Tuesday, December 29, 2015

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  • The Foot Note - A daily, early AM text & email notification service apprising you of impending weather concerns in the next 24-36 hours
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  • Talk with a Forecaster - Have a question about a specific date or event? Ask us directly via the text service, or call the Powderline (details after payment)
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Snowy lane near Stormstown, PA. Photo by FF Team
We look forward to formally welcoming
 you for the winter journey ahead!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Weekend Travel Map
Always check weather.gov before you pack or travel for latest official statements

8:00 AM 12/24 If you're looking for Snow Miser, your best bet is to head far out west to the Rockies and Sierra Nevadas. For the eastern two-thirds of the country Heat Miser is in control through the weekend. Travel trouble spots - and airport delays - will include:
  • Rockies to the Southern and Central Plains: Major Winter Storm to impact this region Saturday and Sunday - noted by the early Winter Storm Watches going up in west Texas and the Dakotas. Be sure to visit http://www.weather.gov for most current official statements on this storm.
  • Southeastern States: Tornado watches, heavy rain, and dense fog today into Christmas Day.
  • Mid-Atlantic and Northeast: Unless you are a skier, ski resort or snow removal company (we hear them wailing in the distance) -- the only hazards this weekend are rain and tropical-like temps in the 70s. Think of it as celebrating the holidays in "Southtown Style!"

Warm wishes to all our Maryland forecast family and beyond for a safe and pleasant holiday weekend ahead.
- From all of us at Foot's Forecast

Friday, December 11, 2015

Two Questions You Might Have
1. How much longer will these epic weather conditions last?  
2. When will we see the first snowfall?

6:00 AM 12/11 - First, for summer weather fans, the next 3 days may be the nicest of the whole month: Highs in the 60s today through Sunday! 
If there was some outdoor activity or project you wanted to push through before the holidays -- we say go for it.

Second, for snow-parched Powderhounds, we want to make one point:

WE ARE NOT PREDICTING A BELOW-AVERAGE SNOWFALL THIS WINTER IN THE MID-ATLANTIC. Why? Because there's a 50% chance of very little snow now to mid February-- and a 50% chance factors come together for a blockbuster event like Feb 11-12, 1983.

That storm was the only snow game in town for the '82-'83 winter in the Mid-Atlantic, during a moderate to strong El Niño. Though on an average day the winter was boring and lackluster, thanks to that one storm, snowfall was definitely not below average (albeit occurring in just one 24-hour period!) For this year, the good folks at the Climate Prediction Center have an excellent report on the status of the current El Nino thus far. 

Most importantly, they discuss how evaluation of this ocean-atmospheric connnection has only just started, for impacts of El Nino are on a seasonal time scale, not a specific point in time.  The report's last sentence drives home this point: 
  • "The main impacts season is December–March, so we’re just at the very beginning of finding out what this El Niño event will bring to the U.S. There’s no doubt that El Niño 2015-2016, which has already shown its power around the world, will have a significant effect on the U.S. winter." 

Though we don't expect much of anything white or frozen to fall the next 2 weeks, as Yoda might say, one warm spell in December "write off the winter, it certainly does not."
Our Winter Stormcast Team will be issuing their first  special report this weekend on how we see the first half of winter playing out now to Feb 1. We'll let you know how to access it on this website or by email.
Until then, try to talk a walk or just spend some time outside if you are able. Winter will exact it's revenge, but for now we might as well use the nice conditions while we can!

-Mr. Foot and the Winter Stormcast Team

Sunrise at the Havre De Grace, MD Lighthouse
by reader Jeff Perkins

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Another Fabled Fifth...but where's the snow?

9:00 AM 12/5 - Long-time Powderhounds and readers to our sites recall today was known for several years to be a magically re-occurring date of first snow in Maryland.
This quasi-tradition got it's start in Baltimore on December 4-5, 2002 when 7.4 inches was recorded at BWI, with more across the region. The snowfall sequels in the Mid-Atlantic  continued intermittently in 2003, 2005 and 2007. 
Then, in 2009 it reawakened with force on the famous December 5. 

As noted by the Capital Weather Gang at the Washington post, that date was "... the fifth time in eight years that Washington had a snowstorm on December 5."

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A December Winter couldn't remember?
  • Confounding climate variables to make December a difficult month for Mid-Atlantic industries relying on snow, and a boon to those who prefer none.
  • Influence of El Nino and a lack of snow cover among other factors, are pointing to above-normal temperatures in the weeks ahead, limiting winter weather potential.
  • Hope for the holidays?  A pattern change and resurgence of cold expected by late December, bringing "wintry outdoor decoration" to interior areas before January.
Stay in the know before the snow...consider our services this season

Searching for snow in Tahoe. Photo credit: Press Democrat
In 2015, the East is suffering scenes like this one.
5:00 AM EST 12/1 - How many times can you remember having such a mild Thanksgiving weekend in the East, while the midwest and Rockies were ice-bound and shivering?

