Friday, March 16, 2007

MAY THE LUCK O'THE IRISH BE WITH YE
(IF YOU WANT ONLY SNOW FROM THIS)

8PM Friday evening comment: The Mid-March Maelstrom has proven to outmatch my forecasting abilities at present. By the time I will have figured out everything that should happen with our storm, it will already be over. I do feel vindicated in the sense that this was either a good call or a lucky call pegging the time frame for this event 11 days in advance.

(Quote from March 7: "I should also warn teachers, athletic directors and coaches that there is a lot of "March Madness" lurking out there in the 15th-20th time frame and it's not looking pretty. More on that later but let say for now I may have to retract my claim of "That's All Folks" from last month.")

I regret not being able to post my overview of the March 1956 storm, it would have been a great comparison as snowfall from this one will closely match or beat that one. The situation has been so changeable the past 24 hours I didn't feel confident enough to come out swinging with region-wide snowfall forecasts.. but here's what was said or written to a few people including my students either in person or in the comments over the past 2 days: Baltimore: 2 - Dundalk, MD: .75 - Philly: 6 - New York: 7 - Boston: 8. Tonight I'll add Greencastle: 9 - Martinsburg, WV: 10 - Paoli, PA: 7 including sleet - Bucks Co, PA: 11 - Central NJ: 6 including sleet - Fallston, MD: 4.

A special sorry to Mr. B in Greencastle..he had a nice writeup but I didn't post it in time, so I will in the after-storm wrapup. Part of the reason for my lack of progress in updating you on the storm since Wednesday was a time-consuming outdoor landscaping project at our school this week, appropriately timed with the weather of course. I also am a bit behind in an online graduate course, so a lot of mental energy went to those two undertakings. Despite all this, I am glad the forecast somewhat verified in that many members of our online community are receiving their well-deserved (and likely greatest) snow for the season, albeit a bit late. But I am also sad to say this is :::probably::: the last float in the winter parade. Sad in the sense that once we get past this, the website will be going dormant for a while. The quietest time of the year on here is now to about August, or whenever the first tropical system begins to flare and make faces at the U.S. Atlantic coast. Until then, my focus shifts to spring preparations, greenhouse work, landscaping, final exams and closing out school for the year. So enjoy the final hours of your final storm of the winter that's finally done in about 4 days.

Accuweather Radar from this evening. Compare to that of this morning below.

Mid-Atlantic Radar 615 PM Friday 3-16

It took a while for the boundary layer to cool, hence the reason your radars all looked pink and white while you only saw rain at the ground. We had a tough time convincing students at our school in southeast Baltimore County WHY we had let out 2 hours early. Though it was raining buckets in Dundalk, the other 2/3rds of the region were seeing rain changing to snow. Combined with the flood warnings, heavy snow potential, sleet and extensive traffic accidents which occured in the morning, those factors were scary enough that school officials apparently decided they had better get ahead of this storm before it got ahead of them. I read in the comments that other districts decided to close outright before hand and for those areas (in WV, southern PA) that was definitely a good call.

Friday 3-16-07 Radar

The 8PM projection from the GFS (Global Forecast System) shows the cold air hanging tough despite our vigorous Pre-St Patricks Day Storm rolling quickly up the coast. This is not a current observation map of course but a short range (6-hour) model printout of expected conditions. Note position of the 850 millibar 0 C isotherm... right over 95. I imagine all this sleet is resulting from the strong easterly flow off the ocean crashing right into that cold air, and happening so fast, and with the atmosphere so wet, snow does not have a chance to form. For those who are seeing snow this evening (which appears to be almost everyone but my town).,. your ratios are probably going to be 8:1 or even 6:1, but with 1" of liquid you could still pull 6 inches out of this.

GFS Model Projection for 8PM Friday 3-16-07

Now, just for fun...here was the original GFS model projection for early this morning, but generated about 6 days ago by the computer. Though the timing is off by 12 hours here, note the interesting differences.. the Great Lakes Low was projected to hang on longer and block the cold air advance to the Mid-Atlantic. The High in Quebec that we see tonight...was nowhere to be found. This is why your local forecasts said nothing of the heavy snow, sleet, grauple, ice pellets, freezing fog, whatever kitchen sink type storm you have there.. because like it or not, Accuweather's 6-10-15 day forecasts as well as the Weather Channel's "The Week Ahead" portion of your local forecast are ALL TIED TO THE GFS. It only began trending colder about 72 hours ago if that. Truth is, the GFS missed the big warmup (84 F in Baltimore Wed) but finally caught on to the colder trend by Thursday.

GFS Model Projection for Fri 3-16


FRIDAY 6:00 AM STATEMENT: My biggest concern with this storm is the cold air is pulled into the Mid-Atlantic region, especially along I-95 and north/west of the cities from DC-Philly, changing the rain over to snow more quickly than expected. This brings winter weather advisories or even instant "Winter Storm Warnings" to areas that were only expecting an inch or two, such as DC and Baltimore. I'm not hypecasting, just thinking that the easterly track as was the trend overnight continues, resulting in a Friday Blitz that leaves your St. Patrick's Day more White than Green. you're in the "Nowcast" Zone now. Forget your local forecasts and just follow the radar today, especially Accuweather as shown above, it will give you the best indication of what is happening at the critical 850 millibar level of the atmosphere where the dynamics may lead to this rapid changeover to snow earlier than later today.

