Tuesday, December 13, 2005


Dec 3C

Special note to non-public school readers: Since certain schools block any blogspot.com sites, I am beginning to reorganize the content of this site under a new address: http://footsforecast.typepad.com. In honor of my hard-working school colleages, Each post is actually going to appear on that site first, then I will copy, paste and edit for this second. So if you want an updated scoop on the latest, go to the typepad.com address first. Eventually, once I get all the formatting changes transferred, which may take several months, I expect the blogspot.com site to be discontinued, but I will leave the new address listed prominently for anyone who does not check back frequently.

12/13 9:30 AM UPDATE: Computer models are indicating a slower onset of the precipitation in the Mid-Atlantic region Thursday morning, especially along the I-95 corridor. This means when the precip does begin to fall, it will have a deep layer of cold air to penetrate, and with many road and ground surfaces likely to be in the 20's by daybreak, several hours of snow and freezing rain are expected. Mixed precip should begin between 4 and 6 AM, continuing until at least 10 AM, followed by a gradual changeover to freezing rain, sleet and perhaps rain south and east of I-95 cities. Then as the secondary Low develops heading northeast toward New England, cold air will be drawn southward behind the storm and into the Baltimore-Washington area, turning any remaining moisture back over to a brief period of snow before ending, as well as freezing over what did fall during the day. Tonight, Winter Storm Watches will follow the current Special Weather Statements.

1. WHAT ABOUT SCHOOL? The situation presenting itself regarding school on Thursday will be one of either...

A) "Do we get them in before it starts?" (which is possible given that computers have continued to slow down the onset);

B) "Do we go with a 2-hour delay and then re-evaluate at 7AM?" (which might cause more problems than it would solve in that the later school starts, the more likely buses and walkers would be caught in a period of heavy freezing rain), or everyone's favorite default solution...

C) "Do we outright close because by 5AM it will be apparent that road conditions are going to deteriorate as the day progresses?"

Actually the most logical and scientifically appropriate choice is...

D) "Let's open 2 hours early to avoid the precip and the traffic!" I'm up for it, any takers? Either way you slice this storm, it will be a dicey call for administrators and commuters. If you must travel, plan on a lot of extra time as freezing precip is expected during the morning AND evening commute Thursday.

2. WHAT'S THIS ABOUT A FOUR DAY WEEKEND? I would be remiss if I did not give you the full story, and it is plain to see why this could happen if you simply consider the NWS forecast for, say, Towson, MD. Cold air sweeping in behind the departing Thursday storm will change any liquid precip in the air or on the ground back over to frozen, and overnight temperatures will drop low enough to produce a potential skating rink for Friday morning. Please understand this is not hype-casting or wish-casting.If anything I think many of us would wish for snow instead of ice (translate: you on the sofa with a heating pad and Ben-Gay after an hour of scraping 1/4" ice off your car). This same scenario happened in late January 2004, and many Baltimore area schools actually ended up with a 5 day weekend. Remember that one? It was the same time quarter grades were due. I'll bet dept chairs and administrators remember it better than teachers do!

3. WHAT'S THIS ABOUT SOME PRE-CHRISTMAS BLIZZARD? Not enough reliable information available at present to make a reasoned call, but yes, Virginia, there will at least be snow on the ground at Christmas. A developing story so check back later for updates on this.


terpguy said...

Thanks for the update Mr. F.

Got my fingers crossed!

linda said...

Mr. Foot, Tried to do a comment on the other site, which looks very nice, by the way. But couldn't do it everything was invalid. Any suggestions?

linda said...

Mr. Foot I forgot to ask about Central Bucks (Doylestown). We seem to be not included on Philadelphia, but also not as far north, the sort of in between. Every weather channel ays something different.

terpguy said...

Mr. F-

Are you still calling for a 0400-0600 start? Every model I'M looking at has the precip much later in the morning.

Then, again, I still consider myself a rookie at this.

terpguy said...


couldn't "comment" at the other site...

Foot's Forecast said...

Sorry gang comments at the other site are not available as a "security measure" as in trying to keep the site secure from browsing servers of certain public school systems who like to block weather forecast sites. I probably will not have comments available on that site for a long time until we have assurances that BCPS will not block it. So for now, just enjoy and comment here.

Terp...yes I see the later start times and that will be revised in my 4cast, could be problematic... starting at 9AM might mean an early dismissal.

Foot's Forecast said...

I spoke too soon...looks like NWS is calling for an overnight start (after 2AM) which is all we need to pull the curtain on Thursday. Look at satellite, it is really revving up in the Rockies and starting to spill into Southern Plains already.

Temps are also going to be way low Thu AM, esp in Dundalk and that is good sign anything falling will be frozen/freezing on impact. Of course don't want to inflict harm on commuters as will be tough morning, but if they can get going early enough, would be better for them.

Linda.. nice to hear from you. Looks like you'll (Bucks Co)
be in the frozen/liquid warzone as Low passed just to your east..precip might vacillate back and forth all day (just like the forecast) but I have my suspicions you will see more frozen (sleet/fzrain) than snow or rain for most of the day.

I am going into the evening family time mode thing, so will not be able to do a detailed post or update until at least 8:30 PM. See you all then.

Mr.B said...

What does it look like for greencastle? 3-6" of snow and .25-.50" of ice?

E.H. Boston said...

Mr. Foot, right now for Boston, it looks like the storm is going to move directly over us and bring us some snow quickly to ice in the interior and rain.

