Thursday, March 15, 2007


St. Patricks Day Storm Snowfall 2

The Weather Channel's current snowfall projections, of which I generally agree, and will be adding a roundup of site-by-site predictions for the Mid-Atlantic this evening, along with analysis and potential impacts to school on Friday as well as Saturday activities.


St. Patricks Day Storm 2007

This morning's (12Z) North American Mesoscale (NAM) 84-hour model projection for snowfall this weekend by 8PM St. Patrick's Day. For those of you wanting one more snow, looks like the luck o'the Irish will be with ye. Though the event is 48 hours out as of this writing, the Boston NWS has issued Winter Storm Watches for their forecast area, and everyone who pays attention to this stuff throughout the Mid-Atlantic has begun to hear the first mention of snow in their weekend forecasts. Hard to imagine I'm sitting with the windows open, enjoying what feels like a mid-summer breeze, looking at the current temperature of 71 F, and writing to you about a SNOWSTORM on Saturday. Doesn't get more surreal than that, now does it? My colleagues at school recall that in the days preceding the March 1993 Superstorm (14 years ago this exact moment by the way), they were walking around Baltimore's Inner Harbor in shorts. But even then temperatures in the days prior to that storm were seasonable 50's and 60's. Today at my school, we hit 85 F in the sun and 80 F in the shade, and it was great fun telling students and teachers... "Ready for a White St. Patrick's Day? Har de har har."

As with every Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Storm, this one is bound to be just as complex as all it's predecessors. It has been a busy week and I will endeavor to revise my analysis from the previous post below for this late-season blockbuster which I have maintained since Sunday has the potential to deliver some areas their highest 24-hour snowfall of the year thus far.

REGIONAL SUMMARY Posted 10:02 PM 3-14-07
by Northeastern Forecasting Correspondant Mr. E.H. of Boston, MA.

Overall, it looks like Southern New England and possibly New York City's suburbs will be getting the most snow out of this storm. Those areas will receive their biggest eastern snowfall of the year this weekend and on St. Patrick's Day to boot! However, there will be enough cold air for the Mid-Atlantic once this storm gets its act together off the coast on Friday that areas near or just slighty to the WNW of the cities of Baltimore and DC will see a little wet accumulating snow. Philly and eastern PA may pick up their healthiest snowfall of the season as well with the heaviest snowfall totals to the north.

Into NYC, it looks like there will be advisories and warnings being posted, especially just to their north and northwest. Snow Advisories and Winter Weather Advisories will likely extend all the way down in MD and VA as well. Instability flurries and snow showers will encompass all of the OV and Great Lake states this weekend and will likely deliver a couple inches of snow to this region as well. Eastern TN may even see some accumulating snows this weekend as well! Winter is not over yet.

NORTHEAST SUMMARY: by Forecasting Correspondant Mr. E.H. of Boston, MA.
I am seeing this storm affecting Southern New England (SNE) in 2 rounds.

THURSDAY: ROUND 1. Starts in earnest tomorrow afternoon with rain, moderate to heavy falling along with falling temperatures into the mid 30's by late PM. Rain changes to snow late Thu night and accumulates to the tune of 2-4" Boston metro by the Fri AM rush.

FRIDAY: ROUND 2. Maybe a lull until early PM in SNE then heavy snows move in for the area. Rain on the Cape. Snow accumulating quickly. Late Fri PM, time of the 6 hour period of possible changeover for eastern SNE. Not sure this will happen for areas just WNW of Boston. These areas may be all right for mostly snow. Another 6-10" of wet snow possible with this round.

So, my preliminary forecast is for a general 8-14" of snow for the Boston-Worcester-Providence-Hartford areas by the end of the storm late St. Patrick's Day night.

ANALYSIS: Posted 8:43 PM Tuesday 3-13-07 by Mr. E.H. of Boston.

Snowfall accumulations look to be in the low to moderate Warning criteria for Southern New England. A Winter Storm Warning would be issued in SNE when 6"+ is imminent if the when the Watch was issued at least 12 hours prior and 8"+ is imminent when it is forecasted 24 hours or more prior to the onset.

What I am thinking is that there is a seperate rain maker that moves in tomorrow for Boston and SNE that delivers locally heavy rainfall after highs will range from 70-75 degrees. That lingers as scattered rain showers during the day Thursday with highs in the 50's and dropping by the evening rush. Thursday night there is still spotty showers and a few of these showers may turn to snow showers and flurries, especially in southern NH and VT Friday morning. Then there will be a lull in the action most of the day Friday before the heavy duty snow falling at temperatures of 30-33 moves in. That will continue all night Friday night into the early afternoon hours of Saturday possibly ending as a period of drizzle for eastern SNE. The critical rain/snow line will probably be around Plymouth to the SE portion of MA and RI.

To the north of there, there will be strong NE winds off the nice and cold 37 degree ocean water and with a high parked perfectly over Quebec, enough cold air will be here from Hartford to Providence to Boston for a good sized snowstorm. Still early, but it looks like this type of snow will be very wet with snow to water ratios of 6:1 SE and 8:1 in northern SNE.

Further north into NH, VT, and ME may see ratios of 15:1, but that is where less in the way of snow will fall, the way it looks like at this point. This all moves out Saturday night and we fall rock bottom into the single digits both below and above zero in NNE to teens in SNE. 20 in the cities. Sunday will be the day of digging out if you haven't already or just wait for the sun to do its job. Its almost April for goodness sake...the snow will be melted in a few days!

Nonetheless, highs Sunday and Monday will be quite cold with highs in the mid to upper 30's with breezy NW winds making it feel like we are in the heart of winter again. We stay "cool" until the end of next week, and then it looks like we will warm up the whole country again, back to normal and above normal temperatures. 50's and 60's in the NE...60's to around 70 in the MA.

--end forecast and analysis from Mr. E.H. -- Many thanks for a fabulous and comprehensive overview! I could not have put something together this quality in the time available so the spotlight for this storm is all yours!

For Feedblitz subscribers, in the interests of time and brevity, this post and the one issued earlier in the week are going to be revised with current information. While you'll receive this message in your email, you'll need to go back to the website to receive the most up-to-date details as this and the post before it are going to be updated several times over the next 2 days.

Sunday, March 11, 2007


* An extra hour of daylight to do your pre-garden prep work in the nice warm weather.
* If there's a late season storm, you'll also have more daylight to shovel or sled!

