Tuesday, March 15, 2005

- Steven Curtis Chapman


In the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, the Sun over the next 4 days may look and feel more like Spring but at the ground, winter refuses to let go of a persistently cold and windy pattern as shown by the "example forecast" for the Baltimore area. By St. Patrick’s Day, the only indication that spring is still on the calendar is the new grass beginning to make it’s appearance from Pennsylvania and New Jersey south. From The PA/NY line on north, deep snow cover will continue to reinforce the below normal temperatures. For all areas of the Northeast from DC on northward, temperatures will remain 10 or more degrees below normal this entire week. A high pressure system moving in to from central and southeast Canada to the Northeast and Great Lakes will be a key factor to set the stage for a significant winter storm to affect a very large portion of the East Coast by the weekend. A series of smaller storms will give rise the "Final Kahuna" and this storm may very well be the largest winter weather event of the season for the Mid-Atlantic. (Summary was posted on Saturday 3-12, and modified on 3-14)

TRAILBLAZER UPDATE: For those who are willing to be trailblazers and just want the quick rundown, it appears the Canadian High will keep storms below and away from the Northeast I-95 corridor and Mid-Atlantic Interior from DC north. The trailblazing will have to go on a few more days to get us to the weekend, which is where the Final Kahuna lies waiting.


The first part of the week will feature a cold and windy pattern enabling fields to dry. Coaches, AD’s and players are advised to take advantage of this week leading up to the first round of scrimmages and competitions after the 20th. The ‘Final Kahuna’ of the season is likely to cause a wide range of disruptions to the practice and game schedule from Thursday until early next week. The “aftermath” of this storm could continue to cause significant rescheduling problems in the week following the 20th. This will be the calmest week of the month regarding the weather, and an opportunity for teams to catch up on missed field time.


Hey, be nice or else. I have made adjustments to the forecast because it appears that the Canadian High at the moment is going to hold it's ground and overpower the storm track along the East Coast. I'm not going to say "see I was right all along, I said the storms would stay south" etc. I will say that there is NO WAY OUT OF THIS PATTERN without a big storm to correct the imbalances in the atmosphere, especially the Blocking High problem in Canada/Greenland. A series of strong Canadian High argues for more cold air to influence the nation for the rest of the month. A suppressed polar jet being so close to the subtropical jet means that the danger remains for a big storm to develop with less than 48 hours notice on your local forecast is still on the table.

There continues to be a lot of disparty and inconsistency in computer model projections for the period from Wednesday to Saturday. The first of a series of smaller systems is tracking east out of the Southern Plains and will follow a Shreveport, LA – Knoxville, TN – Richmond, VA line. At the same time, a large and expansive Canadian High pressure is forecasted to nose out into the Atlantic in advance of this storm.

The current European model has waffled a bit on this idea, and has now changed it's tune to follow some of the other models suppressing all storms this week to the Carolinas. Keep in mind that every significant storm this winter, with 2 notable exceptions (last weekend and the Sunday-Monday light snow in VA) started out suppressed far to the south in computer models. Forecasters said, "it will miss us to the south" and the "US" being anyone from Richmond north. The Feb 24-25 storm was supposed to "miss Baltimore" to the south in the 3 day forecast prior to the event. Result: We had 5 inches of snow in my bacykard at Dundalk, MD from a storm that was going to miss us to the south. So this week, there are a lot of valid concerns on the table from either side of the aisle. On one side , a trend to the north will find forecasters hastily revising their outlooks to make it appear they were calling for this storm all along. On the other side, there are reasons to believe the suppressed flow could keep storms to the south. Either way, I will break down the overview on this storm into 3 sections:

1. THE ROUGH GUIDE…Timing, Snowfall, Impacts.
2. METEOROLOGICAL ANALYSIS OF THE PATTERN that will create this storm

First, the Rough Guide.

This is designed for those who just want to know how much, when and where. Keep in mind that I understand your skepticism with this forecast, but in Foot’s Forecast tradition I have to put out the call now, so that when the weather service and TV stations start jumping on the bandwagon, you’ll understand why.

