Friday, April 15, 2005

3 comments:
A HAPPY FRIDAY TO START
ANOTHER BEAUTIFUL WEEKEND

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Another view of those wonderful Peach tree blossoms in Dundalk, MD for you to enjoy on this gorgeous and stunning Tax Day Friday. These trees are right across my street and they are just delightful to see this time of year. If you've spent any time outdoors in this recent string of sunny days, you know that the April burn can be worse then the September sizzle. The high sun angle, low humidity combined with refreshing breezes mask the burn you receive from the Spring sunshine. Walk back inside after a couple hours of gardening, yard work or sports practice and you will discover a bright pink shade to uncovered skin!


Speaking of pretty Spring colors, you should see the local NWS map for PA and MD. It is lit up with all kinds of nice pastels and deep primary hues. There's a Royal-Fushcia blue for a FREEZE WATCH in the I-95 corridor. There's a Pinto Red Geranium for a RED FLAG WARNING in south central Pennsylvania (that's for wildfire potential), and other nice colors like your ever-popular Beige Special Weather Statement. Don't forget Forest Green for a Coastal Flood Statement. But seriously I do like the colors and it shows that someone in the government is trying to make it look interesting if not pleasant.


On a colder note, temperatures east of the Blue Ridge and through central PA will drop into the low 30's and upper 20's tonight, west of the Chesapeake Bay at least. So get out there and COVER THOSE PLANTS. Even folks in Chester and Lancaster counties had better be concerned about a hard freeze on their arboretums and nurseries. A large high pressure system parked in Quebec combined with a strong low pressure off the coast is funneling cold air into the Northeast. When the winds slacken tonight, under clear skies temps will plummet and you'll probably see frost on your cars tomorrow early morning. Should make for some nice pictures if you can get up early enough to see it.


After the freeze passes, Saturday through who knows when look to be absolutely mahvelous! Sunshine and blue skies to rule the days, which I adore but the allergy sufferers despise, so stock up on the Alleve and get outside to enjoy this showerless April so far.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

6 comments:
AHHH...NOW THIS IS THE LIFE.


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That's the picture we've been waiting for...gorgeous sunshine, light breezes and cherry blossoms. What a wonderful weekend it has been, a nice reward for the tough times of late. There will be a cool down over the next few days, with some splatterings of rain here and there. The good news is that as the temperature stays a bit below normal, this lowers the likelihood of severe weather as day and night contrasts are not as great. So unless you are an allergy sufferer, in which case the worse days are coming up, get out there and enjoy it! I hope the flowers are blooming where you are too.

Thursday, April 7, 2005

4 comments:
RAIN & THUNDERSTORMS NOW MORE LIKELY
TO DISRUPT SPORTING EVENTS THU-FRI

A quick look at the satellite and water vapor imagery shows that the atmosphere is getting primted for a round of thunderstorms in the DC-Baltimore region later today and Philly-NYC tonight. This will not help areas that are still drying out from last weekend's monsoon. South winds are advancing ocean moisture ahead of an vigorous low and cold front coming out of the Tennessee Valley. If there is any sun peeking through ahead of this front, the solar radiation will enhance heating and evaporation, triggering rapid development of the moisture into "popcorn" variety thunderstorms from 4pm to 8pm. This poses a threat to afternoon practice and games, which may be able to START but may get cut short due to rain or thunder or lightning or all of the above.

Check your latest radar for the best indicator of when the storms will arrive. When you see little green and yellow blobs and starting to litter the radar field just to your west, that is a clear sign thunderstorms are developing independently of the front and will arrive sooner than expected. I have found that Mid-Atlantic Radar / Northeast Radar from intellicast are the most reliable. Click the "animate" feature for a loop.

Wednesday, April 6, 2005

1 comment:
FINALLY WE GET A PIECE OF SPRING SO EASTERN PA
AND NJ CAN PIECE THEIR LIVES BACK TOGETHER

Flood

Think you had bad weather in Maryland last weekend? The worst flooding in 50 years occured in some locations along the Delaware River in Eastern PA and Western NJ. Three to five inches of rain fell across the region in just 24 hours, sending water into basements and lives into chaos. Some of the people you see above were not finished cleaning up from the surprise floods wrought by Tropical Depression Ivan in September.


Nothing like that is on the schedule for this week, thankfully. We will finally get a nice piece of Spring today and Thursday, though thunderstorms are not far behind. The real issue is will the storms hold off until after sports practice is over on Thursday? The skies will look ominous by the afternoon, and this is a fairly vigorous system that will push through in the evening and overnight. It is going to be a close call for games and practice, but given the dryness of the atmosphere, I believe the storms will take longer to move into the Baltimore region than anticipated. A game may have to be cut short due to thunder, but I think most teams will be able to get their regularly scheduled events in on that day.

Clearing and tranquil for the weekend. (Long sigh...) At last a sunny weekend for a change.

Tuesday, April 5, 2005

2 comments:
SO MUCH FOR THE
"HIGH SUN ANGLE" THEORY

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The abundant sunshine on Monday was a welcome celebration of Spring's return after a woefully poor week and weekend of weather. For those who had time off during the Easter holiday, most activities were confined to indoors as much of the vacation period resembled more of a mid-winter break than a "Spring Break." I was especially amazed at the frequency at which the Eastern U.S. was pummeled by two very strong storm systems over a 6 day period. The grand finale of course being that monster storm that swirled around from Friday to Sunday, bringing to the Northeast the heavy rain, wind, thunder and lightning. I would like to share the story of our weekend as we ended up bisecting the best and worst the storm had to offer.


My wife, the baby and I were enjoying a nice trip to Northwest Pennsylvania, where we had wonderful sunshine last Wednesday, Thursday and most of Friday. As you saw from the picture in the previous post, we visited my wife and brother-in-law's original farm where they grew up. It was easily 60 F and pleasant as we walked around the property.

Farm

That's Lee (my brother in law) on the left, and Dana (my wife) on the right. The building behind them is their original home on the "Orange Bucket" Farm. As you can see, the weather is beautiful, there is no indication of what is coming later.

