Sunday, February 28, 2010

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Winter Stormcast Zone: March 2010
Forecaster Ryan K: Sparrows Point High School, Baltimore County, MD
Collaborators: Zak Brisko, Winterman, Dakota, PasadenaMatt, Daniel Ross, Mr. Foot

8:45 PM SUNDAY 2.28.2010 As the final few hours of meteorological tick away, we look ahead to what looks to be an active spring. My full march outlook will be posted here and then likely transferred to the Long Range Zone. So, to the storm for this week. There does not look to be much in the offing for us, as the 18z GFS 84hr Storm total precip shows, this storm will likely trek out to sea, giving us nothing more than a few non-accumulating snow showers. There are different things ahead, different weather could be headed for you as we change seasons and start meteorological spring here at Foot's Forecast. The pattern will warm up, but snow may not be done. Read the note below for confirmation on that and the previous post for my full thoughts on the mid week storm.

WARNING: WINTER MAY NOT BE OVER, CALL IT OFF AT YOUR OWN RISK. THANK YOU.

At 945 PM, the NAM looks quite good, and at the 500mb level the storm looks slightly promising. There will be more updates to follow, as the mid week storm is not yet dead, and could do small things, but I'd still say only a few snow showers for now. (00z GFS also west)



10:45 AM SUNDAY 2.28.2010
The HPC 5 Day QPF map shows that there is some precip that should impact the area over the next few days, however it is also easily visible that the brunt of the storm system should trek to our south. However, after viewing the latest model runs, we don't need much to catch a significant storm here in MD and up the I-95 corridor. The 500mb upper air images are key at this point, as it is a common trend with models to adjust later at the surface than in the upper atmosphere. What may hinder the storms development could be a storm that sits up to the northeast off of New England. This storm is pushing our midweek storm to the south as shown in the image below with a small description. 

ANALYSIS The image is an analysis of the GFS model at 54hrs, which has the low close enough to do its damage to you snowlovers out there looking for a grand finale.
It is obvious that the Newest 12z GFS run with one of the images posted above is trending this storm farther away from us. The 00z GFS from last night was starting to come closer to the coast along with the rest of the 00z runs, but now things are headed back away from us. The 00z NAM from last night was showing what I expect to be a hit for the I-95 corridor. The 500mb 78hr 00z NAM from last night showed a very good position in the upper levels that would favor snow up and down the coast. Now the storm may not be done trending, as we have seen many storms that have trended back in our favor, or simply have not been done trending inside 72hrs time. If something is going to come back our way though, expect it sooner than later. 

Welcome Forecaster Nick: My ex partner on many blog sites, and has now rejoined the team. Here are his thoughts on the upcoming storm: The next storm coming from the Southeast looks like it does have some potential to come up the coast and affect us, but it is going against a slowly moving low leaving NE, which could steer the storm further south, meaning we are also going to have to rely on a phase to get this storm moving, otherwise this is going to exit stage right. For more, click below.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

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Why it was called a "snowicane"

10:45 PM FRIDAY 2.26.2010  The retrograding low pressure center between the New York City harbor and Sandy Hook, NJ border will continue to fill in and "snow itself out" well into Saturday. At approximately 990 millbars and winds still gusting near 30 mph, this storm will remain capable of delivering copious moisture from the Atlantic Ocean, in the form of snow. Examples of some incredible snowfall reports include 32.0 inches in Harriman, Orange County, NY and 28.0 in West Milford, Passaic County NJ. New York NWS snowfall report

This weekend, we are assembling  an "after action report" on the current storm and will be posting our data for the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Obviously some of the scores will not be pleasant, but it sure will be a good data set to analyze! Results will be posted in the Storm Data Zone. A new post will be published Saturday as we begin the next round of preparations in advance of another system to affect the eastern U.S. by Wednesday.