These are days where, at the onset of meteorological winter, titans of natural northern snow like Jay Peak, Vermont and Sunday River, Maine are barely able to keep just a precious few runs open. If that's how they are fairing, it will be too painful for Powderhounds to bear the truth of southern Mid-Atlantic resorts. Here's a look at what we said about the long range pattern during "Back To The Future Week" in October 2015.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

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"Amid The Falling Snow..." (in Iowa!)
-2005 Single by Enya in the album Amarantine  (Youtube music video)

9:00 PM EST 11/21 - Taking a trip in the week ahead? (Or wondering about winter?)
We're watching the long range for you and indications are this year's busy travel season may leave behind one passenger NO ONE is going to miss: Bad weather (at least in the East.)
With heavy snow having blanketed Iowa and parts of the Midwest, perhaps some will slide more easily into holiday mode knowing that winter is tapping at the door. With this being the "last normal weekend" before the holiday headrush hits - we offer one weather map below worth of giving out this early. The short version for the Eastern U.S.:

1) High pressure dominates the pattern through this Friday.

2) Morning chill in the 30s with afternoon sun in the 50s.

3) BEST of all, regarding rainfall, a whole lotta nothin' on that map for travelers launching into the traffic adventure on Wednesday and Thursday.

As for the snowy home image above, this was Saturday afternoon outside Chicago, as captured by Forecaster Jake from Iowa State University, where nearly 14" fell in just one day. Boy where they ever pumped about that! Scenes like this certainly put Powderhounds into that "snow on the mind" mood, with even more hungry for our seasonal forecast in final stages of review. For now, here's a prelim winter Q & A to help you plan ahead:

Monday, November 2, 2015

Payment Portals

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Winter Services - Foot's Forecast, LLC

 Insider's Payment Portal  
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*Winter intelligence through 12/31/16*

Insiders receive through 12/31/2016:
  • The Foot Note - A daily, early AM text & email notification service apprising you of impending weather concerns in the next 24-36 hours
  • The Weather Board - A weekly assessment issued each Thursday all season outlining winter hazard potential in the 7-10 day period ahead.
  • Talk with a Forecaster - Have a question about a specific date or event? Ask us directly via the text service, or call the Powderline (details after payment)
  • Insider's Private App - Direct access to internal reports, daily posts and special long range forecasts via a soon-to-release Insider's only app for both Apple and Android devices.
Registration Instructions

Winter Services - Foot's Forecast, LLC

Winter Services - Foot's Forecast, LLC
  1. All Insider services are $ 5.00 through 12/31/2016, (equivalent to 3 cents/day for 150 days of notification from Jan 1 to Mar 31 & Nov 1 - Dec 31)                                                                                           
  2. After payment, you are redirected to a confirmation page with access code instructions to complete enrollment in our Insider's text notification service.           
  3. Within 24 hours, a welcome email and first text will be issued containing our most current projections for the 7-10 day period ahead.
We look forward to formally welcoming you 
to the Insider Team for this year's winter journey!

Snowy lane near Stormstown, PA 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

"From a distance..."
- 1990 single by Bette Midler (Youtube music video)

5:00 PM 10/28 - With the wind swept rainy remnants of once Category 5 Hurricane Patricia having moved through the eastern U.S., thoughts now turn toward what is ahead on the long range horizon. 

It is surmised by some climate analysis writers that downstream "blocking" in Greenland, as indicated by a negative Arctic Oscillation since summer may correlate to interesting impacts on the not-too-distant winter weather pattern. An example? 

In the short term, could the southerly winds and moisture from Patricia's remnants:
A) cause a reduction in northern snow cover, and B) Slow the onset of future wintry conditions in the eastern U.S.? Below are shocking photos that unveil new evidence of this unfolding tragedy in the snow cover community.

COOL EARTH IMAGES. Before we investigate that question, science teachers and satellite enthusiasts alike may be delighted to learn this: NASA has launched a new website where daily color imagery of the full Earth disk can be obtained, courtesy of the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR). The imagery is produced from a special telescopic and photographic satellite called EPIC (Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera). The image shown here is from Friday, October 23, 2015 just before Patricia made landfall in Mexico.