Saturday morning we left to head south, and the rain of Friday night had changed to a wet mix of sleet and snow. We heard on the Weather Channel, "2-4 inches of snow Friday night" followed by "3-5 inches on Saturday." Pshaw! I told Lee, my brother-in-law and his wife Jenn. The ground was way too warm, the sun angle alone would negate most of the snow in the upper atmosphere, the most we'd see was some wet snow and less than an inch overall.

As we headed towards State College Saturday, little did we know that during the day, the rain we left behind DID change over to snow in force, when all was done, 12 to 20 INCHES lay ON THE GROUND in exactly the places we all had walked around in t-shirts on Friday! Read about it in the Meadville Tribune. Since it would be a 7 hour drive to Baltimore, we stop at my in-laws overnight Saturday. Sunday morning we awake to a fresh coating of snow even there... 3 hours southeast. That's the picture at top of our daughter reveling in the snow once again, and since you enjoy pictures of her so much, I thought I'd post one more. Below, it is Sunday, APRIL 3 and I am cleaning snow off the car, something I have not done I think EVER in the month of April.

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While at breakfast that morning, as it is still lightly snowing outside the restaurant in State College, PA, we are talking to Lee on the cell phone and I ask "so how much of that 3-5 inches did you get, har de har har." He deadpans back, "4 inches." I gasp and gulp.

Meadville Snow 1

This was Lee cleaning off his Pontiac outside the hotel in Meadville Sunday morning. It later turns out the snow was so bad, and road conditions so poor that he had to take quite the circuitous route home....to Altoona via PITTSBURGH! That must have taken them 6 hours perhaps. Ugh, what a long drive. Here's their account in the email we received yesterday.

"Keep in mind those pictures of the Farm, which were taken on Friday (April 1). It was almost 70 F then. This picture was taken this morning (April 3), after 4 inches of snow fell on Meadville. The temperature is 33 F. That's Northwestern PA weather for you. To escape the snow, we went back to Altoona through Pittsburgh. Although Pittsburgh was only moderately snowy, we hit the absolute worst weather on the way home. Chestnut Ridge, Laurel Ridge, and worst of all, Cresson Mountain were at near white out conditions. According to WJAC-TV, 9 inches of snow fell on Cresson today. Tomorrow, it will be nearly 60 F. That's Pennsylvania in the spring for you.


So much for the High Sun Angle theory. Maybe I'll just stick to East COAST weather next time, instead of trying to be a slick city slicker forecaster in the country.


NOW BACK TO THE WEATHER: As you can tell from your local forecast, we in the Northeast have finally hit a stretch of improving conditions to last to the weekend. It appears the best days of the week will be today, tomorrow and most of Thursday, with many locations south of NYC pushing 70 and south of the PA/MD line pushing 75 F. That'll put some grass on your yard! For Spring Sports, fields are plenty dry and will stay that way through the week. The polar vortex has been vanquished, the NAO is back to normal, and our recent storms have done what I felt was necessary to clear out the atmosphere's imbalances and set things right again. Hallelujah!

Friday, April 1, 2005

8 comments:
"THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD..."
- The Beatles

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This is my daughter contemplating a long and dusty, winding road in Northwest Pennsylvania on Friday, April 1. We are visiting friends and the original homestead of my wife and brother-in-law, located in a very rural area of Crawford County, PA...namely the towns of Lincolnville and Meadville. We are just one county shy of Erie, to give you a sense of how "Northwest PA" we really are. We awoke to wonderful sunshine this morning, which was a surprise as many forecasts had been calling for clouds and possibly even rain. So we snagged the opportunity to visit "The Farm" in the morning while the weather was still nice.

The Long and Winding Road is that it seems real Spring weather is taking it's sweet old time getting established. It may be a long road before many of us in the Northeast see solid daytime temps in the 70's. In fact, we may be dodging snowflakes up here on Saturday, and now I see the Weather Channel calls for 2-4 inches of accumulation tomorrow and into Sunday! Hogwash!

The first full week of April does promise some improvements for the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Temperatures will finally rebound to the 60's, with overnight lows in the 40's. Looks like we're back to the regular Spring pattern of rain every two-three days, which is a good sign that warmth is not far behind. A more thorough update on next week's weather later tonight.

Hold on to your hats I-95, the rain is heading your way with a vengeance and by the time you read this, it should be heavy and torrential at times from DC to NYC. You know what they say about April showers. I just hope we don't have a month of it.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

8 comments:
ONE DAY OF PEACE, THEN BACK TO NASTY

The loud clap of thunder I heard in Dundalk, MD yesterday afternoon for me confirmed that Spring has arrived once and for all. Once that sun can work on those flowers and lawns, we will have a bloomin' good time. It seems clear the atmosphere has rid itself of a long standing (sitting?) constipation, and the NAO has retreated to neutral, where it should be this time of year, taking the cold with it. Systems are now following a normal progression across the country, with sun followed by rain followed by sun again...and repeating every few days. This will be the pattern now for the next week to 10 days. Get outside and enjoy the sunshine today and Wednesday, unfortunately there is nastiness still lurking for the weekend, as the rain returns Thursday and will hang around into Saturday. Improvements are on the schedule heading into the first week of April.

Monday, March 28, 2005

2 comments:
RAIN AND THUNDER FOR EASTER MONDAY

Easter Monday

As of 9:30 AM Monday, an impressive looking comma-head Low pressure was swirling through the Tennessee Valley, with an advancing line of strong to severe thunderstorms pushing toward the North Carolina-Virginia coast. These storms will drop torrential rain, brief strong winds and hail throughout the Richmond-Philadelphia I-95 corridor and eastern Mid-Atlantic through early afternoon. Later today, a secondary Low develops off Del-Mar-Va, and races northeast, bringing some wraparound snow to northern New England and heavy rain along the coast.

