Sunday, December 4, 2005


Dec Storm 1

12/5 LATE AFTERNOON UPDATE: Am back from doctor's visit and looking over update data now. What a puzzling storm! At 1:20 PM today we are in White Marsh, MD at our children's doctor office, and a nurse pokes her head in the door to mention to the attending nurse with us that schools are closing early. We quick glance outside the window wondering if something huge changed in the 2 hours since I had been at the computer. What do I see? NOT A FLAKE! So I think, "maybe just our area has no snow, and everyone else is being clobbered." I hear on the radio en route home something about "4-6 inches for Baltimore" then I hear on a different station something about "1-3 inches by tomorrow morning." My wife, who is from northwestern Pennsylvania, often kids me about how ridiculous all this really is...NOT EVER would have her schools (Crawford County) near Erie closed early for no snow in the sky. So in a futile attempt to put some science on the face of this storm, I will soon explain the graphics I assembled above and try to make sense out of a seemingly senseless snowstorm. I admit we will have a long way to go to reach verification of the amounts I predicted, but we'll just let it go for now and see what happens. For those who check-in frequently, please post your local observations in the comments.

12-5 LATE MORNING UPDATE : I have a strong suspicion the storm is coming farther north and west than anticipated, and the cone of heavy snow will be shifting to include the I-95 cities of DC, Baltimore and Philly. Not because I like to wishcast, but in looking at the water vapor imagery loop it is clear the Eastern Mid-Atlantic is fully enveloped in the bright white, and the overall tilt of the moisture riding up from the Gulf and Pacfic says to me that the moisture stream is exerting more of an influence than the dry slot behind it. I think the Snow Advisories will be changed to Winter Storm Warnings and amounts will be upped a few inches, probably settling on 4-8" for metro areas. I am going to leave my amounts in place for now until I can get more data. Have a double doctor appointment for both childs at 1:15 PM so no updates until late late this afternoon, probably not before 5 PM. Overall this means that WV, most of VA and south central PA will be in on the action, as will metro PHL and NYC. As for Boston, we'll see how the secondary forms and what it does before I go out on a limb there. Central NJ...sadly but if the action shifts N and W you might get the sleet/snow mix which will cut down on your accumulations. Will be a fun storm to watch. I will take kid pics in the snow and post here. Will also be revising portions of earlier post...


Two of the last three years have featured significant snows occuring within the first 7 days of December across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. I use the Baltimore Metro region as my point of reference because that's where I have lived since 2001. Consider:

DEC 5-6, 2002: DC, Baltimore and Philadelphia, among many other areas, receives 7-9 inches in a blockbuster first snowstorm of the season that closes all area schools for 2 days (Thu and Fri). This storm kicked off a very productive and snowy season that culminated in the February 2003 Blizzard. This month was a classic example of the saying, "What happens in December, Winter will remember."

DEC 6, 2003: Baltimore and the Eastern-Mid Atlantic in general receive for a second year in a row (on the same exact date), a season opener significant storm delivering 6-7 inches. The main event of the winter (in Baltimore) was a 3-day ice and snow storm in late January 2004, and rest of the season was punctuated by several mini-snows causing a higher than normal number of 2-hour delays for schools due to icy conditions.

DEC 2004: The opening storm of the month was initially thought to be snow and turned into an all-rain Nor'easter event. The rest of the winter for most of the Mid-Atlantic was very disappointing, except for two major storms. The January 21-23 Blizzard was the most notable event of the winter, covering a large area with 6-30 inches from Washington, DC to northern new England. The last week of February was the second major event for the Baltimore area, delivering 4-6 inches in a first round, followed by a few more inches in a second round several days later. Overall, last winter was more remembered for the extraordinary snowfall in New England as that regon received the brunt of most storms throughout the season.

WHAT IS THE POINT OF REVIEWING STORM HISTORY ON THE EVE OF THE FIRST BIG STORM OF THIS SEASON? I think it is important to see the pattern that has been developing the past few years, especially when you factor in the influence of the recent hurricane season. Elliot Abrams of AccuWeather posted on his website last winter a study he conducted of first snowfalls in Philadelphia. He discovered that in seasons where the first snowstorm produced 7 or more inches of snow, the remainder of the winter (in that region of the Mid-Atlantic) saw frequent and productive snowstorms. In seasons where the first snowstorm was less than 7 inches, the remainder of the winter was lackluster and disappointing (at least for powderhounds.)