March 2007 Warmup 2

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Concensus has been growing among public and private forecasting agencies as well as through model indications that the period March 16 - 24 looks to be very stormy, potentially snowy and progressively colder for a majority of the East Coast. The "false warmup" that arrived Saturday the 10th and continues into Wednesday, though very pleasant, will set the stage for a 7-10 day series of late season cold blasts interspersed with winter storms. Oddly enough, those storms might even occur OUTSIDE astronomical winter (on or after March 21) and could potentially deliver to the central Mid-Atlantic and coastal Northeast their largest accumulations of the year. The period of Sunday the 18th through Friday the 23rd may be very cold and disruptive, and temperature records may be challenged for areas which just recently observed all time lows for the month of March.


- Ohio Valley and Great Lakes: Warmth early in the week will lead to this area becoming the battleground zone to be sure for the period 14th to 24th, alternating between rain and mild / snow, windy and colder with the passing of possibly three distinct systems over this time.

- Mid-Atlantic: Later in the week, interior and Appalachian areas will see changeovers to snow in frontal passages, then a turn to colder, while coastal areas end up with rain changing to snow for a brief time, then much colder with a possible storm around the Equinox.

- Northeast: The warmup will be shortened by arrival of the first system in midweek, followed by progressively colder and windier conditions. Snow is possible one day late next week, much colder following next weekend with the potential for a coastal system around the Equinox.

This discussion will contain a considerable number of computer model maps to illustrate the situation to unfold over the next 7 to 10 days. I do want to say that while long range computer model projections are not to be taken 100% literally, they do give us an indication of what pattern changes may be in development. Granted all the maps I have included will change numerous times between now and onset of the event. However I feel confident that the upper level dynamics in place strongly point to a significant late season disruption of the normal climatic pattern of gradual warming we have come to expect for this time of year. The changes being presented starting late next week will be unwelcome for many who are looking to put this winter behind them and move on to Spring.

Premise of the forecast: The false warmup from Sunday to Wednesday sets the stage for a cold, stormy and snowy period starting the 16th and continuing for a 7 t0 10 day period. Factors that will lead to the development of this pattern, in chronological order are: (1) Activation of the Southern Jet Stream; then (2) Buckling of the Polar Jet; followed by (3) Arrival of new Clippers; and finally (4) Moderating first High leads to stronger and colder second High and possible "pattern-ending" snowstorm to usher in the Spring Equinox.

1. Activation of the Southern Jet Stream due to a surface Low and upper level low in Texas that moves slowly across the southeast, allowing warm moist air to surge into the Northeast. The early and mid-week warmup across a large part of the Eastern U.S., will see temperatures climbing into the 60's and 70's to even near 80 across the Mid-Atlantic with overnight lows well above freezing. Consider the Saturday 3/10 late afternoon temperatures across Mexico, the US and Canada. Early evidence of my theorized pattern change is the slug of warmth pushing across the Baja and into Texas. Warm air coming across the subtropical Eastern Pacific means there's going to be more moisture becoming available for the next system that moves into the Gulf towards the end of this coming week.

March 2007 Warmup

2. Buckling of the Polar Jet. Although warmth will have overspread much of the country by Tuesday, it will exit as quickly as it arrived by end of the week. A vigorous low moving through central Canada as shown in the European projection below will provide additional strength to the warm air advection. However it's counter-clockwise flow on the backside will be the first domino to fall and initiate a surge of cold air along the first in a series of clippers to cross the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley into the Northeast. This buckling of the polar jet will lead to the demise of the weak cross-continental "zonal flow" before it has time to help establish a warmer regime.

European Model Projection for Tue 3-13

Concurrently, an upper level and surface low is projected to be moving from Texas to the Southeast during this time period. Upper level lows are notorious for moving slowly, thus allowing the surface low to tap and enhance moisture transport from the Gulf into the Tennessee and Ohio Valleys in advance of the progressing cold front. This is indicated by current QPF projections as well as by the GFS surface projection for Wednesday the 14th. Note that with each passing day this week, these links will automatically update with the most current changes as progged by government forecasters at NCEP.

GFS Model Projection for Wed 3-14

3. Arrival of "Clippers" turned "Coastals." This first Great Lakes clipper will usher in a strong cold front through the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast on Thursday and possibly as early as Wednesday. Rain that starts along I-95 on either day may even change over to snow for a brief period before the day ends, and interior sections of Maryland, central/western Pennsylvania may end up with a few inches of wet snow as the front passes overnight Wednesday or Thursday. This trend has already begun in local forecast grids from NWS offices in State College, PA.

GFS Model Projection for Sun 3-18

Behind this front will be the first in a series of cold surges to plunge into the Northeast starting on Friday the 16th, followed by a second and colder Arctic High Sunday into Monday. Temperatures by Sunday the 18th across much of the eastern 1/3 of the nation may be 10-15 degrees below normal, which is to say if you're in Philadelphia, an average high right now is roughly 50*F. Using Accuweather's 6-10 day outlook for example, by next Sunday you may be looking at highs in the upper 30's to low 40's and lows once again in the 20's.

4. Moderation of the first Arctic high by Tuesday the 20th ushers in more moisture from the Gulf, which may lead to a stationary frontal boundary between a warm moist air mass in the Southeast and the incoming Arctic Highs. Several weak areas of low pressure may develop along this front, transporting precipitation from the Gulf into the Tennessee and Ohio Valley and eventually into the indicated on the map below. Of course, this is a 10 day outlook and those of you skeptical about this verifying are rightly so. I'm showing this just as one piece of an overall larger picture of the pattern evolution.

GFS Model Projection for Wed 3-21

While I agree with skeptics that precise forecasts more than 10 days out are haphazard at best, it remains to be argued that if unseasonably cold air is firmly in place across the Northeast, it is probable that one or more systems moving from the Gulf may eventually result in interaction between the southern and northern branches of the jet stream. Some indication of this scenario is revealed on the GFS projection for Wed 3/21 and Thu 3/22. Whatever precipitation falls on your home, whether it is rain or snow during this event, re-freezing is possible given the arrival of a second very strong and cold Arctic High following the 21st and 22nd. This last stage of cold in the 16th-24th period may reach it's maximum intensity by the weekend of the 23rd, especially if widespread snowcover has been established prior to the arrival of this final Arctic High. Keep in mind it would take a few days to melt this snowcover, even in the strong March sun, when overnight lows dip enough to refreeze until the pattern moderates after the 24th.

GFS Model Projection for Wed-Thu 3-21,22

In conclusion, consider the following interest groups and impacts which may result from this upcoming weather pattern (extended period of storminess and cold weather)

- If you're a school administrator or department chair, what formal observations planned for the period 16th to 24th? Are these reschedules from earlier weather-related interruptions? Perhaps if you need to fit in an emergency drill or bus evacuation before the month is out, this upcoming week of nice weather might be the opportune time to do it?