Last point...I THINK THERE IS A STRONG POSSIBILITY MANY METRO AREA SCHOOLS MAY HAVE TO HASTILY SCHEDULE AN EARLY DISMISSAL BASED ON RADAR TRENDS.

(8pm comment: that one worked out well.)

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

NeedaSnowday is now known as "GRUMPY"....Guess the performances scheduled for tonight and tomorrow are in jeopardy huh? Looks like tomorrow's scrimmages are too.... :::sigh::: The good news is that I have been a FootFollower and have alternative plans!!

THANKS FOOT!!

terpguy said...

Harford County has cancelled all Field Trips for today.

So will this be "Interrupted Week 10"?


Stay tuned...

0615- 36.3F, 0.81" rain

Mr.B said...

Looks good.

E.H. Boston said...

Up here in Woburn....

Current conditions are cloudy and the temperature has been falling the entire morning. Now down to 29 degrees. Snow is making its way NW from SE MA.

Should be fun.

E.H. Boston said...

BTW, schools are open and the snow is suppposed to fall at rates of 1-2"/hr. by 12PM. Most schools around here don't end until 2-3PM. Its gonna be a mess.

Like last years DEC 9 mini blizzard.

Mr.B said...

Snow is now falling. No way we are only getting 4-8" I even got a forecast from one of my news stations of 1-3". WHAT?!?

Frank said...

I have a feeling this may have bust on it again for cnj. It was snowing a bit this morning, only to change back to sleet and rain. I know there is a long way to go still, but I have a bad feeling again. The accuweather radar has white on me, but I don't see any snow. Sometimes that radar is a little off. I am down to about 31 now.

William said...

Sleeting here. Off and on rain. Waiting for the snoowwwwwwwwww.

Frank said...

I think a lot of us will be waiting for snow.....seems like this may be sleet storm #2 of the year. If you look at the observations from Maryland, to PA, to NJ, and up to NYC, seems like most are report sleet with some frz rain and a little snow mixed in. Maybe I can pull off 3" os sleet again so that the 3-6" forecast for me will varify! :)

Anonymous said...

Bang on Foot... looks like lots of school closings....BCPS, Carroll, Fred... Harford.....

Linda said...

28 degrees and sleeting in central bucks county.

Julee said...

I wish the Hereford Zone HAD been closed this morning. At 6:40 this morning, I was hit and pushed sideways 100 ft. along the right hand lane of 695 by an 18 wheeler on my way to school. And that was BEFORE the sleet.

Linda said...

WOW. Julee. How are you feeling? Other than hurting, how lucky you are to be telling about it. I hope your ill effects are not to bad.

wvmommyof4 said...

Wow Julee I am so sorry to hear that. Are you ok?
Well, as far as the snow they are now calling for 4-8 inches of snow today. It has been snowing very heavily since about 10am. Our temp is 29 and we have just under 3 inches of snow so far. I will give our schools credit they canceled today and boy did they need to.

E.H. Boston said...

Snowing very heavily right now in Woburn. Started in earnest about an hour ago. A thick coating is on the grass, but the pavement is fine. Temps are hovering in the upper 20's right now.

Many are calling for about 6-10" where I live, 5-8" for Boston itself, and 10-15" outside of Rt. 495, with 2 FEET or more in the North Country.

Mr.B said...

Heavy snow falling now in grrencastle. Around 1" so far.

terpguy said...

Julee...I hope you are OK.


Everybody else in BCPS...10 weeks, now!

Frank said...

6 hours of sleet so far in cnj, about 3/4" of ice buildup.

E.H. Boston said...

Julee, I hope you are okay...

I am seeing that parts of VA and MD are now under Winter Storm Warnings with Winter Weather Adviories up for eastern MD and VA, including Baltimore and Dundalk.

A couple to few inches of snow possible. Right now I have got about an inch..maybe 1.25" of fluffy snow falling with a temperature around 25.

Roads are quickly starting to become snow packed as well.

Justin said...

Been in the "pink" on weather maps for a while....but it has been changing between rain/ice/sleet for little while now

crazedsnowboarder said...

Severe weather thing was updated now northern MD and centeral MD
3-8in of snow and western MD 5-10 in of snow

E.H. Boston said...

Snow quickly accumulating. Temp down to 23. Have about 4" of fluff and still coming down to beat the band.

Mr.B said...

Up to 5" in greencastle with 7" drifts.

kristine said...

OH NO JULEE...I was wondering where you were today...I hope you are ok...please let us know what you need.
Mr. F- fundraiser postponed for tonight...just as you had said...
Ground is white here in Sparks-[ road looking like some pretty icy slush right now...

Mr. Foot said...

Happy Friday everyone. That is all except for JULEE! Eeeeeeeeeeeek. Did that 18 wheeler have any idea who he was running into? Why our unstoppable, indestructible Snow Queen of the Zone. Hereford Zone.

