PA, NJ, NY etc, and it never materialized. The difference this time is our primary storm has already demonstrated it is loaded with moisture, and moving quickly. That forecast 4 years ago busted because the expectation was a big blizzard would form ON the coast, with no preceding storm. We will have a monster storm ARRIVING at the coast already a force to be reckoned with.

A QUICK ROUNDUP OF ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS

First of all, you guys and gals all make me blush. I do this because I love storms and enjoy keeping my friends, family and colleagues well-informed so they can be safe. Out of admiration and respect for my fellow powderhounds in Beantown, I will be adding a variety of features in the links column so you can get a regular storm info fix for the short term and long term. And I'll add a NWS link for you as well.

Woburn! My heart goes out to you as my Environmental Science class and I did an in-depth study of the W.R. Grace situation. As you can probably see from the recent changes, most of Mass is going to get hammered, so 12-24 might be LOW for Boston as QPF's are 2.5+ just off the Cape. If that shifts ever so slightly west, with those high ratios, Good Lord you could see historic amounts of snow. 30 inches is not unrealistic.

How did I know about this a week to 10 days out? I trust my instincts and compare the pattern to previous storms I have forecasted, won or lost. And since I am not the government or private industry, I can say what needs to be said in a professional way and not worry about upsetting my boss, or department, agency or co-workers. The real boss is the Lord and the weather he creates. You and I are just the happy recipients of the blessings he will let us enjoy for a couple days here. So everyone be safe, take your time, and stop for a moment to take it all in for what it is worth.

Because February may have something EVEN MORE dramatic in store for us. (drum roll.....)

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