Monday Evening Storm Update

PSU E-Wall European Model Forecast for Next Weekend

So here’s my evening update on the storm and more. I won’t get to analyze the 00Z Euro til I’m at work tomorrow. But we can look at the 12Z Euro and the 00Z GFS. The 00Z Euro had backed off last night and sent the storm out to sea. This morning’s run was a little further West, but still primarily offshore enough to only impact the coast north of Delmarva with some light snow and hits Maine pretty good. The map to your left is the12Z run, showing the position of the low. Frankly, it’s not in a bad spot right now on the models. Sure, you’d like to see a big hit, but this far out (138 hours), I like having a track just offshore from my own personal experience. Last winter there were a few instances where the storm tracked like that this far out and then bounced back in the last 72 hours and ended up hitting. This is not last winter (despite the similarities), but still I like this. Again, the west will be what to watch…how the energy shoots in this week (almost a pineapple express scenario…not classic, but close) and how that weak ridge over the intermountain region sets up as well.

Watching the GFS come in and it’s clearly a bit deeper and wetter and probably further west, closer to the coast with this. The big, big question to me is what happens with this Pacific energy undercutting everything out here Thursday…the system actually goes into Baja, Arizona, and New Mexico, which is extremely odd to see in Nina I think. That’s your key right now, because it hits the block and explodes off the coast.

So the GFS is further west…good trend for snow lovers. Literal solution is mod snow for most of VA, southern 2/3 of NJ, and maybe Long Island/Cape Cod, with a secondary blast for Norfolk/NE North Carolina and Delmarva as the storm bombs offshore. This is really in the sweet spot this far out. Timing is Saturday night to Sunday, and again I think the key is almost entirely the energy in the Southwest. Stay tuned.

Threat for Next Weekend Remains

PSU E-Wall 00Z GFS Forecast Next Sunday Evening

I’m a major proponent of NOT hugging models, but there’s no question that tonight’s 00Z GFS run was encouraging. The map to the left shows the GFS forecast for next Sunday evening. Keep that in mind…that’s a week away. We all know how fast that can change, but to see both the Euro and GFS in agreement on an approximate track/style of storm here is encouraging. Taken literally, this would be a significant snowstorm from DC-Boston and for most/all of NJ. I wouldn’t take things literally, but I want to at least bring the idea that this is a possibility to your attention.

We’ve got a ton of energy swinging into the West Coast, and ultimately that’s going to be the key to this I think…how that energy gets directed inland and across. And a couple things to note: Models notoriously handle this sort of energy infusion into the Pac coast poorly. And the ridge in the West is a bit flatter and less amplified than I’d really like to see to generate a big East Coast storm. So the big problem with seeing a great storm like this seven days out is that everything can go wrong between now and then. More on this in the coming days.

One thing the GFS certainly does though is continue to provide reinforcing shots of cold weather to the Eastern half of the US through the end of the year. Obviously, that’s something else you can’t take literally, but winter doesn’t seem to want to let up. And with the off the charts AO and strong NAO blocking in place, this makes some sense. Stay tuned.

Lastly, cool video to end tonight that I just found. Heavy rain in Washington State and the Northwest has produced significant flooding around Seattle and elsewhere. Here’s video of the Stillaquamish River at Granite Falls in Washington…flooding…and this is absolutely massive.

That “Chance” of Snow is the Midwest’s Snowmageddon

Snow Totals Map for Southeast Minnesota and Western Wisconsin - courtesy of NWS Minneapolis/St. Paul

Well, after all the talk about the chance of snow for this weekend in the interior Northeast, it turned out to be mostly just model error…but kudos to the European model which did a fairly decent job in calling that this would mainly be a Lakes/Midwest beast. Something is just inherently wrong with the GFS that it can’t handle certain things well…especially interesting considering the ensemble track was south and east even of the model. Let’s discuss what’s up.

First the blizzard. Just massive. Most of you know about the Metrodome roof collapsing under the snow (not unprecedented, but they aren’t going to have that place ready for a game tomorrow). More details on the storm’s impact in Minnesota here.

Storm total at MSP is 17.1″, making it the fifth largest storm on record for the Twin Cities.

Storm totals were as high as 23″ in Polk County, WI, 21.5″ in New Market and Shakopee, MN, 21″ at Oakdale, MN, and 20″ at Red Wing and Maplewood, MN.

Blizzard Warnings remain in effect today from eastern Iowa to the NW suburbs of Chicago and Milwaukee and N Michigan. Winter Storm Warnings are posted for Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, parts of Ohio, and the Appalachians from PA to Tennessee. And Winter Weather Advisories are posted all the way into far N Alabama and Georgia! On top of that, freeze and wind chill warnings/advisories are posted for the Deep South all the way into southern Florida, where nighttime lows early this week are going to rival what we saw back in January. Another round of lake effect snow is going to hammer Central and Western New York again this week (though to me the trajectory looks a little more northerly than what occurred last week, which would mean less snow for places like Syracuse). But we’ll see.