- If you're an Athletic Director or Coach, I'm certain you have scrimmages or even early season games scheduled for this time. Realize that this pattern described would most certainly render field use, games and outdoor practices infeasible from Thursday the 15th to Sunday the 24th. What plans or schedule adjustments could be made in the coming week to compensate?

- If you're a landscape or outdoor-related business owner, how might this unwelcome late season weather affect your sales? What will you do to counter a week or more of bad weather when consumers aren't likely to be buying up spring supplies.

- If you work at an Elementary school or daycare center, (both of which I did once long ago), you know the impact to your sanity caused by having to keep the children for indoor recess for an extended period (7-10 days), especially if there's a combination of cold, snow, rain and wind.

- If you're an avid outdoor and gardening person like me, I don't want to see "Breaking News" on CNN: Gardener freezes to death in backyard attempting to keep recently planted bushes alive with body heat. I'm sure Home Depot and Nurseries will be inticing you will all kinds of wonderful things to plant in your yard, but DON'T DO IT THIS WEEK!

When time permits this coming week, I will be adding suporting links within the text, modifying the analysis and including the March 1956 storm analog complete with maps and side-by-side comparison to what's coming. Take advantage of the unique combination this week of more daylight afforded to you by the U.S. Congress, and the brief warm spell provided by Mother Nature. It'll be a nice respite from the recent cold and a promise that help is indeed on the way once we get past this final round of nastiness.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007


March 7 Clipper O'Luck


She was offered Donuts & Hot Chocolate but refused to stop working

Little Miss Foot working diligently to clear the van of the paralyzing .4 inches of snow that gripped the greater Dundalk area on this historic.. okay enough sarcasm. It is a nice little snow though. She was offered donuts and hot chocolate but resisted, saying: "I have to finish first." (Yes, Daddy did also help and not just take pictures.)

In a desperate attempt to corral together some evidence that supports why many schools in the Baltimore Metro area are closed, as well as central Pennsylvania, I have gathered the following from reader input:

1. POLITICS & SAFETY: I was as hugely surprised as the rest of you this morning. I glance out the window at 5:15 and thought.. "Well it did arrive a bit earlier, guess Tom Tasselmeyer won that one." Then I was just stunned to see a region-wide sweep...I mean everyone from Cecil County west and south to Anne Arundel. My only reasonable explanations are:

a) "Reaction" to the February 13 event, where the radar looked very ominous, a Winter Storm Warning was plastered across the region, but the snow started in the 7 o'clock hour. This led to the early dismissal situation later that day. I am curious why so many large districts decided simply to close outright as they did in the February 7 clipper, instead of go with a 2-hour delay, which would definitely allowed road crews time to work and traffic to warm up pavement.

b) This snowfall started earlier, (I'll admit MUCH earlier than I ever expected given low dewpoints), and by 4AM some roads were noticeably slick and hazardous. This was likely the scientific basis for the closing, although I agree with one of our commentors that it would have been possible to navigate in a dusting.

2. SCIENCE: This may still win the day, because despite whatever the pundits say, you're going to see the magic of Climatology and Astronomy today. Today's sun angle is the equivalent of early October, which is to say, quite strong. Luck was a lady last night, as had the snow arrived when I expected it (in the mid-morning) I would not be writing this right now and you'd be at school or work blissfully going about your daily life never fully able to appreciate this sun angle thing. In fact, the sun is poking through our clouds in Dundalk as I write this.

So why did all this happen? My theory is that a couple factors conspired in a short period of time to delivery a second lucky 7th of the month for those of you in school systems.

A) Warm air advection at mid-levels helped moisten the atmosphere at just the right heights to allow dendritic snow growth. This overcame low surface dewpoints.

B) The combination of this moist onshore flow with a rapidly moving clipper into a region where a sharp temperature contrast existed over short distances (upper 20's in DC, lower 50's in extreme southern Virginia) enabled the low pressure to tap some Atlantic moisture in enough time to harness the cold air in the early morning hours, as indicated below:

March 7 Clipper Surface Temperatures

C) Arrival of the Arctic front on Monday sufficiently chilled the ground and atmosphere allowing overnight temperatures to drop low enough over 2 days to enhance the famous "fluff factor" that occurs when a relatively light amounts of moisture are injected into a dry air mass. Liquid-to-snow ratios with this event will probably end up around 15:1 due to this effect.

Indications are a weak coastal Low will form off the Del-Mar-Va, enhancing snowfall this afternoon across the I-95 corridor from DC to Philly, as well as eastern Maryland and Delaware. "Enhancing" meaning if this occurs, it will help to verify the snow advisory call of 1-3" across the central Maryland and Chesapeake Bay region. This is evidenced by recent 3-hour pressure falls as shown below from the UNISYS Weather Analysis site.

March 7 Clipper 3-Hour Pressure Falls

3. HISTORY: If this is any guide, then we are in a geometrically regressing pattern of decreasing snow accumulation closing criteria. February 7 = 2 inches..closed. March 7 = .35 inches..closed. (Granted it is still snowing of course, but just for entertainment purposes, consider this possibility) that the percentage decrease in accumulation from 2/7 to 3/7 is 87%. By that ratio, the next snowfall of .045 inches should be enough to close schools. This analysis is posted for the purpose of demonstrating that I truly do have too much free time and really should move on to making my day more productive from this point forward.

I'm glad that some of us lucked out today. Those of you in the business community of course still have to face the slick roads regardless, so you are no doubt thankful of the favor handed you by the schools. For those in the schoolhouse (whether students, teachers or administrators) hey..take advantage of the time to get caught up, or at least plan on how you're going to catch up in the time that's left between now and Spring Break. I should also warn teachers, athletic directors and coaches that there is a lot of "March Madness" lurking out there in the 15th-20th time frame and it's not looking pretty. More on that later but let say for now I may have to retract my claim of "That's All Folks" from last month.

Speaking of history, this picture is a special message to all those alumni of true snow country... northwest Pennsylvania, western New York, along the Great Lakes and adjacent areas. Mrs. Foot and her family are originally from Crawford County, PA (one step below Erie County...translation: SNOWY!)

Eat Your Heart Out Crawford County!

The point of the picture is to say that not in 100 billion years would you have this type of situation in Crawford County, PA where Mrs. Foot and her brother (who is now in central Pennsylvania) grew up. Whenever we have these crippling snowfalls in the metropolitan areas, my in-laws love to relate the legend of how back on the farm, the snowplow would come charging down the country road early in the morning. Behind the plow was of course, the school bus. The children would board the bus, and then follow the snowplow to school. At end of the day, same process in reverse. The plow would clear a path out to the farms, with the bus trailing behind, and return the children safely. This happened whether was 12", 24" or more. My wife remembers going to school then with 6 and 8 foot drifts either side of the road.