10:15 AM FRI 2.26.2010 
This storm having retrograded from the Atlantic ocean into Long Island and the New York City harbor, and as of 4AM had a central low pressure of 973 millibars, was stronger than Hurricane Isabel 12 hours following landfall (988 mb, 50 mph at 1AM on 9/19/2003).* Unlike previous storms which we all know move out to sea, this is retrograding and will take several days to fully dissipate. That is the basis behind those calling it a snowicane: This event has behaved more like a tropical system than a traditional coastal surface cyclone. *scroll to bottom of NHC report for pressures

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

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"There you go again."
- Ronald Reagan to Jimmy Carter in the 1980 Presidential Debate

6:00 PM TUE 2.23.2010  (First update 3:45 PM) According to the National Weather Service, the game is on. Winter Storm Watches posted throughout the coastal Mid-Atlantic will take effect tomorrow evening into Friday for most of Maryland west of the Bay, all MD counties on the eastern shore, as well as Delaware, metro Philadelphia and southern New Jersey.
As we outlined on Sunday and Monday, our suspicions of a "surprise" snowstorm are now all but certain; the real questions now become: (1) How much; (2) When it starts; (3) How long it lasts.

Preliminary projections by 9th grade students at the BCPS Crossroads Center point to at least .70" of liquid for BWI airport as a representative location for central MD. Calculating on a 15:1 snow ratio points to preliminary totals reaching 8 or more inches across the I-95 corridor from Washington to Philadelphia. Significantly higher amounts are possible for interior Pennsylvania, New Jersey, upstate New York and the Delmarva. Largely due to the potential "retrograding" nature of a low pressure system projected to resemble a hurricane by Thursday night (supporting links pending). Another case of "there you go again" ? Perhaps, but this time we all better have our game on, this is no drill.

Updates posted tonight on facebook and in the Winter Stormcast ZoneOur storm grade totals for the period 12AM Thursday to 12AM Friday will be posted in the Winter 2009-2010 Storm Data Sheet by Wednesday evening, available for download to see clearly the time and amount of projections made prior to the event.

6:00 AM TUE 2.23.1010 The seemingly endless parade of winter storms through the south and northeast has another act lined up already. This complicated setup will send the swath of warnings across the I-10 corridor into Dixie, and along the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast by Thursday.  There is increasing potential for the system to rapidly intensify by Thursday night once reaching the DelMarVa coast. By Friday morning, coastal areas of the Mid-Atlantic such as New Jersey may be experiencing a surprise significant snowfall coupled with winds in excess of 30 mph. An overview  possible impacts for Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Wednesday into Friday:

WIND  Regardless of how much snow falls, a possible pressure fall to 972-980 mb would be more intense than the February 9-10 Blizzard. Some computer models as shown via our Penn State University "E-wall" resources suggest winds near tropical storm force in much of Maryland, with gusts near hurricane force along the DelMarVa coast by Friday morning.

SNOW At present, the areas at highest risk for a possible surprise snowfall Thursday into Friday include southern New York, New Jersey, Philly metro, southern PA, central PA, Del-Mar on the peninsula, northeast / northcentral Maryland and even northern Virginia. Our concern is snow-to-liquid ratios, given an increasingly colder airmass, may approach 20:1. This link to snowfall projections as issued 7 PM Mon shows only an extreme scenario, but the liquid data is undeniable. With this system parked near the Gulf Stream for over 24 hours, it is entirely possible that moisture transport produces snowfall totals at or above significant criteria, and may certainly surprise many people expecting just snow showers.

RAIN Strange as it may seem, eastern New England such as the Boston area should be in the warm quadrant of this potentially explosive low for a time, receiving heavy rain  the same time New York City is pounded with snow.

NEXT UPDATE  Our team remains focused on this significant storm potential, and will update around 12 noon today with additional facebook reports this afternoon.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

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"You can't hurry love..."
- Diana Ross and the Supremes, in their summer 1966 hit

6:00 PM MONDAY 2.22.2010  If you are a powderhound hoping for more snow, or a spring-a-ling yearning to see greener pastures, know that getting there will be a game of give and take. Both outcomes are likely in the month ahead, but the weather pattern is not in a hurry to change, so this love won't come easy.

THOUGHTS ON THE WEEK AHEAD Team pattern analysis and consideration for what research meteorologists and climate investigators are saying leads to this synopsis: Wednesday and Thursday may feature an intermittent period of light snows across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Accumulations Wednesday will not be on the scale of recent storms. We project two hypotheses being co-investigated in the Winter Stormcast Zone. Climate pattern indications for what lies beyond this storm to be presented in the Long Range Zone.

PLAN A Low pressure curves along the east coast, delivering intermittent light snow into a stable cold air mass. However, the storm does not explode into a strong coastal event for the Mid-Atlantic. This would be because the Canadian maritime high drifts northeast, permitting the storm to slowy escape out, lessening the chance of rapid intensification.