What I'm getting at is that if history is an accurate guide, this storm had better:
A) live up to the billing it's received so far, and deliver 6-8 inches for BAL and PHL
B) Change the trend so that the first storm does not serve as an indicator of future storms
C) Fizzle now while we are still ahead of the game, so we can try again next week
I have read through all the models, discussions and predictions for this storm all across the internet, and a few things stand out that are the basis of my forecast. I want very much to back up my analysis with detailed links and reference to all the sources I've used thus far. However that will have to wait until later Monday. For now I will just give you the First Call and then refine it with analysis tomorrow.


This projection assumes a snow onset by 12 noon Monday. in all areas under Winter Storm Watches or Warnings. In Northern VA, DC and Baltimore Metro areas, schools WILL be in session Monday and are NOT LIKELY to have an early dismissal UNLESS it becomes apparent the storm is moving in faster than anticipated. Unless there is a major change in track or eventual intensity of the storm, I expect most schools in the Watch area to be CLOSED TUESDAY, and reopening Wednesday with a 2-hour delay, depending on the amount of snow. 8 or more inches is going to guarantee schools close for 2 days due to time it takes to clear parking lots, and just the shock of the first major snow arriving so soon.

STORM GRADE ACCUMULATIONS (BY 6PM Tuesday 12-6, verified by NWS Spotter reports and official measurement sites.)

VIRGINIA: Roanoke...9 / Richmond...4 / Charlottesville...7 / Washington...5

MARYLAND: BWI airport....5.5 / Towson...4 / Columbia...6 / Dundalk....5

PENNSYLVANIA: PHL airport...6 / Paoli...4 / Bucks County...5 (will add more later)

NEW YORK : Central Park...5 / JFK airport...4

NEW ENGLAND: Logan Airport...7 / Woburn, MA...6 / Taunton, MA...7

(I will add more tomorrow. If you want your location include, request such in the comments.)




Nbcweatherman said...

Hey Mr. Foot, I live in south of Altoona, PA in Bedford County. How much snow can I expect? Some are saying 1-3".

E.H. Boston said...

Mr. Foot, I like your predictions of 6-7", but the guys up here are saying only 1-3" with 6-12"+ on the Cape!!

terpguy said...

Thank you, Mr F.

Where's Julee??

the former Terpboy..

Foot's Forecast said...

Julee is out there somewhere, or she is just mad at me for dissing everyone for weeks on end.

I may knock an inch or two off all my totals. EH I think the problem with the SNE snowfall is that the NAO is remaining negative. This has a tendency to put southward pressure on storms trying to ride up the coast, so as a result they ride out instead. Were the NAO to begin creeping toward neutral (go to my NAO link on the site) this would ease the Polar Vortex north a bit, allowing our storm to turn up. Now that we are inside the 24 hour "cone of uncertainty" to borrow a h-cane season phrase, it does not seem likely SNE will get much, xcpt for the Cape as you said.

Everyone else... am taking my 2-year old to daycare, then back to set up my classroom for today's lessons, then back home. I can get back on for an update say around 9:30 AM so check back then. I will also be redirecting the site over to a new address:

We'll see how it works. Tootles.

3.14zr said...

fruitcup crew says congrats on the little darling. sure would be nice to have a little extra time to trim our trees.

Frank said...

I had a bad feeling about some mixing. Once you hear a few peeps about it in CNJ, you know its going to happen! haha

Mr.B said...

Foot, in greencastle anything?

Evan said...

is it too early to tell or is this going to be a bust??

Mr.B said...

Lets just say, looking to the next storm thurs-friday

Julee said...

Well I canNOT believe BCPS got off an hour early for anticipation of snow -- before the realization of even one flake! Things are definitely looking up.

So glad to have you back Mr. Foot and JUST in time! Your beautiful baby had an incredible sense of timing!

TerpMonkey: how lovely of you to look out for me. I've been ruminating in my burrow awaiting the first REAL snowfall.
Delighted to see that frozen precip falling on field and stream.

Foot's Forecast said...

Mr. B.. where is greencastle? PA or MD?

Frank said...

Rutgers, cloudy. Heard from 1-3" and 3-5". Starting to think 1-3 may be the right call.

Mr.B said...

pa in franklin county

NeedaSnowday said...

WOW! o/~Its the MOST wonderful time of the yeaaaaar.....

