Monday, February 12, 2007

Something Wicked
SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES
Ice

LATEST 60-HOUR PRECIPITATION FORECAST BY THE NAM MODEL (North American Mesoscale) which is the currently preferred solution by the HPC, an agency that provides general forecast guidance to National Weather Service Forecast Offices.
NAM 60-hr precip

As you already know, this is an extremely complex storm that will affect a large portion of the United States, as clearly indicated on the current enhanced satellite image. What amazes me at this early stage of onset is that at 7:30 PM Monday, we already have "front-runner" precipitation in Baltimore, MD from a low pressure system organizing near Austin TEXAS! I do in large part agree with Accuweather's current take on the systemI believe they are doing an effective job of conveying how dangerous and disruptive this storm promises to be. 

The extent of this monster is enormous even at this early stage, there's a long way to go before it's over, and a lot is going to happen along the way. We can agree on this much: Something Wicked This Way Comes. For example, an interesting satellite perspective on our developing storm from about 3:00 PM Monday.

Satellite
Once we reach the point of onset, one of the more reliable computer models becomes your eyes, the radar and observations of the storm in progress. Radar imagery at 8:00 PM 2/12 is featured below so you can see how this beast stretches from Louisiana to the Dakota to New Jersey. View the most current national radar loop.

Radar 2-12

1. STORM SYNOPSIS: TUESDAY IN THE MID-ATLANTIC

OVERVIEW: A complex and slow moving low pressure system in Texas and Oklahoma will have reached the Ohio Valley by midday Tuesday, spreading snow, sleet and freezing rain in well in advance across the Mid-Atlantic states. From Monday evening into Tuesday, cold air from a high pressure system in the Great Lakes will wedge down through Pennsylvania and into central Maryland and Northern Virginia as well as along the Appalachians in this region.


  • Temperatures will lower from morning to evening as cold air sinks southward. Snow and sleet in overnight hours Monday will mix with and changeover to freezing rain on Tuesday as warm air aloft intrudes over the cold surface layer due to increasing onshore Atlantic flow from southeast winds generated by the approaching primary low. 
  • By mid-morning, pervasive freezing precipitation will have reached the Philadelphia and New Jersey metro areas. By early afternoon, all areas near and along I-95 inland will begin to experience significant accumulations of ice in the range of 1/4 to 1/2 inch or more. 
  • Areas affected include central Maryland, eastern West Virginia, and in Virginia from east side of the Shenandoah Valley area to the Washington, DC and Baltimore Metro area northeastward to Cecil County, the northern DelMarVa and along a line from Harrisburg-York-Lancaster-Philadelphia.

TRAVEL: The Tuesday morning commute throughout affected areas will be reasonable, tricking smaller private schools and similar institutions into believing they can adequately carry out a full school day. By afternoon, sidewalks, bridges, overpasses will become ice-covered and extremely hazardous. Tree limbs will begin to fall on roadways as ice begins to accumulate. By the evening rush, with ample frozen precipitation still falling, temperatures below freezing and likely in the 20's across the region, secondary and untreated roads may be impassable even with 4-wheel drive vehicles. If freezing rain accumulations continue into the night, extensive downed trees and powerlines will make some rural locations unreachable.

SCHOOL: This impact statement is directed at public and private schools, colleges, universities and adult and child daycare centers most affected by first stage of the storm. Philadelphia/Southeastern and Central PA area schools will be more impacted on Wednesday.


  • Due to the severity, extent and duration of this winter storm, I firmly believe all Baltimore and Washington area metro schools will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday at the very minimum. Closings will also include most of northern, central and western Virginia, central/southern West Virginia, including the eastern panhandle. 
  • Southern and southeastern Virginia in the counties bordering Charlottesville and Frederick on south and east to Norfolk may see some delays or early dismissals but are not likely to be closed.

Rationales:
(1) The Baltimore/Washington National Weather Service has issued a strongly worded Winter Storm Warning that will automatically make the decision in minds of some parents not to send their children, even if schools are open and the morning commute does not appear hazardous.
(2) It is now widely known by school officials how extensive this winter weather event will be. Nowadays, most schools will not knowingly put children and staff at risk when it is clear to the general public a potentially life-threatening and long duration weather event is imminent.

