Sunday, February 17, 2019

Innovate Your Future
Become a Forecaster With Us 

Greetings from the Foot's Forecast Team! We appreciate your interest in joining our vibrant and motivated multi-state organization of dedicated forecasters.

Before you consider applying -- we recommend trying a brief fact-check experiment we think you'll find inspiring and motivating:

Simply Google "Foot's Forecast and then click images. Take a look at what shows up, and consider the impact this experience of our team had on the all those people. 

To make your application efficient, follow the 5-step procedure outlined below. We suggest pasting our questions into a separate word document, and insert your responses below each.

When your application is ready, email to Keith Krichinsky, our Chief Continuity Officer (

  • Notify 2 references you will need a written statement from them sent to us anytime after your application has been submitted. Reference statements by email are permitted, and sent to
  • Title your application document “(First Name Last Name) – (Your State) – Application"
  • Length: Two pages is ideal, not more than 3 pages.
  • First, tell us how you developed a passion for science, the outdoors, weather & forecasting.
  • Next, describe in 1-2 paragraphs a weather event which impacted your life.
  • Last, discuss in 1 paragraph how you collaborate with others (such as in the workplace, at home, in school, sports, clubs or volunteer activities)
A bullet list of 2-3 items for each section
  • The geographic region you wish to cover and why;
  • A brief, specific list of skills, talents and innovative background you can offer our readership (abilities in media, videos, music, website, photography, sports, etc.
  • An overview of your academic background, core courses and/or professional training if applicable.
  • A brief list of activities you do outside of weather, and your favorite travel spots.

Provide a 3-day forecast for your multi-county area and mention 3 towns or cities
  • Components: Today, Tonight, Tomorrow, Looking Ahead.  2-3 sentences each.
  • Data points: Projected high and low temperatures, wind speed and direction      
  • NWS advisories: If there is a significant weather event in progress in your area, please include a short note about the latest NWS advisory, a link to the text, and a link to the relevant NWS forecast office.
Examples: In the Facebook search feature, enter "Foot's Forecast" and a variety of  zones will appear. Select any zone in your region and follow the format shown. 
Review process: Your application will be reviewed by college students, high school lead forecasters, professional meteorologists and our advisory team. Our leadership will be seeking to evaluate if you can communicate actionable information to the general public during a complex weather situation with understandable language. 

How not to impress us? By trying to convey how advanced one in weather knowledge by loading up their statement with acronyms and technical terms. Talk to us in plain language and when necessary, illustrate a scientific concept with an analogy or real-life example. 

Have two references submit via email within two weeks of your application.
References can be a two-paragraph letter and include a contact number 
  • If working from home or in the workforceA member of your immediate family or a colleague who can speak to your passion for weather and forecasting.
  • If in college: A Professor, Academic Advisor, or fellow student your same field of study at the same college;
  • If between grades 9-12: Options include a parent or guardian AND a current/former science teacher of yours, another teacher in your school or a coach/administrator. Context of the letter is to know a professional with your school system is aware of your application and can vouch for your eligibility for our team.

You can submit your application before your recommendation letters. 

The writer of your 2-3 paragraph reference letter should include:
  • An example of your passion for weather & science or media & technology 
  • A statement on your professionalism and ability to collaborate in a team 
  • Contact email and phone number for our team if we have questions.

QUESTIONS? Before you apply, email any questions to Keith Krichinsky, our Chief of Continuity & Operations. If interested in further details, we can arrange for a conference call to speak with a Team Advisor and a Lead Forecaster.

We look forward to reading about your passion for weather and forecasting! 

Sunny regards,
The Foot's Forecast Team

Here's a historical tidbit about the team & this picture. Taken at Penn State in March 2013, everyone you see here, all of whom started out as high school forecasters, are now actual degreed meteorologists working either in industry, on television or at a research institution. 

So when will that be your story?


The FIRST day of Summer for some,
might also be their LAST day of the school year.