PLAN B The blocking Canadian maritime high prevents much forward motion of the storm, driving it in toward the coast. The increasing pressure difference leads to windy conditions and much higher snow accumulations, especially in New England. Moisture transport from the ocean encounters an increasingly colder temperature regime over the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast by Thursday.

MINOR MONDAY  Though "flooding" was not a major concern today, we hope those of you in the Mid-Atlantic did not arrive home to find water waiting in unplanned, unexpected places. The best six hours of weather this entire week may have been from 7 AM to 1 PM today. For remainder of the week, any snow not cleared from storm drains will melt more slowly. If it refreezes and gets snowcovered again -- then Diana would say "you'll just have to wait!"

ABOUT ACCURACY   A direct link to an Excel 97-2003 spreadsheet containing our Storm Forecast Data thus far in Winter 2009-10. Many thanks to Techcaster Evan and the team for the many hours devoted to assembling this report.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

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"I see skies of blue,
and clouds of white"
- Louie Armstrong in the 1968 single What A Wonderful World

11:00 AM SAT 2.20.2010  Finally, a "nice" weekend as our central Maryland forecasters are saying for those in the Eastern U.S. This is the first normal weekend since January 15-17 for those east of the Mississippi. Why? You're not dealing with a major winter storm: Either preparing for one, or cleaning up the aftermath. For our situation now, Louie Armstrong could have added a little ditty about "...clouds of white, watching for black ice that formed overnight!" ; For now, it is a wonderful world considering this track record of the past 4-5 weekends in the east:

Jan 22-23 Mid-Atlantic/Northeast storm is much ado about nothing; 1
Jan 29-30 I-40 Big Kahuna snow on Dixie, "surprises" Mid-Atlantic; 2
Feb 5-6 SuperKahuna pounds Mid-Atlantic with blizzard # 1: 20-30"; 3
Feb 12-13 Mid-Atlantic still overwhelmed from Feb blizzard # 2; 4
Feb 20 Friend- "How's Baltimore?"  You- "Well, it's not snowing!" 5

WHAT ABOUT NEXT WEEKEND THEN?   By that time, the Ohio Valley, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast will have been smacked with TWO more winter storms: A mostly rain event Sunday night into Monday, with a potentially much snowier system Wednesday into Friday. Updated details in the Winter Stormcast Zone later today.

MEDIA THANKS   Team kudos to Reporter Bill Gates for a wonderful article about storm phemon Ryan, the Forecast Team and Mr. Foot in this week's edition of The Eagle in Dundalk, MD. Special thanks also go to News Anchor Jeff Salkin and the producers of Maryland Public Television for last weeks interview (video link). Other local papers in Maryland may soon feature stories on the team and those amazingly accurate "Crossroads kids" from the Baltimore County Public Schools. We will credit those articles right here.

FOOTNOTES View our Storm Grade Report for Winter 2009-10
1- Forecast Team busted on this storm, but Crossroads students did not;
2- Thu 1/28 I-40 Big Kahuna Forecast accuracy: 70% C (19 cities: Tulsa to Richmond);
3- Thu 2/4 Crossroads students predicted 25.6" for BWI. Actual: 24.8" = 96.8% A;
4- Tue 2/9 11:00 AM Team forecast of 14-22" for Mid-Atlantic. MD grade: 80.7% B;
5- During the mild snow hiatus, would be wise to clear storm drains and sidewalks.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

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Winter Stormcast Zone: Mar 2010 
Tonight: A preliminary statement on mid-week storm.
Lead Forecaster Ryan K., Sparrow Point High School, Baltimore, MD
Collaborators: Z. Brisko (PA); Mr. Foot, Winterman & Dakota (MD); D. Ross (GA)

TRACKING THE TSUNAMI THREAT
EXAMINING THE CHILEAN EARTHQUAKE

DISCUSSIONS & DATA
LIQUID Day 1-3 Equivalents | GFS 60-hour | NAM 60-hour
TEAM Storm Data Zone | Long Range Zone | Safety Zone

NWS TSUNAMI LINKS 
Pacific Warning Center | Honolulu | American Samoa | Guam

11:25 AM SATURDAY 2.27.10 As people all around the Pacific coast prepare for a possible tsunami, the sirens are now being sounded as a series of tsunami waves is barrelling down on many countries. The 8.8 earthquake that struck Chile early this morning has already killed over 80 people, and with many aftershocks, the tsunami threat is real.

