Monday, March 1, 2010

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                                  FORECAST TEAM RESOURCES










Offer feedback or submit a team application:
Direct any e-mails to Mr. Brisko (
or to our group account (



The list below contains links to indicator data for participants in the Winter 2009-2010 Climate Collaborative Project.Baltimore Co. SchoolsGrade 5 Perry Hall Elementary
Grade 8 Science: Dundalk Middle
Grade 9 Science: Crossroads Ctr
Baltimore Parochial Schools
Grade 9 Biology: Mt. St. Joe's HS


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Ready to March Forth?

6:15 PM MONDAY 3.1.2010 
 Although a new storm will develop along the southeast coast, indications are that bulk of the precipitation remains offshore. However, upper level shortwave energy in the northern Great Lakes will move east, and may touch off snow Tuesday evening across West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and by Wednesday morning across the northern DelMarVa peninsula. With the turning calendar comes a higher sun angle, adding ground warmth daily, and negating the chance for accumulation beyond one inch east of the Blue Ridge mountains. As indicated by the Sterling, VA NWS, upslope snow will add to the phenomenal totals already observed in western Maryland, such as a seasonal 237" at Wisp Ski Resort.

The fantastic fury of February - and the gold medal gala of Vancouver 2010 has moved into the history book, as we relight the Olympic torch for its journey to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russa. Those wanting to read that book must wait for Northeast residents to find it underneath the 20 to 50 inches received in the 2.25-27 UltraKahuna. Even today, the same low pressure is still delivering snow and wind to places like eastern Massachusetts.

With March 1 the start of "meteorological Spring," and a new sports season for many schools, your Forecast Team will continue fresh, daily weather analysis for the eastern U.S. and beyond. Among the projects in development: The Severe Weather & Safety Zone, led by Forecaster Daniel Ross, a meteorology student at Georgia Tech with collaborators from Penn State, and the Maryland high school team.

The Winter Stormcast Zone will still focus on winter weather in the Great Lakes, the Northeast and New England; and our new Watershed Collaborative will soon make a big splash for teachers and students. Outdoor sports fans will enjoy the SportsWeather Zone, as we pitch you the shortwave tracking technique in order to "spotcast" start and end times of rain during baseball games-- starting first in Birdland. As summer approaches, we will have a watchful eye on the Beach & Coastal Zone and on the tropics in our Hurricane Zone.  Ready to march forth with us?

Sunday, February 28, 2010

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Winter Stormcast Zone: March 2010
Forecaster Ryan K: Sparrows Point High School, Baltimore County, MD
Collaborators: Zak Brisko, Winterman, Dakota, PasadenaMatt, Daniel Ross, Mr. Foot

8:45 PM SUNDAY 2.28.2010 As the final few hours of meteorological tick away, we look ahead to what looks to be an active spring. My full march outlook will be posted here and then likely transferred to the Long Range Zone. So, to the storm for this week. There does not look to be much in the offing for us, as the 18z GFS 84hr Storm total precip shows, this storm will likely trek out to sea, giving us nothing more than a few non-accumulating snow showers. There are different things ahead, different weather could be headed for you as we change seasons and start meteorological spring here at Foot's Forecast. The pattern will warm up, but snow may not be done. Read the note below for confirmation on that and the previous post for my full thoughts on the mid week storm.


At 945 PM, the NAM looks quite good, and at the 500mb level the storm looks slightly promising. There will be more updates to follow, as the mid week storm is not yet dead, and could do small things, but I'd still say only a few snow showers for now. (00z GFS also west)

10:45 AM SUNDAY 2.28.2010
The HPC 5 Day QPF map shows that there is some precip that should impact the area over the next few days, however it is also easily visible that the brunt of the storm system should trek to our south. However, after viewing the latest model runs, we don't need much to catch a significant storm here in MD and up the I-95 corridor. The 500mb upper air images are key at this point, as it is a common trend with models to adjust later at the surface than in the upper atmosphere. What may hinder the storms development could be a storm that sits up to the northeast off of New England. This storm is pushing our midweek storm to the south as shown in the image below with a small description. 

ANALYSIS The image is an analysis of the GFS model at 54hrs, which has the low close enough to do its damage to you snowlovers out there looking for a grand finale.
It is obvious that the Newest 12z GFS run with one of the images posted above is trending this storm farther away from us. The 00z GFS from last night was starting to come closer to the coast along with the rest of the 00z runs, but now things are headed back away from us. The 00z NAM from last night was showing what I expect to be a hit for the I-95 corridor. The 500mb 78hr 00z NAM from last night showed a very good position in the upper levels that would favor snow up and down the coast. Now the storm may not be done trending, as we have seen many storms that have trended back in our favor, or simply have not been done trending inside 72hrs time. If something is going to come back our way though, expect it sooner than later. 