At the rate this winter is going, unorthodox approaches may have to be 
considered by school districts caught in the calendar conundrum.

LAST UPDATED 3:30 PM SUN 2/17/19
  • HIGH PROBABILITY FOR A SIGNIFICANT WINTER STORM TO IMPACT A MAJORITY OF THE EASTERN MID-ATLANTIC early Wednesday into Thursday from Southern PA to Western MD to Northern & Central VA to the Baltimore-Washington metro area. The Sterling VA NWS has for the first time this season outlined an enhanced threat for a widespread impactful event as shown below. (NWS)
  • LIQUID EQUIVALENT EXCEEDS 1.0" for many areas for the Wed-Thu postion of this event, with overnight start and sub 32 F temperatures indicating potentially high amounts of snow, sleet & freezing rain may occur. (NOAA WPC)
  • HOW MUCH SNOW & ICE? Northern areas which remain cold enough for mostly snow could exceed 5" with areas closer to the Bay turning to a wintry mix Wednesday morning, reducing snowfall totals east of the I-95 corridor but increasing the sleet & freezing rain threat to 0.25" of ice in those areas (US GFS model)

But, significance of this storm 
goes beyond just weather:

Could this system be the season's first "Big Kahuna?" 
  • BELOW IS THE NOAA DAY 4 PROBABILITY MAP depicting the chance of frozen precipitation occuring in the shaded areas would exceed 0.25" of liquid equivalent. In the acacdemic study of statistics and probability, this high level 4 days in advance reflects confidence in the atmospheric dynamics required to produce this type of outcome.
  • WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? The extensive coverage of green shading, which represents a moderate 30-50% chance of the 0.25" liquid equivalent threshold, is the first time in the 2018-19 season such a strong probability has been posted for such a large portion of the densely populated Mid-Atlantic region. 
  • WHAT IS A "BIG KAHUNA"? First coined by FF writers and readers on this site in 2005, this term is assigned by our team to denote a widespread moderate to high impact winter storm affecting a large portion of the Mid-Atlantic (or other region), and produces 6-12" of snow. However, at 4 days out, uncertainty precludes us from determining this early it WILL be a Big Kahuna.

Preliminary timing & scenarios:

Columbia, Howard County, MD is chosen as the representative location to illustrate location of the dividing line on Wednesday between two areas of different outcomes:
  • Areas to north & west of Columbia/I-95 that may remain mostly snow for a majority of Wednesday, and;
  • Areas south & east of Columbia/I-95 which are more likely to transition to a wintry mix of sleet, freezing rain and rain.

SCENARIO A: Another sloppy schedule mess
  • Despite probable Winter Storm Warnings posted throughout the region by the time Wednesday morning arrives, dry air and a slower onset of precipitation results in some schools & colleges deciding to open on time, observing that no snow is occuring at 5 AM.
  • Soon after students arrive, heavy snow sweeps east to the 95 corridor by 8 AM. Another round of hastily announced early dismissals occur. This time, condition decline rapidly as snowfall rates quickly hit 1.0" an hour. The result is thousands of commuters and parents take hours to get home, harkening back to an era when less detailed technology made these kinds of situations commonplace. 
  • For areas north and west of I-95, north of I-70 into northern VA, central MD and the I-81 corridor into southern PA, snow continues unabated through 6 PM, with many areas exceeding 6", with higher amounts along the PA line. For areas south & east of 95, including much of the DC metro, mixing with sleet and freezing rain develops by mid morning, turning the PM commute into a complete icy lockout disaster. By Thursday morning, overnight runoff and refreezing has created another ice nightmore, although all precip is turning to rain around sunrise.
  • Below: European model projected precipitation type by 7 AM Wednesday:

