Sunday, February 10, 2013

Out with a "Bang" or with a "Bust" ?
EXAMINING TRENDS LEADING TO HOW WINTER 2012-13 MAY END FOR THE MID-ATLANTIC

Valentine's Week in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast will be forever remembered for the
multi-day paralyzing ice storm that gripped the region in February 2007. Will 2013 be a do-over?
7:00 AM EST 2/10/2013 UPDATED (Forecaster Mike N. and the Long Range Team)

SYNOPSIS: Until the newly arrived New England blizzard clocked that region with 18 to 40 inches, for many in the Eastern U.S., the winter of 2012-13 had been rather benign in terms of cold and snowfall. Despite some recent arctic outbreaks and frequent “dusting to an inch” type clipper storms, Powderhounds were dismayed at the lack of any major storms. Many cities do have more snow than was observed in 2011-2012 and have averaged a bit colder, especially in January. How does this stack up with recent climate records for area which have under-performed in snow? (Inset: Photos from readers in Connecticut send in pictures of snow 24-36" deep. View more at our Northeast Winter Stormcast page). 

COMPARING RECENT WINTERS: Over the last 10 years, two seasons started out similarly to the first half of winter thus far in 2012-13.
  • 2006-07 started with record warmth but then a major pattern change during the end of January brought cold air in, and more arctic air, snow, and ice into February. 
  • 2011-12, which is shaping up to be a close relative of this year, was nearly snowless for some locations of the Mid-Atlantic. Dulles, Reagan National and Baltimore Washington Airports all recorded less than 3" of snow, compared to a normal annual snowfalls between 17 and 20 inches, depending on the airport.
What "snowfall" has generally turned out to produce in portions of the Mid-Atlantic since 2011-12:
Sometimes it is barely enough to cover the grass, and never mind sledding or snow forts!
POPPING THE QUESTION: With the all-important Valentine's Day looming large for many with dinner plans or other significant life events around this time, the weather pattern begs the #1 question: "Will this winter go out with a bang in OTHER regions, such as the Mid-Atlantic did in February 2007, or fizzle with false promises of snow, like 2012?


WHAT WE THINK:  Based on a variety of climate indicators (or long-range atmospheric clues) we routinely examine, we expect the following outcomes in the 10-20 day period ahead:
  1. A brief warming trend this weekend to near seasonal temperatures for the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest;
  2. A potentially high impact coastal snowstorm for New England. This event could serve as precursor, delivering a larger swath of cold air and setting the stage for a Mid-Atlantic snow event to follow during Valentine's Week.
  3. The period of February 14 – 25 has the potential to produce a few "lesser-impact" winter storms in areas which have not seen much snow this winter.


NOAA HPC shows increasing probability of a 4"  snowfall in the southern plains
Souce: HPC Winter Weather Map Suite. 

ANY MORE BLOCKBUSTERS? Coming off the historic and crippling New England blizzard this weekend, we are watching the newly developing system in the southern Plains. Given the frequent swaths of cold air which have invaded the Eastern U.S. of late, a season-ending ice storm cannot be ruled out. Our rationales:
  • Residual cold air systems in the Eastern U.S. from the systems described above will advect (or move out) around by February 25. 
  • Recent additional snow cover in the Northeast should permit more "locking in" of cold Canadian high pressure systems to aid in development of future storms.
  • This departure of this cold regime should give way to a warmer pattern heading into March, hence the possibility next month will start more "lamb-ish."
As for Valentine's Day "Diners" - for those in the Midwest and Great Lakes, the only hint it might be more strategically appropriate to have a "pre-14th" plan for dinner, just in case your perfect plan for Thursday gets "stood up" by the weather. ;-)

(Forecasters Mike N., Jason I., Nic R., Editor/Advisor Rich F.)

38 comments:

Mike Cheuvront said...

This winter stinks!

BioPat said...

Global change is having a significant impact on our weather. Perhaps this storm may add a bit of change for powderhounds. At least it has been cold enough to produce sno in the nearby ski areas.

