Saturday, March 5, 2005


HEADING INTO THE WEEKEND, THERE IS MUCH TO TALK ABOUT AS THE ATMOSPHERE IS ALIGNING ITSELF FOR ANOTHER PERIOD OF COLD AND STORMY WEATHER NEXT WEEK AND BEYOND. The first in a long series of clippers will dash across the Southern Mid-Atlantic on today delivering 1-3" of snow in higher elevations from western PA to western MD to the Virginia mountains. Beyond that things get very interesting, and I have updated the Storm Analysis and Week Ahead Sections below. I will be away skiing today so no updates until later tonight. I am very sorry however that I cannot seem to get my graphics on line. This is the second day it has happened and I have no idea why. I am using Picasa/Hello as my image upload programs, so if you have any advice on this, please let me know.


SATURDAY: This clipper has changed it's tune as you notice I am doing also. The GFS WAS right in that it would head farther south, in fact VERY much farther the Carolinas. As you can plainly see on TWC, there is no high pressure system nearby thus the reason you see hardly any snow at all on the map. Snowfall will be limited to higher elevations, and a dusting to 1" at best.

SUNDAY: A welcome respite from the cold as west-southwest winds in advance of the next cold front sweep in much warmer air. Highs near 50 south of Philly, in the 40's north.

MONDAY: that cold front and accompanying system approaching the Great Lakes will continue to surge warm air on the heels of southwest winds across the Northeast. Temperatures could actually crack ABOVE normal for a day. For example DC is normally 54 by now, and could see 60. Baltimore is normally 52, and will push into the upper 50's. It will be a delightful two day period during which I hope the plants in our school's greenhouse can get recharged from the warmth and sunlight. Showers are expected late in the day as the front sweeps to the coast.

TUESDAY: Now it gets interesting. The second in a long series of clippers heads for the coast, and moisture left behind the front clashes with a new surge of cold air coming SE from the nearby polar vortex in Ontario and Quebec. I notice over the past few days that the Tuesday forecast has been jumping all over the place, from rain to cloudy to now rain/snow showers. It is a good bet that the reintroduction of fresh cold air will turn anything left over behind that front to snow. However warm roads and ground surfaces will limit or negate any accumulation.

WEDNESDAY: Proverbial calm before the storm. The third clipper coming east from the southern Lakes is being depicted by a variety of computer models as intensifying as is revolves around the south side of the Polar Vortex. This is known as "surface reflection" of the upper level Low. This storm will undoubtedly be the first of several that may make a permanent mark in your memory as one of the great March snowstorms of the past 10 years or so. If not, it only raises the stakes for the next system

THURSDAY-FRIDAY: This is the current timeframe targeted for development and impact of Kahuna 3, as indicated on this site almost a week ago. This system will likely be the Coastal version of the Wednesday system, arriving in the evening, and lasting into Thursday. Cold air having recharged behind the Tuesday system will allow for snow to quickly break out along the I-95 corridor. Liquid equivalents being pegged for this event are .75 – 1.25 for the major cities. With a snow ratio of 10 to perhaps 15:1…the potential exists for 12 to 18 inches to fall out of the SKY. The difference between our last big storm is that there much colder air is expected to accompany this storm, so snowfall rates will be higher. However sun angle and warmer road and ground surfaces may negate 3-4 inches or more. What would appear to be a 12-18 inch storm may be cut down to an 6-12 inch storm. Temperatures on Wednesday 3/9 will start out mild, but will head lower as the cold air encroaches.

Remember the March 1993 Blizzard occurred on 3/12-13, and despite higher sun angle and several days of 50 F in advance of the storm, every major city from Atlanta, GA to Portland, ME got many many inches of snow, ON THE ROADS. While that scenario is unlikely in this particular storm, it does serve to remain naysayers that March can produce BIG TIME snow in a short period of time.

WHAT EFFECT WILL THIS HAVE ON THE MONTH IN GENERAL? This over-abundance of cold which should have been spent in December, January and February is now being worked out of the system. Hence the statement, "Welcome Back to January." I would not expect a consistent return to normal temperatures until at least the weekend AFTER St. Patty’s Day. But I do think March will follow it’s traditional route… in like a lion, out like a lamb. It is not impossible to see much-above normal temperatures by Easter, maybe 70 F? Maybe 80 F ? It has happened before, and this March I believe will go to the extremes for both sides of the aisle. As for the rest of spring and into summer, a overly cold March would argue for a warmer April, a cooler May, and a warmer June according to the theory I use for how the months see-saw the variables until temperature anomalies balance out.