There have even been reports of raised water levels in the Carribean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic Ocean as well as shaking in Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans. A supporting link is pending.information on the tsunami threat, check out the Tsunami Warning Center (TSW) and for individual outlooks, check out the links in the Tsunami section of the links. After reading the statements from many of the NWS offices and the (P)TWC the first waves will affect these areas (in their respective times).

For
 
HILO             1105AM HST   2.5 METERS
HONOLULU    1137AM HST   0.5 METERS
KAHULUI        1126AM HST   2.2 METERS
NAWILIWILI   1142AM HST   0.9 METERS
HALEIWA                            0.5 METERS
KAWAIHAE                          0.6 METERS
 
LA JOLLA-CA           1202  PST FEB 27      YAKUTAT-AK      1619 AKST FEB 27
SANTA BARBARA-CA 1231  PST FEB 27  KODIAK-AK             1628 AKST FEB 27
SAN FRANCISCO-CA 1326  PST FEB 27  SAND PT.-AK           1629 AKST FEB 27
CRESCENT CITY-CA 1346  PST FEB 27  JUNEAU-AK              1635 AKST FEB 27
CHARLESTON-OR    1402  PST FEB 27   DUTCH HARBOR-AK 1638 AKST FEB 27
SEASIDE-OR            1446  PST FEB 27       SEWARD-AK        1639 AKST FEB 27
WESTPORT-WA      1457  PST FEB 27   ADAK-AK                  1642 AKST FEB 27
NEAH BAY-WA        1507  PST FEB 27     VALDEZ-AK             1657 AKST FEB 27
TOFINO-BC             1515  PST FEB 27       CORDOVA-AK        1706 AKST FEB 27
LANGARA-BC          1551  PST FEB 27     COLD BAY-AK          1709 AKST FEB 27
SITKA-AK                1529 AKST FEB 27        SHEMYA-AK        1721 AKST FEB 27
KETCHIKAN-AK        1549 AKST FEB 27    HOMER-AK             1739 AKST FEB 27

SAMOA 851 AM SATURDAY SST


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

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"I believe together we'll fly."
- Nikki Yanofsky, "I Believe" Theme song for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games

9:45 PM WEDNESDAY 2.17.2010  Special thanks to our enthusiastic and loyal readers for staying with us during this action-packed and historic time. Much work lies ahead, but due to the dedication of the Forecast Team and all our contributers on facebook, by email and in the comments, I believe together we'll fly.

QUICK LINKS
Details on next weeks threat in the Winter Stormcast Zone.
Current regions covered by our forecasters:

HOW ACCURATE HAVE WE BEEN ?  View recent results in the Storm Data Zone, where a link is available to download our storm grades.

SO WHEN THE SNOWSTORMS LEAVE...  That will be a wonderful thing for all of us, once we get past the March mud madness of course. For the team, efforts will focus back on daily forecasts and updates in each zone, as well as preparing for severe weather and hurricane season. As spring approaches, the winter-focused Student Climate Collaborative will soon be replaced by an environmental effort as explained next:

THE WATERSHED COLLABORATIVE This will feature the on-going partnerships between several PA and MD teachers and their students as participants within the Baltimore Ecosystem Study. The BES is one of two  urban ecology research sites within the Long Term Ecological Research network funded by the National Science Foundation. The Watershed Collaborative page will be our portal for highlighting the curricular-relevant learning of K-12 students in the areas of water, carbon and biodiversity. By being a reader, contributor or forecaster on this site, your awareness alone of BES goals and the extensive work by its researchers can support the efforts of many to further environmental science literacy for all students.

FOR LATEST UPDATES Monitor the zone specific to your area. Updates occur in the early morning, late afternoon and evening. Though many of your forecasters are back in class, more are stationed across the region and on college campuses, at the ready to always provide you with fresh, spot-on forecasts every day of the year.

Keep the hope alive for Spring, it is still on the way. Even the deer have started to make their way around! 
(photo submitted by a reader)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

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"And we would all go down together..."
- lyrics from Goodnight Saigon, by Billy Joel in his 1982 album Nylon Curtain

6:15 AM WED 2.17.2010  Morning update in progress. Accuracy results from Feb 9-10 back to Dec 19 being finalized for posting before noon in the Storm Data Zone.

MORE STORMS ARE LURKING? We knew you would ask, so the two-word answer is: Sadly, yes. Details in the Winter Stormcast Zone.

