Saturday, February 7, 2015

It's all about the O

It's all about the O's...the NAOs

WHO REMEMBERS THE OPENING DAY SNOW OF 2003? THOUGH ONE MIGHT THINK AT FIRST 
THE MANAGER IS ARGUING WITH THE UMPIRE, POWDERHOUNDS KNOW WHAT HE WAS REALLY SAYING...


9:30 AM EST 2/7 - It's tough to be a Powderhound these days, especially in the surprisingly snow-starved Mid-Atlantic. But in contrast to this point in February 2014, alternating bouts of record-breaking cold, surprise ice storms and notable snow events had some crying uncle before the real action from mid-February to late-March even arrived. This year's back-and-forth makes one wonder if perhaps Snow Miser and Heat Miser decided it is more fun to watching hapless snow fans squirm with endless uncertainty, than to bring what we know you really want. Just. One. Good. Storm.


By February 10, the pattern had begun churning toward what became a six-week grand slam of several significant storms. Starting with the 2/13-14 event that delivered 11.5" to Baltimore-Washington Airport in the biggest "pow-wow" since February 2010, each time indications seemed to point away from storms, the setup returned  with a vengeance (or a delight). (Left:  sight you seldom see: School buses plastered in snow. Photo credit: Baltimore Sun, February 2010 )

The result was a "March repeat" of the January 2014 cold outbreak that smashed low temperature records, and then produces two more significant snow events ( St. Patrick's Day and March 24-25) at a time when many baseball fans had long since checked out of winter. The icing (or grease) on the cake was a surprise Tax Day Snow on April 15, 2014 where some saw higher accumulations than the Orioles' famous April 5, 2003 Opening Day Snow! 

Thus, as we head into what is usually one of the stormier parts of the winter, the real question is:
Perhaps Snowstradamus already reported to Spring Training and left us behind? The answer lies in the seemingly minute differences of a lesser-known feature called the "NAO" and why this indicator is evidence of where winter takes us next.

Part 2 In Progress, including:

  • Why this time of year, the North Atlantic Oscillation can be a reliable resource to investigate how the pattern plays out;
  • Is there ANY CHANCE LEFT of a big storm this season, or should  you just check out??
  • AND, for those ready to make the Spring-a-Ling jump, early details on our NEW "Opening Day Orange" Embroidered Pullover that is sure to surprise and delight your fellow Camden Yards friends all season long. (To gauge interest in this special offer, we are accepting no obligation pre-orders in a simple email to orders@footsforecast.org)



27 comments:

Unknown said...

We can get snow without a negative NAO. It does happen but it does not look good for a NEGATIVE NAO THRU FEB 20th give or take a few days. The 14 day outlook does not see the NAO going negative. Couple that with the sun angle issue we will be facing in MID MARCH and we have about 2-3 weeks or so for a big storm. Now the outlook does see it falling toward negative but then going back more positive around the FEB 16. All hope is not lost BUT- Bottom line-----It's not looking real good right now for Mid-Atlantic Powderhounds. That's my take based on the model outlook. Again we can get snow with a positive NAO but it's not the best scenerio for us in Maryland. Maybe the models will be wrong in our favor.

Foot's Forecast said...

You are exactly right Mike, the real needle-through-the-keyhole is to get a weakly positive or weakly negative NAO which would be in a slow rising phase in the days leading up to a coastal event.

Examples include December 15-20, 2009 which although NAO was about -1.75 initially, began to bump slowly back to -1.50 then -1.25. We saw the large scale setup was stable and favored the storm not going out to sea but edging up the coast.

January 30, 2010 another case of a projected stronger rise in the short term, which global models seemed to not detect fast enough, and that was why everyone went to bed on Friday night expecting flurries and had 6" just 12 hours later.

So when we imply it's all about the O's-- the double entendre is in the "s"--- as you pointed out, it's really all about the OscillationS and in which direction those are heading.

Forecaster Foot

Unknown said...

I feel we should be looking to the period between Feb 16-20th for a possible,major storm.

BioPat said...

Mike, you could be right but at this point I am feeling like the storms will continue to evade us unless the Low is able to drop far enough south to come up the coast without heading OTS. As I recall the winter of '80 or '81 was somewhat similar to this year. Lots of cold in place but no snow to speak of until President's weekend and then we got slammed with a blizzard. With colder temps in place for the weekend and perhaps another Monday storm next week MAYBE we'll get our storm. We'll just have to wait and watch as we have been doing all winter 2015.

ravensbbr said...

Next week Tuesday 2/17 looks...well. it looks like the rest of them have, promising...and yet, so...so crushingly disappointing...

:/

Unknown said...