Overall a rather gloomy and wet start to the final week of March. But in classic folklore tradition, and thanks to the NAO trend staying neutral, I believe the month will go out like a lamb as expected, for sunshine and warmer weather is to follow this spring storm for Wednesday into Friday. Check your local NWS forecasts for a glimpse of the nice conditions on the way.

For sports teams trying to make practice a go this week, you already know that fields will remain wet through Tuesday, and still damp Wednesday, but likely that by Thursday enough drying will have occurred to allow field use. Rain returns Friday for the southern Mid-Atlantic, (Baltimore on south) but northeast areas (Philadelphia to Boston) should be able to squeeze out field work before the rain arrives late in the day.

Hope everyone enjoyed their Easter festivities despite the unpleasant weather. Once that sun returns, those flowers and lawns will surely be greenly growing!

Friday, March 25, 2005

5 comments:

BRIGHT AND SUNNY DAYS ARE COMING SOON

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Yes there is another pesky storm on the way, which will bring some rain late in the day to the Mid-Atlantic, and overnight into Saturday for New England. The whole Easter Weekend looks to be cloudy, rainy and not so pleasant for the Northeast, but the flowers promise that bright and sunny days are coming soon. Accuweather has several graphics to explain how the weekend will shape up for us. I hope you enjoy time with family and remember the "reason for the season." An update later this afternoon on storm potential for Sunday into Monday.

The hyacinths shown above are from the Dundalk Greenhouse, which had a very successful Easter Sale this week. We grossed about $125 which will be used to buy a new round of bulbs and other items to prepare for the Massive Mother's Day Flower Sale.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

5 comments:
NOW WHO'S THE EAGER BEAVER?

Early Spring 1

Heading into the long Easter Holiday Weekend, a few items for discussion:

1. EAGER BEAVERS at the Boston and New York City NWS are cleaning the wood from their teeth and using the branches to paddle each other as they bit off a great big storm which turned into the KaNOna of the year. TV and Internet outlets alike all were calling for 5-10" or 6-12" of snow throughout southern New England. "Well, the models said this or that." Is what forecasters will say. "The storm headed farther south than we expected." They'll say. If you look at the satellite loops and radar animation, you'll notice nothing of the sort. The storm simply DID NOT materialize in the way THEY FORECASTED it would. I've been down this road before, I know. The easier answer is... WE MADE A MISTAKE. The computer models over-estimated the amount of cold air available, and surface temperatures in Boston never got below 34 F. Moisture from the ocean was not wrapped into the storm as extensively as the computers indicated. The mistake came when forecasters trusted the computers more than their own intuition, which I have also done before.

2. SNOWFALL AMOUNTS. I will allow the storm to finish before grading it, but I'm confident that Mr. E.H., Our trusty Director of the Northeast Observatory in Boston, will take care of that for me. Here's an updated look at what actually fell where.

3. MORE RAIN ON TAP FOR FRIDAY, CLEARNING SATURDAY. It will be a changeable weekend with fast moving systems bringing rain to the south of I-80, with snow/rain mixed to the north.

4. EASTER SUNDAY LOOKS TO BE A TOTAL WASHOUT for most of the Northeast. The European model above shows a Low Pressure that will track over the Mid-Atlantic. You all know well enough that means rain for almost everyone. Better hold that Easter Egg Hunt inside, and put a poncho over the Sunday dress. The good news is it should be seasonal temperatures or even a few degrees above normal, around 60 F in Philly, low 60's Baltimore, mid 50's NYC and Boston, with 50's in Interior Pennsylvania.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

7 comments:
"I'M MAD AT H---, AND I'M
NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!"
- Howard Beale, in the movie Network

Late Spring 1

EARLY SPRING COASTAL STORM TO DRENCH MID-ATLANTIC
AND DUMP ON NEW ENGLAND TODAY AND THURSDAY

MID-ATLANTIC: Okay, so this is NOT the big snowstorm that I originally thought in early March would end the season right about now. for those of you who read the Dundalk Eagle article and are still waiting for the snow, looks like it is heading to New England. You obviously notice the temperatures even in Baltimore will only reach 45 F today, which is almost 15 degrees below normal. That is significant in considering had all this rain been snow, it would most certainly have been the Ultra Kahuna, with 1-2 feet of wind-whipped heavy wet snow to boot. But it is the Ultra Kahuna-rainstorm that I knew we needed to get the atmosphere cleared out and set back in order. In fact, this will be the first in a series of rain events to take us right through to next Monday. Clearing skies on Thursday sandwiches some sunshine before the weekend storm arrives.

INTERIOR NORTHEAST / NEW ENGLAND: The hits just keep on coming. I indicated this storm was on the books last Saturday, and sure enough it is on time with the heaviest snow expected overnight into Thursday. There are a couple factors which you can see for yourself will influence the outcome of this storm. The most important I believe are the NAO trending toward neutral again. This will allow the storm to nudge a little farther north than currently expected, forcing the Boston, MA and Upton, NY NWS to extend the Winter Storm Watches to include areas north of I-90. The Canadian High is parked in the perfect spot, the Tennessee Valley Low will redevelop a secondary off Virginia. The moist air inflow from the ocean, the overnight timing, evaporative cooling, fresh snowpack...lah de dah dah. All great factors that point to a significant early Spring snowfall. Meanwhile the diehards down here in nosnowland just sit on the couch in total despair. We can't go out and garden, we can't shovel snow, all we can do is watch and weep.

STORM GRADE AMOUNTS: Accuweather seems on target with their amounts. You'll notice Boston is inside their 3-6" range, which would give credence to the idea of a northward shift. It is also possible the High overpowers and sends the storm farther out to sea earlier, but this seems unlikely. So here is the preliminary call, which I will adjust slightly tonight:

Northeast PA: 4-8" / New York City: 2" / Hartford, CT: 5" / Providence, RI: 5"

Boston, MA: 4" / Worcester, MA: 5" / Woburn, MA: 6" / Plymouth, MA: 4"

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

10 comments:
SPRING FOR SOME, WINTER FOR OTHERS

Spring 2


WEATHER FOR SPRING SPORTS AND TRAVELERS THIS WEEK

Tuesday will be a fine day for the Northeast, with abundant sunshine and drying fields. By Wednesday morning, rain will have returned, and may be heavy at times, along with a touch of snow for higher elevations along the PA/NY border. This storm should clear by Thursday, but fields will remain wet or at least damp toward afternoon. A newly unconstipated atmosphere means that a series of storms are going to move through over the next 5-7 days, with more rain to follow on Friday for Easter Weekend travelers, then another significant coastal rainstorm to washout most of the upcoming weekend. Just think about how those plants will take off once the sunshine returns!