3:30 PM TUE 2.16.2010
As indicated by local radar, snow showers in the Mid-Atlantic may continue into the evening, from a series of upper level shortwaves rotating around the low moving through the Northeast. New York and New England on the other hand are learning what happens when a deep closed upper level low interacts with moisture from the Atlantic.

Heavy snow accumulated between 4 and 7 inches is pounding the New York metro area, up the I-87 corridor to Albany and east. A plethora of heavy snow bands impacted Long Island and southern New England, snarling traffic.
NWS offices home pages: Philadelphia | New York City | Boston  

WHAT IS MOTHER NATURE HINTING NOW?  Apparently not much love for Vancouver, given strength of the upper level high pressure ridge over the west. This and other factors have been pumping warm moist Pacific air directly toward the Coast Range of British Columbia. This has squelched efforts to hold popular outdoor events such as snowboarding, freestyle skiing and more. Is help on the way for Whistler? Don't quote us on that one, but we will post a 3-day Winter Games forecast* in the Vancouver 2010 Zone. Ironic that Baltimore, MD is currently the snowiest city in America while Mother Nature keeps denying the games what they need most. *note: any forecasts produced for the 2010 Winter Games are unofficial, a student experiment and not affliated with the IOC, USOC or W-B.

MEDIA THANKS Our appreciation is extended to New Anchor Jeff Salkin of Maryland Public Television's Direct Connection. His hard-working mobile crew visited Sparrows Point High School in Baltimore County, MD on a snowy Presidents' Day to interview Forecaster Ryan and Mr. Foot. In the 7:30 PM 2/15 spot on MPT Channel 22, Ryan hinted that more cold and storminess is in the lineup for February's final week. After that melts, perhaps Billy Joel will be right, because we'd "all go down (the river) together."

Monday, February 15, 2010

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PRESIDENTS' DAY POWDER!



8:20 PM MONDAY 2.15.2010  The Forecast Team is pleased to present our readers with the "Storm Data Zone." This contains specific before and after data regarding our snowfall forecasts, as well as links to use for independently verifying our results. Results from the Maryland western shore are posted for the February 9-10 Blizzard. Reports for the 4 previous storms as well as all other regions for which we forecasted will be posted this evening and tomorrow.

4:00 PM MONDAY 2.15.2010 We have good news for skiers and schools alike: If  shredding at your favorite local ski resort, then it is definitely a "big pow" day. If cringing in advance of the latest forecasts, no longer a need for that. We figured most of you would be pleased to hear that.

Despite the ominous spiral of surface and upper level low pressure, the dynamics of this approaching system are unique enough to spare much of the Mid-Atlantic from the high amounts of significant snow we projected in earlier forecasts. Accumulating snow is still on the docket into the evening, which may aggravate exhausted road & grounds crews. The silver lining? Potential for surprise a  "Big Kahuna" is diminished, finally. Only the Ohio Valley should see amounts near 6 inches. (Insert group sigh here)

FEATURED ZONE FORECASTS
Georgia-North Florida | Central Maryland | Eastern OhioCentral PA
Southeast PA (coming soon!)
(links to NWS Watch/Warning/Advisories inside each zone)

TIMING & IMPACTS
ARRIVAL As of 3:45 PM, light snow was reported across central Maryland and northern Virginia. Earlier update: Bands of moderate snow are moving through Virginia, and will reach the Mid-Atlantic by 3 PM today, and New York metro by 9 PM.

INTENSITY  Intermittent and increasing into the evening hours, then tapering by 10:00 PM when the trailing edge of several shortwaves should sweep through Maryland and Virginia. Moderate to heavy snow will continue in Pennsylvania and Ohio into early morning.

THE MID-ATLANTIC Precip has arrived as mostly snow, and after ending late tonight, strong winds will gust up to 30 mph across the region as the low centers depart northeast.

3:00 PM FINAL Storm Grade Totals (once published are not changed)
WV 3.5 Martinsburg | 1.5 Washington, DC | 2.25 BWI airport
MD 2.1 Maryland Science Center | 3.2 Towson | 1.5 Easton
PA 3.3 Lancaster | 4.0 Harrisburg | 4.6 State College| 3.7 Philadelphia

WILL IT BE RIGHT OR BUST? The team is assembling a quick overview of ideas on what would cause the forecast to verify, or what would cause it to fail. This will be posted in the Winter Stormcast Zone at 3:00 PM. This will be used to support or reject our forecast hypothesis. Let the chips fall where they may.

