Tuesday, September 29, 2015

2 comments:
The Return of Isabel ?


11:00 AM 9/30 - As of the latest NHC advisory, Joaquin's projected path continues to shift west, and the cone of uncertainty / potential areas affected would encompass the entire Northeast megalopolis from Norfolk-Richmond to southern New England. 

Our team is preparing decision graphics for posting this afternoon, that we hope readers will find useful as we recommend taking advantage of today's relatively low rain environment to initiate prudent preparatory actions for your family and property.
  • WE REMAIN ON RECORD TO SAY UNLESS DRASTIC CHANGES OCCUR IN TODAY'S COMPUTER MODELS, THE MARYLAND AND THE ENTIRE MID-ATLANTIC REGION COULD EXPERIENCE IMPACTS THAT EXCEED ISABEL IN 2003, IRENE IN 2011, SANDY AND HAZEL IN 1954


NOAA 7-day Rainfall Projections 
Additional 8-10" is likely for areas shown in orange along the East coast.



9:00 PM 9/29 - As our team continues monitoring the progress of Tropical Storm Joaquin, today's run of computer models is getting more extreme with each passing hour. Some projections we've seen internally for this storm are beyond insane and would, quite literally, be a disaster that by some interpretations could exceed Isabel (2003, shown left) Irene and Sandy were these to come true. 

Those who know us well and have been on this page a while understand we do not not hang our hat on just one model map and say, "there's our forecast, done!"  We prefer to be honest and upfront about forecast uncertainty, especially when accounting for erratic tracks of tropical systems 1,000+ miles away. So, herein lies the challenges we all face with this storm:

1) The rain falling now will be a MINIMUM of 3-6" now to Thursday, with another 3-4" on top of that this weekend, even if Joaquin never touches land. These rainfall forecasts may exceed what Sandy did in 2012. Areas of southwestern Virginia are already seeing major flooding and washed out bridges, before a tropical system arrives. Consider this rainfall forecast from NOAA for the next 7 days. That orange is 8-9" of rain. Have you ever seen a map with that much rain forecasted from North Carolina to Maine?

1 comment:
Ready For Real Rain?

4:00 PM 9/29 TROPICAL TEAM UPDATE
  • Additional ocean moisture may confound rainfall forecasts due to an easterly fetch ahead of Joaquin. This would produce another 4-5" of rain if the system tracks closer to, or makes landfall on, the coast. Significant flooding will become a hazard to travelers during the AM and PM commute Wednesday through Friday. 
  • If you have critical outdoor priorities, we strongly advise rushing those to completion, as rainfall will be extremely heavy at times overnight once it begins in your area.  
11:00 AM 9/29 UPDATE BY THE TROPICAL TEAM

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

2 comments:
Last Days of Summer and Legendary Winters?


"Everyone talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it!"

You have probably heard that quote before, and suspect it comes from one of our more irreverent figures in history (such as Samuel Clemens or Benjamin Franklin). Alert historians out there know that in the spirit of Paul Harvey, we should share the "rest of the story" in these footnotes: (photo credit: PBS.org)



  • The quote, often attributed to Mr. Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain), was actually a statement by his co-author and writing partner Charles Dudley Warner. Thus, as the tattered pages of history sometimes become, this little line over the years morphed into a Twainism. Here's source material you can check, and you don't even have to wait 5 minutes for it either ;-).  
Sloane, Eric. (2013) Weather Almanac, pp. 195. Dover Publications 
  • In honor of Mr. Clemens and his borrowed quote, we ARE doing something about the weather! We track and assess summer-into-fall climate indicators and compare past data to previous winter outcomes in order to explore early clues on how the upcoming season may kick off. We also scale the potential severity against standard probabilities of outcome or another, and let the climate "look fors" guide whether we reinforce or dissuade a seasonal hypothesis. Ready for all that? Here it comes:
The Foot's Forecast pre-winter question for 2015-16:

In years during which a weak-to-strong El Nino was in place from summer into fall, and significantly above normal temperatures were observed in the week just prior to the Autumn Equinox, did the following winter experience higher-than-normal snowfall and frequent periods of storminess?