The two images shown are from the NOAA National Ice Center. Left is snow cover as of Saturday 10/24/15 - a day after Patricia's landfall. Right is the most recent image as of Tuesday 10/27. Look carefully at the stark reduction in snow cover. The province of Ontario was nearly half-covered, and now in just a few days, most of that has vanished! 

If Jim Kirk were a forecaster, he might say "Come on Spock...Big deal." For those gaming to have a White Christmas, or just have a fighting chance to get anything white out of the sky, you need Canada's snow cover to get back on track, and fast. We will expand upon this report to outline if there is any probability of that happening in the near future. 

Otherwise, the "snow-capped mountains white" sung about by Bette Midler will stay just lyrics in a song until January for some. From this distance, even the 8-14 day temperature outlook below points to further delays in snow cover buildup likely well into November.

-The FF Long Range Team

Sunday, October 25, 2015

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"Here Comes The Rain Again."
-1983 single by Eurthymics (Youtube Music Video)

5:35 PM 10/25If you're wondering about any effect the remnants of once-Hurricane Patricia may have on our region, your concerns are valid. Although the weather mid-week will have periods of wind-swept rain, it will be nothing like what we saw before Hurricane Joaquin threatened the region. The exception being water-logged South Carolina still in long term recovery from the devastating rains early this month.

This projected NOAA surface map below for 8 PM Tuesday night 10/27 shows the classic "double barrel" setup of a large High to our north and a sprawling area of Low pressure approaching from the southwest.

The interaction of these opposing pressure systems will create multi-day easterly flow, moistening the atmosphere ahead of the Low. Remember, this sweetie has already been on a sugar high, being that it is a remnant tropical system which was supercharged by El Nino-warmed waters of at least 86 F!  

  • At least 1.0" of rain is expected late Tue into early Thu, under Easterly flow and much cooler temps in the 50s;
  • Further enhancement of rainfall totals likely due to moisture transport toward our area from the Gulf and Atlantic;
  • If your area or home is prone to flooding, make sure leaves are not blocking gutters, downspouts or storm drains. 


UNTIL THEN, Monday brings another classic October day of gorgeous blue skies, albeit chilly with highs in the upper 50s. Clouds on the increase Tuesday with rain arriving by late evening.

The best news: This system clears out of here on Thursday as conditions stabilize under new High pressure that will make for a rain-free trip around the neighborhood Saturday evening.

Sunshine on the Pumpkin

9:25 AM 10/25 - Wondering about the weather for "All Hallow's Eve"?
  • Early indications are high pressure will dominate the region Friday into Saturday, with rain free skies likely from Hill Valley to Sleepy Hollow and Elm Street, and other areas of the Mid-Atlantic.
  • Sorry Black Lagoon, probably no spooky fog this time. Attending or planning a special themed event? We'd love to hear about it!

For families holding an evening outdoor activity involving alternatively-styled apparel on Sat 10/31, here is our preliminary look into the FF crystal ball:
* Weather: Generally clear with light winds
* Temps: Mid 50s daytime, 50 F sundown, 47 F by 8 PM.
* Effects: Significant intake of small, multi-colored objects containing glucose and confectioner's glaze is expected.
* Impacts: Increasing levels of high energy outdoor activity, followed by delayed onset of sleep and fatigued elders.

Any schools planning to hold an "Enchantment Under The Sea" dance, we doubt a terrible thunderstorm - or a pre-planned bolt of lightning - is in your future next Saturday night. But if you are testing weather equipment at the town square, make sure you have a permit.
Enjoy this last "normal" weekend of sorts before the busy holiday schedule kicks into gear after next week!
-The FF Maryland Team
Image credit: NOAA Weather Prediction Center Day 7 surface map projection

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

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"Do You Know What This Means???"
Scroll below for a video tribute to the movie taking you "Back In Time"

1:20 PM 10/20 - With a whiff of winter across the Mid-Atlantic early this week, thoughts are turning to what is ahead for the upcoming season. In long range forecasting, October is a critical month to monitor and analyze a number of indicators that provide early clues on which large scale influences may affect the winter pattern in any given year.

What's more historically important is the long-awaited arrival of "Back to the Future" day, as projected 30 years ago to be this week: October 21, 2015. We hope you enjoy this first of two installments of our BTTF themed overview. Though this report may initially seem heavy, we are pleased to announce that despite Doc Brown's concerns, the Earth's gravitational pull appears to be in fine shape here in 2015. 

Considering the wild winters of late, perhaps it is little surprise to learn that thanks in part to a strong El Nino underway, the 2015-16 season looks to continue the trend of unique weather patterns that undoubtedly will throw winter weather managers into fits that only Doc could admire!