This website focuses on two primary seasons: Winter Storms and Hurricanes. The "quiet period" on the site is Spring and early Summer, from April to July. Forecasting does ramp up if there is ever a risk of a large scale tornado outbreak for the Northeast, and of course..by early August all eyes and ears are tuned to the tropics until November. Then we head right back into winter storm season. Thus April, May, June, July are the quietest periods for this site. I write this in case you may have thought I lost interest in the weather, heavens no! Just been busy with "Hakuna" preparations.

Besides, it's amazing what one can get done when you're not on a ski trip! I had a formal observation on Monday, have been doing a lot of greenhouse work at my school, and with warm weather coming we like to take our daughter outside as much as we can. Public interest in the site wanes at this time, because when the weather gets nice, everyone goes outside, as they should. So get out there and do that garden, stop reading the internet!

I do a weekly to twice weekly forecast in the Spring to keep specific readers appraised of severe weather, especially coaches and Athletic Directors whom are most concerned about interruptions to practice and games. There is also the occasional late season snowstorm for New England, which I will monitor until mid April. If it is nice and sunny, good! I don't care nor do I forecast for it.

For a glimpse into where I will be spending a good amount of time this spring..head on over to the Dundalk Greenhouse

For the most up-to-date post, check every Sunday and Wednesday for the weekly forecast.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

8 comments:
MARCHING INTO SPRING

Spring 1

It's finally here, and due to an astronomical glitch in the calendar,
it's a day early. Now the important questions are:

1. WILL THE WEATHER STAY WITH THE CALENDAR? For coastal areas south of New York City, that is a good bet from this point forward. Interior sections of New England, New York and Pennsylvania still have a risk for frost as well as some accumulating snow over the next 7 days leading up to Easter.


2. WHEN WILL WARM WEATHER ARRIVE IN FORCE? The Northeast has to endure two more coastal-type storms before the warm weather can really take over. This is the much-anticipated "pattern shift" that's been explained on this site for a few weeks now. It will take a series of large storms to reset the atmospheric imbalances caused by the negative NAO and Greenland/Canada High pressure block. The first storm comes out of the southwest on Wednesday, as shown on the graphics above, heads for the East Coast, bombs out and delivers some wrap-around snow to mainly higher elevations. The second system will take a more coastal track, from the Gulf up to the Mid-Atlantic over Easter weekend. Following this storm, I expect the Polar Vortex to retreat, taking the cold air with it and allowing the Sub-tropical Atlantic ridge (the pre-Bermuda High) to begin influencing the eastern third of the country by the first week of April.

SPRING SPORTS WEATHER FOR THE WEEK AHEAD

MONDAY-TUESDAY: Dry and seasonal temperatures in the 50's through the Northeast. Some wind will help dry fields from Sunday's precip.

WEDNESDAY: In VA, MD and PA...Rain arriving from a storm moving toward the Mid-Atlantic. The rain will arrive before afternoon practice begins and continue through the evening, but clearing overnight. Later in the day, snow and rain mixed is likely along the PA/NY line and into southern New England including the Boston Metro area. A low risk for thunderstorms or lightning.

THURSDAY-FRIDAY: Clearing but still seasonal with temperatures in the low to mid 50's south of NYC, and in the 40's in New England. Fields will be wet from the Wednesday precip.


LOOKING AHEAD TO EASTER SUNDAY: There is a "Wet and Muddy Easter Sunday Dress Alert", as the potential still exists for a rainy coastal storm to arrive Saturday night into Sunday morning.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

7 comments:
"SAY IT ISN'T SO."
- Hall and Oates

Welcome to Spring Everyone! I have a few things for powderhounds to salivate over, and for Spring-a-lings to boo and hiss. Winter takes a bow and exits stage right on Sunday, but it will be a while before he cleans up his dressing room and leaves the building altogether.

1. WEEKEND WEATHER: Rain arrives late Saturday afternoon from central PA east due to a clipper system cutting through PA and northern Maryland. Though temperatures are in the 50’s daytime, I expect some changeover to snow along the PA/MD border late night, and especially in southcentral and eastern PA. Accumulations would be limited if any due to warm ground surface. Sunday brings clearing and cooler, windy conditions behind the storm, which has the potential to develop once reaching the coast. For northern New England, light snow accumulating perhaps an inch or two at the most, until the secondary develops at the coast.

2. HEY NEW ENGLAND! Keep your eyes on this one. Boston was hinting last night that a turn up the coast overnight Sunday could lead to accumulating snow, especially given an NAO trending toward neutral (means Canadian high pressure block is drifting northeast, allowing coastal storms to nudge farther north). Model variance on this means someone will have to make a call, so I guess it is me. The tightening of the jet gradient in the Northeast and the upper level Low in California will serve to put pressure on the Polar Vortex, causing it to ease north and east into Baffin Bay. I believe this will allow our coastal Low to trek farther up the coast than currently anticipated.