Thursday, September 3, 2015

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

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Last updated 9/1/2015

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*Winter intelligence through 12/31/16*



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To complete enrollment in the 
INSIDER'S TEXT SERVICE:

1. Please text POWDER to 25827

2.  Edit responding number in your contacts
to "FF Insiders" or "Foot's Forecast" 

3. Now you're in the know before the snow!



Wednesday, August 12, 2015

1 comment:
August greetings...September situations

9/20/2015 Update: Check back later today for our newest pre-season assessment of climate data and winter indicators. We think it will be an intriguing read for you, considering the title is "Last Days of Summer and Legendary Winters."

WHAT'S THE LATEST? While the U.S. weather pattern is generally quiet, our long range team is conducting a detailed assessment of the current and projected status of a rapidly strengthening El Nino. Indications from NOAA data via the Climate Prediction Center's Weekly El Nino Report suggest a strong probability the 2015-16 Nino event may equal or exceed that of the record 1997-98 event, and may become the strongest in modern record-keeping. Either way, this episodic warming in the equatorial Pacific will have major implications for weather patterns (and high school seniors ;-) across the entire country and much of the Northern Hemisphere from summer 2015 well into spring of 2016. 
TROUBLE IN THE TROPICS? After the early August "monsoon" that drenched places like Tampa Bay, Florida with 10 inches of rain in ONE week, our Tropical Team remains on close watch for the potential of "near shore development." Known in weather vernacular as "home brew" - the influence of El Nino in the southern jet stream, combined with stagnant air during the summer doldrums, can easily lead to sudden sub-tropical development of systems along the coast.

WHAT ABOUT WINTER? Once our internal review of El Nino and other climate indicators is complete later this month, we will issue our preliminary "winter risk assessment" first to our paid subscribers/FF hoody alumni via the Insiders email group. Those already registered in our FREE Powderhounds group will also receive a version of the report. You are welcome to request one-click registration by sending a simple message to us via winter@footsforecast.org. 

Until then, enjoy the sunshine when you can. The pattern, and the times... will soon be a-changing. 

-The Foot's Forecast Tropical & Long Range Teams


Developing thunderstorm over the Atlantic Ocean

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

4 comments:
Preparing For Summer

5/5/2015 - Our team, and the calendar, have arrived at what we consider to be the climatological "low season" of our public forecast activity. In this period from April to late June, we customarily do not maintain a regularly updated post on this site.  For new readers who grew accustomed to our daily reports in winter, that is our high season, but not a level we traditionally maintain all year long. 

The period from June to September is reserved primarily for assessment of long range patterns pointing to severe weather potential  (such as any risk of another derecho like 2012), and close monitoring of tropical activity for signs of "home brew" systems that develop close to the Eastern U.S. or Gulf coasts. The two resources we leverage during this time include the invaluable products issued by the NOAA Storm Prediction Center and the National Hurricane Center. Links and maps are shown below.

But if serious weather hazards rise in probability at the long range, you can be sure we'll be right back on deck as usual. Until then, we don't believe you need a paragraph several times a day to find out it'll be sunny and mild. Besides, you've earned this respite from the past two harsh winters we've all survived, so go out and enjoy a calm Spring while you have it!  

--From your local Foot's Forecast Teams

Severe Weather Outlook: NOAA Storm Prediction Center

Tropical Atlantic Outlook: National Hurricane Center

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

1 comment:
The Transition Arrives

11:30 AM 3/31 - Greeting to all the Spring-a-lings out there who are yearning to see the rains, warm breezes and excitement of a new season. Although we haven't ruled out more flakage in the near future, Spring readers know the next season brings a new round of weather thrills. Thus, for the next few weeks the team and the rest of us will be living somewhat of a dual existence: One eye to severe storms - the other on short term winter weather threats. 