2. STORM PROJECTIONS : WEDNESDAY IN MID-ATLANTIC AND NORTHEAST

OVERVIEW: As the primary low in the Ohio Valley fades northeast, a stronger, more potent secondary low will develop east of the Carolinas to around Hatteras. This system will then move to a postition southeast of Long Island by evening.
TRAVEL...yeah, okay. You'll be traveling from the living room to the kitchen back to the living room. Seriously though, I expect Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania to declare a state of emergency by Wednesday morning due to wind and ice.
SCHOOL: Closed Wednesday due to continuing impact and accululation of ice. The greater the ice amount, the more likely most schools in the affected area of the Mid-Atlantic will be closed remainder of the week. With widespread power outages affecting millions of people, I suspect this will be one of the determining factors in when schools decide to reopen.

3. STORM PROJECTIONS : THURSDAY IN THE NORTHEAST
Extensive details for this section will have to wait until Tuesday once we see how the primary low behaves and where the secondary forms. Suffice to say in Southern and Central New England there could be brief but heavy and rain snow mixed along the coast, heavy accumulations of ice inland and very heavy snow well inland, with winds in excess of 40 mph and gusts to storm force (55 mph) or above combined with extremely cold air once the storm departs the U.S. mainland. As Jim Kirk would say, "Sounds like fun."

78 comments:

Mr.B said...

Foot you think I could stay close to all snow? I am thinking 4-8" of snow and .25" of ice/sleet here.

Ben said...

Hey Mr Foot! Keep up the good work, i look forward to reading your update.

I have a small request, though. You mention public schools and the like a lot. But can you include chances of Universities being closed too (which is different bc no school busses etc) here in the DC area? Thanks

Mr. Foot said...

Definitely you'll have way more snow than ice there. It'll be a true snowKahuna for you, ice for us city dwellers. Haven't looked at the numbers yet but getting there. Here's hoping your school and mine is canceled so we get to rest from this model madness.

Mr. Foot said...

No prob Ben, I'll look into it. What is the history of the DC Univ's closing. Does it have to be a major knock-down drag out event or will 1/2 inch of ice be enough to scare them into closing?

Katie said...

Hey Mr Foot! I haven't been on in awhile, but knew this storm would provide some great commentary! I left DMS last year and am now teaching in Fairfax County VA...we are hoping for some good news tomorrow morning! Please send my best to Mrs. Foot and your two little ones!!

Rachael said...

Mr.Foot-
It started snowing in Ellicott City around 530.
How do you think travel is looking on friday?

Mr.B said...

Thanks man, it's been rough.

"Definitely you'll have way more snow than ice there. It'll be a true snowKahuna for you, ice for us city dwellers. Haven't looked at the numbers yet but getting there. Here's hoping your school and mine is canceled so we get to rest from this model madness."

Ben said...

this is my first year at University and living in DC (originally from N+W of Philly), hence my confusion :-/
I guess if the University itself doesnt close, then it relies on the individual profs and where they live. I only have 2 classes tomorrow, but it would be nice to sleep and not have an 8am!

chip said...

When I went outside here (near Loch Raven Blvd and 695) there was very light barely frozen precip coming down. If it doesn't do any more than this, we will all be in school at normal time tomorrow, I think. Accuweather says it's 39... oh well, I'm ready for school, at least...

chip said...

Oh, and Mr. Foot, PLEASE do not quote the Scottish Play...! Take it from an old theatre major, it's bad luck...! (Knocking on wood...)

Mr. Foot said...

Chip, o ye of little faith. While it is astutely professional of you to be prepared as you should, I hope the science behind my evening commentary wins you over. Or put another way:

I'M TELLIN' YA MAN, UNLESS WE GET A FIZZLE, SCHOOL WILL BE CLOSED TOMORROW. That precip just started and it has all night to get it's act together. The critical decision time is 3-5 AM. That's a lot of time for this thing to get the precip train rolling. If they open on time, we'll be heading home early in a freezing rain daymare. That is absolutely worse case scenario especially for elementary and kindergarten. Trust me on this. I've consulted with a few from on high. Given the severity and extent of this storm, they are going to play it safe. Keep checking your radar and see how it will develop between now and bedtime. You'll see.