I trust you are okay, and the tires of that truck are bashed to bits, yes?

Getting sleeted to beat the band down here, R/S line looks like it's been trying to avoid Dundalk all day. Temp 35 F.

Despite the early dismissal, have a lot going on today and tonight, post will be intermittent and not up to your expectations. Sorry.

Big storm though, and if I can get some numbers and maps out tonight, I will try but mentally and physically wiped out from the week that was.. number 10.

E.H. Boston said...

Whats the number 10 talk all about?

Woburn

Temp 27.2
Moderate Snow

Accumulation so far: 5"

Additional forecasted: 2-4"

Mr. Foot said...

Dr.E.H.

Number 10 means..

In Baltimore County, the last FULL uninterrupted week of school

(meaning 5 real live solid legal workdays..you know those Mon-Fri
type weeks)

was... :::drum roll please:::

The week of January 8.
I'm not making this up.

We are having one heck of a sleet storm here...there's close to an inch and it is coming down in buckets..at 30 F and mixed with fz rain. If I didn't know any better, I would think it was Valentine's Day..the sequel.

Russ said...

Mr. Foot,
glad you talked to Justin,it was a good move on his part to PP tomorrows playday. Has been sleeting in Perry Hall since 3:00---sometimes I think it is going to crack my living room window. I went to get something to eat with the family, and the sleet was hitting me in the face---man did it sting!Looks like around 10:00 it all will slow down. Mr. Foot, NWS is saying some snow showers tomorrow & tomorrow night, do you see this?

Frank said...

Been heavy sleet in cnj since around 9am and still coming down now. So far about 3" of sleet, amazing. That is more than the V-Day storm where I had 1.5" of sleet. 25 outside right now.

tyler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tyler said...

here in forest hill 28.5 deg and 1 " of sleet on roads and more on grass just start to switch over to moderate snow around 8:10 still thinking 1-2 " for forest hill?

Russ said...

Mr. Foot,
Thanks for all the winter storm updates this year. You make my job very easy with planning & rescheduling events. I know this site will go doormate for a while, however I hope you don't mind me emailing you at work at times when rain is forecasted and I need to know timing issues for games. Thanks Again for all the help!!

Mr. Foot said...

You are not going to believe this. Just 2 miles from my house in Dundalk, friends of mine on Cornwall Court have 4 INCHES OF SLEET. I have maybe 1 inch here at 28 F.

If this was a movie, you could call it: Valentine's Day II: Repeat Offense.

Actually this may go down in the books as worse than the VD storm.

As JB on Accuweather said earlier today.. "Valentine's Day...St. Patrick's Day...Easter anyone?"

Please continue to post your obs, especially those I named for accumulation amounts, which include sleet in the total.

Signing off for the night. Hoping to waken to beautiful sunshine that will melt all my sleet away.

chip said...

I think about an inch and a half in East Towson (Loch Raven Village), and icing up pretty nastily on cars. If you parked outside at the end of the work day, and have to go anywhere in the morning, allow extra time to chip out your car. Also, I have not seen any evidence of a truck having gone by on my admittedly secondary road. Friends in the Towson area to whom I have talked report no trucks in their neighborhoods either. I was wrong about the early dismissal, so I will be wearing a glove on Monday at school. Good night all!

Mr. Foot said...

A few more things:

I told my Earth Science students earlier this month they would see 80 degrees and snow in the same month. Just didn't think we would see it all in the same WEEK, let alone 48 HOURS!

Wednesday: 85 F outside my classroom window at 3PM. I had dinner on the deck and it was 73 F at 6PM while the Foot girls played in the sandbox

Thursday: got to 75 F at 2:30 PM before dropping 20 degrees in 3 hours. Told my Period 4 class at 12:00 noon that we would go from 75 F degrees to snow and 30 F within 36 hours. They thought I was nuts. So did I.

Friday: 2"+ of heavy rain, then 1" sleet, now moderate snow and 28 F. Flood Warning and Winter Weather Advisory at the same time.

36 hours from 12 Noon Thurs is midnight tonight. Here we are at 10 PM and the snow has officially begun.

If you're tired, it's no wonder, you have weather-whiplash.

E.H. Boston said...

Woburn/Boston Update:

Temperatures are climbing fast.

Now up to 31.4 at my house with light snow falling. Changeover to sleet will likely occur no later than midnight. Maybe another inch of accumulation.

Total snowfall so far: 8.5"

I would bet we end somewhere around 9-10" here in Woburn.

Boston will probably top out at 6-7".

Overall, a very nice storm.

Julee said...

I have all kinds of whiplash. Everything hurts ... and I think my car has been totaled. Barely a dent on the 18 wheeler. It's a dangerous business going out of your front door each day, isn't it? You never know.
Hope everyone is safe tonight, and many thanks to all for the kind words. You're right Mr. Foot, this IS a nice group of people.

In Pikesville, about 1.5" of sleet with .5" frosting of snow. Still seeing a light snowfall.

Have a safe and restful night everyone.