Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Is there any hope for real winter?
An introduction, and our team's thoughts on the winter pattern ahead. 

6:30 AM EST 12/11 (WSC Director Zachary Fasnacht) Hey all! For those who do not know, I am the new Director of the Mid-Atlantic Winter Stormcast Team and wanted to formally introduce myself. 
  • I'm a junior in Meteorology at Penn State with a minor in computer science. 
  • For the past year I have forecasted for the Pennsylvania team on a regular basis, and lately I have helped forecast for storms such as Sandy and the Nor’easter Sandy and was helping write statements for New Jersey during both of the teams. 
  • If you want to learn more about my background and a special announcement of interest for all our readers and the team, check below our team statement

So far this Winter we have seen the cold air has been trapped in the Midwest and not budged far east at all. We have had several cold fronts push through but the cold air has been minimal and retreated quickly as most storms have gone north into Canada and occluded and not really pushed through the east coast. 

Even the Midwest has been mild on average as the cold air is trapped in northern areas of the Midwest. The snowcover has been minimal in the Midwest which might be helping to keep the cold air out in the upper Midwest and into Canada. Precipitation has been plentiful however as it has been an active weather pattern with only dry weather for 2-3 days at most before another storm pushes through.

This winter is going to be a tricky one to predict as we have seen so far. The models are not doing well in the long range as we have seen over the past few weeks with them mishandling the timing of the cold air into the Eastern U.S. It does look like this Winter will swing back and forth between warm and cold periods. 

We will be stuck in a neutral ENSO state this Winter which in the past has led to Winters that did have record warmth as well as some snowstorms.

(Note: We have a forecast map for posting tonight to convey this graphically)
The big factor with this Winter will be having the cold air come down and a storm form right after the cold air comes down as it does not look like there will be extended periods of cold weather. 
  • For this reason, the expectation is that areas from southern PA southward through MD and VA, as well as eastward into NJ and NYC will see below average snowfall this year. 
  • Areas in northeastern PA and northeast through central NY and western CT should see average snowfall. Finally, places places west of I-81 can expect to see above average snowfall this season.

Since you may not be familiar with me on the team, I thought it would be helpful to explain that along with my classes I have been involved for three years in the national Weather Challenge competition (or "WxChallenge" as it is known). Of 1700 forecasters, I am currently 14th in the nation for the year. I have also been very involved in the Campus Weather Service here at Penn State. Some exciting news that the FF team told me to share was that I've also just been elected as "Head of Forecasting" for the Penn State Campus Weather Service.

So this winter will be an exciting time here in the Winter Stormcast Zone for all of us, as our team looks forward to working the storms with you-- across the Mid-Atlantic and right down the street!

For the Powderhounds,
Zach Fasnacht, Penn State University
Pennsylania Team - Foot's Forecast

1 comment:

Patricia said...

welcome, I actually understood what you were saying. A BIG THANK YOU.