THE SOUTHERN STATES Details on storm impacts for the Mid-South is being provided by our new team member Daniel Ross, a meteorology student at Georgia Tech, and Lead Forecaster for the Georgia-North Florida Zone. Welcome Daniel to the team!

SEND THE SNOW TO VANCOUVER! Well we certainly are trying. The strength of a high pressure ridge in the West is keeping the storm track, and a subsequent warm moisture flow off the Pacific right along the Coast Range of British Columbia. We're watching the Pacific North American Index for signs of when the ridge will weaken and allow a colder flow to improve ski conditions at Whistler, Grouse and Cypress mountains. Until then, enjoy our daily updates and media features in the Vancouver 2010 Zone, including a daily medal count, the real story behind Whistler-Blackcomb and inspirational video spots.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

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"One moment in time..."
- Whitney Houston, for the Seoul 1988 Summer Olympics Album
A lyrical video of her timeless and inspirational song

MONDAY AM UPDATE IN PROGRESS

10:15 PM SUN 2.14.2010  
We know many readers, from regular families to emergency managers and government officials alike are concerned about forecasts for what we're calling "PD III." This refers to what may be the third time in 31 years significant snow impacts the Eastern U.S. on Presidents' Day. "PD I" was February 18-20, 1979 ; PD II ended February 17, 2003. Will Mother Nature "own the podium" yet again on this notable day in climatological records? 

TIMING & IMPACTS
ARRIVAL  As evidenced by the NWS Watch and Warning Map, Dixie is will soon bear the brunt of this storm.  Precip will be across the Georgia/Tennessee Valley by Monday morning, and across the Mid-Atlantic by noon Monday.
MID-ATLANTIC Snow or rain mixed, depending on your location, will not reach the ground until afternoon, becoming heavier overnight, ending Tuesday morning followed by strong winds. Details below are for Mid-Atlantic amounts.
SOUTHERN STATES  Details on storm impacts for the Mid-South is being provided by new team member Daniel Ross, a meteorology student at Georgia Tech, and Lead Forecaster for the Georgia-North Florida Zone.

PLAN A: Accumulating snow tomorrow night  Our original analyses first published Thursday 2.11.2010 remains very possible (with a tweak): a general 3 to 6 inches by Tuesday 12 PM could occur across portions of the I-95 corridor from Washington to Philadelphia and interior sections. Much of the accumulation should arrive in a "back-end thump" late Monday night into Tuesday morning. Our earlier idea of "up to 12 inches" is very likely, yet heaviest snow is slated for northern Maryland, the MD northeastern shore, Delaware and southeast/southern PA.

PLAN B: Be rain, please! There is always bust potential, and we figure most of you would be a-ok with that! "Plan B" represents what National Weather Service forecasts are showing for places like Washington, DC. The clipper could track along or north of I-95. This would permit several hours of afternoon precip at marginal temps, "snowing out" much of the moisture at lower ratios of 10:1 or even 8:1. Even cold temps at 5,000 feet, a closed upper level low, evaporative cooling into the  night, and a chilling influence of the expansive snowpack, our predicted 6" would be more like 2-4" max solely due to influence of the low track.

PLAN C: Coastal? NOT AGAIN! The team has been watching the comeback potential per say, as the storm has shown some signals of a possible coastal development. The aspects to take a look at are the 50/50 low in the Canadian Maritimes/Northern Maine (including blocking), the possibility for Gulf Moisture, wraparound snow, and Nowcasting the storm.
A detailed report on this scenario by Ryan K. in the Winter Stormcast Zone.

Data and rationale Liquid projections have increased to a general .25 to .50 inches of total available moisture Monday into Wednesday. The surface low and associated upper level shortwaves have appeared on NOAA maps, and HPC shows a classic clipper track along the Washington-Baltimore I-95 corridor.

We anticipate this storm will START with LOWER "snow-to-liquid ratios" near 10:1, but transition to above 20:1 overnight to Tuesday morning. Ratios in the Feb 2010 Blizzard # 2 at Fallston, MD started around 8:1 but ended near 30:1 as calculated by Advisor Terpguy, a CoCoRaHS observer in central Maryland. 