  • Light to moderate snow develops in the early morning hours of Wednesday, with at least 1.0" on the ground in all locations north of the I-66 corridor in Washington, DC. Many schools and colleges elect to close outright instead of a 2-hour delay with re-evaluation, as it is clear conditions will worsen through the day.
  • Colder than expected surface and upper level temperatures permit snow to persist longer than forecasted, and over a larger area. A change to sleet & freezing rain is delayed until late afternoon for areas east of 95, and never occurs for areas north of I-70 to the PA line & southern PA. Winter Storm Warnings are extended into early Thursday for heavy snow in the north, and up to 0.30" ice along from I-70 south to I-95 and east to I-97.
  • By Wednesday evening, snowfall totals approach 12" for areas north of I-70 and along I-81. In northern Maryland, some parts of the "the North 4" of Frederick, Carroll, Baltimore & Harford counties exceed 12" in areas bordering the PA line, and it is still snowing by nightfall. Cecil County is vying for recognition with a respectable 8-10" of snow. Areas from I-70 to 95 are seeing a sleet/freezing rain mix producing a glaze on top of 4-6" of snow, and from DC to southern Maryland precip is turning to rain by Noon after 3-4" of snow. 
  • Below: NOAA Global Forecast System (GFS) model for 7 AM Wednesday.

And finally, the weather map feature 
that will determine what really happens:
Position of the High pressure in Canada.
  • An old forecasting rule proven correct time and again is simply this: Predict the High and you predict the storm. If the High in SE Canada positions where shown by Wednesday morning, Scenario B has a high chance of succeeding. 
  • If the High in upstate NY/SE Canada pulls east earlier than expected, the other Low pressure features will convert this setup into a snow-to ice-to rain outcome similar to what has occured twice in the past 2 weeks. 

And now, let the speculation games begin!

Which scenario are you siding with? 
Are you prepared for the consequences of that? 
We shall see and time will tell.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

DOES A BIGGER BEAST AWAIT... at winter's endgame?

Does a bigger beast Winter's endgame ?

A frost beast from Marvel Studio's 2011 film Thor
  • An increasingly active weather pattern indicates the Mid-Atlantic and Eastern U.S. may be entering a high impact period of multiple winter weather events over the next 2-3 weeks to straight to March 1.
  • The current pattern of "rain, cold, snow, ice, back to rain"  is evidence that a resurgent El Nino in the Pacific is persistently delivering high moisture systems into the jet stream flow - which upon reaching the East coast, interact over several days with strong High pressure positioned nearby.
  • The rising frequency of this repeating pattern, in a climatologically favored time of year for winter weather events, raises the probability that at some point soon -- deep Pacific moisture will collide with a stubborn-as-rock Arctic High, and the result will be a major to high impact coastal & inland "Big Kahuna" storm. Could it be an event that rivals the storied powder-producers of yesteryear? Why yes, it certaintly could.
This weekend may be a preview of what is to come:

  • The NOAA Weather Prediction Center in College Park, MD already has progged a notable probability of frozen precipitation in the Day 5,6 and 7 periods. This map is for next Monday into Tuesday.
  • This is the first time all season these probability maps have shown a 10-30% chance of precipitation falling as a frozen substance up to at least 0.25" of liquid equivalent -- for 3 days in a row - and covering a large portion of the East.
  • Put a more simpler way for us regular scratch-and-dent people, in a 10:1 snow to liquid ratio, this map is roughly equivalent to 2.5 - 4.0 inches of snow. That may not seem like much, but is a good indication that probabilities for accumulating snow over a large area are already notably high this early.  
What are NWS local offices saying? 
  • Sterling VA NWS: "Guidance has shifted notably in the long term to a potentially colder and snowier solution, but uncertainty remains significant."
  • Wakefield VA NWS: "The lack of consensus within individual model runs and between the global models results in considerable uncertainty in the long term. We have at least the potential for some precipitation type issues this weekend, into early next week."
  • Philadelphia/Mt. Holly NJ NWS: "A very active weather pattern will persist through this period with several problematic shortwaves moving through a broad long wave trough over North America potentially impacting the area with more wintery weather."
Whatever happens from here forward, the makers of Dos Equis would be proud, because the next 7 days are certainly going to rank among the most interesting weather patterns in the world for a time.