Forecaster Joey in Wakefield.Nebraska, June 2014
on his annual Storm Chase with the Nimbus Storm Team
Check out their 2014 Chase on Twitter  @NimbusStorms
But, as we get farther away from winter, we also begin transitioning toward monitoring and reporting on severe weather potential.

In fact, we even have a regional "heads up" page much like the Winter Stormcast Zone. It's operated by our Severe Weather Team, and lead by Coordinator/Forecaster Joey Krastel. 

If you want to stay in the loop on Facebook whenever we see severe weather potential brewing, add this page to your bookmark list: MID-ATLANTIC SEVERE WEATHER.


UPDATED NOAA SEVERE WEATHER OUTLOOK GUIDANCE FOR 2015
The maps that we like to share are the NOAA NWS Storm Prediction Center's forecasted outlooks for severe weather risk days as a general overview. In October 2014, the SPC made some changes in the risk categories, as indicated in the following sample (not actual forecast) maps. In preparation for the thunderstorms and outbreaks to come, we wanted to make these changes known to our readers. 




You can read more about the updated procedures for Severe Weather outlooks at the Storm Prediction Center. It is never to early to be prepared for severe weather! 

(Forecaster Joey and the Severe Weather Team)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

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Welcoming Spring At Last

  • IN THE SHORT RANGE: TRANQUIL BUT COOL CONDITIONS IN THE EAST UNTIL THURSDAY, WHEN RAIN RETURNS AS THE GULF REACTIVATES.
  • MID-WEEK: CONCERNS OF WINTER WEATHER EVENT FOR TUESDAY HAVE LESSENED AS HIGH PRESSURE MON-WED WILL KEEP LOWS OFFSHORE.
  • IN THE LONG RANGE PATTERN...CONCERNS REMAIN HEIGHTENED AS NOAA WPC ALLUDES TO WINTER WEATHER THREATS IN FRI-SAT PERIOD FOLLOWING REINTRODUCTION OF THE ARCTIC HIGH / COASTAL LOW SETUP

5:45 PM 3/22 - For Spring-a-lings, we know thoughts are turning to warm sunny days, outdoor activities or just not having to wear a heavy coat. For Sports fans, the time is fast approaching for your return to the ol' Ball game. 

We hope you enjoyed this quiet first FULL WEEKEND of Spring! The long range pattern stilll shows disturbances remain in the Force, which may make for a slow transition away from WinterAmong those is the large area of "above normal precipitation" for the Eastern U.S. next week, still combined with below normal temperatures.

But hey, for now let's celebrate the return of calmer conditions, and the fast approach of OPENING DAY on APRIL 10 at Camden Yards!

New Season, New Lineup


With storms to be absent in the immediate future, we're exvited to introduce our newest style lineup for the Sports season ahead: 

The more formal and stylish Embroidered "flag-in-the-Foot" quarter zips, along with a new series called "Orange & Purple" specially designed for Maryland sports fans. Details and discounts at the FF store for those interested: http://store.footsforecast.org. Some special discounts for fun:


Regarding the Long Range

For those who want to stay alert to long range concerns, we are also watching for a second potentially significant winter weather event in the next 7-10 daysTiming and orientation of the next High counteracted by a Low will provide strong clues to where the pattern takes us. 

While the "March 1958" scenario we referenced in earlier posts now seem less likely, global models are persistent in bringing a new series of Arctic highs into the northern and eastern U.S. the next 2 weeks. 



TUESDAY: Positioning of the High and the Low shown below. While the High looks probable to keep a southern Low suppressed and away from the coast, it is a signal the pattern can arrange both cold air and coastal Lows in favorable proximity. 

Whenever a large High parks in southeast Canada in a wintry pattern, it is reason aplenty to stay focused on how nearby Lows will behave.