If the storm center moves just a little further to the east, like by 50 to 75 miles, could we be talking about a more snowy solution for us here in Boston, or even if it did move further S and E, would we still be talking about a mainly cold rain event for us here in Southern New England, jeopardizing our chances of a white Christmas around here.

Our snowpack has gone from 14.5" Friday night and is now only 7-9"...not looking good for a white Christmas if this does in fact turn out to be a mainly rain event for the Boston area.

Hokiehop said...

WSW now up for DC-Balto area...

Urgent - Winter Weather Message National Weather Service Baltimore MD/Washington DC 323 PM EST Wed Dec 14 2005

District Of Columbia-Harford-Montgomery-Howard-Southern Baltimore- Prince Georges-Anne Arundel-Charles- Prince William/Manassas/Manassas Park-Fairfax- Arlington/Falls Church/Alexandria-Stafford-Spotsylvania- King George- Including The Cities Of... Washington... Gaithersburg... Columbia... Baltimore... Annapolis... Waldorf... Manassas... Manassas Park... Fairfax... Alexandria... Falls Church... Fredericksburg

... Winter Weather Advisory In Effect From 7 AM Thursday To 7 AM EST Friday...

The National Weather Service In Sterling Virginia Has Issued A Winter Weather Advisory... Which Is In Effect From 7 AM Thursday To 7 AM EST Friday.

The Combination Of Very Cold Air To The North And Low Pressure Over The Gulf States Will Provide The Fuel For Wintry Weather On Thursday. Precipitation Will Likely Begin As A Period Of Light Snow Thursday Morning... And Then Change To Sleet. Warmer Air Will Be Drawn Into The Area A Few Thousand Feet Off The Ground... Causing Precipitation To Change To Liquid. However At The Surface Temperatures Are Expected To Stay Below Freezing Through Mid Afternoon... Causing Rain To Freeze On Contact On Roads... Power Lines... And Trees. The Further East You Go The More Likely Temperatures Will Rise Above Freezing By Afternoon... Changing Precipitation To Plain Rain. Ice Accumulations Of Around 1/10 Of An Inch Are Possible In The Advisory Area.

As The Low Pulls Northeast Of The Area Friday... More Cold Air Will Be Drawn Into The Region... Changing A Change To Snow Before Ending Early Friday.

A Winter Weather Advisory Means That Periods Of Snow... Sleet... Or Freezing Rain Will Cause Travel Difficulties. Be Prepared For Slippery Roads And Limited Visibilities... And Use Caution While Driving.

kristine said...

Mr Foot where are you? I am dying for an update...what do you think is goin to happen now that it isnt supposed to start till later?

Foot's Forecast said...

Hey everyone I am sorry for the silence!!! I am so frustrated. My blasted comcast cable modem was offline all day and I was totally disconnected from the internet. I had seizures for being so unaware of the outside world, and TWC was not any help. I am now clunking along with "super fast AOL 9.0" as a temporary backup at $6.00/hr. Hope to have problem fixed and an update tonight or tomorrow. Other than a change in the onset time and precip type arrangement.. I am still leaning toward a 4 day weekend for metro Baltimore schools. Most other districts in affected areas of PA, NY, and NE will be closed or delayed Friday only.

Real tough call for schools, now that we have an ICE STORM WARNING (never seen that in my whole life) and the Winter Weather Advisory sounds so scary I don't even want to venture out on my front step. Problem is the storm is stil way south and I now agree with Terp.. no way we will see precip on the ground in Balto until maybe 10AM-Noon.. So my concern for DC-Balto area schools is:

1. You open on time, hedging that atmos will warm enough to prevent an early dismissal before 2 PM.

2. However, with deep layer of cold air at surface, and many counties in MD under ice storm wrng, an early dismissal wreaks total havoc with parents in that now they are fighting their frustration AND icy roads as conditions will be real bad by noon.

3. So tough spot for Districts is... do they "take one for the team" and close outright on the HOPE that the forecast for all this supposedly terrible ice coming our way actually shows up? Or will it be an embarrassing situation where schools close and the ice never materializes until...say 4 PM?

Based on the expected severity of this... I am leaning towards an all-out close just for fear that students/parents/teachers may be caught in an ice storm on their way home..whether it is noon, 2pm or 4pm. Friday could end up being a 2 hour delay (expect for places like Frederick County MD on north to Bucks Co PA...you are certain to close on Fri).

I will try to copy paste this into main site and on the typepad.com site as well.

Anyone else have this blasted problem with their Comcast Cable Modem recently? It seems to only go on the fritz in "inclement weather" honestly... only in extremes, like a rainstorm, windy, snowy or super cold. Aggravating.

terpguy said...

Mr. F,

I hope I'm NOT correct! NWS has our area getting ice at 0700 tomorrow, with 19 F temps!

Wait and see!

I lost my comcast modem about 3 years ago, and purchased my own...haven't had a problem since..other than when the area cable is out.
(Livin' out here in da country, and all that stuff!)

LC is holding out for all rain, Wes J. says pretty much the same thing. DT's "server is down"...no update since 0945. Stormin' wants us "to figure out where we live..." (wha-a-a??)

I'll stick with your forecast...this is a tricky one.


Foot's Forecast said...


What are the chances I could get a new modem from comcast...since I do "lease" it from them for $3 a month. I have same modem since Oct 2001 and ready to upgrade. Wonder if I should call and complain or just break down and buy one.

Did you read that Ice Storm Warning Text?? Snapping trees and power lines... there's no way we;ll have school Thurs. Unless TPTB are.... (fill in the blank).