Jeremy S. said...

The 00Z EURO takes this storm way south. I'm beginning to get really worried about this Valemtines day storm.

Jeremy S. said...

Sorry. I meant 0Z.

Andy, Southern York County Pa said...

NWS Disco
a potent upper jet will power the Monday system off the coast -
especially the middle portions of the system west/ upper zonal flow
left behind. Still a cold upper low off to our north will take a bit
longer to make its way toward New England. The low's relative
proximity to our area will drag some cooler air back into the region
on Tuesday...despite dry weather and mainly clear skies.


The other leftover portion of the Monday storm system will be draped
across the southeast. With a large upper ridge over the
Caribbean...a lot of moisture will get sandwiched between this
feature and the fast-moving zonal flow over the Ohio Valley. A
shortwave dropping out of the Canadian rockies early this week will
then pick this southeast moisture and carry it off the coast during
the middle of the week. This remains the point at which medium range
guidance remains divergent. The GFS continues to be fairly
aggressive in terms of a coastal low development. The Euro continues
to keep the system from making any great strides in terms of the
intensifying or affecting our region...and the end of the current
NAM run is indicating an even more west solution than either of the
other large-scale models.


Keeping a medium-range pop for this time period from Wednesday afternoon into
early Thursday...W/ large rain/snow mix swatch across the southeastern half of
the area and better chances for all snow across the mountains/shen valley
and portions of the foothills. Will continue to monitor the trends
in the next several runs to see how the shortwave will interact west/
the southeast moisture in the coming days.

Andy, Southern York County Pa said...

Euro has been awful this winter with northern stream vorts. It's skill is in phasing systems. Time and time again it too often mishandles energy and damps it out. The gfs over amplifies phasing systems. Generally if we are talking about a phasing system Euro is king, northern stream system GFS has ruled. NAM just over amps everything and is useless outside of 48 hours. GFS is in the middle this time and I like where we sit.

Andy, Southern York County Pa said...

I am very excited about this pattern from the middle of the week until the end of the month. Look at the radar today. Tons of southern stream energy everywhere. When is the last time you saw this? Tons of cold to our north, deep snow pack there, plenty of heat to our south, climatology favors the storm track to push south of us. We need one system to amplify to our south, tap the southern stream, and we will be in business.

Jeremy S. said...

Could this be the one that puts us in business? Does it still have that potential?

Andy, Southern York County Pa said...

BP,
It might be global change, I honestly don't know. This weather is not that uncommon on the east coast though and in the mid Atlantic in particular. Just saw a news report on news 8 that indicated in the mid 1930's Harrisburg, Pa went about 1,100 days without seeing a snow greater than 4 inches. It happens around here. There was almost a decade that Philadelphia did not receive a 6 inch or greater snowfall.

NeedaSnowday said...

Wow! Only been a week since Super Bowl victory so I havent paid much attention to weather... Leaving on annual field trip to Orlando on Tuesday... so a storm here wouldnt be surprising. Usually have a good track record for it... ha!

Andy, Southern York County Pa said...

There has been a ton of feast and famine years in our 130 plus years of reliable recorded history. Couple years ago we had blizzard extremes, and now we are in the other direction. History and climatology tell me the pendulum will swing again. This pattern screams it will be sooner than later.

Wed into Thursday system would put Baltimore and DC back into snow mode and it will break a two year streak of no snow storm greater than 2 inches.

As someone who follows storms I try to look at the most reliable data, climatology, and seasonal trends. Right now I lean on the GFS type of solution because it has proven to be more reliable this season with these type of storms. Models are not money by any stretch, and there are no guarantees. In trying to figure out what might happen and which data analysis mechanism is most reliable, you have to lean on the mechanism that has proven most reliable with a certain data set and see if it continues to hold serve. We should know better by Monday night as to what will happen especially once our rain event passes tonight. Forecasts should not be laid out outside of 72 hours. The only thing that should be laid out are "POSSIBILITIES" There is a "POSSIBILITY" of a 6-10 inch storm Wednesday and it has not been eliminated yet.

