Thursday, March 17, 2005

- From "Hakuna Matata" of the Lion King Soundtrack

This is the official announcement that with arrival of St. Patrick's Day, the weather in the Northeast will be going green for the foreseeable future. As the lyrics from our headline song above indicate...instead of a Final "Kahuna" (which is a big snowstorm or perhaps an equally big rainstorm), we will be relishing in a "Hakuna." This means no major storm in the near term of a 5 day period, replaced by a gradual warming trend with some rain late in the weekend and a welcome return to spring conditions by Monday, the first official FULL day of Spring. Outdoor sports activities or competitions planned in Baltimore County (and most of the Northeast) on Saturday the 20th are IN THE CLEAR until about 3 pm Sat. After 3 pm, rain is likely from DC to NYC.

NEW TO THE SITE? Welcome! This site provides a detailed and long range analysis on when big storms are likely to affect the Northeast. I strive to pinpoint the major patterns in the atmosphere which can lead to major storms (whether a snowstorm, hurricane or big outbreak of thunderstorms/tornadoes). When the weather is calm and mild, I am happy and don't forecast much, especially temperatures. I just stick to storms. Now that we are coming off winter storm prediction and heading towards forecasting for spring sports, as well as looking ahead to Hurricane season, you will notice the site undergoing the seasonal transition to prepare for the next phase of weather.

If there is any threat of a surprise snow event or hard frost in the next 2-3 weeks, you can bet I will be on it like hair on a gorilla. Overall, predictions and big analysis for snowfall are only made for a storm which has the potential to deliver 3 or more inches of snow.

FOOT'S FORECAST TERMINOLOGY The terms posted below were created over time to make forecasting the weather more fun for you and me, and not rely on the common descriptions used by everyone else.

1. The Headline: Usually a song title or phrase from a song that matches the weather concept of the day. Sometimes a quote from a movie or a folkore saying is used.

2. Big Kahuna: Defines a big snowstorm that could deliver up to 12 inches of snow for the forecasted area, i.e. a nor'easter with strong winds, heavy rain or snow.

3. Big KaNOna: This is when one of my winter storm forecasts completely busts, and little if any snow falls or the amounts are much less than originally predicted.

4. Big Hakuna: Opposite of a Kahuna, this would be a nice long stretch of warm, sunny weather, which means you'd have no worries for the rest of your days.

5. Powderhound: A diehard snow enthusiast who wants snow on the ground from December 21 to March 21, snow falling out of the sky almost every day during that time, and snow caused by great big storms that bury the northeast in 1-2 feet of it at a time.

6. Spring-a-ling: Can be a powderhound who also enjoys Spring and the changes which accompany it. However, they would prefer a consistent stretch of sunny, normal to above normal temperatures interspersed with some rain showers to water the plants. Cold blasts are not welcome, but a thunderstorm with the possibility of a tornado does, provided that it only swirls about in a nearby field and does not impact people or property.

7. Summer Lovers: This person likes it HOT all the time, and happier the HOTTER it is. 90 F? Okay. 95 F? Now we're talkin'. 100 F? Bring it on baby! This person likes to work in the heat, doesn't mind the sweat and would prefer a big long nasty heat wave more than anything else. They also enjoy the occasional surprise big bang and crash summer thunderstorm.

8. Tropicons: These people can't wait for Hurricane Season, and despite the destruction these storms bring, they are fascinated with the power and immensity of tropical storms. They love to track the storm's every movement and hiccup, and are the most excited when it is about to make landfall. You can easily identify these types because you'll notice them drawing little hurricane swirly symbols when they doodle from July to November.

9. I can't remember the term to describe those who enjoy the days I call "Golden October"... those crisp, beautiful days in late September to mid-October when the weather is peaceful, college football is king, and on Saturday mornings you can smell firehouses holding pancake breakfasts while you are raking leaves.

ALTHOUGH SNOW IS STILL ON THE AGENDA, it is now most likely reserved for Northern New England. We move into Spring-A-Ling mode and forecasting for conditions relevant to Spring Sports practice and game time weather.