TIMING: The "storm" to which I am referring is now looking to be a (groan) weekend event in the Saturday timeframe. No matter how it ends up, this will be a long duration event with the classic multi-day buildup, media madness and subsequent supermarket pandemonium. If the European model is right, then the timeframe for snowy and windy conditions for the Mid-Atlantic could begin as early as Saturday morning. One important factor that was alluded to last weekend on this site, and has now come true is...."the strength and movement of the High pressure which could delay or speed up the storm’s arrival." A saying used at Accuweather is: “Predict the High and you predict the storm.”

AREAS OF IMPACT: The "Final Kahuna" storm has the potential to deliver heavy wet snow in a large portion of the Mid-Atlantic from central Virginia to the the Del-Mar-Va north to central and eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and more likely now southern New England. Whether northern New England gets in the game is not clear yet. However, many of our "southern storms" trended much farther north than anticipated. With the North Atlantic Oscillation forecasted to rise toward neutral after the 16th, this is a telltale sign the forecast could be changing as the week progresses. As always, I will be refining the geographical area to be impacted by this storm as it gets closer.

SNOWFALL: I have made a comparison to the March 1958 storm in the Mid-Atlantic as a guide for this event, which closed schools in Chester County, PA for 2 weeks due to the 4 feet of heavy wet snow. Some of the ‘seasoned’ teachers at my school recall that storm from how high the snow got ABOVE their first story window. I am NOT saying that 4 feet is in the cards, I am making reference to a late season storm which dumped a lot of snow in a cold and stormy March. For the past few days, the European model showed an arrangement which would have easily delivered 1-2 feet of heavy, wind-whipped wet snow for many areas south of I-80 to Virginia. Now those models are sending the storms south, which at first glance seems disappointing or great depending on your point of view.

Next, the Analysis.

The purpose of the on-going headline “Saddle up your horses, we gotta a trail to blaze” is to point out that this forecast, as compared to what you will read or hear in the next 3-5 days, will be blazing a trail into uncharted territory. Please note that if the elements I describe in the my storm evolution post do not come together, and this storm all goes over to rain, or stays south and never happens, then I will be the first to explain why that happened. I see that some computer models are having a hard time resolving the many anomalous features in the atmosphere over North America. However...it’s been TWELVE YEARS since our last major March storm to affect the East Coast. We are due. The 3 major climate indices for North America have made condition favorable for a major storm to develop, it will take a couple days for there to be some agreement reached by models on how to handle this system now moving out of the southern Rockies and into Texas.

I realize that the NWS and TWC forecasts have been waffling all over the place. What do you expect? Yesterday it was snow showers, then earlier today it was rain AND snow, then plain SNOW on the NWS forecast, now it is partly to mostly cloudy with no precip at all. They are pretty much tied to the GFS..so whichever direction the wind is blowing on that computer model any given hour will govern how your local forecast advertises this event. By tomorrow morning, it'll be back to rain mixing with and changing to rain... I...I mean snow, er uh, partly to mostly rain/snowy, or something like that.

MAJOR PLAYERS TO INFLUENCE DEVELOPMENT OF FINAL KAHUNA These are the atmospheric and oceanic influences currently in place all of which have a hand in creating our storm. A graphic posted by WxRisk.com maps this out nicely. I will explain in detail each of these players in the next day or two so you understand the big picture of how this storm can develop, as well as how the forecast can bust if these players do not put their cards out in the correct sequence.

Again, please check back later today for more details on the storm evolution analysis. I have actually hand written the whole idea, but have not had time to type it yet.

Update on the Sunday River Snowfall Contest: We are trying to get a firm accumulation number. It is somewhere between 12-24" but not sure on the precise amount.