So this morning I went to Mrs. Foot and woke her by saying: "Week 9." In the darkness from under the covers there was a faint, "uuuh?...pause.. 1-hour delay?" I responded, "I wish." She countered with, "2-hour delay?" I answered, "that would be nice." The covers catapulted into the air, light clicked on, and the formally subconscious Mrs. Foot bolted upright to say, eyes wide as the beltway, "CLOSED???" I gave her the coffee, and quietly excused myself from the room with a smile, as I heard in the background..."Oh I have so much to do, how am I going to do the MSA, oh the laundry, I've got to get to school. And there's that IEP..." So Mommy and the bigger of the Little Foots are off to school, and I am managing laundry and the sleeping Littler Foot. oop, just heard a rumbling upstairs. Free time is over.

As you can see, it's tough down here when we've got to deal with .4 inches like this.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

- Marlon Brando playing Sky Masterson in "Guys and Dolls"

WHAT'S NOT LIKELY TO HAPPEN ON WEDNESDAY: Schools in the eastern Mid-Atlantic (east of the Appalachians) to be delayed, closed or have an early dismissal. (Read: Northern/Central Maryland/Baltimore-DC Metro areas)

Mar clipper

Why? Timing of the storm will be such that accumulating precipitation does not arrive in force until mid to late morning. This precip has to overcome a dry atmosphere and penetrating rays of the sun into the clouds as the snow will be primarily a daytime event. The ground will be cold, however liquid equivalent amounts of perhaps .25 for the entire event will be negated considerably by the aforementioned two factors. I can see a situation where it is snowing to beat the band Wednesday morning into the afternoon, accumulating on cars and grassy surfaces. However roads are simply slick and wet. Daytime traffic helps to warm road surfaces, and combined with salt trucks making rounds, this allows roads to remain perfectly fine into the evening rush, thus eliminating the need for schools to close early on Wednesday. Although it will be super cold out there for most of this week, the sun rays will feel strong...because they are! Intensity of the sun angle now is equivalent to EARLY OCTOBER! This same type of storm in early February if you recall delivered a surprise day off on 2/7 for almost all Baltimore Metro area schools, as cold temperatures caused road surfaces to become very slippery on contact with the snow, and sun angle prevented roads from warming. Not this time my friend. I agree with the National Weather Service on this one..expect a light accumulation not to exceed 2 inches in metro areas east of the mountains. Those of you in the mountains, 2-4 inches seems reasonable. You can also check Accuweather's projections and they are fairly similar. Note to Philly area readers: I think your NWS call is off...2-4 inches is much too high and I doubt the moisture can make it that far east or have enough time to pull in from the ocean before storm departs.

There is the outside possibility that upper level dynamics throw us a curve ball, and enhancement of snow banding due to upward motion (along with higher liquid ratios) as was observed in the February 25 event raised snow totals. Just for fun, I'll explore that possibility tonight...but either or're in school Wednesday regardless.

Thursday, March 1, 2007


Alabama Tornado 1

Our hearts are deeply saddened by the sudden and tragic loss of life among students and teachers at Enterprise High School in Alabama. It is a horrific situation, especially for parents, and words cannot describe the soul-wrenching grief which has descended on that sweet little town. Imagine sending your child to school thinking they will be safe, to never see them alive again. I cannot even begin to fathom the horror some of those parents have now faced.



mARCH 1a

Monday, February 26, 2007

-Porky Pig from the oldtime Saturday morning cartoons

Put it this way, wasn't it nice that your underperformer of a winter at least ended on a snowy note? While I did promise those of you in the Mid-Atlantic a "Very Fabulous February" could say it did work out that way for students and teachers hoping to get some time off. However, it is time to break the sad climatological and meteorological truth... looking at long range patterns (going out beyond 144 hours from now) indicate there is little in the way of a similar snow event. There is the rare occurrance of a March 13, 1993 or March 20, 1958...but the atmosphere's teleconnective signals do not point toward anything of that magnitude the remainder of this winter. To clarify from a geographical standpoint...south of I-80, I believe significant snow for the season has ended, except for the Laurel Highlands of western and central Pennsylvania. There remains the possibility of an inch here or there, but another event such as this one looks highly unlikely given reduced availability of Arctic air moving forward in time. So as you bask in the glow of have one more day to see snow out your window, here are two photos submitted by readers in the Baltimore Metro area:

The Final Snow of the Season

Courtesy of Julee in the Hereford Zone of northern Baltimore County, Maryland

See You Next Year!

Courtesy of Mr. S from Anne Arundel County, Maryland

Forecasting and analysis of the weather pattern will continue into mid-March, and then the focus of this website shifts to the mundane and non-controversial topics of climate change and pandemic influenza in the ramp up to tropical cyclone season. I can give you a tidbit of that by saying that El Nino is now trending to neutral and we may see La Nina by mid summer, I have a sneaking feeling this will be a bad year for hurricanes and could resemble 2004 or 2005 in terms of frequency and severity of storms. But much research on that awaits me, so if you want more information on that topic, please read over Dr. William Gray's preliminary forecast for the 2007 season.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

-Michael W. Smith, in Somebody Love Me from the album Change Your World

The next line is in that song is..."I don't want to wait here forever." While Loudon County, VA has already pulled the plug, those of you in Maryland know you'll have to wait until morning until you know. When will it be? 5:37.58 AM ? No in actuality I imagine most Maryland and Pennsylvania schools are going to make the decision fairly quickly and will be ready to announce first thing starting at 5:00 AM. For those counties and municipalities which did not receive the heavy duty snow (4+ inches) it's all going to come down to a few scientific factors: (1) How much re-freezing occurred overnight? (2) Are secondary roads just wet or icy? (3) Will daytime warming assist in the melting such that a 1- or 2-hour delay seems the most reasonable path to take? To augment your own personal decision making, are three graphics to round out the evening, or to greet you in the morning, whichever time you are reading this. Let's start with the best interactive roadway weather map I think exists anywhere...operated of course by the State of Maryland. If you have not seen or used this system, definitely bookmark it.. this is known as C.H.A.R.T.

Maryland Roadway Weather 2-25-07

Overall this map is indicating most major roads in Maryland are at or above 32*F as of this 9:45 PM update. You can roll over the little dots and see roadway conditions. However, most counties in this image have their snow emergency plans still in place, except for Baltimore City, Prince Georges and Kent. That takes us to the next graphic, current regional surface temperatures.