FRI-SAT: The second map shows a similar placement, with a series of coastal Lows looking to ride along the Seaboard counteracted by another large sprawling Arctic High to rule most of our weather by the end of next week. If it was mid-April, we'd say slim chance, but even late March can have it's surprises.

Though 6 days out, our point remains the same: Global models will have hinted TWICE now toward formation of a coastal Low with a cold High well within arm's reach.


(Forecasters Foot, Troy A., Connor M. Jason M. and the Winter Stormcast Team)

Friday, March 20, 2015

A day we knew would happen

1 comment:
A Day We Knew Would Happen

Snow falling on a school playground, in Arizona!
(Hint: They still went to school. No one was hurt.)
1:45 PM 3/20 - If you were a student or teacher in a Maryland school system today, chances are you had the unique experience of watching snow fall outside while IN CLASS. At least your teachers didn't ban you from looking at it, right? (Article from the UK Daily Mail about that earlier this year.)

If you felt cheated out of a snow day just because snow was occurring during the business day, consider looking at it this way: Today was glimpse into the way life used to be, in Maryland and most other places.

For decades until the early 2000s, in many parts of the country other than the south, it was rare for school to be canceled for minor amounts of snow. Forecasters and Advisors of our team remember times when roads would be snow-covered, traffic snarled, but the yellow buses moved about the region -- with the old-style chains on the tires. In suburban Philadelphia, a generally accepted rule among some of the township-based districts was that at least 4" had to be on the ground before there was even a consideration of school closing. 

Snowy walk to the bus stop (in Colorado)
The author remembers many days like this.
Photo credit: Swern.com
In the mid 1990's, as old time Baltimore County teachers may recall, one particularly snow-hardy Superintendent was famously reticent to cancel school, even when parking lots were unplowed and streets barely passable. He did acquiesce once in 1994, when heavy snow was burying the schools and roads alike -- legend has it that as buses arrived in parking lots to drop off students, administrators were out waving them away and telling drivers to take the kids back! I think our communication and public safety strategies have improved a tad since then. 

The difference that we grant is a major factor in weather hazard management is simply population growth: Millions more people reside in areas that were once farmland. More people means more roads and a larger scope of responsibility for the counties and states charged with maintaining those roads.



But, for now, consider today a brief look into the way things once were as a matter of regular life. Snow fell. Kids went to school. Life went on. We recognize that since those days before the internet and social media, people frustrated with something a school district did or didn't do had only a couple options -- call the district, write a letter or attend a school board meeting. Then as now, there has always been the fourth option: Resiliency.  

Having once taught in non-air conditioned schools for many years, it was always nice when the school year ended on a Friday, so we all didn't have to trudge back in the humidity for one more day. This year, if we all can stay strong and resilient even when it's snowing during class, maybe-- just maybe you can avoid celebrating the first day of SUMMER... still in class.

From a fellow Powderhound,
Mr. Foot


Thursday, March 19, 2015

"No, there is another."

14 comments:
2:45 PM 3/19 - MOISTURE WORKING NORTH WILL BRING LIGHT RAIN OVERNIGHT TO THE PA LINE, MIXING WITH SNOW BY SUNRISE FRIDAY, LASTING TO 12 pm.
  • UP TO 5" EXPECTED IN EASTERN / SOUTHERN PA AND BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS, 2" IN NORTHERN MARYLAND, UP TO 1" IN BALTIMORE/DC METRO.
  • AVERAGE OF CURRENT MODEL DATA IS 0.30" LIQUID AS A GENERAL AMOUNT FOR CENTRAL & NORTHERN MD, WITH 10:1 RATIO YIELDING THE OVERALL 3" FORECAST FOR WINTER WEATHER ADVISORIES. (GFS IS 0.13", NAM IS 0.56")
  • ANY DELAY IN ONSET OF PRECIP DUE TO DRY AIR AND LOW DEWPOINTS MAY SLOW THE CHANGE TO SNOW, AND WARMER GROUND COULD NEGATE ACCUMULATION ON PAVEMENTS BUT IS EXPECTED ON GRASSY SURFACES.