The popularity of "weather blogs" throughout the country has risen from barely noticeable to very noticeable this past year. There are many high quality sites out there with a plethora of information to satisfy the appetite of any weather enthusiast. It is a veritable feast out there on the internet nowadays for what one can discover about the weather, and I appreciate the time and energy which countless thousands have put into making this interest for all of us more than just a "fun little hobby." I believe I can accurately speak for many like myself in saying that those of us passionate about the weather view this as a serious and life-long commitment to understand and appreciate the complexities of Mother Nature. For many of the people who put in a considerable amount of their own personal time which could be spent doing something else, following and forecasting weather is an important undertaking for them. I for one appreciate their passion, regardless of if they are a professional meteorologist or merely enjoy posting comments about the weather on discussion boards. So if you have found this site just today, or have been following it for a long time, you should feel welcome as a member of this unique community where all viewpoints and input are equally respected.


Terpboy said...


Maybe I should have waited 'til NOW for "Something Wicked....."

How about: "It Ain't Over "til The Fat Lady Sings.."

Nah, that's dumb....

OK...in keeping with your "Saddle Up...."


"Riders of the Storm..."?

Enjoy the Powder, Snow Dog!


ps- The more I learn, the more I see a wrinkle in the fabric
144 housr out.

Terpboy said...


Jeez...I gotta learn to pruf reed

Terpboy said...

To All:

13 March

DT (WxRisk) has jumped on the K-3 wagon!
M.E.C.S. ("a Kocin Classic") for Mid-Atlantic19-20 March.

BUT: 2 of my snowflakes winked out last night!


E.H. Boston said...

Boston Snow Reports

Boston: 3"/9" = E
Woburn: 6"/10" = D
Worcester 8"/11" = C

Final Grade: D-

Big Kahuna 3 looks ominous on the European model with a central pressure of 986 mb about 150 mi southeast of Nantucket. Right now it looks like a MISS for Boston, however all these storms move farther NNW everytime I look at the models. TWC is calling for a 50% chance of "snow showers" here Friday, and a 60% chance of "snow" on Saturday. Looks to be a biggie, however, to me it looks like snowfall from this one looks to be generally under one foot. The Rain/Snow line is something that WILL throw this storm into the BUST COLUMN. That is what happened here yesterday and it WILL happen to those of you reading from Baltimore SOUTH. Philadelphia and interior Maryland looks to be hardest hit. Baltimore and DC readers don't get your hopes up.

Yesterday AM all stations were calling for 6-12" of snow for Boston and then about 10AM they just DOWNGRADED it to 2-4". The computer models did not even see this happening. It is March and it is really difficult to have a large enough pool of cold air to deliver a crippling snowstorm. SPRING IS ONLY A WEEK AWAY. THE SUN IS WAY TOO STRONG!

I hope my skeptism is wrong so you guys do get 1-2', but I just don't see this panning out. (at least right now) Good luck.

Hannah said...

As long as we get any snow at all I will be VERY happy.

Andy, Southern York County PA said...

Still very skeptical about a heavy snowstorm. Sure, IT MAY happen, but I think it's highly unlikey. If this were Vegas night I'd bet the house that BWI will not see anymore than 4 inches of slush at best this time of year. I live about 70 miles north of BWI, and my Bluegrass lawn is starting to have a little bit of a green hue to it. Don't think it's for St. Patrick's day, but my lawn is paying homage to the Mid March sun.
I see more green than white in our future here (CROW AND BARBQUE SAUCE READY!)

Julee said...

This morning, Martin could barely summon up the energy to wave his hand in a dismissive gesture towards this Saturday on his week ahead graphic. There was one snowflake.

Terpboy said...

Yeah...I saw that, too Julee...but I'll bet that if this comes to fruition, he'll be the first to scream "flee the city!", and claim credit for calling it days before.

I like what someone wrote here a couple of weeks ago...JZ has issues.....

My bet's on Mr. F.


Andy, Southern York County PA said...