Surface Temperatures 2-25-07

While some of you are no doubt disturbed by the slot of warm air to your west, keep in mind it has been there for many hours now and has not really advanced much. Also refusing to budge is the wedge of cold air that's deep into Virginia. This is due in part to the recent snowpack that's been established over the past 12-16 hours, and the fact that a large region has essentially similar temperatures. If my facts are straight, that is called a "Baroclinic zone" in that the air mass takes on the characteristics of the area over which it occupies, thus influencing the weather underneath. If I'm off base with my concepts, I encourage the professional meteorologists who frequent this site to please help set the record straight on this. Which leads to our third map of the night: 3-hour pressure changes.

3 Hour Pressure Change 2-25-07

This connects the other 2 maps together. The dark purple shading off the DelMarVa coast is the developing secondary Low, as indicated by 3-hour decreases in surface millibar pressure. This low is forming, but will take a while yet, and by morning the precip should have cleared Philly and NYC with the fringes scraping Southern New England. Point of the map is if that weak Low forms in conjuction with the High to the north and a cold wedge in place, it will help to reinforce the cold over the region even with very nominal counter-clockwise air flow...because it is in tandem with air flow south out of the High. (Many thanks to Mr. TQ for providing the link for this during the afternoon on Sunday.)


Given what observations you've made about the maps I provided, here's a call that hopefully seems reasonable to you:

CLOSED: Frederick, Carroll, Montgomery

2-HR LATE: Anne Arunde, Howard, Harford, Cecil, SE York County PA

1-HR LATE: Baltimore City and County

3-HRS EARLY: Howard County. (Ha just wanted to see if you were attentive)

MY GUIDELINES FOR ACCURATE PREDICTION OF CLOSED THIS TIME: Condition of secondary roads, extent of icing overnight from dropping temps, expected daytime temps. This is assuming most schools will be able to clear their parking lots, sidewalks by 6:00 AM.

That is all for now, see you in the morning for the morning reports.

-Comment made by Kenneth Welsh, playing the Vice President in Day After Tomorrow to paleoclimatologist Jack Hall, played by Dennis Quaid when he suggests the climate is changing.

2:30 PM Update - SUNDAY 2/25

If you reside in the Mid-Atlantic area near the DC-Baltimore-Philly Metro areas, obviously what you see out your window would indicate a few changes to the forecast are in order.
And you would be correct. First, the current radar:

Surprise Snow on least it's not ice

The unexpectedly heavier snow is occuring due to a couple factors. The wedge of cold air was more entrenched across the coastal plain than computer models had indicated. Despite overnight temperatures not falling to far, the orientation of the airmass was more widespread in a north to south arrangement (along the East Coast) than in the East-West setup in the Valentine's Day Storm. As a professional meteorologist dutifully noted in the chat feature last night... we were concerned about the marginal aspect of surface temperatures. He made a point that has rung loud and clear today. Upward motion. The strong onshore flow into the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic caused by the tandem combination of the decaying Midwest low and the High pressure ridge setup from Canada down to the south east provided ample moisture. For simplicity sake, let me explain it this way by saying Atlantic moisture is riding in along the coastal plain, striking the pervasive dome of "cool" air, (not really cold) forcing it upward quickly.

The moisture then falls through the cool air at upper levels, crystallizing into snow. As it falls, the snow slowly evaporates, creating what I discussed yesterday...evaporative cooling. This in turn chills the atmosphere and brings the air temperature near the surface "down with the snow." It is a perfect example of micro- to mesoscale atmospheric dynamics. Proof is in thermometer at your house..dropping all day when climatology this time of year suggests sun angle among other things should send that temperature up. The result? A chilled air mass which can produce a hefty amount of snow in a short time even during maximum daytime heating, overcoming subpar temperatures at the surface.


Surface Observations 130 PM 2-25

Review with me the current surface observations from Penn State's e-Wall. Notiee position of that teensy high around the Delaware Bay? I think that's inhibiting development of the secondary. You cannot have a surface Low forming in the same place as a Surface High. That's the Theory of Reciprocity, right Physics teachers? There can be an upper level low contaminating a surface High, or a weak Low next to a weak High, but not both in the same place at the same time. Momentum from the eastward pivoting dry line behind the cold/occluded front associated with the maturing Midwest low is simply flushing all the moisture to the coast. There it meets enhancement from Atlantic moisture being sent onshore by the double-barrel nature of air flow around both pressure systems. (Counterclockwise for the Low, clockwise for the High). So where is the Secondary Low to form? If it does, it will probably be weak, and have little or no effect on the final outcome of the precip in the Mid-Atlantic right now. Perhaps it will form under the High somewhere in North Carolina, but certainly not along the DelMarVa coast, at least not until pressure falls can indicate the High has decayed enough to allow for a pressure difference.

THE SNOW? WELL, THE BAD NEWS IS IT WON'T LAST LONG. Once that sharp back edge works it's way to the coast, that's probably it for those of you in northern/central Maryland. Redevelopment of a secondary isn't going to happen quickly enough to wrap a lot of energy back around and keep the snow going....there's too great of a north-northeastward motion for that I think. Energy for an explosive coastal low has basically been sapped out. What about the freezing rain that was originally predicted? That may still happen, but I am thinking not anywhere to the extent that was first believed, which is a good thing. There are still many nuances yet to uncover in this drama, and I may have to come back and re-unexplain myself if it changes again. Just remember the headline up top.

If snow ends this afternoon, and air behind it is not cold or below 32, and DC-Baltimore metro areas get cut off from the High pressure source region, I could see this snow starting to melt right away. Crews would have many hours to clean up, overnight temps are not projected to sink into the 20's regionwide, all of which makes me lean towards a delay rather than closed for many schools in affected counties of Maryland.

I'll take a look at things again later this afternoon after I get some snow cleared off the sidewalks. Enjoy it now while it lasts. This time of year it'll start falling off the trees quickly and become clumpy and wet before long. If you have a digital camera, snap some nice pictures from your area and I'll be introducing a photo sharing feature on here using (that is.. if school closes tomorrow!) Meanwhile, our weather spotters across the land of education... I guess it's time we start the traditional scientifically based speculation on school tomorrow. What are your thoughts on it?

-artist and title unknown, maybe the Stray Cats?

The Sickest radar you've ever seen

Ready or not, here it comes. With a projected liquid equivalent of anywhere from .5 to 1.25 inches, this will be a juicy event for Maryland, Virginia, the Del-Mar-Va, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Be sure to check your local NWS sites for changes in the advisories. I have no major changes to my forecast except to say that temperatures today will determine extent of frozen vs. liquid precip. If northern Maryland receives the widespread icing indicated by NWS, (up to 1/2 inch freezing rain) then school Monday is in jeopardy for those areas (Frederick, Carroll, Baltimore, Harford, Cecil counties). More information later. Please post your observations in the comments or the storm chat center. I will not be able to participate in either until this afternoon, so will talk to you all then.

