Thursday, January 30, 2014

Could the Groundhog get snowed (or iced) in??

Could the Groundhog get snowed (or iced) in??
Long range indications for Feb 1-8 suggest a prolonged period of wintry or potentially icy weather for much of the eastern United States, bearing similarity to the January-February ice storms of 1994. 

3:26 AM 1/30 (Winter Stormcast Team) The short- and long-range indications for this week and into the next 10 days are a timely fit for our team's 10th Anniversary Week! 

As we turn the corner toward Groundhog Day (and Superbowl Sunday), this is a heads up that there are "interesting" trends a foot. 

PRECIPITATION - This image from the NOAA NWS Climate Prediction Center latest 6-10 day outlook shows quite the geographic swath of "above normal probability" for precipitation. Honestly, to our Long Range Team this was the most widespread coverage of a high precip probability we have seen all winter. Why is that a concern? See below.

TEMPERATURE - Although the corresponding temperature probabilities are (thankfully) expected to return to normal for the Mid-Atlantic, the concern is clear. Normal overnight lows this time of year, and daytime highs, are generally at the lowest values of the entire winter for most locations. 

PUT IT ALL TOGETHER - Considering:
* Extensive US and Canadian snowcover as compared to this time last year;
* A frozen ground across much of the Eastern US;
* Increasing moisture transport across the U.S. along a frontal boundary;
* This frontal boundary separating two opposing strong high pressure systems (Arctic to the northwest, Atlantic ridge to the southeast);
* Favorable long range climate mechanisms such as a drop in the North Atlantic Oscillation, and influence from the Pacific-oriented Madden Julian Oscillation...

.. leads us to identify the period from Feb 1-8 (and perhaps longer) as the next target time frame for significant winter weather from the Tennessee Valley to the Ohio Valley and Mid-Atlantic.

While not a specific snowfall or ice forecast, our approach is based  on analytical techniques we have utilized over the past 10 years and longer, to identify and report when trends are moving back towards "storm mode." 

We'll keep you posted, and thank you for your readership in this winter weather adventure!

For more on our Anniversary Week and how the team started, visit this story on our main site (

(The Winter Stormcast Team of Foot's Forecast)