Accuweather and TWC have removed the mention of precip. now. The battle of the models continues. I think the scientific finger prints are on the gun that is this storm. HOWEVER, as many times before during this winter for Baltimore Metro and the greater area, mother nature has misfired, or not even pulled the trigger. I think that the storm will not be a snow producer for us in the Mid Atlantic. It will find a way to miss us, or dump rain our way. At best slushy snow of only a couple of inches. THIS HAS BEEN A KAHUNALESS winter for powderhounds in the mid atlantic. There have been many close calls, near miss storms, and we have even been brushed a couple of times, but no real hits. I NEED A SNOW DAY and will stay tuned to Mr. Foot's forecast for at least he keeps some hope alive in the Kahuna.

Frank said...

Accu and twc removed the precip for here too. I made a bet that we would get 5" out of this storm! I hope the story changes back soon. So far twc went from SNOW, to snow showers, to partly cloudy for Friday. I must say this winter twc has been right for storms about 10% of the time though.

Andy, Southern York County PA said...

Mr. Foot,

What do you really think the odds are of 1-2 feet of snow in Baltimore for Thursday, Friday, into Saturday? I know earlier it seemed like you were on the 100% wagon, but it seems like our winter has ended before it even started this year. It's been a year of anemic snow events, and weeks of Spring like weather in the dead of winter. Heck, March has been more winter-like than any other month so far. Winter-like because it has continued to be cold, albeit not snowy here. I've got a few bags of crabgrass prevention fertilzer, and am ready to do my first early application this weekend. I bet I'll be doing lawn work instead of shoveling snow by weeks end... HOPE YOU ARE RIGHT, BUT WITHOUT SNOW COVER THE EARLY LAWN SEASON BEGINS!

Foot's Forecast said...

There is no way out of this pattern we're stuck in without a big storm. Reason why models are having a hard time is that this kind of setup hasn't been seen since March 1958. There were NO computer models around then.

NAO values in Feb-March were 9th lowest in past 50 years.

Andy you keep on playing the skeptic, we need a couple to hang around to keep us honest. But you said it when you mentioned... "fingerprints on the gun." Whether it is Thu-Fri-Sat or Sun-Mon-Tue... there is no way around a big storm.

Watch the models start doing their dance about 48 hours before. You watch and see what happens.

Andy, Southern York County PA said...

I'm praying for one final large snow storm. I'll be the token skeptic for this storm, but my mind remains open. I agree with your theory Mr. Foot, and you have done a great job with explaining the weather this year. Because of your forecast, I am more closely following the NWS analysis, as well as the various forecasts. I can never be 100% on any storm this time of year, because weather is hard enough to predict. I do see the writing on the wall, but does that writing really equal a snow storm; Perhaps, but perhaps not. With this being late in the year, and the winter having delt mid atlantic powderhounds a weak hand, I'll remain the token skeptic for this storm. BELIEVE ME, I WILL BE MORE THAN HAPPY TO EAT CROW (SIDE ORDER OF CREAMY GRITS READY...YUM!)

Hannah said...

Hello all. I surely hope we get LOTS of snow for this final storm. If not I won't be too disappointed becuase it is rather late in the year, but I remain faithful none the less! Good night, sleep well, I'll see you all tomorrow!

John said...

Mr. Foot, moving away from the coasts, what're we likely to see West of the Delaware river?

John said...

Also, Mr. Foot, to add to the media outlets/school districts lists...

I'll add my hometown school district at ocean.k12.nj.us (Ocean Township School District), and

WNEP-TV in Scranton at www.wnep.com
WYOU-TV in Scranton at www.wyou.com
WBRE-TV in Scranton at www.wbre.com

Foot's Forecast said...

Thanks for the recommendations John, I'll add those to the list later today. Having Scranton on the list helps fill the gap between Bucks County to Binghampton to NYC.

Terpboy said...

To all:

I haven't received Cosgrove's newsletter since Friday. Is anybody getting it?


midatlanticweather said...

Great site. I will add you to Mid Atlantic Weather ( http://www.midatlanticweather.com )later today. Great write up too! That takes some serious time and committment!