PROJECTED PRECIPITATION / FRONTS AND PRESSURE FOR 8 AM FRIDAY


EARLY LOOK AT MONDAY'S SURFACE MAP PROJECTIONS




"No, There Is Another..."

  • EARLY FRIDAY AM SNOW FOLLOWED BY JANUARY-LIKE PATTERN INTO NEXT WEEK.
  • STRONG WINDS AND HIGH PRESSURE IN WAKE OF DEPARTING LOW WILL REINFORCE COLD AIR WHILE MOISTURE FROM A REACTIVATED SOUTHERN JET STREAM WORKS NORTH BY MONDAY.
  • LONG RANGE INDICATIONS POINT TO A SECOND POTENTIALLY DISRUPTIVE WINTER WEATHER EVENT MONDAY INTO TUESDAY.

3:45 PM 3/18 - By now, most are aware of forecasts for a return of snow to the Mid-Atlantic region by early Friday morning. This minor event alone is not reason to be overly concerned. However that which will rush in behind this system from the weekend forward into next week sets up a reinvigorated wintry pattern that may delight only the hardiest among us. 
  • IN THE SHORT TERM - We have no major changes to the expectation for accumulating snow in the central and eastern Mid-Atlantic by the Friday AM commute. Temperatures look to trend colder the next 36 hours, and an overnight change of rain to snow suggests rapid accumulation will be observed on pavement and grassy surfaces until the higher sun angle can go to work. 
  • The image below is for 8 AM Friday showing a large area of "Snow Likely" noted in the dark blue. A blend of the GFS and NAM liquid for BWI shows about 0.35" by 9 AM Friday, which at a general 10:1 ratio translates into the 3-4" range posted by the NWS parts of northern and central Maryland as a representative area.

  • IN THE LONG TERM - The 6-10 day temperature and precipitation outlooks have been showing for several days now the classic arrangement that even in late winter can still yield significant snow. What arrangement? One where precipitation is projected to be above normal, and temperatures to be well below normal. If this was April, we'd say it just means a cold Opening Day. But in March, pattern pandemonium can produce madness of a different kind. 
In late March 1958, a pattern like this led to one of the heaviest end-of-season snowfalls on record, as recounted in this archival newsreel from the era.  If this prospect makes you jittery, you're not alone. A writer to the Baltimore Sun in 1991 retold the tale in ways that would challenge any Powderhound for their love of snow.
 

  • WHY THE CONCERN? Each year around this time period, our Long Range Team looks closely at current and historical upper level charts for clues indicating if the specter of a "March 1958" has any possibility of resurfacing. For each of the past 11 years, thankfully the pattern was not conducive to produce a blockbuster event. This year, the situation may be different, and long range global models are already showing troublesome scenarios that suggest our "There is Another"  headline could end up with a different meaning than originally intended.
 If something like this is in the offing, we want to make sure you 
have as early a heads up as possible.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

And the show went on.

8 comments:
And the show went on.

The St. Patrick's Day "Blizzard Parade" of 1993 
Image credit: pittsburghirish.org

4:00 PM 3/12 (By Greg Jackson and Matt Balash, California University of PA- originally written in 2012) 


Do you remember March 13, 1993?  The city of Pittsburgh certainly does.  This year, snow will most certainly not cover the pot o’ gold, but instead a rainbow of warm temperatures in the 50s have make conditions feel almost "summer-like." Twenty-two years ago, luck of the Irish brought Pittsburgh a different type of weather for the St. Patrick's Day parade, one they would not soon forget.


