So About Next Week…

Tonight's 00Z European Model Forecast for Next Wednesday Evening (http://www.meteo.psu.edu/~gadomski)

I’m not one to go bonkers when it comes to any particular storm (in fact, you read me discussing how I would be apt to NOT hype next week a couple days ago). But I think now it’s obvious we have something rather significant showing up here. The three major models tonight all went nuts for the middle of next week, showing an absolutely massive storm slowly rolling up the East Coast. When all three models lock in on a massive storm, that very often means that they’re right. Models struggle and they can be a bit inconsistent at times, but when it comes to the extremely large, widespread or historic sized events, they are usually quick to hit on things. I’m not saying that next week’s storm will be historic, but there’s no question we’re now looking at a significant to major event for much of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

Tonight's 00Z GFS Model Forecast for Next Wednesday Evening (http://www.meteo.psu.edu/~gadomski)

So what are the details? Well, it’s far too early to speculate, but we’ll do just that because we can. Based on tonight’s model runs, we’d be looking at a snow to mix/rain ending as snow event from I-95 to the coast (and even a little further inland from there), with extremely heavy snow/mix possible from the Smokeys north into Upstate NY and interior New England. The storm is also extremely slow moving. For example, the precip begins in Philly on tonight’s Euro run at about Midnight Wednesday and does not end until about 9-11 AM Thursday. Snow moves into the Albany area around 9 AM Wednesday and doesn’t depart until after Noon on Thursday. These aren’t forecasts…they’re just examples of what the model is showing and emphasis on a 24+ hour event.

Tonight's 00Z Canadian Model Forecast for Next Wednesday Evening (http://www.meteo.psu.edu/~gadomski)

The other issue then is track. Tonight’s runs are up along or just inland from the coast. That is extremely unfavorable for heavy snow from DC-Boston…that’s a wet track, not a white one. However, if you look closely at each model’s ensemble mean, you’ll see the track is still fairly far offshore. What does this mean? That the operational models *may* be on the extreme west edge of the track forecast envelope. I wouldn’t go shouting from the rooftops just yet, but it’s something to keep in mind.

We’ve seen a lot of storms the last couple winters, but this one I think is the most impressive looking in terms of physical size and slow track. We’re in a powder keg pattern right now, and this may be the fuse that helps things explode. I’m not going to get into details of the meteorology behind what’s happening right now, but we need to watch things very closely over the next few days. But each model run has looked more impressive with this storm, not less impressive, and that trend may continue as we get closer.

Unfortunately, I’m heading out of town Friday afternoon…well, actually I’m moving, but taking a week or so to drive to Texas, so my updates will be much more infrequent. However, make sure you “like” State of Occlusion on Facebook, as I’ll post updates each night/morning with the latest information. This really could be a big time event, so stay tuned!

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Catching Up: Tomas, Snow, Links, Climate Change, Hail Video

It’s been a busy few days on this end…family, weddings, etc., so the blog needed a few days off! Let’s catch up on some links and info.

– Tomas hit Haiti, but fortunately it seems that nation was spared the worst of a natural disaster for a change. Still, it didn’t help matters, and I don’t think the post-storm conditions are exactly desirable, but as I understand it, the death toll was limited to eight, which is great news considering how vulnerable that island is right now.

As a wrap, here’s some cool imagery from Tomas.

 

GOES-13 Water Vapor Imagery of East Coast Early Season Winter Storm, courtesy of CIMSS: http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/goes/blog/archives/7128

 

Winter Arrives

Tomas also provided some impetus for additional moisture in the storm that brought a surprise snow to parts of New England, New York, Long Island, and even parts of New Jersey today. Alright, it wasn’t technically a surprise, but I think the intensity and amount of it was. Cool image to the right is of the storm from the GOES-13 satellite…you can see the moisture feeding in on the eastern flank of the storm from the former Tomas. So this was a potent system that brought the first real accumulating snow to parts of the Northeast.

The Albany, NY area really cashed in with an average of 1-3″ of snow in and around the immediate Capital District. Parts of the Catskills ended up with 1-4″. Parts of Long Island received about 0.5″, and southwest Connecticut had about 0.5-1.5″. Much of interior New England saw 0.5-2.5″ of snow, widely varying from place to place. So winter is unofficially underway. This was not an easy storm to forecast, as the models were not quite on their A-game, and you’re dealing with a very anomalously strong storm. The combination allowed this to portray the element of surprise for a lot of people west and south of New England.

Keeping on the theme of winter, the first real lake effect snow event of the season for parts of the snow belts downwind of Lake Michigan kicked off over the weekend. Anywhere from 3-5″ of snow fell in parts of Indiana. Lake effect season is certainly underway.

And just to add on, last week’s system provided snow for parts of the South! The Great Smoky Mountains ended up with a fair amount of the white stuff.

More Links

In New Orleans, more issues regarding the levee system. This time, they want to ensure that the modeling that was done in the disaster projections was done properly. Obviously, when you’re dealing with billions of dollars in construction, you want to make sure all the I-s are dotted.

Invisible, ancient galaxies are brought to light, thanks to Einstein’s trick (gravitational lensing)! Pretty cool, as these are things even the Hubble Telescope wouldn’t be able to capture.

I don’t claim to be a volcanologist, but the amount of activity that’s gradually been building in Indonesia (in addition to earlier activity in Iceland) is intriguing. Indonesia is a powder keg though, given that it’s on the Ring of Fire in the Pacific. The latest addition to the building activity (aside from Merapi) is the new dome that built up on Krakatoa since its 1883 super eruption. Andy Revkin’s DotEarth blog has an interesting feature on a “volcano chaser.” It also has some cool volcano video.

Global Warming Fight

Some interesting articles on global warming are popping up. Since Election Day, this whole simmering battle may come to a boil over the next two years, with climate scientists possibly getting more involved in advocating policy than ever before.

Straight off the bat, the climate science community and American Geophysical Union originally came out they’re ready to fight. But they later struck a more conciliatory tone. This may just be another example of hyperbole in the media, but I think it makes a point.

In other news, the Chicago Climate Exchange is axing its cap and trade program. This is a good thing in my own personal opinion. Whether you are in favor of strict caps on carbon, or you could care less, cap and trade will not solve anything in my opinion. It doesn’t cut emissions…it keeps a cap on what already exists, which if it is causing problems, isn’t going to help things.

California may be the pioneer in alternative and new energy, but Texas is the pioneer in fighting the EPA. This furthers the battle I mentioned above.

Lastly, a pretty good blog entry from a meteorologist at WAOW in Wisconsin regarding some more of this hard line being drawn in the global warming fight.

Just a pause here for a moment for my own $0.02… this is all somewhat disturbing to see. Getting lost in this mess is actual sound climate science. And both sides are to blame in my own opinion. I think Congressional Republicans do have a right and probably a duty, given the election results, to question some of the science and actions related to the science….within reason. I think scientists have the right and the duty to defend their work. Unfortunately the line between science and policy has been blurred, and people who aren’t qualified to speak on either side of the issue are crossing lines they aren’t supposed to be crossing. In my opinion, the scientists need to be sticking to science (on both sides) and defense of their work. The policymakers need to stick to policy. In between, there should be people keeping scientists honest, keeping politicians honest, and keeping each group out of the areas they don’t belong in. It’s become too politicized (it was years ago), but now with this congressional takeover, I fear that this is going to get blown into something that will not have either group looking good in the end.

Video

Lastly, some cool video of a hailstorm in Georgia!