Jeremy S. said...

Just a question: If we do, in fact, get snow out of this storm, what would the ratios be. 10:1? 15:1?

Andy, Southern York County Pa said...

Ratios would under 10:1 to start and transition to 10:1 maybe ending a little higher as the system draws in more cold air. Definitely a low to standard ratio snow.

Jeremy S. said...

So 2.5 inches of liquid precip would equal around 2"?

Andy, Southern York County Pa said...

My philosophy to tracking a storm is
1) identify a threat
2) lay out the possibilities (ie: if GFS is right 6-10 inches)
3) search for trends in guidance
4) identify which model guidance has been most reliable concerning a particular set-up and weigh that guidance more heavily
5) take into account climatology
6) NEVER make a forecast outside of 72 hours, but only lay out the trends, possibilities etc, so people can understand what is more likely or less likely to happen and make plans accordingly.

Andy, Southern York County Pa said...

WOW! 2.5 of liquid would be 25 inches of snow. This is not looking anything like that. Possibility of .75 to 1 inch is there but nothing reliable has shown anything more. It is safe to say this is a 6-10 inch THREAT snow wise. As we get closer we will have a better idea.

BioPat said...

Andy, you have been so quiet for awhile I was convinced you had gone to your man cave to turn your snow blower into a high tech atv. Glad to hear from you!
The weather has been frustrating at best for powderhounds, students and even teachers! Although temperature projection for Wed/Thurs still look a bit high, as you stated anything goes until we hit the 72 hour mark. I'd love to see a major snowfall this year and the patterns are definitely changing to favor that possibility. The trick is to get that Canadian cold air to meet the low below the Mason Dixon line for Baltimore to experience some significant snow.
Thanks for posting the info regarding the 1100 day snow drought on PA. At 60 I can remember many warm MD winters, but my recollection is more significant of the cold snowy winters. Funny how memory seems to work that way. I even remember driving to OC one winter to see the frozen ocean, quite a sight I will never forget.

BioPat said...

I see confidence level for a snowfall in MD is increasing for Wed/Thursday. So Andy, keep us posted on the latest stats. I think we could all use a bit of a break with a snow day!

ravensbbr said...

IMAVAO (In My Admittedly Very Amatuer Opinion)...Thursday doesn't doesn't look as impressive as the weekend's possibilities?

That being conjectured, you all know me, I'll be fine if we get some from both. :-)

#POWDERHOUNDSOFTHEMIDATLUNITE

Jeremy S. said...

THE EURO HAS COME NORTH WITH THE STORM......

ravensbbr said...

Andy, enjoyed your take on "climate change" as written above, very insightful, thanks.

Jeremy, which storm did the euro bring up north, the mid-week event or the weekend?

Jeremy S. said...

VALENTINES DAY STORM!

ravensbbr said...

Gonna take the all caps as being pretty stoked, eh?

Hope it pans out. :-)

Jeremy S. said...

NAH. I JUST LIKE USING ALL CAPS.... :-) lol (I'm pretty stoked.)

Andy, Southern York County Pa said...

The precip is there and the V-day storm will be plenty wet. My concern for the inner cities and immediately by the bay is temps. For those areas it would be rain to snow. Question is when is the turnover. For northern zones the forecast is easy as it will be mostly snow. From the MD border to Harrisburg over to Reading it is a 6-8 inch snowstorm as modeled. From Hunt Valley north it is a 3-6 inch snow the 6 being in Northern Baltimore County.

This is a tough call because of the temps in urban and lower elevation areas immediately around the cities. It will be an Advisory at minimum in those area, and maybe a warning for Hereford Zone in Balto County North.

I will follow trends tonight and Tuesday and see if we can bring this home for our cities!

Mike Cheuvront said...

Please go to facebook. Look up Joe Bastardi. Sign up to get his twitter updates sent to your computer.

You may remember Joe, he was Senior man at ACCU weather until the global warming crowd ran him off.