For some it feels like last month. In that year, preparation for the annual Pittsburgh St. Patrick’s Day Parade had been going on for months, and finally the day of festivities had arrived.  In 1869 the first ever St. Patrick’s Day Parade was held, but in 1904 the Parade had been suspended.  The next parade didn’t run until 1950, and from then on, the Parade was city-wide tradition.

In 1993, the parade ended up was much different than any held in the past. As many citizens of Pittsburgh awoke to the falling snow, word around the city was the parade had been canceled.  Jim Wilson of Bethel Park didn’t need to hear the word; “I thought to myself ‘The parade's cancelled for sure, and fell back into bed.” 

Some brave men and women just couldn’t bear the thought of a year without the St. Patrick’s Day parade.  So, the thought was: “The festivities must go on!  Only about a few hundred spectators showed up for the beginning of the Parade, and at this point the roads were covered and impassable. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

It is over?

13 comments:
Is it over? (Yes, but not for long.)

8:00 AM 3/6 - Though Powderhounds are reveling in a winter paradise, we know many (or rather, all) Spring-a-Lings are yearning for some-- any-- sign of the renewal to come. 

The short range pattern does not offer much encouragement, but the long range shows indications that the on-going Arctic attacks will subside as we head into mid-month. The 6-10 day outlook for next week points to a rising probability that temperatures rebound to near or above normal across much of the country. In addition, precipitation chances look to be generally low. The best news for now is that at least for the next 5-7 days, there is no indication of significant storms in the Eastern U.S. 

WHAT'S NEXT? However, in a strange redux of past patterns, there are early signs that Spring may not arrive in the manner you might expect. For two years in a row in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, snow was observed on March 25. You know as well as we do it's impossible to predict this far out in time if snow would occur again on that date. But looking ahead, it is interesting to note that climate indicators such as the Arctic Oscillation is projecting a steep rise, then a sharp drop in the index toward end of the month. For now, enjoy the respite from wintry weather, but don't put away the shovel just yet.

(Mr. Foot, Forecasters Mike Natoli, Troy Arcomano, Mintong Nan and the Long Range Team)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Snow on schedule

74 comments:
Snow On Schedule


8:00 AM 3/5 - RADAR UPDATE (Forecaster Mike and the Winter Stormcast Team)

With moderate snow now being reported across the central Mid-Atlantic, the latest in a long series of significant winter storms is on schedule. Let us know you conditions - temperature, precipitation type, and if snowfall is sticking! For the next several hours to at least noon, areas seeing snow should expect up to 1" an hour with low visibility. 

ACCUMULATIONS - We still expect a region wide 5-8" of snow before all is said and done, with 3-6" south of route 50. Those southern areas actually have the best chance to get more than forecast of 3-6", if heavy banding occurs during the early afternoon. This is something we will be keeping a close eye on! See below for our final snowfall forecast map, and let us know how this event verifies in your area compared to the forecast.

ON TRACK? - The second wave of precipitation has arrived on schedule and precipitation rates will start to increase again. Similarly, the freezing line is progressing right on schedule. This storm trended a little later in its timing, but don't let the late start fool you into thinking it's nothing.
  • THIS MORNING - Snow, heavy at times, will continue across the region. Due to last night's rain and warm temperatures, it may have trouble sticking initially closest to the Bay (which is why we need your reports!). However, temperatures will continue dropping, reaching around 30ยบ by noon with upper 20s NW and continuing to fall.
  • THIS AFTERNOON - Snow will continue, with the heaviest snow bands dumping just a little further south than this morning. Things will slowly track further south and east before tapering off between 4PM and 7PM.
  • TONIGHT - The system moves out and it's right back into the deep freeze. Expect lows in the upper single digits to lower teens across the region (ugh).