Special note of thanks to Mr. B in Greencastle, PA for providing this link to the neatest looking radar program I've ever seen, the image above of which is a capture from this morning. Bookmark that one for sure and I'll be adding it in the links soon.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

-Enya in Anywhere Is, from the album Paint The Sky With Stars
3:45 PM REVISION: 2/24/07


The IceKahuna Cometh

On, view the Current radar loop for Midwest and Northeast, projected accumulation maps, and a good overview of the ice potential for Sunday into Sunday night. The image above is a radar/satellite/surface pressure composite from Penn State's e-Wall.

FOR EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS: Sorry that you are receiving multiple updates of the same post, explanation for this is below. Just delete the oldest version and read only the most current.

The Winter Storm Watch posted for most of Pennsylvania, Maryland, northern Virginia, West Virginia and a slice of Northern New Jersey has been upgraded to a Winter Storm Warning. The key factors coming into focus are "evaporative cooling" an increasing amount of moisture as indicated on radar, and the stubborn nature of the East Coast High Pressure ridge. As moisture falls through dry air, it evaporates, which is a cooling process. This concern has been spelled out in discussions from the DC-Baltimore NWS this morning. The net result is a reinforcement of the cold air in place, allowing what is called "Cold Air Damming" to remain and strengthen. You can see their concern just by looking at the placement of that 1032 mb High to the north and 1024 mb High in the southeast. There are also tornado watches and warnings in Alabama and Mississippi, indicating that the moisture flow is likely to continue into this storm for some time. Once it reaches the Mid-Atlantic, the double dome High pressure will have chilled considerably overnight. Warm moist air advecting over this very large area of cold air will produce extensive frozen precipitation. I know this is stronger language that I have been conveying in the previous 48 hours, but if the freezing rain scenario plays out more this time than the sleet did last time, this storm could inflict greater damage to the DC-Baltimore-Philly Metro areas than the Valentine's Day Storm.

IceKahuna Coating the Midwest

In general this may end up an I-95 special, which means the closer you are to the interstate and it's major cities, the greater variety of precipitation you will see. In the metro areas (DC-Baltimore-Philly) I can envision this event starting as light snow Sunday morning, then transitioning to snow/sleet in the late morning, then sleet/freezing rain by noon. There could be a brief period of plain rain Sunday afternoon along and east of 95 before reversing course back to freezing rain and sleet, ending as snow showers. Areas north and west of that line will see less mixed precip, but are still likely to experience more snow/sleet and less freezing rain or rain. One key difference that stands out between this storm and that of 2/14 is the much larger area of ice shown on current radars. That storm had a snow shield extending from Philadelphia to Nebraska at one point, and had a thin band of ice until it reached the Mid-Atlantic. Look back through the archives to last week and see the differences. That alone should indicate we are in for a very disruptive event.

In central and northern Maryland snow accumulations will be light, less than 2" overall south and east of MD I-81 but the ice potential will be significant and hazardous. The Balto-DC NWS in their Winter Storm Warning text go as far as saying "travel will be difficult to impossible." If you follow storms like I do, I can tell you that's the first time the NWS in this area has used that phrase. What happened in Anne Arundel and Prince Georges counties last time might be the outcome in this region, with widespread power outages affecting thousands of people. With the pre-storm hype this time virtually non-existent, people may be less prepared because it seemed to come out of nowhere for those not closely monitoring it like we do.

In northern Virginia/eastern West Virginia and northwestern suburbs of DC, a freezing rain advisory is in place and this could very well end up a repeat of last week, with the same areas and experiencing power outages and the same school systems closed for more than one day. Lower southern Maryland, which has a Winter Weather Advisory, southeast Virginia and the Del-Mar-Va will see brief periods of mixed precip, starting as snow/sleet before quickly changing over to rain by noon, ending as rain and snow showers Monday.

In central/east central Pennsylvania and New Jersey, snow will primarily be the issue, and areas between I-76 to I-80 will see at least 3 inches mixed with sleet. Freezing rain and sleet will mix in at times south of I-76 holding down accumulations of snow for those areas. I may have to revise these projections based on how storm dynamics unfold over the next 12 hours. Southeastern PA and the Philadelphia region are more likely to have an evenly distributed but "mixed bag" meaning those areas will see a plowable amount of snow (3-4 inches) as well as sleet and freezing rain but all occuring at different times.

Since a Winter Storm Warning has been issued and significant accretion of freezing rain and sleet is expected to up to 1/4 inch by late Sunday night, it is not unreasonable to expect many schools and universities will be delayed or closed Monday morning. The commute will no doubt be hazardous if the current expectations verify. As for speculation on schools being is going to come down to the depth and extent of icing, and whether or not temperatures rise to the point that it is clear to district officials that enough warming would take place Monday morning to warrant a delay. This would occur if the scientific data suggests that sun angle and surface temperatures being right at 32 would be enough that roads will improve by the time buses are rolling for first round of pickups at 8:30 AM. In Pennsylvania schools will run the whole gamut of possibilities..some closed, others open and forced into an early dismissal. Don't try to make sense of how that's going to unfold. In the case of Maryland's large county systems such as Baltimore, Frederick, Carroll, Harford, Howard, etc... I believe it will be an example of the "2/3rds - 1/3rds" rule. If two-thirds of a particular county are under undeniably icy conditions, while the other one-third has changed to rain, then that school system is likely to close. If the reverse is true, I would expect a delay.

Very. We are perhaps 18 hours out from onset of precip in the metro areas, and computer models continue to show inconsistencies, with respect to arrival time, precip type and amounts. I am certain this will be a uniquely different storm from the Valentine's Day event, and could very well be worse from an icing standpoint. From this point forward, our storm becomes a "NowCast" event meaning that as the situation unfolds, computer models may not pick up on all the nuances and changes you see by radar, satellite and surface observations. Real-time upper air analyses (especially 850 millibar levels) become critically important in determining depth of cold air, wind vectors and extent of moisture available as indicated by vertical soundings and dewpoints. This data will be among the key factors in figuring out what these storms are going to do over the next 48 hours. The other interesting factor I have not seen discussed as much in Baltimore NWS headlines is how much the secondary storm impacts the region, whereas this is mentioned more in the PHL warning statements.