Welcome Forecaster Nick: My ex partner on many blog sites, and has now rejoined the team. Here are his thoughts on the upcoming storm: The next storm coming from the Southeast looks like it does have some potential to come up the coast and affect us, but it is going against a slowly moving low leaving NE, which could steer the storm further south, meaning we are also going to have to rely on a phase to get this storm moving, otherwise this is going to exit stage right. For more, click below.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

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Why it was called a "snowicane"

10:45 PM FRIDAY 2.26.2010  The retrograding low pressure center between the New York City harbor and Sandy Hook, NJ border will continue to fill in and "snow itself out" well into Saturday. At approximately 990 millbars and winds still gusting near 30 mph, this storm will remain capable of delivering copious moisture from the Atlantic Ocean, in the form of snow. Examples of some incredible snowfall reports include 32.0 inches in Harriman, Orange County, NY and 28.0 in West Milford, Passaic County NJ. New York NWS snowfall report

This weekend, we are assembling  an "after action report" on the current storm and will be posting our data for the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Obviously some of the scores will not be pleasant, but it sure will be a good data set to analyze! Results will be posted in the Storm Data Zone. A new post will be published Saturday as we begin the next round of preparations in advance of another system to affect the eastern U.S. by Wednesday.

10:15 AM FRI 2.26.2010 
This storm having retrograded from the Atlantic ocean into Long Island and the New York City harbor, and as of 4AM had a central low pressure of 973 millibars, was stronger than Hurricane Isabel 12 hours following landfall (988 mb, 50 mph at 1AM on 9/19/2003).* Unlike previous storms which we all know move out to sea, this is retrograding and will take several days to fully dissipate. That is the basis behind those calling it a snowicane: This event has behaved more like a tropical system than a traditional coastal surface cyclone. *scroll to bottom of NHC report for pressures

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

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"There you go again."
- Ronald Reagan to Jimmy Carter in the 1980 Presidential Debate

6:00 PM TUE 2.23.2010  (First update 3:45 PM) According to the National Weather Service, the game is on. Winter Storm Watches posted throughout the coastal Mid-Atlantic will take effect tomorrow evening into Friday for most of Maryland west of the Bay, all MD counties on the eastern shore, as well as Delaware, metro Philadelphia and southern New Jersey.
As we outlined on Sunday and Monday, our suspicions of a "surprise" snowstorm are now all but certain; the real questions now become: (1) How much; (2) When it starts; (3) How long it lasts.

Preliminary projections by 9th grade students at the BCPS Crossroads Center point to at least .70" of liquid for BWI airport as a representative location for central MD. Calculating on a 15:1 snow ratio points to preliminary totals reaching 8 or more inches across the I-95 corridor from Washington to Philadelphia. Significantly higher amounts are possible for interior Pennsylvania, New Jersey, upstate New York and the Delmarva. Largely due to the potential "retrograding" nature of a low pressure system projected to resemble a hurricane by Thursday night (supporting links pending). Another case of "there you go again" ? Perhaps, but this time we all better have our game on, this is no drill.

Updates posted tonight on facebook and in the Winter Stormcast ZoneOur storm grade totals for the period 12AM Thursday to 12AM Friday will be posted in the Winter 2009-2010 Storm Data Sheet by Wednesday evening, available for download to see clearly the time and amount of projections made prior to the event.

6:00 AM TUE 2.23.1010 The seemingly endless parade of winter storms through the south and northeast has another act lined up already. This complicated setup will send the swath of warnings across the I-10 corridor into Dixie, and along the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast by Thursday.  There is increasing potential for the system to rapidly intensify by Thursday night once reaching the DelMarVa coast. By Friday morning, coastal areas of the Mid-Atlantic such as New Jersey may be experiencing a surprise significant snowfall coupled with winds in excess of 30 mph. An overview  possible impacts for Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Wednesday into Friday:

WIND  Regardless of how much snow falls, a possible pressure fall to 972-980 mb would be more intense than the February 9-10 Blizzard. Some computer models as shown via our Penn State University "E-wall" resources suggest winds near tropical storm force in much of Maryland, with gusts near hurricane force along the DelMarVa coast by Friday morning.

SNOW At present, the areas at highest risk for a possible surprise snowfall Thursday into Friday include southern New York, New Jersey, Philly metro, southern PA, central PA, Del-Mar on the peninsula, northeast / northcentral Maryland and even northern Virginia. Our concern is snow-to-liquid ratios, given an increasingly colder airmass, may approach 20:1. This link to snowfall projections as issued 7 PM Mon shows only an extreme scenario, but the liquid data is undeniable. With this system parked near the Gulf Stream for over 24 hours, it is entirely possible that moisture transport produces snowfall totals at or above significant criteria, and may certainly surprise many people expecting just snow showers.