Joe and his partner runs weatherbell.com

They advise clients on the weather that may effect their profits.

Joe also appears on FOX news now and again.

Joe is a snow freak like us.

Mike Cheuvront said...

Btw
Joe does not for a second buy the global warming idea.
He has the proof to prove it.

ravensbbr said...

It's a shame when actual thinking intellectuals like Joe are railroaded by the media and culture's influence of forced liberal thought or else...

Not saying Joe is infallible, just that the hottest fire makes the strongest steel, and it's an indicator of how weak the culture's arguments are when they won't sanction dissenting opinions.

Andy, Southern York County Pa said...

I generally don't chime in on the global warming debate as I am just some hick who likes storms and lives in the woods.

My one time take:

Is the planet warming? Maybe, reliable data shows a warming.
Is it man made? Maybe, maybe not
If it is man made and indeed warming, can anything be done about it? Answer is NO and it is GEO-POLITICAL.

Developing world will not stop its industrialization and development for western political, practical, scientific, or philosophical demands ie: China, India, and a myriad of other economies.

Is it really a bad thing? For some yes, for others bring it on! Some will score a windfall others will be harmed (zero sum game?)

If all of the above are true, there is one thing that cannot be denied, and any geologist will insist, that fact being that another ice age is coming. There will be multiple ice ages over the next several million years regardless of global warming caused by man, caused by sunspots, caused by natural cycles etc. There is nothing we as a race can do at this point to stop another ice age, nor should we have to worry for many generations. When the time comes humans will adapt.

Clean and healthy environments are important so cutting back on fossil fuels, conservation, environmental protection, are important in achieving the cleanest environment possible. As for Global warming concerns, I will not lose sleep over it from my perspective.

Andy, Southern York County Pa said...

As I mentioned to BP, I honestly and sincerely do not know if global warming is behinds this, if it is man made, and who exactly will be harmed by and or who will benefit from its consequences.

I just look at the big picture and seem to adopt the view of geologists concerning climate eras, epochs, and the like. The world has always changed from a geological, climatological, and continental sense and it always will. It has done so before the era of man, and it will do so after the era of man.

We just need to manage our land and resource in the cleanest and most prudent manner possible. Always easier said then done.

Jeremy S. said...

Well...back to the storm.

ravensbbr said...

GFS is now looking like a R/S mix for Thu...and the weekend one misses to the South?!?

Liked how it looked earlier. Still too early to know.

Julee said...

Just checked NWS. They are saying at the most, 2 inches, split between Wed. and Wed night. That is LAME people!
Hope they're wrong.

Just back from my niece's wedding in Pittsburgh this past weekend. The groom, his family and friends are from ... Boston.
Lot of last minute no-shows. No one could get out!
The theme for my niece's wedding was ... snow. Be careful what you wish for!

BioPat said...

Andy, I agree that the Earth is in a natural cycle. I think some things we have done has contributed to our move into the next ice age. But, no biggie, we don't have the dinosaur flatulence that contributed to an earlier ice age. And I also agree there's not too much we can do to change a natural geological pattern except plan for change. The Earth is dynamic!
On another note, I'm looking for a day off Thursday, but am not sure the temps will cooperate. So, what doe we know about the weekend?

ravensbbr said...

Going out on a limb here...bust for Wed/Thu, bust for the weekend.

Suck.

Well, here's to hurricane season...

Jeremy S. said...

Bitter-casting, no? What's your proof?

Mike Cheuvront said...

as i said in the beginnng of this thread, this winter sucks. LOL

ravensbbr said...

Mike, agree. Sucks.

Jeremy, gonna cite the latest GFS/NAM models for this one as my "proof", even though we all know the only proof in weather is ground truth.

Just seems that this year they seem to be promising much potential this winter in the 4-7 day range, but shift away for us here in the Mid-Atl...

Love to be wrong. Anything can happen up here at close to 1000' of elevation. Andy will vouch for this. I'm powderhound to the core. But these next two don't look overly promising to me at this point given the data I have seen...