Our last big storm from Monday the 28th pumped heat northeast into the combined double barrel air flow of Labrador Low and Azores High near Greenland. This warm air enhances both systems, creating a continous stream of air flow into far northeast Canada. When this warm air intrudes into higher latitudes, it has the logical effect of redirecting the polar vortex usually located much farther north down into in SE Canada or even over the Northeast US. When that happens, the vortex often gets "locked in" as shown by the Accuweather graphics in the previous post. This is why we have observed Negative NAO values as low as they have been in the past 50 years. As shown on my graphics, the PNA is already heading for the stratosphere, and forecasters at HPC as well as those from Baltimore to Boston are becoming noticeably concerned in their discussions that the -NAO and +PNA setup cannot go on much longer without a major phasing event on the East Coast.

Now think about the downstream consequences. Each subsequent Low pressure system which passes on by uses it’s counterclockwise motion to enhance the double barrel effect which puts increasing pressure on the 500 mb Polar Vortex swirling about. Meanwhile a strong west coast ridge forces the split jet stream to ridge up over the Rockies and Canadian Coast Range and into far northwestern Canada. A Low pressure system off the California coast, and a sharply digging trough in the Gulf of Alaska helps lock this pattern in place as these two work in conjunction with a persistent high over the Rockies to continue directing the Pacific Polar Jet northeast. Any cold air lurking way up there in the Northwest Territories can also be tapped, as well as create the setup necessary to even have "cross polar flow" from Siberia. The polar jet then comes charging southeast across Canada, approaches the vortex in Quebec, and that continues to direct the jet south and underneath it...right across the Northeast U.S. This setup will continue to rule our weather for at least the next 7-10 days if not longer.

There are about 4-5 distinct clipper type systems on the map, lined up clear out into the Pacific that will follow the Polar Jet according to the setup described in the previous paragraph. Any one or more of these systems has the potential to become a major Northeast snowmaker over the next 10 days.

I believe the “front runner” low on Tuesday is going to be little boy who pulls his finger out of the dam, allowing the Polar Vortex air to come charging in behind that system right into the face of the newly energized southern stream riding along the southwest winds ahead of the front runner cold front. The Tuesday storm is not going to be the major event, but rather will deal the cards onto the table that the Thursday-Friday system is going to play. You would have to agree that many, many of the best possible cards are already on the table, the Queen of Spades is safely buried at the bottom of the down pile, and the game is about to get real fun real soon.


Water break during Thursday afternoon lacrosse practice in Dundalk, MD

Conditions: Winds northwest at 15-25 mph. Wind chill 25 F.


Foot's Forecast said...

Good evening/morning everyone. I was working on a post to accompany this picture and then it was deleted. So I will try again in the AM.

Much fun awaits us as we churn our way through March.

Julee said...

Yes, ix-nay on the Orts-spay we want AKES-FLAY! And lots of them!

NickyDonuts said...

aahhh HS lacrosse practice... brings me flashbacks from the "Dazed and Confused" late 70's. We too had a few brutes on my HS team that were impervious to pain and wore shorts even when winchills were in the 20s.

Pain conditioning also included blasting various tunes by the Canadian metal band "Rush" at full volume on our 8-track players after practice ;)



Ms. Doyle said...

Mr. Foot!

Thanks for the 5 day weekend! Keep meaning to thank you in the halls...but haven't caught up to you yet.

keep up the good work :0)

Ms. Doyle

DerbsATerp said...

Mr. Foot,

I was wondering if for the next storm, if it arrives you could put up a snowfall total for College Park MD, or even some sort of assesment as far as what could happen for us down here at UMD. Thanks for this website, it beats hands down.
Much appreciated.

E.H. Boston said...

Spring Training Game 1:

Red Sox 4
Twins 3 Final

Sox are 1-0.

Half of the stations are calling for rain early next week/half snow. Too many storms this year that I am tired of analyzing each one deeply. We'll get what we get. Its not going to last long anyway.

See ya.

Frank said...

Most NY stations are saying rain or snow showers for 2 storms next week. They aren't saying how big they will be though.

Terpboy said...


RE- Potential K3.

Some quotes from Cosgrove (about 12 hours ago):

Lest anyone get carried away with "the possibilities", keep in mind that model predictions in March can be very haphazard, largely in part due to the ongoing coldness of the upper atmosphere against the rapid surface heating brought about by the strong sun.....

......I would not be surprised to see significant snows from WV....VA....W, C MD....PA....N NJ....S NY....CT....RI....MA even after a 6-12 hour period of liquid precipitation early next week.

Take THAT, Achoo & TWC!!

Everyone cross your fingers, I, for one am not ready to give up Winter...I still have gas in my snowblower!


Hannah said...

Mr. Foot, is there any chance that the weather tomorrow will affect the Physics Olympics or will it not be severe enough to matter at all?