3. SAY IT ISN’T SO. Concern is building for a series of early Spring storms that could deliver wet snow to the I-95 cities on Wednesday and a more significant, plowable snow to the Northeast cities overnight into next Thursday. Following this would be one or more rainstorms on Easter and shortly after to wreak havoc with Sunday worship services and create mud puddles for little children to stomp in wearing their new Easter Sunday dresses. Again, the Boston NWS is already coming out of the gates with indications of an all-snow event. This is usually a sign they believe a southern storm will track along or up the coast. I have a few graphics to explain this and will effort to get them online for you. If I can't, please visit Accuweather to see them.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

11 comments:
HAKUNA MATATA...
IT MEANS NO WORRIES
FOR THE REST OF YOUR DAYS
- From "Hakuna Matata" of the Lion King Soundtrack

This is the official announcement that with arrival of St. Patrick's Day, the weather in the Northeast will be going green for the foreseeable future. As the lyrics from our headline song above indicate...instead of a Final "Kahuna" (which is a big snowstorm or perhaps an equally big rainstorm), we will be relishing in a "Hakuna." This means no major storm in the near term of a 5 day period, replaced by a gradual warming trend with some rain late in the weekend and a welcome return to spring conditions by Monday, the first official FULL day of Spring. Outdoor sports activities or competitions planned in Baltimore County (and most of the Northeast) on Saturday the 20th are IN THE CLEAR until about 3 pm Sat. After 3 pm, rain is likely from DC to NYC.

NEW TO THE SITE? Welcome! This site provides a detailed and long range analysis on when big storms are likely to affect the Northeast. I strive to pinpoint the major patterns in the atmosphere which can lead to major storms (whether a snowstorm, hurricane or big outbreak of thunderstorms/tornadoes). When the weather is calm and mild, I am happy and don't forecast much, especially temperatures. I just stick to storms. Now that we are coming off winter storm prediction and heading towards forecasting for spring sports, as well as looking ahead to Hurricane season, you will notice the site undergoing the seasonal transition to prepare for the next phase of weather.


If there is any threat of a surprise snow event or hard frost in the next 2-3 weeks, you can bet I will be on it like hair on a gorilla. Overall, predictions and big analysis for snowfall are only made for a storm which has the potential to deliver 3 or more inches of snow.

FOOT'S FORECAST TERMINOLOGY The terms posted below were created over time to make forecasting the weather more fun for you and me, and not rely on the common descriptions used by everyone else.


1. The Headline: Usually a song title or phrase from a song that matches the weather concept of the day. Sometimes a quote from a movie or a folkore saying is used.

2. Big Kahuna: Defines a big snowstorm that could deliver up to 12 inches of snow for the forecasted area, i.e. a nor'easter with strong winds, heavy rain or snow.

3. Big KaNOna: This is when one of my winter storm forecasts completely busts, and little if any snow falls or the amounts are much less than originally predicted.

4. Big Hakuna: Opposite of a Kahuna, this would be a nice long stretch of warm, sunny weather, which means you'd have no worries for the rest of your days.

5. Powderhound: A diehard snow enthusiast who wants snow on the ground from December 21 to March 21, snow falling out of the sky almost every day during that time, and snow caused by great big storms that bury the northeast in 1-2 feet of it at a time.

6. Spring-a-ling: Can be a powderhound who also enjoys Spring and the changes which accompany it. However, they would prefer a consistent stretch of sunny, normal to above normal temperatures interspersed with some rain showers to water the plants. Cold blasts are not welcome, but a thunderstorm with the possibility of a tornado does, provided that it only swirls about in a nearby field and does not impact people or property.

7. Summer Lovers: This person likes it HOT all the time, and happier the HOTTER it is. 90 F? Okay. 95 F? Now we're talkin'. 100 F? Bring it on baby! This person likes to work in the heat, doesn't mind the sweat and would prefer a big long nasty heat wave more than anything else. They also enjoy the occasional surprise big bang and crash summer thunderstorm.

8. Tropicons: These people can't wait for Hurricane Season, and despite the destruction these storms bring, they are fascinated with the power and immensity of tropical storms. They love to track the storm's every movement and hiccup, and are the most excited when it is about to make landfall. You can easily identify these types because you'll notice them drawing little hurricane swirly symbols when they doodle from July to November.

9. I can't remember the term to describe those who enjoy the days I call "Golden October"... those crisp, beautiful days in late September to mid-October when the weather is peaceful, college football is king, and on Saturday mornings you can smell firehouses holding pancake breakfasts while you are raking leaves.

ALTHOUGH SNOW IS STILL ON THE AGENDA, it is now most likely reserved for Northern New England. We move into Spring-A-Ling mode and forecasting for conditions relevant to Spring Sports practice and game time weather.

THE HURRICANE SEASON PREVIEW will be prepared and posted during Spring Break, which in my neck of the woods is March 25-April 2. I have already put together my basic forecast, but it will include a comparison of how my prediction from last season stacked up again the actual, and a look into the June-September period for tropical activity along the East/Gulf Coasts.

So Happy St. Patty's Day everyone. Hope the Luck O' The Irish is on our side and we have truly turned the corner towards Spring once and for all. This weekend I will post an analysis of any downstream rumblings that might interrupt our dance into Spring over the next 2 week period.
2 comments:
HOW ABOUT AN ALPINE ADVENTURE IN 2006?


For some reason, bright sunny and quiet days get me in the trip planning mode. This weekend was no exception. Mrs. Foot was busy with her teacher training course, the baby was sleeping, so I opened the magical trip box and... off we went. Actually the tour I finalized this weekend has been in development for 2 years already. When the calendar reaches the 1 year mark prior to a major trip is when I get the planning engines humming.

Why am I telling you this? Because in my other life, when I'm not teaching, or forecasting the weather, or watering the Greenhouse plants, I am the advisor of the Dundalk Adventure Club at my school. Lo and behold, they also have a series of websites (would you believe it?) that highlight and advertise our trips. The most recent major trip was our Spring Break 2004 Adventure to Whistler-Blackcomb in British Columbia.

Do you recognize that mountain in the picture? That's the one from those Ricola commercials. You remember: where the herdsman standing on the pristine Swiss hillside is blowing a big long trumpet... he coughs, interrupting the music. His friend hands him a Ricola cough drop, and there perched in the background is the Mighty Matterhorn. If the cards are played just right, a place my family and I haven't visited for nearly 20 years will be back in our spotlight again. Zermatt, Switzerland and the beautiful mountain valleys of the Jungfrau Region in the Bernese Oberland of the Swiss Alps.

