Wednesday, December 16, 2009

"One Thing Leads To Another..."
- a single by The Fixx in their 1983 album Reach The Beach

6:00 AM WEDNESDAY 12-16-09  Synposis of forecast ideas for Saturday and Sunday...
Weekend coastal and inland storm potential is growing, as indicated by climate data tracked by Maryland students, who places a 40% probability of snow across the Mid-Atlantic in the period Saturday night to Sunday. Variations in movement of upper level air masses across the Pacific, Canada and the North Atlantic require close monitoring and refined projections will be posted by 9:30 PM tonight, along with supporting links.

PROJECT 2010: THE REDESIGN. Significant changes are in the air for both this website and the weather it has tracked for almost six years. Although we pre-date the founding of Youtube, arrival of Mr. Obama on the national stage and McDonald's Chicken Chipolte BBQ wrap, the time has arrived to retool this website for a radically different reader. Among the improvements planned in 2010 for which we seek your input:

THE FUSION FORECAST TEAM. Several long time reader-enthusiasts will be joining the site as forecasters for a range of categories we routinely cover throughout the year. Our team is listed by their handle in the comments, responsibility, county of residence:
Mr. B: Central PA Nowcaster - PSU student meteorologist
Winterman: Western Maryland Stormcaster - Carroll County, MD
Snowlover: Mid-Atlantic Winter Storm Analyst - Baltimore County, MD
PasadenaMatt: Bay Region Nowcaster - Anne Arundel County, MD

Fusion Forecasting? Without giving away any of our trade secrets, this will be new and unique blend of multi-media techniques infused with consistently fresh reporting you've come to rely upon here since January 2004. Please give a hearty welcome to these multi-talented contributors from whom you will be hearing very soon, especially if the weekend storm goes viral.

STUDENT CLIMATE COLLABORATIVE. Our intrepid band of student climate researchers at Mount Saint Joe's High School and Perry Hall Elementary forge ahead in their data analysis, and will remain central players in the forecast team. Ms. Abrahm's students are understandably immersed in exams, and Ms. Gerst's 5th class in Perry Hall, MD report the following on the potential weekend storm:

1. What are others saying? A scan of local weather stations, The Weather Channel, Accuweather all indicated a cold period is coming (highs 34º-40º the next 5 days). All weather outlets featured a split between no precip or snow showers. This supports information student found about how computer models are having difficulty agreeing on how a "closed" 500 mb Low in Canada will move.

2. What the Climate Indicators are saying? Student research:
· El Nino is still going strong at +1.5ºC over the norm.
· NAO is now  -2, may trend to -1 in the next 5 days. 
· PNA is now -1, should trend to +1 in the next 5 days.
· AO is strongly negative -4. Students viewed this as a convincing signal that more cold weather is on the way to the Eastern US and would stay for several weeks.
· Snow cover across US and Canada still quite extensive for mid December.

3. The wrapup - what do students see happening? Our 5th grade trackers agree on widespread cold, and believe the indicators point to storm potential this weekend, but actual significant snow (4" or greater) remains a toss-up. For now, they use the NWS probability scheme giving the Mid-Atlantic region roughly a 40% chance of snow for Saturday into Sunday.

WHAT ABOUT YOU MR. FOOT? I'm not going anywhere! Someone has to stay back and mind the store. I'll assist our teams in the important work of fusing real scientific data into a dynamic and relevant  format worthy of the loyalty you have shown over the years. This post is one in a series of introductory pieces to bring you on board with our planned changes, as well to seek authentic input. If you want to join the effort or wish to advise with your expertise, we welcome your contribution because as our headliner The Fixx says... "one thing leads to another."

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