Mr. Foot said...

Hey I thought that was pretty creative. Unless you just want me to use alarmist quotes from "Armageddon?"

chip said...

Thanks for trying bolster my faith, Mr. Foot! And while I am all for being creative, quoting the Scottish Play is courting something horrible happening... like an ice storm or something... hey, wait a minute... hmmmm... :) Well, in that case, "Lay on, MacDuff!"

Jane said...

Hello, O Great Sage of Meteorology!

What would the scenario be like for the Philly metro area Tuesday and Wednesday?

Thanks.

Mr. Foot said...

I am starting to lean on a situation that might put a large part of the DC-BWI-NYC-BOS megalopolis under the most significant icing they've seen since Jan 94. Except this time it will be more widespread. Imagine a couple million without power from DC to Boston. 1/2 inch of ice with some snow on top to coat it for good measure, then 30-40 mph winds as Mr. B pointed out and goodbye power grid.

Hope I'm wrong about that.

Justin said...

First comment on here been reading for a little bit, great site!

I am a student down in Montgomery County at Montgomery College...so lucky for me all commuters so we usually get a better break with closings...but more tough then public schools though.

We had a few heavy burst of snow flurries earlier and the temp fell back to below freezing. Stuck a little on driveways and sides of roads, a start I guess.

Again, thanks for great blog!

Tyler said...

hey there mr. foot im an aspiring meteorologist myself im a junior at a cmw and hope to go to penn state for college under meteorology but i live in forest hill and i was wondering what do u think the final accumulation will be for us?

Tyler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ben said...

as long as GW is closed/my 2 profs decide not to come in, i will be in a fantastic mood. rather have Wednesday off though....now i'm just getting greedy lol

Novatriguy said...

32 Degrees here in Leesburg according to my weatherbug. The national radar does indeed look pretty creepy - sort of like that doomsday machine from the old Star Trek Episode (the original). "I'm a doctor Jim, not a meteorologist!"

terpguy said...

Wheeled out the generator, last utilized during Isabel. One shot of ether, and that puppy fired up on the first pull.

Bought it nine days before Floyd, where we lost power for almost 5 full days. It saved my bacon....literally.

5,000 watts with a 220 lead-in directly to the circuit breaker.

Where we live, if we lose electricity, we lose everything...no heat, no lights, no water.

Now, hopefully it won't come to that...all I want is a little time off from school!

terpguy said...

This just in:

2107 local

..WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 4 AM TUESDAY TO 2 PM EST
WEDNESDAY...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN STERLING VIRGINIA HAS ISSUED A
WINTER STORM WARNING...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 4 AM TUESDAY TO
2 PM EST WEDNESDAY. THE WINTER STORM WATCH IS NO LONGER IN
EFFECT.

SIGNIFICANT FREEZING RAIN IS EXPECTED OVER THE WASHINGTON AND
BALTIMORE METROPOLITAN AREAS...NORTHERN VIRGINIA AND CENTRAL AND
NORTHERN MARYLAND TUESDAY AND TUESDAY NIGHT. LATEST INDICATIONS
CONTINUE TO SUGGEST WARM AIR A FEW THOUSAND FEET ABOVE THE SURFACE
WILL BE DRAWN INTO THE SYSTEM...SETTING THE STAGE FOR A
SIGNIFICANT FREEZING RAIN EVENT AS SURFACE TEMPERATURES ARE
EXPECTED TO REMAIN BELOW FREEZING WHEN THE PRECIPITATION IS
OCCURRING. ONE QUARTER TO ONE HALF INCH OF ICE IS EXPECTED IN THE
WARNING AREA.

Russ said...

Mr. Foot,
I sent you an email today but I'm sure like myself things were a bit crazy for you today. I asked you in the email I saw that the NWS was saying in their forecast discussion that this thing could give the Baltimore/DC area 1/4 to 1/2 of ice? I also saw in their forecast that they have Freezing rain for tomorrow night and temp's around 24-27 degrees. I'm no expert, however if we get that much ice, it could be pretty bad!