Plans are now underway to make looking at that picture a reality for you in April 2006. The Dundalk Adventure Club is making this trip available to anyone who has the money and motivation to see Europe before rising oil prices put such a journey beyond our reach. Isn't it time you escape to the fresh air and gorgeous vistas of the Alps in early Spring? Wouldn't you thrill at the opportunity to ski fresh alpine powder in some of the world's largest resorts? Haven't you been waiting a long time for something like this to come along?

If those feelings apply to you or someone you know, please visit the Zermatt 2006 website. If you would like more information, feel free to request it via email at rdfoot@comcast.net

A packet can be mailed to you upon request. Please note that the Dundalk Adventure Club does not operate for profit and is not affiliated with any travel agency. Our trips are designed to be family-friendly and not driven by a commission-based agency.

Regular weather forecasting returns to this site on Monday.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

12 comments:
"WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME LATELY ?"
- Janet Jackson, from the album Control

That's probably accurate for today's headline since there has not been a "new" post since Saturday night. Sometime earlier today, you probably happened across the Weather Channel or your local NWS forecast and discovered that the "Rain/Snow" with a high of 38 for Baltimore disappeared. In it's place is now "Chance of Showers with high of 53." For our northern clients, please pardon the emphasis on the southern areas, as I am using it to illustrate a point.


I CAN FIND NO MODEL SUPPORT for this forecast. I saw this and thought, "Hmmm, GFS must have done a real role reversal or something for the NWS to go totally the other direction." So I checked the GFS, and the European, and the NAM, and the DGEX and the UKMET and NONE of them depict a scenario which would lead to showers and 50's. In fact if you check local NWS forecasts for areas very close to Baltimore, like Cecil County MD or across the Chesapeake, there is barely a mention of rain... mostly cloudy and 40's.

SO WHAT'S GOING ON? The models are having a hard time resoloving the imbalances in the system caused by the Polar Vortex, the building southern stream in conjunction with the Atlantic Ridge, as well as the persistent Canadian High that has and will dominate Northeast weather through the weekend. What's happened is that the computer sees a zonal west-east flow and thinks "Hey, warmth is coming... let's warm things up." The Philadelphia office put it best by saying in their forecast discussion "Most long range models seem to be in disagreement over the details."

IS OUR BIG STORM HISTORY BEFORE IT WRITTEN? No, the window for a final snow event in the Mid-Atlantic is still open for Saturday-Sunday-Monday. I can say that beyond that the window appears it will close for good on this winter. Andy, our designated skeptic in York County, PA maintains that no more than 4 inches of snow will fall at BWI the remainder of the season, and he may end up to be the most accurate on that forecast. If the skeptics win and I lose on the Final Kahuna, you can be sure I'll be the first to tell you why.

AND THE WEEKEND? I believe we (the Northeast) will see cooler temperatures than are advertised, and that the storm coming east out of the Lakes by then is going to get squeezed between the southern stream/ridge and the northern Highs. This will force a piece of energy to zip out towards the Mid-Atlantic and travel through Maryland with potential for development once it reaches the coast. Now storms from the west don't bring extra rest, so snow falling out of this system will not be enough to disrupt school on Monday, especially if it is on the order of 4 inches or less as predicted by Andy. New England should continue to see below normal conditions and tranquil weather through Sunday. The final forecast outlining the weekend storm and any potential for snow will be posted Thursday.


WHERE'S THE 'TRAIL' WE ARE BLAZING? DID WE LOSE IT? Still trailblazing, just a different trail...this time tracking if the weekend storm will be our Final Kahuna or not.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

31 comments:
SADDLE UP YOUR HORSES,
WE GOTTA A TRAIL TO BLAZE
- Steven Curtis Chapman

TUE AM UPDATED SUMMARY FOR THE WEEK AHEAD

In the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, the Sun over the next 4 days may look and feel more like Spring but at the ground, winter refuses to let go of a persistently cold and windy pattern as shown by the "example forecast" for the Baltimore area. By St. Patrick’s Day, the only indication that spring is still on the calendar is the new grass beginning to make it’s appearance from Pennsylvania and New Jersey south. From The PA/NY line on north, deep snow cover will continue to reinforce the below normal temperatures. For all areas of the Northeast from DC on northward, temperatures will remain 10 or more degrees below normal this entire week. A high pressure system moving in to from central and southeast Canada to the Northeast and Great Lakes will be a key factor to set the stage for a significant winter storm to affect a very large portion of the East Coast by the weekend. A series of smaller storms will give rise the "Final Kahuna" and this storm may very well be the largest winter weather event of the season for the Mid-Atlantic. (Summary was posted on Saturday 3-12, and modified on 3-14)

TRAILBLAZER UPDATE: For those who are willing to be trailblazers and just want the quick rundown, it appears the Canadian High will keep storms below and away from the Northeast I-95 corridor and Mid-Atlantic Interior from DC north. The trailblazing will have to go on a few more days to get us to the weekend, which is where the Final Kahuna lies waiting.


WEATHER FOR SPRING SPORTS

The first part of the week will feature a cold and windy pattern enabling fields to dry. Coaches, AD’s and players are advised to take advantage of this week leading up to the first round of scrimmages and competitions after the 20th. The ‘Final Kahuna’ of the season is likely to cause a wide range of disruptions to the practice and game schedule from Thursday until early next week. The “aftermath” of this storm could continue to cause significant rescheduling problems in the week following the 20th. This will be the calmest week of the month regarding the weather, and an opportunity for teams to catch up on missed field time.

WHERE DID YOUR 'BIG STORM' GO MR. FOOT? COME ON NOW, GIVE IT UP.


Hey, be nice or else. I have made adjustments to the forecast because it appears that the Canadian High at the moment is going to hold it's ground and overpower the storm track along the East Coast. I'm not going to say "see I was right all along, I said the storms would stay south" etc. I will say that there is NO WAY OUT OF THIS PATTERN without a big storm to correct the imbalances in the atmosphere, especially the Blocking High problem in Canada/Greenland. A series of strong Canadian High argues for more cold air to influence the nation for the rest of the month. A suppressed polar jet being so close to the subtropical jet means that the danger remains for a big storm to develop with less than 48 hours notice on your local forecast is still on the table.