WILL SPRING COME, EVER? - While Friday will feel like the middle of winter, we will gradually moderate. We may even see temperatures near average for this time of year by the middle of next week! (Kinda sad when that feels like summer, huh?). After that, it's a little unclear if we stay warm or retrograde back, but from now on, the cold outbreaks will get weaker and weaker. Stay tuned and stay safe today!
(Forecaster Mike)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Winter Strikes Back

95 comments:
Winter Strikes Back

3:50 PM 3/4 - FINAL SNOWFALL PROJECTIONS & STORM SCENARIOS BELOW




TIMING – Rain will move in with higher intensity this evening. start to mix with sleet for the NW counties around 10 PM-1 AM, then transition to all snow around 1 AM-4 AM. 
  • The metros will mix with sleet from 1AM-4AM and transition to all snow by 4AM-7AM with heavy snow possible across the region by daybreak. 

ACCUMULATIONS – We expect light sleet accumulations overnight, then around 5-8” of snow north of route 50. South of there, expect lesser totals. Roads will be hazardous across much of the Baltimore/DC Metro early Thursday morning, continuing through the day as temperatures drop. 



TEMPERATURES – Hovering in the lower 30s while we transition tonight, getting into the upper 20s early Thursday, mid 20s by midday, then rapidly plummeting to the lower teens overnight. 



BUST SCENARIOS – As with any forecast, there is a significant amount of uncertainty with this system. The last two years, we’ve had snow events in early March that did not live up to expectations. This system actually bears a lot of similarity to March 3rd, 2014. 



  • BAILING TO A BACHATA (20%) – The prime bust scenario would be a slow change-over to sleet and snow overnight would mean more water on the ground, warmer ground temperatures, and less snow. The cold will still come, but just a few hours later than what we expect could allow us to escape the worst of the impacts from this one. Less time in the snow means less snow falls, and less snow sticks, and most regions would fall more in the 3-5” range, struggling to get to the lower end. 
  • GOING "BIG KAHUNA" (20%) – Conversely, if we have a fast change-over to snow, and limited sleet, then much of the region is all snow well before daybreak. This allows for a burst of accumulating snow to whiten the ground again before sunrise, with ample moisture falling all as snow. This scenario could cause some people to receive over our 8” high end, with 8-10” common across the region.

11:30 AM 3/4 - UPDATED SNOWFALL TIMING GRAPHIC & OVERVIEW
  • Latest computer models including the European, GFS, NAM and others beginning to indicate a longer duration of snowfall on Thursday than first anticipated. Original ideas south of I-76 in PA to southern Maryland was snow ending by early afternoon then clearing.
  • New scenario being considered: (from central VA to southeastern PA) - a changeover of sleet/snow  to all snow by 5 AM, with all heavy snow from 6 AM to 12 PM, then light to moderate snow remainder of the afternoon, tapering after 4 PM. See Columbia, MD NWS hourly weather grid for timing in a representative location
  • This setup would significantly impact the AM and PM commute, whereas earlier ideas had more of just an AM impact with some inprovement toward the PM commute.

3:30 AM 3/4 - TEAM STATEMENT & MAP ON STORM SCENARIOS

SCENARIO A - THE ALL SNOW BIG KAHUNA (60%)   
  • Heavy rain mixes with sleet late Wednesday evening and transition to snow from NW to SE starting around 10pm and reaching the Bay by 3AM. 
  • Then, several hours of heavy, accumulating snow until Thursday morning with temperatures dropping into the 20s. 
  • By the early afternoon, this scenario would bring a significant (4+”) snowfall region-wide. Some areas could see up to 10” of snow north and west of the 95 corridor.
SCENARIO B - THE BACK-AND-FORTH BACHATA (40%)
  • This scenario would occur if the front stalls further north and cold air has a harder time moving in. Rain would continue falling through the evening mixing with sleet late at night. 
  • Then the transition to snow would occur Thursday morning from 3AM to 8AM. Snowfall would still be disruptive to the morning commute, but not quite to the high totals expected in Scenario A. 
  • Most places could still get up to a few inches for the metros, and maybe reaching the “significant” criteria north and west of the cities.
CURRENT PRECIPITATION TIMELINE FOR AREAS NORTH OF THE BAY BRIDGE
(Note: A revised timeline to be posted around Noon today)