Other questions you have which I will address later:

Regarding the email update feature, I have discovered that when a new post is published, the service generally sends you the update immediately. The disadvantage is however that when I return to the post for editing or revisions, the Feedblitz service views that revision as new information, and sends you a second version. This results in your emailbox receiving two or three messages which look like I'm violating my rule of not bombarding you with constant updates. If you are receiving this message as one of three notices, just delete the two earliest ones and the most recent is the final version.

I wish I could just put it all in one update, but Saturdays are a busy time at the Foot weekend childcare center, so that in combination with a complex storm forecast means the update is issued in pieces as child crises or lack thereof permit. For example, in the time it took you to read the first two sentences of this paragraph, earlier this morning the 14 month old, (who is fond of exploring in the trash can,) discovered the paper coffee filter filled with..yes..grounds. And where did the coffee grounds go you might ask? Anywhere they could possibly go as allowed by the Laws of Physics. The trash can is now sitting way up high on a table. As for the complex storm forecast, well it's already arrived at my house in the form of a highly energetic pre-toddler who is about to wake up from her nap.

For our frequent readers, we should activate the "evening news roundup" and if you can please post later tonight in the comments our usual spread of reports on what the evening news weather forecasters are conveying to the public. I will not have time to catch the news tonight and an interested to hear their prognostications.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

slight revisions Thursday evening 2/22


Since the title of this site is "Basic Weather For Busy People" I'll get right to it. Please note to those in school systems receiving this message that your servers will likely block the computer model image I have above. You can instead go to the European computer model link to see it yourself.

Any talk of a big warmup in the news media has been swept away by a big cold front and accompanying Alberta Clipper which chargec into the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Thursday, 2/22. As you probably already noticed, your Saturday-Sunday local forecasts have been flopping all over the place and are now trending colder. A few days ago, my Weather Channel Local Forecast for Saturday in Dundalk, MD was Rain, 65*F. Now it is "Wintry Mix" with temperatures in the 30's. Well what happened? Quite simply, US-based computer models were trying to send the Ohio Valley Low right into a sprawling High in the Hudson Bay. That would have allowed tremendous warm air to surge northward ahead of the storm. Thanks to the Laws of Physics, computer models have finally caught on to the fact that the primary low will have to stay farther south, introducing the wintry mix scenario you now see in your forecasts. My concern is the colder trend could continue, to the point that Sunday night we might be looking at a sleet/freezing rain situation along north and west of I-95 from DC to Philly into interior Maryland, southern/central Pennsylvania. Plain rain south and east of I-95.

I see two distinct possibilities with this weekend system:

1. The NWS forecast holds up. Here's an example forecast from suburban Philly. What prevents this from becoming a big surprise ice/snowstorm is location of the High. The cold air is not in the right place, as indicated by the bright pinks surrounding the High way up in Hudson Bay. The low moving into Ohio Valley develops a secondary along Del-Mar-Va, but enough cold air is left over, and ample moisture is fed into the Mid-Atlantic/Northeast from onshore flow in advance of either low, the precip starts as snow/ice Saturday into Sunday. However the secondary tracks too close to the coast (as with the Valentine's Day Storm) and by Sunday evening the metro areas end up as rain, with some snow in interior sections (Appalachians, southern/central/southeastern PA). This will no doubt prompt "Winter Weather Advisories" from DC up to Philly along with the regions associated with those cities.

2. Surprise, Surprise. The secondary low develops farther south off the Mid-Atlantic coast than we expect, and tracks a few more miles out than what is currently believed. This allows the secondary to pull in just enough additional cold air from the "improperly placed High" that would the changeover is delayed or barely occurs. What starts as sleet/freezing rain/snow mixed stays that throughout Sunday and into the night. I am leaning away from this scenario due to location of the High.

If you can see the map above, the Euro is projecting the "zero line at 850 mb" to be in the I-95 corridor. (This is essentially a lower-level indicator of whether or not precip would be frozen at the surface based on where this line is located geographically). Look for the light-bluish/whitish band of color in the Mid-Atlantic. You can see that by 8PM Saturday night, most metro and interior sections are well within the 0*C line. Question is how long does that line remain, does onshore flow push that line back (north) allowing the changeover to rain? You can also see how there is a bit of a battle being setup between three pressure systems. The Canadian High seeming to want to nose it's way down, the Maritime surface Low in the right corner helping to funnel cold air down the Eastern seaboard, and the approaching Ohio Valley low seeming to send warm air into the mix from the south. What an interesting setup this is going to be.

The saving grace for everyone is Monday air behind the storm should be milder so despite either scenario, that might prevent schools in the metro areas from being closed or delayed. Interior schools could face delay issues Monday morning. I really doubt this can turn out as an unexpected big snowstorm in case you were wondering, but it will make for travel and scheduling headaches Saturday and Sunday.

Is winter over? Not exactly. There is potential for 1-2 more storms over the next 10-15 days. I am skeptical either storm will become a major snow event for the Mid-Atlantic, due in part to higher sun angle as we move into March. There could be some snow and ice from either storm, but sun angle could eat away at most of it. The exception of course would be storms like March 13-15, 1993 and March 20, 1958, but don't get your hopes up that this winter goes out in a white blast.

The comments feature will return this weekend after I make a few modifications. Thank you to the 275+ of you whom have made the switch to the Feedblitz program. This greatly streamlines the updating process directly to your e-mailbox. I sincerely appreciate your continued support and readership of this site.

Monday, February 19, 2007


Please read below and switch your email update account over to Feedblitz.

To continue receiving email updates when high-risk weather events threatens the East Coast, such as a winter storms, tropical cyclones or other phenomena, it will be necessary for all members of the "Foot's Forecast Distribution List" to re-register using the “Feedblitz” feature found in the right column. I'm sorry to make you jump through a few electronic hoops, but this is a critically important adjustment which must be made.

The Foot’s Forecast Distribution List was a temporary program designed to provide busy professionals such as yourself with “as needed” access to impending weather events, without having to check this website frequently. However, as you know mass emails clutter your inbox with the full list of addresses attached to the original message. Although no one has been critical toward or complained about this format, I wish to change the current format because is not the most professional approach in my view. In addition, I recently reached the maximum allowed number of contacts allowed in the list, and had to create second one, manually entering all the new addresses. This ultimately delays the process of conveying storm forecast updates to you.

That’s a good idea, but unfortunately the data must be in a format which the Feedblitz server can upload. I experimented with this several different ways and besides, I'm not comfortable registering you up for a service you did not request. The only option is to re-register, which requires perhaps 2 minutes if that, and in return you get a rich and diverse supply of storm information along with unmatched meteorological entertainment.