Mr. Foot said...

CHIP... ENTERPRISE TO CHIP,COME IN CHIP.

ARE YOU ON BOARD NOW FOR CLOSED TOMORROW? Do I have to get you transported aka beamed down to Sterling and have them explain the Winter Storm Warning?

Do you really really really think BCPS is going to open on a full blown Winter Storm Warning? If it does, you pick the best restaurant downtown and it's on me dude!

jessicar301 said...

Mr. Foot, thanks for your predictions. This is my first post but a dedicated fan I am. Lots of teachers at Chesapeake High (BC) are hoping for two days... How are you feeling about that?

SuperDad said...

I'm in Perry Hall, MD myself. I can't wait to see how this thing plays out!

Mr.B said...

Mr. Footn like this ice image. LOL.
0ZNAM looks even better for all snow for me.

terpfan3 said...

the storm explodes massively just off the coast on the 0z nam model. The run is colder and very wet.

Russ said...

Superda,
I'm in Perry Hall as well, came home from work and found out HUGE water main break on Joppa & Chapel Hill Rd's No water at my house. You in the same boat? I guess I'd rather not have water than electric!!

Mr.B said...

Woops sorry Mr. Foot for calling you footn.

terpguy said...

Oh, yeah!!

Thanks for ressurecting the "Something Wicked..." lead-in. I was going to suggest it again, but you beat me to it!

Russ said...

mr. Foot,
sorry, I didn't read far enough in your post. I saw the 1/4 to 1/2 " of ice you mentioned in your post. Have we ever seen this type of ice in this area? PLEASE keep us updated. Thanks!!

wvmommyof4 said...

wow, our latest warnings for the eastern panhandle include 4 to 6 inches of snow tomorrow, 2 to 4 inches tomorrow night and then significant icing.Up to 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch of ice! I hate to think of how long we could be out of power, especially with 4 children, the youngest is only 8mo.

Mr. Foot said...

January 2004 the Balto Metro region had roughly .25 inches of ice from a series of weak low pressures that just ran along a frontal boundary over 3 days. Temps were around 32.

School was closed 3 days and a 2 hour delay on fourth day.

This is...
1/2 inch of ice
temperatures below freezing
snow then ice then snow
25-35 mph winds after
overnight temps in teens south, single digits north

How about CLOSED REST OF THE WEEK.

Forget what Tom Tasselmeyer said today, or Marty Bass. I hope Stormin'Norman didn't do another downcast again (that's a forecast which is downplayed). I'd rather be dead wrong and eat crow and wear a bag, but Baltimore NWS does not raise a Winter Storm Warning on a fluke.

Holy crap about that water main break. I used to live up that way. Hope they can fix it before it freezes. Is this a bad omen or what. Another freaky thing.. I'm talking to someone from the county on the school phone about the storm, and the line goes dead. Turns out the phone lines in entire school went out. Reason unknown. Talk about creepy.

Mr. Foot said...

Oh mommyof4, I think you should know we at the Dundalk Foot compound are seriously considering heading for the hills and escaping to central PA where risk of losing power is not as great. My 13-mo old needs regular breathing treatments from a Nebulizer. No power=no baby einstein=crisis.

Is there a grandma's house you can head to that's out of the ice zone?

Russ said...

Mr. Foot,
so Dundalk HS did not have phone service today? I agree about the water main break. I hope it is not the beginning of things to come. Do you see any rain from this event at all? I guess I should break the news to Mr. peiser about his game being in doubts on Thursday. He surely hates not to play. Maybe I can give him skates and he can play b-ball on the ice!!

wvmommyof4 said...

Grandma's house is about 1 block for one set of grandparents and 10 miles for the other. Great grandparents are 4 and 6 hours away.

E.H. Boston said...

The NAM has trended colder with a more SE track???

More Snow...

Gigi Lynn said...

Why oh why won't school systems decide to close, already? I hate putting my kids to bed without being able to tell them for sure one way or the other. It's cruel!

Matt said...