There continues to be a lot of disparty and inconsistency in computer model projections for the period from Wednesday to Saturday. The first of a series of smaller systems is tracking east out of the Southern Plains and will follow a Shreveport, LA – Knoxville, TN – Richmond, VA line. At the same time, a large and expansive Canadian High pressure is forecasted to nose out into the Atlantic in advance of this storm.


The current European model has waffled a bit on this idea, and has now changed it's tune to follow some of the other models suppressing all storms this week to the Carolinas. Keep in mind that every significant storm this winter, with 2 notable exceptions (last weekend and the Sunday-Monday light snow in VA) started out suppressed far to the south in computer models. Forecasters said, "it will miss us to the south" and the "US" being anyone from Richmond north. The Feb 24-25 storm was supposed to "miss Baltimore" to the south in the 3 day forecast prior to the event. Result: We had 5 inches of snow in my bacykard at Dundalk, MD from a storm that was going to miss us to the south. So this week, there are a lot of valid concerns on the table from either side of the aisle. On one side , a trend to the north will find forecasters hastily revising their outlooks to make it appear they were calling for this storm all along. On the other side, there are reasons to believe the suppressed flow could keep storms to the south. Either way, I will break down the overview on this storm into 3 sections:

1. THE ROUGH GUIDE…Timing, Snowfall, Impacts.
2. METEOROLOGICAL ANALYSIS OF THE PATTERN that will create this storm
3. A PREVIEW OF MODEL MAYHEM AND FORECASTING FUMBLES


First, the Rough Guide.

This is designed for those who just want to know how much, when and where. Keep in mind that I understand your skepticism with this forecast, but in Foot’s Forecast tradition I have to put out the call now, so that when the weather service and TV stations start jumping on the bandwagon, you’ll understand why.

TIMING: The "storm" to which I am referring is now looking to be a (groan) weekend event in the Saturday timeframe. No matter how it ends up, this will be a long duration event with the classic multi-day buildup, media madness and subsequent supermarket pandemonium. If the European model is right, then the timeframe for snowy and windy conditions for the Mid-Atlantic could begin as early as Saturday morning. One important factor that was alluded to last weekend on this site, and has now come true is...."the strength and movement of the High pressure which could delay or speed up the storm’s arrival." A saying used at Accuweather is: “Predict the High and you predict the storm.”


AREAS OF IMPACT: The "Final Kahuna" storm has the potential to deliver heavy wet snow in a large portion of the Mid-Atlantic from central Virginia to the the Del-Mar-Va north to central and eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and more likely now southern New England. Whether northern New England gets in the game is not clear yet. However, many of our "southern storms" trended much farther north than anticipated. With the North Atlantic Oscillation forecasted to rise toward neutral after the 16th, this is a telltale sign the forecast could be changing as the week progresses. As always, I will be refining the geographical area to be impacted by this storm as it gets closer.

SNOWFALL: I have made a comparison to the March 1958 storm in the Mid-Atlantic as a guide for this event, which closed schools in Chester County, PA for 2 weeks due to the 4 feet of heavy wet snow. Some of the ‘seasoned’ teachers at my school recall that storm from how high the snow got ABOVE their first story window. I am NOT saying that 4 feet is in the cards, I am making reference to a late season storm which dumped a lot of snow in a cold and stormy March. For the past few days, the European model showed an arrangement which would have easily delivered 1-2 feet of heavy, wind-whipped wet snow for many areas south of I-80 to Virginia. Now those models are sending the storms south, which at first glance seems disappointing or great depending on your point of view.

Next, the Analysis.

The purpose of the on-going headline “Saddle up your horses, we gotta a trail to blaze” is to point out that this forecast, as compared to what you will read or hear in the next 3-5 days, will be blazing a trail into uncharted territory. Please note that if the elements I describe in the my storm evolution post do not come together, and this storm all goes over to rain, or stays south and never happens, then I will be the first to explain why that happened. I see that some computer models are having a hard time resolving the many anomalous features in the atmosphere over North America. However...it’s been TWELVE YEARS since our last major March storm to affect the East Coast. We are due. The 3 major climate indices for North America have made condition favorable for a major storm to develop, it will take a couple days for there to be some agreement reached by models on how to handle this system now moving out of the southern Rockies and into Texas.


I realize that the NWS and TWC forecasts have been waffling all over the place. What do you expect? Yesterday it was snow showers, then earlier today it was rain AND snow, then plain SNOW on the NWS forecast, now it is partly to mostly cloudy with no precip at all. They are pretty much tied to the GFS..so whichever direction the wind is blowing on that computer model any given hour will govern how your local forecast advertises this event. By tomorrow morning, it'll be back to rain mixing with and changing to rain... I...I mean snow, er uh, partly to mostly rain/snowy, or something like that.

MAJOR PLAYERS TO INFLUENCE DEVELOPMENT OF FINAL KAHUNA These are the atmospheric and oceanic influences currently in place all of which have a hand in creating our storm. A graphic posted by WxRisk.com maps this out nicely. I will explain in detail each of these players in the next day or two so you understand the big picture of how this storm can develop, as well as how the forecast can bust if these players do not put their cards out in the correct sequence.

1. RECENT SERIES OF NEW ENGLAND STORMS
2. GREENLAND HIGH PRESSURE BLOCK
3. WESTERN ATLANTIC HIGH PRESSURE RIDGE
4. ABOVE NORMAL WATER TEMPERATURES IN GULF OF MEXICO
5. UPPER LEVEL LOW FROM SO. CALIFORNIA TO MEXICO
6. PERSISTENT WESTERN U.S./PACIFIC HIGH PRESSURE RIDGE
Again, please check back later today for more details on the storm evolution analysis. I have actually hand written the whole idea, but have not had time to type it yet.

