Sunday, February 15, 2009

"Memory...all alone in the moonlight."
- From the Broadway Musical CATS

SUN FEB 15 - 12:45 PM Some families celebrate holiday traditions such as watching Polar Express or It's A Wonderful Life at Christmas, making angels at the first snowfall, and giving Valentine's chocolate. In the Foot household we take a few moments to relive the memories of that other lifetime event: The President's Weekend Blizzard of February 2003. Below is a slideshow I developed to record our perilous journey back to Dundalk, MD from a central PA ski trip, as well as the exhausting after-effects throughout our town. Six years ago this weekend, all of us in the Northeast became a band of brothers and sisters to dig out from this monster. For powderhounds, it was the quintessential example of what a weak El Nino/negative NAO/positive PNA combination can produce on the East Coast given the right environment. That arrangement is not present now... but someday it will come back.

But diligent weather watchers are probably seeing through this nostalgic attempt to distract them away from the failing potential for snow this coming week. While the winter weather pattern is still in place for a stormy 10 day period from the 18th forward, it is not showing a "snow"stormy look.. at least for next Wednesday. Granted one cannot say this means "absolutely zero snow rest of the winter" (unless you are speaking with authority on the subject, like Brig. Weather General Andy from Southern York County)

While the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) may be negative, so also is the Pacific-North American Index (PNA) at present. Going into next week it appears the Atlantic ridge will make a comeback, while La Nina looks to persist at least into the Spring. As nicely pointed out by commentator Gary from Towson in an earlier post, nearly neutral Nino/Nina signals (within -0.5 C) are often times just as unfavorable for East coast snow as strong signals. Some notable exceptions to that rule are Feb 1983 (extremely strong Nino) and January 1996 (strong Nina). If you head is now spinning with all this terminology, just glance at this quick overview of Nino/Nina impacts on North American weather. This should either clarify or confuse further, depending on your preference for reading about climate teleconnection analyses on Sunday mornings.

If this winter has pushed you to make snow your new anti-friend, just remember that for the previous 2 years over this week, the Mid-Atlantic was dealing with terrible ice Kahunas, notably the Valentine's Day Massacre of 2007 and the February 2008 ice storms. Also of mention is that both years featured followup events from late Feb all the way to early favorite of course being in 2007 when we had more snow the day on "Easter Eve" than "Christmas Eve." With that I turn the floor over for your memories, but know you're not alone in the moonlight here, because many of us still secretly yearn for that next big one.

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