Just how much are we talking? 
Updated sample calculation: .20" liquid BWI x 15:1 avg. =  3" prelim*
Elkins, WV | BWI airport| Dulles
Philadelphia | Dover  | NY LaGuardia
*note: we hypothesize that most of this comes overnight into Tuesday.
Storm grade projections released 9 AM Monday morning. 

Our storm roundtable discussions will be posted in the Winter Stormcast Zone as we prepare for the next run on Mother Nature's ski trip through this winter of our discontent. For an "off-the-hook" trip down a real discontented winter, view this video clip from the infamous March 1958 SuperKahuna(Warning: not for those faint of heart from shoveling- may induce strong emotional reactions. Please check with your doctor before viewing.)

Friday, February 12, 2010

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The Vancouver 2010 Zone
Mr. Foot, Chief Powderhound and Forecast Team Director

9:30 PM SUNDAY 2.14.2010  Whether you are a powderhound dreaming of going to Whistler, or dreaming of going back this daredevil video will electrify the power of pow in you. Having skied these runs myself, I need not say more. Just watch:


The history of Whistler-Blackcomb is a wild and inspiring tale of teamwork. We will feature the inside story of 10 Whistlerites and the people behind the mountain. Long before the Olympic arrived, their contributions were instrumental in turning two remote mountains of British Columbia's coast range into the world-class resort it is today.
Source: Whistler - Against All Odds by Michel Beaudry, Published March 2003.

Our lead story features "Whistlerite" Hugh Smythe. His mountain adventure began as a ski patroller in 1966. From there, you could say one thing led to another. In March 2009, Mr. Smythe retired as Senior Vice President of Intrawest Corporation, but in his 43 years of service, never lost his keen sense of the customer experience.

Yesterday's video on the extremes of training for downhill speed skiing:


If you are a powderhound, forecaster or both and want to join our spot-on team to predict Whistler's weather during the 2010 Winter Games, please email Mr. Foot or leave a note in the comments below. Earlier posts are below the jump:

Thursday, February 11, 2010

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Whistler of the East?

3:45 PM FRI 2.12.2010 
Based on snowfall records in the Mid-Atlantic, readers here suggested that Baltimore and the I-95 corridor could serve as an alternate location for future Winter Olympic games.


Having visited Whistler-Blackcomb twice, I attest: It is snowy there
For snow today, check out the newly released Dixie Kahuna Zone.
Snow in Pensacola, FL? Facebook it up with your southern friends!

ANOTHER STORM? Snowiest days of the year are arriving, and we did promise powderhounds* a "Fantastic February." The good news is next week will probably feature just one Kahuna, a stark improvement from TWO blizzards over five days, huh? *Scroll to second section "Have we got plans for you"
1-24-2010 post for original time frame projection of winter weather.

EARLY INDICATIONS: "PD III" (PRESIDENTS' DAY STORM 3)
HPC's liquid equivalent projections show a general .25 to .50 inches of moisture available by Monday across the Mid-Atlantic. A short-wave diving southeast from central Canada may rapidly intensify near the coast. If specific liquid forecasts for Dulles or BWI  are calculated using >20:1 ratios, our preliminary projections are 6" or more by Tuesday noon across much of the I-95 corridor from Washington to Philadelphia.   By tomorrow all data and discussions on this upcoming event will be reorganized into the Kahunacast Zone. We will being assembling early snowfall accumulation ideas for selected cities.

TEAM STATEMENTS ON PD III 
Discussions from Hydrometeo Prediction Center (HPC) / NWS:
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THE CENTRAL MARYLAND ZONE
By Forecasters Dakota and Winterman
Next Storm Please...
12:30 AM Sunday 2.27.2010  
Except for a stray rain or snow shower tonight and tomorrow, things should be relatively calm in the upcoming days. However, we once again we have a potential storm system that has it's eyes on the East Coast for midweek.


The "snowicane" that pounded the northeast has now dwindled as a retrograding low pressure that has kicked up some snow showers across Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York. A couple of these snow showers may sneak into our region tonight and tomorrow morning bringing a flurry or two. Temperatures Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday will reach the low to mid 40's during the day and dip into the mid 20's during the nighttime. Slight colder temperatures will be brought by the passing storm system on Wednesday whether it goes to the south or brings snowfall. Conditions will return to normal for the end of the week with mostly sunny skies and 40 degree temperatures. ~Forecaster Dakota 


STORM ANALYSIS:
The key to forecasting this storm will be the low pressure system that will be in the  North Atlantic when the storm affects the East Coast. This low pressure will actually be a merged pressure system. The "snowicane" low pressure and the low pressure system currently scooting off the Southeast U.S. Coast will merge over the Atlantic early this week. A strong low pressure system quite a ways off the coast can suppress a just as strong low pressure system on the East Coast. If the Atlantic low were to stay east in the North Atlantic during the development of the coastal low, we would stay primarily snow free. If the Atlantic low were to move more east and north, a significant snowfall (4"+) could occur. 