So if the power goes out... is it better to leave things in the fridge or to put things in a cooler on the back porch?

Mr.B said...

Mr. Foot you should come on up to greencastle. LOL

anonymous21 said...

I was just reading Bob Turks weather Blog on WJZ.com.. it seems he is severly downplaying this storm, especially with the QPF I have seen, I think the release of the winter storm warning will help make up the minds of some school systems and hopfully tell out TV weather friends that this might not just be a bit of snow and a rain shower...

jessicar301 said...

Food for Thought

Putting things outside works if the temps are below 40.. but keep to the shade of course.

Take it from someone who does this every holiday season, there is never enough room for the "army's worth of food" my family makes every year.

Happy Wintry Mix Everyone!

Mr. Foot said...

gigi lynn.. sorry they just won't do that this early. Too much uncertainty despite the radar appearance. They'd only make an early call like this if we were already in the thick of it, like we will be tomorrow night at this time.

I'm telling you all, this is going to be nasty nasty nasty. In January 1994, at Conestoga High School in suburban Philly, my brother was a sophomore. That month his district had :::I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP::: 4 DAYS OF SCHOOL THE ENTIRE MONTH OF JANUARY.
Last day of school was June 30.

This won't be that horrific, but it will rank up there as probably #2 all time worst ice storm for DC-BALT.

Mr. Foot said...

Also..welcome to all the new readers. May my fingers be as fast as your requests for info!

terpguy said...

Matt-

Leave the stuff in the frig and DON'T OPEN THE DOOR. If the power is still out after about 2 hours, you can move the frozen stuff into the frig for coolant, or THEN think about the back porch.

jessicar301 said...

Please don't remind me of the ice storm in 1994(?)

Remember when BCPS lengthened the school day for something like a month... All I can say is please God don't let them do that again!

Tyler said...

what time will this storm finish snowing or icing? i know were supposed to get a 1/2 inch of ice but how much snow?

Julee said...

AIYEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! My heat was FINALLY fixed today (after a week!) and NOW Im going to lose electricity??????

And WAAAAAAAAAAAIT a MIN-UTE ... no electricity ... NO FOOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!By

... by the pricking of my thumbs ...

Mr. Foot said...

Good question tyler,I need to address that in my overview. Will update it to reflect that.

Mr. Foot said...

Julee, if you quick sign up for Nextel Wireless you can get nationwide broadband through your cell phone and internet into your laptop. Order online now and request speed shipping. It should arrive by the time your power comes back on next Tuesday.

Frank said...

I hace no watches, advisories, or warnings at all in CNJ. I guess no ice for me even though there is now no mention of just plain rain on the latest noaa site? I'm confused.

John of Rosedale, MD said...

I remember the ice storm of 1994, people were ice skating in their backyards, and I remember how video of cars just crashing into each other as they went down a hill....I also recall it was like 24 degrees and pouring rain!!

Frank said...

I am seeing the latest gfs, and it is now saying nearly all snow for nyc? Is this possible?

Linda said...

10 O'clock news shows storm at the end going furhter east, which in turn will bring snow back after the freezing rain. I can't wait to see what happens. Stay safe everyone.

chip said...

Now (11:00 pm) no precip at all outside at Loch Raven and 695 area... and it feels suspiciously above freezing... to quote the old song, "Is that all there is?" Well, at least we will get a full week of work done at school... that's good... and our big pizza party will go on as planned on Friday! Gotta love pizza! Thanks for your info, as always, Mr. Foot! See you in the AM, Ms. Julee!

Keith said...

It was snowing in Fredericksburg, VA at about 10pm.

Linda said...

I remember that winter of the ice storms, it stayed frigid forever, and the ice just wouldn't go away. It would start to clear and we got another ice storm.

John of Rosedale, MD said...

Stormin Norman is calling for major ICE for Baltimore Area....Chip I don't think you will be in school tomorrow, check the radar.....

Mr.B said...

GFS equals colder. YA

Mr. Foot said...

Mr. B and TerpGuy..I'm looking at some images of runs from NAM and GFS on EasternUSWx. Is this really setting up to be a 3/4-1 inch event N & W of the cities. If so we are talking power outages for 1-2 weeks, no school for more than just this week.