Sure could use a SNOWDAY.... :) hoping to see an updated forecast to indicate a chance to sleep in, bake some cookies, and get the holiday decorations up!!

Congrats MR FOOT on the new bundle of joy! Not much here in the TOWSON area!

Katie said...

There is a lovely dusting in Belcamp, MD (Bel Air area) What are your predictions for the morning Mr. Foot? I have an observation at DMS that I might not be too sad to miss ;-)

terpguy said...

1834- edit (after din-din...would not load prior)


Fallston: -1 deg C...moderate, chunky snow..JUST NOW sticking to the streets.

TV weather wizards calling for a midnight ending...

You're welcome, Julee (I think).

BCPS got out early in case this thing hit at 3 as predicted..the fear, I think, is that they didn't want the El kids to haved to get bussed through it.

Terpguy (nee terpboy)

Julee said...

So we have about 1 1/2 inches in Pikesville and it's still snowing steadily. I'll be sad if it ends at midnight.
Will I be huddled up in my yurt tomorrow enjoying fun snow day things or doing battle with the Type A late-to-work hoi polloi on an hour-late-opening trek to the Hereford hinterlands?

Julee (nee Julee)

Mr.B said...

ZIP, ZERO, NADA, NOTH'N is what we got in greencastle,pa what a waste.
looking forward to next storm late this week.

Foot's Forecast said...

Sheesh.. the site finally comes back on. I have been unable to post or update this evening because the site would not load for some unknown reason. Sorry Gang.

Here's where I see the storm taking us schoolwise. Will temps drop enough tonight to allow slush to ice over and cause problems on secondaries? My parking lot, which has had very little car movement on it... has only begun to see sticking in past hour. Still snowing rather heavily at 11:10 PM for an event that was supposed to be tapering to flurries by now.

Bottom line: Mostly 2-hour delays from Baltimore City northward including Balto County, Howard, Harford. I just don't see that roads will be that bad to cause outright closings in metro Baltimore.
Some closings in suburban Phila due to icing issues and a later end time. Anne Arundel,hmmm.. given that you all got 2 hours off early, maybe they should close just to clear the (political) air.

Definite closings in Eastern Shore, Northern Virginia where some of heaviest snow has been.

As for Phila on northward, it takes a lot to make the big city districts even call for a delay, so I bet PHL, NYC and BOS are on time.

What is weird to me is... if schools closed EARLY for NO SNOW, will they then NOT close or open late when there is snow? I can just hear the switchboards in Towson (HQ of BCPS)..parents calling in to ask why would the district be open and on time for snowy and icy roads yet close early when there;s no snow in the sky or on the ground. I wouldn't want to be the person on other end of the phone trying to explain my way out of that one.

Sorry NYC and BOSTON, this was a dud for you. Storm Grades will be dismal on this, but maybe I can make it up to you in next storm.

Foot's Forecast said...

Oops forgot my obs..

in Dundalk, SE Balto County:
30 F, moderate snow, been that way since 8PM.
closing in on 3 inches believe it or not.

E.H. Boston said...

Oh, well, its sunny out here now in Boston. No snow, at all. I managed to get a day off, having a fever of 101 anyway.

NWS is calling for the Friday storm to miss us completely to the SE, so another dud, probably. I dont get it though. All the computer models are showing it hitting us...well, I guess they know better.


Storm Over
Total Snow Accumulation: Not a Flake.

Better luck Friday. (unlikely)

E.H. Boston said...

Local news stations are starting to get worried about the prospect of a major east coast storm the end of this week.

Accuweather is already alluding to the possibility of you guys in Baltimore receiving OVER A FOOT OF SNOW with this one. I bet you guys will be coming home from work and you'll be feeling like a million bucks once you read the Accuweather column on this Major East Coast Storm.

Hoping it makes its way up here into Boston, but as we know from today that is easier said than done. Another dud for us, I hope not. Either way you guys will be getting a WHOPPAH!!! and I'm not talking about the hamburger from Burger King.

Andy, Southern York County PA said...

According to J.B. at accuweather it looks like an ice age is coming. The storm is going to drop the atmosphere on us in a day after tomorrow scenario. I for one will adopt a new forecast strategy. I will always call for a foot of snow. That way when we at some point do get a foot of snow I will be right. A broken clock is right twice a day! But we are long overdue for a storm and I still think it will be a severe winter, I maintian my position. I hope this one pans out!

Anonymous said...

Obey the map

gilemon said...


technician said...