While looking at models I have noticed some trends. During the day today the NAM model shifted the Atlantic low west and the GFS shifted the Atlantic low east. Over the last two model runs, it seems they have some to somewhat of a consensus on the Atlantic low position. With this low at a consensus, the NAM brings the coastal low to near Cape Hatteras and then out to sea. The GFS brings the coastal low a ways east of Cape and then out to sea. This GFS has remained relatively consistent throughout the last several model runs with this coastal low track. Both of these tracks only bring light precipitation into southern Maryland and northeastern Virginia, and then bring more precipitation amounts as you go south. I say "precipitation" because there will most certainly be a rain/snow line that sets itself up across the Mid-Atlantic. With that in mind, this storm appears to be a warmer one, without a feed of arctic air. This would cause some areas to receive all rain and/or mixing with rain. This would also cause lower QPF to snow ratios in places that do receive snow. But as of right now, no model shows a significant snowfall for the Mid-Atlantic region. 

Moral of the story, closely follow the trend of the position of the Atlantic low and that will give you a good idea of where the track of the coastal low will trend.

***Something to note... 
Currently the focus has been on the NAM and GFS models because of accessibility and time. Foreign models should always be into account, however I believe for tracking the Atlantic low, the GFS and NAM are sufficient models to use. On a final note, there are other factors to this storm system, however it is believed that the Atlantic low is an extremely important factor that will affect the coastal low's track.      
~Forecaster Dakota 


DIRECT LINKS
Baltimore-Washington NWS | Current Temperatures
RADAR 
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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

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Mid-Atlantic to Mother Nature:
    "Do you really want to hurt me?"  
- Culture Club, in the 1982 single of the same title


3:00 PM WED 2.10.2010  The National Weather Service raised total storm accumulations for many metro and inland areas under the grip of this storm, with final amounts from 20 to 36 inches across the I-95 corridor. Blizzard warnings were extended to 10 PM from Maryland south and until 4 AM in PA and NJ. It appears the low pressure center off the New Jersey coast may be stalling, accessing unexpectedly higher amounts of moisture off the Altantic. We project heavy snow may continue until at least 8:30 PM in MD/VA, near 12 AM in PA, and taper in early morning hours across NJ and NY.


NWS BLIZZARD WARNING TEXT STATEMENTS

3:20 PM WED 2.10.2010   VIEW OUR FINAL PROJECTED SNOWFALL through midnight tonight for all regions we forecasted in the Mid-Atlantic. Current snow-to-liquid ratio as of 3:20 PM today = 20:1 given .04" of moisture and ~1.5" accumulation in 1 hour.
LIQUID DATA HPC Day 1 QPF | 7AM - 1AM GFS 18-hour | NAM 18-hour

NWS OFFICES 


TEAM TIPS FOR YOUR SAFETY  Do not venture out in multi-hour whiteout conditions.  REMAIN INDOORS, DO NOT DRIVE. If you go out to clear your step, make sure someone inside knows your location. Organize your supply of non-perishable food. Keep handy working flashlights and batteries and cell phone fully charged. Avoid use of candles. Do not shovel snow off your roof, for this will create a much greater risk of injury or death.

GAS RANGES & BACKUP HEAT The team suggests that gas heat SHOULD NOT be used other than to warm food. We do not recommend allowing your gas range top or oven to operate for an extended period of time. Homes with poor ventilation might experience increased levels of Carbon Monoxide.

USE OF GENERATORS Common sense suggests that a generator MUST be placed at least 20 feet outside the home, or under permanent open-air, ventilated cover. DO NOT place in a basement, closed garage or other area of poor ventilation.

TEAM UPDATES As events unfold and advisories change, please monitor the comments and our facebook page for latest team reports. This site will update hourly; when reporting observations, please post your city, state and time.


Our forecast team's SNOWFALL PROJECTIONS
Download for scoring our "STORM GRADE" AMOUNTS