My brain is maxing out. I'm falling asleep typing and can't spell anymore. I will pick this up in the AM starting around 5 and we'll see who's going to scroll across the bottom of your screen first... and last... and not at all.

Mr.B said...

Is that ice for me??

chip said...

Well, John and Mr. Foot, I can hope you are right, but I'm afraid I'm in Doubting Thomas mode right now. (If you don't know that reference, ask someone who went to Sunday School.)
It ain't doin' nothin' right now outside. As I said, the alarm is set, and if I get a pleasant surprise in the AM, then great! I am still seeing sites that are talking rain, rain, rain... and Ask-You-Weather says it's 40 degrees out!

Mr. Foot said...

All right everyone, eyes are closing shut on their own. Toothpicks no longer effective in holding up eyelids.

This is Mr. Foot signing off until tomorrow morning. What a day it will be. Especially for Chip and I.

Mr. Foot said...

One last plug for chip:

Snow and sleet are commencing in Dundalk at 11:42 PM.

Ahem. or should it be, amen.

Julee said...

Mr. Foot
Supppose I just DRIVE (or slide) over to the Nextel office to facilitate the change-over?
No, really, I had 6 days of zero electricity after Isabel and it was DREADFUL! Ever the Pollyanna, however, at LEAST I will be able put my rapidly spoiling food outside, but ... my BUNNY Stanley MUST have fresh KALE!

How long will we be house-bound Mr. Foot? Any thawing taking place after the storm? Ever?

chip said...

Mr. Foot, I have the utmost respect for your work on here, not to mention the fact that you are a public school classroom teacher... I say what I say with a doubting gut feeling, and yet a smile to think that we MIGHT get a day off...! Super-duper gratitude for your work, Mr. Foot, and greetings and thanks to all commenters (commentators? comment-mavens?) You are all da man! (Except you women...) This is a great site! No matter what happens with the weather, may all enjoy, and be safe and well!

chip said...

Well, got up to pay a visit, as they say, and went outside... in long sleeved shirt, no coat... no precip, not that cold... I suspect I will be dragging at school tomorrow, but oh well... As I said, I will believe it when I see it, I can hope, but there doesn't seem to be anything happenin' right now. I checked the radar, and I am not convinced yet... but good luck to all...

chip said...

Just checked the Baltimore County schools web site... "All schools operating on normal posted schedule"...

terpguy said...

0300 local.

Nothing here.....yet.

Two Pro Mets on EUSWx have independently stated that the MA is going to hammered.....with snow, and gave their reasons.

Why not? Everybody has an opinion about this one.

Back to bed.

terpguy said...

ps- radar looks REAL good...

Mr. Foot said...

If we are open on time today and thumb our nose directly in the face of a winter storm warning, then I will put a picture of myself wearing a bag on this site!

Mr. Foot said...

Carroll County pulled the plug first. Who's next?

Mr. Foot said...

Here's the site I used for the latest closings:
http://www.wbaltv.com/closings/index.html

best of all the ones in the area.
Don't sit there refreshing the BCPS web page, often it has not posted until 15-20 min after the TV announces the district call.

terpguy said...

U of Md, College Park just bailed...

Mr. Foot said...

Clock is ticking. We need either HoCo, BCPS, Anne Arundel or the city to yank. If not, IT IS GOING TO BE A NIGHTMARE NIGHTMARE NIGHTMARE. Early dismissal, parents scrambling, kids left at school not picked up on time, freezing rain and sleet, they )you know who they are) will be sorry sorry sorry sorry

terpguy said...

Noon +

Back home in Fallston.

BCPS bad-weather decisions-makers have just moved up to the dumb-*ss varsity.

Why in the world did we go in??

This was a PERFECT example of "two hours late, wait and see"!!

Russ said...

Terpguy,
I totally agree. I just can't understand why last week we get off for 1" and an improving forecast, and today with a WSW, and a forecast that is going down hill, we go in on time. I don't get it--common sense say's 2 hr's late, re-evaluate, then close! After 24 years, I'm really starting to wonder about the leadership up on the Hill!!