INTELLICAST REGIONAL RADAR

4:00 PM 3/3 - OVERVIEW OF HAZARD TIMING & BASIC IMPACTS for the next 3 days for the Ohio Valley, Mid-Atlantic and Delmarva Regions. 
  • OVERNIGHT: Sleet and freezing rain this evening for areas south of I-76 transition to all rain by evening and continue into the daybreak hours as temperatures rise above 32 F by  midnight. 
  • WEDNESDAY: Moderate to heavy rain with temperatures in the 40s will lead to widespread snowmelt, runoff and some creek, low-lying and basement flooding.
  • WED NIGHT INTO THU: Rain begins mixing with sleet and snow in the evening, changing to heavy snow after midnight. Periods of heavy snow and snow-covered roads likely for the Thu AM commute. Daytime Thu temps in 20s drop to low teens overnight.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Meanwhile on Hoth

43 comments:
Meanwhile on Hoth

8:30 AM 3/2 - If you have been feeling like the region is beginning to resembles a Star Wars movie set, we would tend to agree. March is now the fifth straight month of wintry weather to be observed in the Mid-Atlantic. Appreciable snowfall for this season first began in mid November 2014 and show no signs of stopping.

IMPORTANT PLANNING MESSAGE FOR THE EDUCATIONAL COMMUNITY: We recognize that in some states such as Maryland, standardized testing is scheduled to commence this week and next across the state. With this in mind, we wish to provide the best available information about the weather pattern to aid school administrators in navigating this complex scheduling challenge ahead. 

This synopsis is valid for areas from I-76 in Pennsylvania south to the I-66 and I-50 corridors, including the Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington DC metro areas. 

WHAT WE KNOW
  • MON 3/2 - Dense ice on a several inches of snowpack will begin to fracture and melt with rising sun angle. This will lead to significant runoff into the evening. Temperatures are expected to drop below 20 F for most areas of the northern and central Mid-Atlantic north of the DC metro. 
  • TUE 3/3 - Runoff will have refrozen overnight and is likely to prompt more school delays due to widespread ice in parking lots, sidewalks and sidestreets. Residual moisture ahead of a warm front will reintroduce sleet and freezing rain toward the Tuesday PM commute. See the NOAA precipitation projection below for 7 PM Tuesday night.
  • WED 3/4 - Temperatures warming to the 50s will lead the most improvements in melting of snow and ice on sidewalks, driveways and snowpack. Extensive moisture ahead of a cold front will deliver up to 0.75" of rain across the Mid-Atlantic. However, the front will be fast-moving, and turn rain over to snow Wednesday night. 
PROJECTED PRECIPITATION & SURFACE MAP FOR 7 PM TUESDAY 



WHAT IS LESS CERTAIN
  • THU 3/6 - Cold air rushing in behind the Wednesday frontal passage may change rain to snow by evening, continuing into Thursday AM. Warmer surfaces should negate some of the snowfall, so if forecasts are for 2-4" (as an example), warming and March sun angle may reduce actual accumulation to less than that. However, road conditions may be problematic again by daybreak Thursday. 
  • FRI 3/7 - Temperatures drop back to below freezing in wake of the Thursday front.  Any surface moisture, standing water or snowpack will refreeze Friday morning as highs are not expected to break 30 F for most areas.
We will continue to monitor the mid- and late-week developments and update later today when we have new information. 

If you liked our Star Wars Hoth reference, we defer the credit for the photo to this creative blogger which has a series of crafty and chuckle-worthy shots at http://media.gunaxin.com/battle-hoth/179677. Given the long and toilsome winter, it's our way of trying to use some humor to help warm hearts.

Mr. Foot, Forecaster Mike, Advisor Keith and the Winter Stormcast Team