Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Fabled "First Storm" ?

6:00 pm Wednesday, 11/25/09 Synopsis of revised forecast ideas for Thanksgiving Weekend and December 1-3 in the Mid-Atlantic:

1. On Friday in the I-95 corridor, there is increasing potential for shoppers and travelers to see "White in the 'Black Friday' night."  Some computer models show an expanding pool of upper level cold air lingering behind the coastal storm as it heads into the Canadian maritimes. Evidence: Examine this current model map for 8 PM Friday 11-28; notice there is green shown inside a blue dashed region of "534" behind the storm. That "indicator" is well inside the 0 C line at 5,000 feet. Meaning: any snow falling can reach the ground if boundary layer temperatures are cold enough. We shall see.

2. From Monday 12-1 to Wednesday 12-3, a powerful, precipitation-laden storm is projected to move from the southern US toward the Great Lakes. Computer models have also been showing a slight easterly trend to the low track for this time period. Whether this develops into a torrential, wind-swept rain, rain changing to snow, or something else will be examined closely by participants of the collaborative project.

STUDENT-BASED CLIMATE COLLABORATIVE PROJECT  A hearty aloha goes out to the 5th grade students of Ms. Gerst at Perry Hall Elementary School in northeast Baltimore County, MD. These daring climate explorers have joined our collaborative project in order to scope out the data leading them to accurately predict the first snowstorm. With students from three different schools on board, readers of this site have over 100 additional pairs of eyes in the sky keeping watch on atmospheric, oceanic and polar indications of a storm brewing. Their first big opportunity will be the Dec 1 - 3 period, as computer models continue to show a massive storm crawling across the country. For Transformer 2 fans, here's a great visual comparison... that heinous multi-machine "Constructicon" beast climbing the pyramid in Revenge of the Fallen.

KEY INDICATORS BEING MONITORED BY STUDENTS  Track and outcome of the fabled first storm, beastly or not, will be driven by several factors climate project students are watching closely, including:

  • North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO): Negative or positive?

  • Pacific North-American Index (PNA): Will it stay positive?

  • El Nino enhanced sub-tropical jet (STJ): Will it provide too much warm moisture?

  • Canadian snowpack: Recovering in time to recharge cold air source regions?

As always, your input and observations of the pattern are welcome. Students in three Maryland schools plan to monitor the data Wed 11-25 and Mon 11-30 so they can make a call on the Tue-Thu storm potential.

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