If you're seeking a short version of what this means, we can say the following about indicators heading toward December 1.
GREAT SCOTT! Latest snowcover is quite sparse in the U.S, and Canada
compared to Autumns that preceded snowy winters. 
  • Slower rebound of northern snow cover as compared to recent years such as 2014, 2013 and 2009 suggests that for the Mid-Atlantic's urbanized corridor east of I-81, we expect a delayed start to significant snow events until mid-December at the earliest.
  • Arctic Sea Ice rebuild from the September lows came in notably less than levels observed in those 3 marker years listed above. (View the final 2015 sea ice graphic from the NOAA National Ice Center.) Although many in the East have felt quite the winter-like chill at present, this current spell is short-lived due to a lack of deep cold in the Arctic as compared to what is usually seen this time of year. 
  • An already record strong El Nino, that "Frenemy" of climate watchers and school students alike, has produced sea surface temperatures in the equatorial East Pacific up to 10 degrees F above normal! Will this lead to more snow days in the East? Only George McFly may know if that lurks in your density, err, destiny. 
  • Accounting for these slow-to-start factors in the long range forecast reveals clues that help answer the question Doc Brown asked in the headline. If the Arctic takes longer than usual to build it's reserve of deep cold, when that finally does occur and gets unleashed south--- yep, you figured it out.
It means we hypothesize the second half of Winter for the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast U.S. could end up similar to 2015 AND 2014, suggesting conditions such as:
  • Significant to extreme cold for January into February, rivaling records in '14 and '15. 
  • Disruptive to crippling storms for February into early March, marked by an El Nino-fueled pattern that delivers copious Pacific moisture, creating high precip events. 
  • Prolonged periods of below normal cold into March, impacting the start of Spring sports much like what was seen in March 2003, 2010 and 2015.
A usual suspect expected to play a big role again this season is the North Atlantic Oscillation, which under the right arrangement, can initiate the most unwelcome "Cross Polar Flow" and deliver our hypothesized cold outbreak. For further reading on what NOAA is projecting with regard to these long range factors, be sure to stop over there and read their latest 2015-16 Winter Outlook. 

So for now, enjoy the relative calm and get ready for Marty, Jennifer and Doc's return on Wednesday, 10/21 as we celebrate 30 years of getting back in time as popularized by the iconic 1985 film. After all, if Marty and friends can accurately predict the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series 3 decades in advance to the exact year, a long range winter projection should be way easier than that, right?

A Look "Back In Time" to 1985...

Contributors to this report included Long Range Forecasters Troy Arcomano, Mintong Nan, Ohio Valley Winter Stormcaster Jason Warren and Editor Rich Foot

Monday, October 5, 2015

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That could have been us.

5:30 PM 10/5 - Knowing how close the mid-Atlantic region and Chesapeake Bay came to experience the same catastrophic damage which has befallen on South Carolina, it is our turn to do what we can for them. Many of us have been in those water-logged shoes: Saturated basements after Floyd, wrecked properties after Isabel, crushed roofs after Irene and Sandy. You've been there, you know what it's like to face that overwhelming feeling of where to summon the energy to start recovering. 

SERVING THOSE IN GREATEST NEED. Whether it's Staten Island or New Orleans or Columbia, SC - they're all neighbors and fellow citizens in need of a helping hand. All of us at Foot's Forecast across many states encourage you to consider making a donation to a local or national charity. If your life circumstances permit it, consider going there to volunteer in the field. For starters, the South Carolina Chapter of the American Red Cross is accepting volunteer relief worker applications. 

SUPPORT OPTIONS. Not all of us have the availability to do relief work, but we all can make a donation to assist the effort of Red Cross, Salvation Army and other agencies on site and already at work. Our recommendations include:
When disaster strikes, everyone needs a hand.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

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"The Sun will come out, tomorrow."

10:00 AM 10/4 If Annie were a forecaster, her update could be summed in those six famous words. We know you would love to see these scenes again real soon, and you will. The hurricane is rapidly moving away - but his trajectory will keep us all in a strong northeast flow of 20-25 mph the rest of today. Conditions improve Monday with more sun, less wind and temps in the 60s.

TIDES While the rain has largely ended, tides of 1-2 feet above normal in the central Bay are expected at high tide today, with 2-2.5 feet in the southern Bay. 
Ocean City, MD and surrounding coastal communities will see another 4-5 foot water rise at their mid-day high tide as measured at the Inlet. 
The back bays and smaller inlet areas in the Chesapeake could still see flooding issues as the disruption of tide cycles may continue to interfere with drainage depending on your location. Image source: Wakefield VA NWS Extratropical Storm Surge Coastal Flooding Maps

WAVES The pesky northeast flow will continue pushing waves of 8-10 feet onshore along the Atlantic coast. Wave heights in the southern Bay were reported by NOAA at 3-5 feet. Despite the alarming look of sand washing up on boardwalks in MD and DE, the beach sand retention is fairing well according to local officials - although beach access is closed in many coastal locations. Image source: NOAA Ocean Prediction Center Wind/Wave Analysis.