THE HURRICANE SEASON PREVIEW will be prepared and posted during Spring Break, which in my neck of the woods is March 25-April 2. I have already put together my basic forecast, but it will include a comparison of how my prediction from last season stacked up again the actual, and a look into the June-September period for tropical activity along the East/Gulf Coasts.

So Happy St. Patty's Day everyone. Hope the Luck O' The Irish is on our side and we have truly turned the corner towards Spring once and for all. This weekend I will post an analysis of any downstream rumblings that might interrupt our dance into Spring over the next 2 week period.


John said...

Mr. Foot, any recommendations for general weatherblogs?

And, when does hurricane season (Pacific or Atlantic) start?

Foot's Forecast said...


Loads of juicy info on two sites:

Both are linked in the first right column.

Northern Hemisphere Pacific Hurricane season begins April 1. Southern Hemisphere West Pacific season is on going, and I'm not sure when it is over, probably by April at the latest.

Northern Hemisphere Atlantic Hurricane Season begins June 1 lasts until Nov 30, of course we have seen tropical systems develop outside all these dates and even cross over years (Dec-Jan) as well as cross over oceans (Atlantic to Pacific).

Foot's Forecast said...

Correction. Pacific Hurricane season is May 15 to November 30.

Frank said...

Just a quick observation. I see on that they seem to be a little concerned about a possible weekend snowstorm for the northeast. They give 2 possible outcomes. Does this storm have any chance at happening?

Frank said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Foot's Forecast said...

Sorry Frank, your computer burped and the comment showed up 4 times, so I trimmed it back to just once!

Well there's lots of himming and hawing (sp?) on that. Some models show coastal development Sunday night, others do not. The sticky issue is more cold air hanging around that originally thought. I think NWS will have to trend temps downward, and even throw in mention of rain/snow mixed for northern Baltimore County, and southern PA. Snow can fall but would not accumulate. Some of our bigger snowstorms started as rain. My money is on the coastal to form given the powderkeg type setup of the atmosphere, but it would be too far out to sea and snow would hit areas to the east of I-95.

Julee said...

Ohhhh yes! I heard the mention of wet snow for MON a.m. on the WBAL forecast this evening.
Wet snow -- dry snow -- WHATever.
Do you really think there's a chance Mr. Foot?

As a card carrying Powderhound I would like it to snow EVERY day -- two weeks for spring, two months for fall, then right back into winter.

Might the Fall mavens be called Leaf Lovers?

Frank said...

Thanks a lot, I wonder why that happens. I live like 8 miles to the west of 95. I few flakes would be cool to end the winter season.

Julee said...

No one mentioned how CLEVER you were to morph Kahuna into Hakuna!

You're STILL the BEST!

Terpboy said...

Dear Mr. F-

Something that you might consider for the Spring-a-lings is a quick lesson in the dangers of lightning during the Spring athletic season. (or ANY season when lightning can occur).

In my coaching experience, most, if not all High School AD's are VERY aware of the potential harm when conditions are ripe for lightning. The same holds true for most HS coaches. You're probably aware that there are strict "get off of the field" rules in effect for the State as well as local agencies.

Unfortunately, that concern doesn't usually occur with many recreation programs. The game must go on: "Hey..those clouds are 'WAY over there...".

Posting a "Daily Lightning RisK Factor" might be neat...except that it's a lot of work...and we both know what a "bolt out of the blue" is.

It troubles me each Spring when I view kids playing or practicing in stormy conditions....with metal bats or sticks.

Thanks for your time!


E.H. Boston said...


There still may a couple more KAHUNAS! Look at all the models and see what they depict for Sunday/Sunday night here in Boston. SNOW on the order of 1" to as much as 3". Parts of CT could see over 6"!

Next, we have gut ourselves a good old fashioned NOR'EASTER in the making for later next week. I am NOT making this up. Look for yourself. Let's go. Winter may be over Sunday, but it still wants to play some games with us...lets get back on the 8 ball. SNOW IS BACK IN THE FORECAST!