Julee said...

This morning, Marty said that the computer models are now saying, "Uhhhhh, maybe, kinda, if -- for Sunday."

Mr. Foot, why can't YOU be that articulate?

Terpboy said...

I think that it has to do with the number of brain cells that are functioning at full capacity...


Andy, Southern York County PA said...

Mr. Foot,

If it takes a large storm to get us out of this pattern, couldn't that storm be a Noreaster which just as easily produces high wind and heavy rain? I'm the token skeptic this time around, so I'll play that role. I have to stick to my forecast for the rest of the year. (NO MORE THAN 4 INCHES OF SNOW AT BWI FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON, PROBABLY ZERO) Please note that I agree with your science, but does it really mean it has to be a snow storm? That Mid to Late March sun is really cooking! I think it's possible, but I'll place my bet against a blizzard type storm. P.S. I'm cheering for your forecast to verify, because I really want to see at least one heavy hitter before the Spring.

Foot's Forecast said...

Andy your idea does have real merit and it is too "one sided" of me to claim that it HAS to be a snowstorm. It can just as easily be a rainstorm but the contrasts that are drawn out of the atmosphere in a snowstorm do a better job of cleaning out.

I doubt anything can happen between now and Friday, but Saturday and Sunday look like something is brewing. This will almost certainly be winter's last stand.

Hey Jimmy thanks so much for the compliment but I think your site takes the cake. I happened across it recently and it is a absolute goldmine of information! I will also be advertising it on my site because you provide such an excellent service and exactly the kind of data my readers look for in analyzing forecasts.

I have looked far and wide on the internet, and have not found anything that even comes close to what you have. I can improve the quality of what I am doing based on what your site provides, and we all will benefit as a result.

Thanks again.

For everyone else... please visit and bookmark http://www.midatlanticwx.com

bw said...

Mr. Foot,
I animated the acuweather map of percipation and the large mass seems to be taking more of a northern track. Do you think we might get a little snow from this system?

Terpboy said...

To All:

Today, I read the note from "Jimmy" complimenting Mr, Foot for his great site, and I went to the website that he left:


It was a very well engineered weather website, I even registered for their forum. Noticed I said 'was'.

This evening, I saw Mr. F's thank you, and the address


This, of course, was a completely different website. And, again, very good.

I returned to the original one, and all I found was a note from "Red Point" saying that they'd "hacked" the site...and the site was completely gone.

Be careful, you PC users!

Mr. Foot, do you know which was real, or were they both legit?


Julee said...

Good advice:
1. Stick with Mr. Foot!
2. Buy a MAC!

Mr. Foot -- do you still see this as a two or three day event?

Harford Co MD student said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Harford Co MD student said...

Well, it has come to an end to the season and watching mr. foot and his forecasts has been fun, but is it really over? I dont want to beleive it, but I am sad to say, i think its time to cash in the chips and hope for a more snow winter next year!! Mr.Foot- PLEASE PROVE ME WRONG!!

Frank said...

I'm still hoping for something this weekend, but I have my doubts too like some others on here. Lets hope one of these storms tracks more north than expected to deliver one more measurable snowfall. If not, bring on the warmth!

Foot's Forecast said...

Something wierd is starting to happen as I thought it would. There are rumblings on the internet and in the observations that both "Carolina" storms are starting to trend farther north than was anticipated. HPC has started to hint at this. The Water Vapor and Radar certainly indicate it, and the NAM model has been showing it as well. Go take a look at the Eastern US Water Vapor. You can clearly see the northward surge of moisture that seems to be arresting the northwest flow in the Great Lakes. Could we be in for a surprise change in the forecast?

As for snow and storms... whatever comes out the next 4-6 days will be it for snow this winter south of the PA/MD line. That much I agree with you all on. BUT the next 4-6 days also have the potential to surprise you in many ways.

Foot's Forecast said...

The site I thought I was talking about was midatlanticwx.com. That's the one I knew about. Midatlanticweather I have never seen before.