Monday, February 2, 2009


EVENING UPDATE: MON FEB 2 - 10:15 PM. The map above is my final snowfall forecast, and the one on which we will grade the storm. If it busts, I wear a bag and life goes on.

OPENING STATEMENT: The arrival of snow in the Baltimore Metro region Monday evening as predicted days ago is a vindication for many readers on this site who have been loyally following all the round-about twists and turns of our "Groundhog Storm." Incidentally, Punxsutawney Phil did see his shadow today thanks to the bright sunshine, so it's back to the regularly scheduled program: Lots of winter still to overcome in the next 6 weeks. Your devotion to faithfully providing observations is sincerely appreciated.

SCHOOL IMPACTS: (5:30 am - LOOKS BUSTED!) My general take on this unique storm situation is that Tuesday's school schedule will be affected in some way, but will vary by district based on their location. That sounds obvious, but is not as clear cut. The best projection I can make based on current indications of precip, temperature trends, and likely duration of incoming moisture:

CLOSED: Frederick, Carroll, Loudon, Montgomery. MAY ATTEMPT A 2-HOUR DELAY: Baltimore County, Howard, Anne Arundel, Harford, Cecil, Prince Georges. 1-HOUR DELAY: Baltimore City, DC Schools. If snow continues into the early morning hours (as in still snowing by 4AM, then what was going to be an attempt at a delay may be announced as a closing.)

SNOW AND RADAR: Yes, I know many powderhounds like you out there are all stressed out over the radar hole. It is probably caused by "subsidence" of the air from the front passing so quickly. It's almost a "gust front" like we see in the summer on weather maps. As the front moved in, it pushed lots of air away ahead of it. We are talking extremely huge volumes of air being moved around here, and as the air subsides or sinks, it becomes more dry. This creates a hurdle for the incoming moisture to saturate, and that's what we're seeing over the Chesapeake Bay. Give it time, and this will eventually fill in. Hey, someone in the comments said it best earlier today. Despite all the computer model mayhem, the very fact that we have this fairly huge mid-latitude cyclone that has all but popped out of nowhere is in of itself truly amazing. Consider that the snow shield as of 11:00 PM Groundhog Day 2009 extends from North Carolina to Maine. What computer model foresaw that? Just one, it's called the "LOW" model.. which stands for "Look Out Window."

REGARDING COMMENTS: I want to make clear that we need to keep the discussion focused on the storm and not one-line itty-bitty statements. The students who have joined us here know what I'm talking about. We all love snow, but we don't need to sift through excessive one-liners that are not weather observations, valid questions or scientific concerns. Humor is welcome, but don't let it get out of hand. This discussion feature is not Twitter, nor a chat room. Keep those things in mind when you post a comment. Last statement on this: Students, if I wake up to find dozens of comments or more that are mostly one-line blurbs and of little value, the comments will be suspended. I had to do it before, let's not have that happen again.

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