RAIN Strange as it may seem, eastern New England such as the Boston area should be in the warm quadrant of this potentially explosive low for a time, receiving heavy rain  the same time New York City is pounded with snow.

NEXT UPDATE  Our team remains focused on this significant storm potential, and will update around 12 noon today with additional facebook reports this afternoon.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

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"You can't hurry love..."
- Diana Ross and the Supremes, in their summer 1966 hit

6:00 PM MONDAY 2.22.2010  If you are a powderhound hoping for more snow, or a spring-a-ling yearning to see greener pastures, know that getting there will be a game of give and take. Both outcomes are likely in the month ahead, but the weather pattern is not in a hurry to change, so this love won't come easy.

THOUGHTS ON THE WEEK AHEAD Team pattern analysis and consideration for what research meteorologists and climate investigators are saying leads to this synopsis: Wednesday and Thursday may feature an intermittent period of light snows across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Accumulations Wednesday will not be on the scale of recent storms. We project two hypotheses being co-investigated in the Winter Stormcast Zone. Climate pattern indications for what lies beyond this storm to be presented in the Long Range Zone.

PLAN A Low pressure curves along the east coast, delivering intermittent light snow into a stable cold air mass. However, the storm does not explode into a strong coastal event for the Mid-Atlantic. This would be because the Canadian maritime high drifts northeast, permitting the storm to slowy escape out, lessening the chance of rapid intensification.

PLAN B The blocking Canadian maritime high prevents much forward motion of the storm, driving it in toward the coast. The increasing pressure difference leads to windy conditions and much higher snow accumulations, especially in New England. Moisture transport from the ocean encounters an increasingly colder temperature regime over the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast by Thursday.

MINOR MONDAY  Though "flooding" was not a major concern today, we hope those of you in the Mid-Atlantic did not arrive home to find water waiting in unplanned, unexpected places. The best six hours of weather this entire week may have been from 7 AM to 1 PM today. For remainder of the week, any snow not cleared from storm drains will melt more slowly. If it refreezes and gets snowcovered again -- then Diana would say "you'll just have to wait!"

ABOUT ACCURACY   A direct link to an Excel 97-2003 spreadsheet containing our Storm Forecast Data thus far in Winter 2009-10. Many thanks to Techcaster Evan and the team for the many hours devoted to assembling this report.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

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"I see skies of blue,
and clouds of white"
- Louie Armstrong in the 1968 single What A Wonderful World

11:00 AM SAT 2.20.2010  Finally, a "nice" weekend as our central Maryland forecasters are saying for those in the Eastern U.S. This is the first normal weekend since January 15-17 for those east of the Mississippi. Why? You're not dealing with a major winter storm: Either preparing for one, or cleaning up the aftermath. For our situation now, Louie Armstrong could have added a little ditty about "...clouds of white, watching for black ice that formed overnight!" ; For now, it is a wonderful world considering this track record of the past 4-5 weekends in the east:

Jan 22-23 Mid-Atlantic/Northeast storm is much ado about nothing; 1
Jan 29-30 I-40 Big Kahuna snow on Dixie, "surprises" Mid-Atlantic; 2
Feb 5-6 SuperKahuna pounds Mid-Atlantic with blizzard # 1: 20-30"; 3
Feb 12-13 Mid-Atlantic still overwhelmed from Feb blizzard # 2; 4
Feb 20 Friend- "How's Baltimore?"  You- "Well, it's not snowing!" 5

WHAT ABOUT NEXT WEEKEND THEN?   By that time, the Ohio Valley, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast will have been smacked with TWO more winter storms: A mostly rain event Sunday night into Monday, with a potentially much snowier system Wednesday into Friday. Updated details in the Winter Stormcast Zone later today.

MEDIA THANKS   Team kudos to Reporter Bill Gates for a wonderful article about storm phemon Ryan, the Forecast Team and Mr. Foot in this week's edition of The Eagle in Dundalk, MD. Special thanks also go to News Anchor Jeff Salkin and the producers of Maryland Public Television for last weeks interview (video link). Other local papers in Maryland may soon feature stories on the team and those amazingly accurate "Crossroads kids" from the Baltimore County Public Schools. We will credit those articles right here.

FOOTNOTES View our Storm Grade Report for Winter 2009-10
1- Forecast Team busted on this storm, but Crossroads students did not;
2- Thu 1/28 I-40 Big Kahuna Forecast accuracy: 70% C (19 cities: Tulsa to Richmond);
3- Thu 2/4 Crossroads students predicted 25.6" for BWI. Actual: 24.8" = 96.8% A;
4- Tue 2/9 11:00 AM Team forecast of 14-22" for Mid-Atlantic. MD grade: 80.7% B;
5- During the mild snow hiatus, would be wise to clear storm drains and sidewalks.