Julee said...

Terpboy -- you might want to see an internist!

Terpboy said...



A little Gaviscon, and my snowblower's fine!


Julee said...

Mr. Foot,

I can't keep track. If March goes out like a lamb, then April will be hotter than usual? Then June cooler, then July hotter?
What can you predict for the summer this early in the year?

Terpboy said...


About a half hour ago, DT jumped on the snow-dog bandwagon. (WxRisk) Heavy reading, but it sounds like julee might get her AKES-FLAY!


anonymous21 said...

Something i found (redit to a guy on th etri sate weather board) I strongly believe something we haven't seen in a long while or even something we have never seen will occur in the upcoming
week or so in our area. An epic event that comes along perhaps once in a lifetime. here are some quotes from professional weather forcasters:
"I can ONLY agree to the utmost I possibly agree too...

This is without the doubt the best pattern I have seen in the eastern us since winter of 95-96

"We have at least 4 storm threats between now and then. The historical analogs showed this, the current synoptic evolution shows this, and even those models show this.
For cold and or snow lovers, this is a time to cherish as we have minor/major/biblic events trying to display themselves.
The ducks are not on the pond, but the ducks are in the air, circling, and looking to land.

"For those that are under 20, or for those just starting to really get involved with weather, I had no idea on that first snowy day back in January 1966 that I was starting to experience something that I would reference and benchmark the rest of my life-a true weather event legend. I am not forecasting a comparable right now but just for the sake of it cherish and nurture the next 10 days because believe it or not my 17 year old friend, in time that 17 will be 70 and gramps can then tell the kids about what he went thru waaaay back in March 2005.


Julee said...


Ummmmmmmmmmmm . . . God . . . is that you?

anonymous21 said...

Well if you are lucky I am. Hehe. but yea sounds nice!

Hannah said...

I have my fingers crossed for LOTS of snow! Good night every body. Good luck with your circling ducks anonymous21.

DDW said...

39 degrees, drizzle, raw in Fredericksburg.

anonymous21 said...

Mr. Foot have u seen the GGEM...I dont knwo if uve seen it but i looked at it and saw a superstorm nextweekend... Im not model hugging but wouldnt that be great if it varified.. show woul dbe measured in feet.. and the temps were all below the 540 line.. so it would be all snow.. if it varified!!!

Foot's Forecast said...

College Park.. welcome aboard and yes I will add you to snowfall prediction list. If I forget, please remind me.

To PH gang... I have seen the models and am shivering with glee. Stuff that dreams are made of, ay?

Off to Whitetail Ski Resort, see you tonight with another Little Foot Pic.

E.H. Boston said...

Early Call on Mon/Tue Snow(Rain)storm:

Boston: 1-3" Snow to Rain to Snow
Probably closer to an inch.

New York City: Rainy

PHL: Showery

Baltimore: Showery

DC: Showery (Good luck Nationals!)


Be prepared for a BIGGIE!!!

E.H. Boston said...

Early Call for Northern New England Mon/Tue Snowstorm:

Concord, NH: 3-5"

North Conway: 4-8"

Sunday River: 6-12"

Portland, ME: 2-4"

All mountains have a chance of 6"+. Would not be surprised to see a few WSW go up for them tomorrow...

Have fun skiing.

ADHDAD said...

Mr. Foot - Athletic Question #1 - Should Dundalk HS cancel the Lacrosse Shoot Out on March 12 (Saturday) in Baltimore? How sure is everyone that we will be snowed out? I have to make a decision on Tuesday whether or not to place a substantial food order for concessions. Thanks.

Hannah said...

I hope you have a really good time skiing, Mr. Foot. I also hope that we get hit with an ENORMOUS snow storm sometime within the nex week!

DerbsATerp said...

Mr. Foot,

Thanks alot for adding College Park to your totals list, alot of us here use your site to make sense of the guys who cant make up their minds, we appreciate it, bring on the snow.

Terpboy said...


0945 Sunday.

Oh oh...Cosgrove's backing off the Big One...


What say you, Mr F?


Foot's Forecast said...

Working on the Sunday update... while Cosgrove does draw a boundary on upper limit as in No Monster Snow... 6-12 in major cities would still classify as big snowstorm for major cities in mid March. I think this pattern is going to deliver one or two more storms of that magnitude for the Northeast, and then it is really over. The upper level low in Cali is the 800 pound gorilla now. If that gets in the game, "synoptic scale" as Cosgrove mentions would be a humdinger of a storm to blow out the winter.

Terpboy said...

Works for me...I'll take 6-12" of snow..


DerbsATerp said...

That'll give me a day off of college, I'll take it....