SAFETY There have unfortunately been at least two fatalities associated with this storm, in Virginia and North Carolina. The Coast Guard stated another 33 people are reported missing from a freight barge that was offshore the southeast coast. For those of us onshore, let's all agree not to go out and hot dog it in the waning hours of the storm. I used to tell students, these days any of us are only 15 minutes away from a life ruined by a Drudge report headline - usually after a storm.

TODAY Still quite windy with isolated showers throughout the Mid-Atlantic. That means any outdoor activity you do today, be wary and mindful of weakened trees and branches, such as when you go walk the dog or start yard cleanup. Readers and forecasters alike have all worked too hard to keep each other safe - and we want everyone to see many more sunrises like this one.

JOIN OUR TEAM If you are a student in high school or college with a passion for weather, or know someone who is, now is a great time to apply for a forecaster position before the winter thrills arrive. We also welcome adult weather enthusiasts with interest in communicating science to the public and working with inspiring young adults. Innovate your future today and make a difference by sharing your passion with a family of fellow scientists! 

The Advisors of Foot's Forecast
Photo by the Maryland Team from the deck of the Atlantic Hotel in Ocean City, MD - sunrise from Labor Day Weekend.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

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Long Days Ahead






Thursday, October 1, 2015

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*Winter intelligence through 12/31/17*

Winter Services - Foot's Forecast, LLC
"How will I know?"
- 1985 single by Whitney Houston (Music Video on VEVO)

  • The 11:00 AM NHC Advisory as shown below indicates Joaquin is moving north, and located at 23.8 North, 74.8 West as reported by Air Force reconnaissance in the storm. The storm has not crossed the 75 degrees west longitude "line of consequence" established by our investigation posted below from Thu 10/1.
  • If the eastward pressing frontal boundary just off the Eastern seaboard continues edging toward the hurricane, it will be evidenced by an increase in Joaquin's forward speed over the next 24-48 hours. 
  • These and other factors, including the brief retrograde (or reverse motion) of a strong high pressure system in southern Canada, provides increased confidence the hurricane should be able to pursue an "escape route" through the west Atlantic.
  • However, with 1,000+ miles of ocean the hurricane has yet to traverse, it is not time to sound the "all clear." We would need to see a consistent movement to the northeast over a 24-hour period before considering a reduced posture.


As the waiting game begins for the hurricane to makes the northwesterly then northerly turn, our tropical team has selected a critical observation point everyone can follow along with us. Or in the timeless words of Ms. Whitney, "I'm asking you what you know about these things."

CROSSING THE LINE This group observation is based on these questions: Will Joaquin turn before crossing the line? Would the future track be affected if this turn occurs later than planned? The line we are talking about is 75 degrees west longitude, the next major longitudinal grid border shown above just left of the eye.

HOW THIS WORKS Most of the computer model guidance, as well as official NHC forecasts, have the storm starting the "turn" before 75 degrees west longitude. 
  • On Thursday, the storm followed a W to SW path. Our thought process is simply that if Joaquin crosses 75 west and by Friday mid-day still has not begun to turn, would this affect the eventual projected path, which has shifted farther east.
  • On the other hand, crossing or not crossing the 75 west line may have no bearing on the storm's path due to other influences such as the trough across Florida or the high in Canada -- all of which are factors affecting where Joaquin will go.
HOW WILL WE KNOW? According to the NHC Forecast Advisory, the hurricane path is set to cross these points in the next 24-48 hours. Let's all see what happens:
  1. At 8 PM tonight, the forecasted position is 22.9 North, 74.2 West. As of 4:40 PM, Joaquin was at approximately 23.1 North and 74.4 West. This is our data starting point, although we will include track verification as a reference. 
  2. At 8 AM Friday, the forecasted position is 23.7 North, 74.6 West. This is one of the critical time points, at which time Joaquin should be showing a discernable turn to the northwest.
  3. By 8 PM Friday, the forecasted position is 25.2 North, 74.4 West. This point is where the storm should be generally moving due north or slightly NNW. 
WHAT'S THE POINT OF IT? We have chosen 75 west as our line of demarcation. We hypothesize the storm needs to complete the turn before this line, and if not, it may affect the track and everyone's expectation that the bullet has been dodged. With your help, it will be interesting to see how this plays out in the next 24 hours.