I am looking for the southern mositure to be more of a player for the last part of the winter. Starting mid month of Feb. Whether those storms ride up the coast of move across the south up into the mid-atlantic while being inland. Areas that have not seen much should get something. I am not saying a crippling storm but something. We have Mid-Feb thru Mid-Mar before I give up. We need to hope for a pattern change more favorable to Mid-Atlantic. Storms off the west coast have been forced up and over the western ridge making them of no consequence to us. Possible that may be breaking down alittle to allow them to scoot under the ridge and form in the south central area of the country and move eastward. Transitional periods are potential times for a storm to spin up.

kristia35 said...

We'll be contending with sun angle soon

Unknown said...

Yes. I said that up above. To give you hope please go to this web site. Please read it over as a history lesson.

http://www.erh.noaa.gov/lwx/Historic_Events/md-winter.html

You will see in the past we have had storms well into March. It's not over until? Well, until it's over.

River Rat said...

I wouldn't throw in the towel just yet. The last half of February is going to be interesting. We're very likely going to get our coldest temps of the year in the 3rd and 4th weeks of FEB. The door should open for storms to get back into the south to pull in gulf moisture and move in our direction somewhere in the Feb 16th to 22nd range.

kristia35 said...

I know we have. It's just hard to have hope this winter. My sanity can't take anymore events at five days out. I'd be happy with a moderate event at this point. 6-8 is fine, just no miller B shaft job. I think weenie mode is taking over. I need someone to talk me down 😄

Butch Dynomite said...

Not me... I just got a gardening catalog in the mai

Unknown said...

Butch you won't be doing much gardening outside until April sometime. Enjoy when you do.

Butch Dynomite said...

....reverse phycology Mike..that's how we win....

BioPat said...

Mike I agree with you about the gardening unless we're talking indoor greenhouses. Just as winter was a late arrival we'll continue to see cold right through Easter, it's going to be a cold, wet Lent this year.

Flame said...

Seems like ice is creeping farther south than expected tonight. Only if we can replace i with s, c with n, e with o and add a w...

Anonymous said...

Afternoon all!

Do we have any collective thoughts about next Tuesday, the 17th? Looks interesting. Weatherunderground.com loves to jump the gun, but they have 5-8 inches posted on their website.

Not getting my hopes up too much though!

Unknown said...

Weather Underground....all they have done this winter is crush my soul. As of right now they still have 5-8 inches on Tuesday, but that's what they have done the last 3 times and it's been NOTHING. So I won't get my hopes up...

genser95 said...

Interesting setup for next week. I would be surprised if there is not at least SOME snow, though the fact that it's at the end of the cold air and not the beginning always leaves questions about changing to rain, etc.

Unknown said...

Weather Underground update: In typical fashion they have downgraded it to 3-5 inches and the temp models have gone from 33 degrees to 36. As the days go by, we know the drill.....$#^#$^$#@$%$#

kristia35 said...

I wouldn't pin my hopes on much unless we can score some on the front end. I think we have cold rain down to a science at this point.

Unknown said...

Models are not reliable this far out people. They are just a guide right now. There is no agreement as to where this storm will go from model to model. I said early in this post back on 2-7-15 to be looking for a storm 16-20 time frame. Please do not get yourselves worked up yet. At best this may be the best snowfall so far (maybe) but it's not going to be a monster. The dynamics for that are just not there yet and may not be there this winter for the Mid-Atlantic. Lock in to Sunday and Monday for guidance on this NOT NOW. IMHO.

Butch Dynomite said...

Trying to decide......beefsteak , better boy, or early girl?

ravensbbr said...

Butch, go with Roma. Or beefsteak. Or both. Use mushroom soil. Awesome results.

Source: being a Carroll County redneck and growing what we don't shoot to eat. OK, so it mostly comes from mostly Weis and Super Walmart. But everything else.
:-P

Oh, and Mike, it's gonna snow. Why? Because I took off that time next week to hunt. Never fails...

notsofreestate said...

Beefsteak for sure: better boy is my second choice.
There is nothing like a fresh tomato straight from the vine into the salad.

That being said, I would LOVE to have one huge storm this winter to shut everything down for a day or two.

Unknown said...

BBR----Yeah I think your right. Models are trending in that direction boss. Still alittle too far out for me to jump to the darkside of powder mania but this could be ours. GFS and GEM have it hitting. GFS snow fall totals have central MD in purple to pink for the week outlook. That would be 6-10" or so of snow. I have not been able to check to EURO.

Unknown said...

EURO model has 12"+ for southern MD, widespread 6"+ for central and northern MD, more to the east.

Unknown said...
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