None. Like you, I am bombarded with email at work and home all day, and not weather-related either. I have taken great pains to assure myself and you that the Feedblitz program does not allow undesirable communication to occur in addition to the update, such as junk mail, advertising, spam, phishing scams. I have tested the update feature for several days and all you receive is the text and images of just the most recent update. This list is not up for sale, nor will you be receiving boring off-season minutae about the weather, requests for you to "forward this to all your friends!" or anything else not directly related to a storm that may impact your life in the near future.

Directly across to the right column you'll see the input field “Request Updates By Email.” Enter your email address, and this will direct you to a new pop-up page requesting confirmation. Once you register, the Feedblitz program includes your email address in a site scan every 24 hours. You may even receive this same post again. If the program notices an update has been published, the text and images of the most recent post are forwarded to your email account. IF HOWEVER, there has not been an update since the day before, you receive nothing. This is to prevent you from receiving the same post multiple times. If you've already made the switch and are receiving this message IN your email account, then no action is required. You could forward this to someone who's inquired about how to register for the updates.

It will appear as a normal message appearing in this format: "[Mr. Foot: FOOT'S FORECAST: {title of the update} . Body of the message will be identical to how appears it on the actual site, but contains images from just that post. Please note that some educational institutions restrict or prohibit images in email, mainly to prevent server overload. Those of you who register for Feedblitz using a school email address may not receive the image, which may unfortunately hamper your understanding of the message. I will take this into account when preparing the update. At bottom of the message is a link directing you back to the site, however please refrain from clicking this if your school server already blocks the forecast site. You will be able to receive the text at the very minimum.

Good question. The short answer is every 24 hours when in storm mode. Let’s say you register today at 3:00 PM EST. You will not receive any information right away. Then I post an update at 9:00 PM the same day. Again, your email version of that post will not appear until just after midnight, when the Feedblitz program scans for revisions. If we're in storm mode, you'll get regular updates each morning, and if no storms, no updates. The purpose of this feature is to let you go about your life, and not have to check this site unless you suspect something brewing. When the long range potential for a storm starts to appear, I begin posting again. Meanwhile, you’re happily going about your everyday life, not even suspecting there's something going on with the weather. Then, out of the blue, you get an email containing my most recent post. This alerts you that something is up, and directs you to the website for more details.

Keep in mind, there are two long period of silence on this site: (1) From end of the East Coast winter storm the start of threatening Atlantic basin tropical cyclone activity [from about March 15 to mid June or July] and; (2) From end of hurricane activity to first indications of a winter storm [about Nov 1 - Dec 1]. During those times, I don't forecast the weather, and sorry to say but I generally don't cover Tornado season, it is too changeable and hard for me to accurately track.

Plenty. You can do this today or wait a few months. I will send a reminder message to the original distribution group about once a month, and then the last message will be sent once we see a tropical system start to gather in the summer. Before start of the next school year, the old list will be deleted once I'm confident everyone has navigated to Feedblitz. I do not anticipate having to change this again, as the new program is highly regarded around the internet for it's consistency and integrity.

IF YOU HAVE ANY ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS, please feel empowered to direct them my way: If you encounter problems with your Feedblitz registration, please let me know. In conclusion, I enjoy making this site versatile and interactive so it enhances your understanding of the weather and enables me to convey information in an efficient and appropriate manner. Thank you for your continued support, readership and participation, I remain..

Sincerely Yours,
Forecaster Foot

About this picture:
Recorded in August 2005 on the last day of a 2-week family trip to Armenia in the Middle East. We were visiting the 11th century Fortress and Church of Amberd. Some thunderstorms began building on the horizon and I quickly had my sister-in-law snap the picture before we headed back down the mountain to Yerevan.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Come On Admit It - You Miss This

26.4" in Burlington, Vermont from Valentine's Day SuperKahuna #1. Yes, those are cars. Enough to make a Mid-Atlantic-bound powderhound cry. View the rest of this gallery from Vermont's biggest one-day snowfall ever. Can you believe the absoutely perfect timing of this storm, arrives just days before one of the biggest ski weekends of the year? Just imagine what it must be like on Castlerock in Sugarbush, Chin Clip at Stowe, and Ulee's Gold way up at Jay Peak. Heck, if you're going that far north, might as well stop over to the double-black diamond bonanza at Celestial in Sunday River, Maine. Come to think of it, wonder how Whistler is doing?

Sunday River

True East Coast powderhounds will always hold solemn remembrance of this weekend, when 4 years ago, the snowstorm of your dreams moved from fantasy into the pages of history.

The event now known to the ages simply as "PD II"


I'll never forget this as long as I live. After 8 hours on the PA Turnpike in PD II (pales in comparison to those poor souls on I-81 and I-78 though), I arrive in Dundalk to this on Sunday afternoon 2/16/03 at 3PM:


And the next morning, looking up my street toward the school, was this:


(and my wife thought we'd be in school the next day!)

Friday, February 16, 2007

"There's a big blue sky waiting right behind the clouds."
- Brad Paisley, from Disney's Cars soundtrack song of the same title.

European Projection For Feb 22

There'll be a big blue sky out there today, and nary a cloud in the sky, but it doesn't mean a big warmup is coming, at least not until next week. When conditions do begin to moderate, it will be in advance of a great big rainstorm that according to the European will take aim on the East Coast, dumping heavy wet snow in the interior. I'll post more details on this over the weekend, but this looks to be a SlopKahuna for I-95, ending as brief snowshowers. West of I-81 however it could be another SuperKahuna if it draws in enough leftover cold air from eastern Canada. The issue will be one of ratios. It should be cold enough for snow, (and I'm just making a crapshoot here..) but with a 8:1 or 6:1 ratio in the interior Appalachians from West Virginia to Upstate New York... you know what that means. I know many will say it's too early to make a call on accumulations, but with a high pressure ridge sitting off the Southeast coast pumping abundant moisture into a system already loaded with Pacific punch... well let's just say Oswego, NY had better get those roofs cleared off mighty quick. When this falls, it won't be light and fluffy.

You can probably see what happens following this storm. It rolls up into the Canadian maritimes, and sends that final piece of Arctic air back in the Yukon screaming down to the East Coast. There are rumblings in the long range of March coming in like a lion, in the 3/1-4 time frame. Any big storm occuring into March has got to have all the elements perfectly perfectly aligned, because higher sun angle can negate snowfall and turn calls of 6-12" into 3" real fast. Suffice to say both systems will be closely watched, and this time we'll use a bit more human input than total reliance on the computer models.

Happy Friday everyone! Remember to register for the automatic email feature with Feedblitz in the right column so you can receive updates whenever a new post is published.