Update on the Sunday River Snowfall Contest: We are trying to get a firm accumulation number. It is somewhere between 12-24" but not sure on the precise amount.

BRIEF COMMENTARY ON WEATHER BLOGGING

The popularity of "weather blogs" throughout the country has risen from barely noticeable to very noticeable this past year. There are many high quality sites out there with a plethora of information to satisfy the appetite of any weather enthusiast. It is a veritable feast out there on the internet nowadays for what one can discover about the weather, and I appreciate the time and energy which countless thousands have put into making this interest for all of us more than just a "fun little hobby." I believe I can accurately speak for many like myself in saying that those of us passionate about the weather view this as a serious and life-long commitment to understand and appreciate the complexities of Mother Nature. For many of the people who put in a considerable amount of their own personal time which could be spent doing something else, following and forecasting weather is an important undertaking for them. I for one appreciate their passion, regardless of if they are a professional meteorologist or merely enjoy posting comments about the weather on discussion boards. So if you have found this site just today, or have been following it for a long time, you should feel welcome as a member of this unique community where all viewpoints and input are equally respected.

Friday, March 11, 2005

15 comments:
GREETINGS EVERYONE FROM SUNDAY RIVER, MAINE

I am taking a brief break from life in general and spending the weekend skiing with my brother, my father and friends from church. We are at Sunday River Resort where as of 8 PM, the temperature is 21 F, and the snow is absolutely pouring out of the sky in the most beautiful six-sided flakes I have ever seen. All the kudos for such great timing on this trip go to my brother Jeff, known throughout the modern world as "Footy." He did all the legwork and research to make this trip possible, and given the amazing snow we are now experiencing, it is really a nice payoff that makes all his hard work worth it.

We are the happy recipients of the latest New England snowstorm. (Seems like I’ve written about this before?). Our location is on the west central side of Maine, near the border with New Hampshire. Local forecasters were calling for 20-30” in this area earlier today, which seems a bit high but given high snow ratios and an abundant amount of moisture, that is possible. So in keeping with the tradition of posting snowfall amounts, first I give you the Foot-Krueger-Moody-Parypinski Sunday River storm grade contest:

This is for the period 5PM Friday to 8AM Sunday as measured by how much will fall on top of our Ford F-150 rental. (Now that thing is a Big Kahuna.)

Jeff Foot (Footy) = 10” (my brother)
Mr. Foot = 18”
Don Foot = 19” (my Dad)
Larry Moody = 22” (founder of Search Ministries [www.searchministries.org] and Dave’s boss)
Dave Krueger = 23” (my brother’s father-in-law, and my father's personal pastor)
Nick Parypinski = 26.45” (Larry’s son-in-law)
Josh Moody = 28” (Larry’s son)

The winner will be treated to a full roasted lobster dinner at the base lodge.

NOW ON TO THE REAL STORM FORECAST

If you’ve been following this storm, you’ve noticed it is a “triple point” of three Low pressure systems that are apparently going to converge off Cape Cod and move slowly northeast, throwing a considerable amount of moisture back over northern and central New England. I have seen a wide range of predictions for the area in which I am located, about 90 minutes north-northwest of Portland, ME. Sadly this event will or already has missed most of the Mid-Atlantic, although there was some snow in Central PA.

I would like to read about your observations, especially in Baltimore, Central NJ, New York and Boston. Josh Moody in our group is reporting that his family was out for a walk in the Baltimore area Friday afternoon, and a line of thunderstorms swept through, with a very sharp drop in temperature but no snow this time.

My original forecast for the weekend was that there would be snow flying from Central New Jersey to New England. I did not have ample time Thursday morning to go into more detail, so I figured a broad statement would cover it. A number of times this winter we’ve seen innocuous looking systems reach the waters near New England and just explode. The only concern I have with this storm is that these three systems have to combine at the right time in the right arrangement to deliver the amounts being bantyed around. Since the NAO is trending toward neutral, this would enable the storm(s) to make the turn up the coast, tap the polar vortex, and deliver another white whopper.

So, that having been said…on to the STORM GRADE SNOW AMOUNTS

MAINE: Portland…11” Augusta…14” MASSACHUSETTS: Boston…9” Woburn…10” Worcester…8”

RHODE ISLAND: Providence…7” CONNECTICUT: Hartford…4" NEW YORK CITY: 3.5” in Central Park

WHAT ABOUT THE WEATHER NEXT WEEK ?

The Final Kahuna is still on the books for last next week…in the Friday-Saturday timeframe. Due to my dialup internet connection, I have limited access to computer models. It sounds really geeky and corny, but a couple times today sitting on the ski lifts, I starting thinking about this next and likely final snowstorm. I have developed an explanation of the pattern and how I think this last storm will be the event that signs the death sentence for this late winter cold regime once and for all.

A historical note that this weekend is the 12 year anniversary of the March 1993 Superstorm. See if you can find a good link that looks back at that colossal event. Check back tomorrow for results of our storm grades and a look at next week.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

38 comments:
LIVE IN YOUR WORLD, PLAY IN OURS
- PlayStation slogan

This will be the shortest post in the history of Foot's Forecast. I have three main points for the evening, with an update Thursday morning to explain my reasoning.

1. There will be snow flying from Central New Jersey to New England this weekend. Period.


2. There will be ONE more storm next week, there IS NO WAY we can avoid it, there IS GOING TO BE lots of computer model madness, there WILL BE snow on the ground from DC to Boston by next Saturday, and it SHALL BE an Ultra Kahuna to be long remembered as the grand finale blockbuster event of the winter. As always, I forecast, you decide. I study the patterns, I analyze the data, and I see that there is no getting out of a great big storm to blow out in a blaze of snowy white glory. Just wait and see WHO TURNS OUT TO HAVE THE FINAL WORD ON THIS STORM.

3. "Your overconfidence is your weakness." - Luke to the Emperor. "Your faith in your friends is yours." - Emperor to Luke. As for me, I have faith in my overconfidence.


You can live in your world that is talking about spring, but for a little while longer, you will have to play in ours. And play we shall this time next week. Play we shall.