Overall, winter is in force in the Eastern US. At the same time, we’re going to break record highs today across SoCal, with widespread mid 80s expected. Amplification…what goes up must come down…strong, deep trough in the East = strong ridge in the West usually. And we are in an extremely amplified pattern…and the anomalous nature of this amplified pattern is going to remain in place for the foreseeable future. That means more fun to come.

So what do I think is to come?

We have a couple systems to watch. With extreme blocking in place, the storm track is going to look a lot like last winter. One weak wave looks to pass through the southern US Wednesday night-Thursday night. It’s a flat wave though, so I question if other than some nuisance freezing rain or sleet if it will pack much punch. It will serve though to reinforce the cold over the East for next weekend.

CPC Graphic Showing Ensemble Forecast of Arctic Blocking

A more important storm is evident on the European model for the end of the weekend or early next week. This shows a more amplified storm, which if taken literally, shows a substantial snow chance from the Carolinas to DC and possibly into New England. The GFS isn’t showing much other than a cold pattern right now and keeps everything offshore (not uncommon for this model to miss a feature like this though). I am getting somewhat on board for at least the threat of a snow/winter weather event in the Mid Atlantic and possibly the Northeast next weekend or early Christmas week.

The pattern is active later this week with a 140+ kt jet stream pointed right into California. This isn’t too unlike what we saw a lot of last winter in the active El Nino pattern. Whether this is too far north or not, I guess we’ll see, but with a load of blocking in Arctic/Greenland and a load of moisture/energy slamming into the West Coast…that to me suggests someone in the East is in for it at some point. It still could track out to sea…it still could track inland…it may be the model misleading us. But it’s evident that the weather pattern is much more intriguing than it has been. We’ll watch this week and see!

Couple things to round this out…

First, if you missed it at all, here’s the incredible video of the Metrodome’s roof collapse in Minneapolis:

Lastly, if you like Google Earth, and if you like hurricanes, here’s a cool post with links to great visualizations of the hurricanes from this past season.

Well, after all the talk about the chance of snow for this weekend in the interior Northeast, it turned out to be mostly just model error…but kudos to the European model which did a fairly decent job in calling that this would mainly be a Lakes/Midwest beast. Something is just inherently wrong with the GFS that it can’t handle certain things well…especially interesting considering the ensemble track was south and east even of the model. Let’s discuss what’s up.

First the blizzard. Just massive. Most of you know about the Metrodome roof collapsing under the snow (not unprecedented, but they aren’t going to have that place ready for a game tomorrow). More details on the storm’s impact in Minnesota here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101212/ap_on_re_us/us_winter_storm_midwest;_ylt=AiVEC47U_j2JGmW7yTsO2MKs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTNuNGpramwyBGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMTAxMjEyL3VzX3dpbnRlcl9zdG9ybV9taWR3ZXN0BGNjb2RlA21vc3Rwb3B1bGFyBGNwb3MDMQRwb3MDMgRwdANob21lX2Nva2UEc2VjA3luX3RvcF9zdG9yeQRzbGsDbWlubm1ldHJvZG9t

Storm total at MSP is 17.1″, making it the fifth largest storm on record for the Twin Cities. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/collections/special/columns/updraft/archive/2010/12/storm_update_snowfall_rates_no.shtml

Storm totals were as high as 23″ in Polk County, WI, 21.5″ in New Market and Shakopee, MN, 21″ at Oakdale, MN, and 20″ at Red Wing and Maplewood, MN. http://www.crh.noaa.gov/news/display_cmsstory.php?wfo=mpx&storyid=60336&source=0

Blizzard Warnings remain in effect today from eastern Iowa to the NW suburbs of Chicago and Milwaukee and N Michigan. Winter Storm Warnings are posted for Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, parts of Ohio, and the Appalachians from PA to Tennessee. And Winter Weather Advisories are posted all the way into far N Alabama and Georgia! On top of that, freeze and wind chill warnings/advisories are posted for the Deep South all the way into southern Florida, where nighttime lows early this week are going to rival what we saw back in January. Another round of lake effect snow is going to hammer Central and Western New York again this week (though to me the trajectory looks a little more northerly than what occurred last week, which would mean less snow for places like Syracuse). But we’ll see.

Overall, winter is in force in the Eastern US. At the same time, we’re going to break record highs today across SoCal, with widespread mid 80s expected. Amplification…what goes up must come down…strong, deep trough in the East = strong ridge in the West usually. And we are in an extremely amplified pattern.

What’s to come?

We have a couple systems to watch. With extreme blocking in place, the storm track is going to be pushed further south. The classic, “it’s too cold to snow” pattern for much of the north. One weak wave looks to pass through the southern US Wednesday night-Thursday night. It’s a flat wave though, so I question if other than some nuisance freezing rain or sleet if there will be any real wintry precipitation anywhere with it. It will serve though to reinforce the cold over the East for next weekend.

A more important storm is evident on the European model for the middle of week two (Christmas week). This shows a more amplified storm, which if taken literally, shows a substantial snow chance from the Carolinas to DC. The GFS isn’t showing much other than a cold pattern right now. I am getting somewhat on board for at least the threat of a snow event in the Mid Atlantic next week sometime. The pattern is active later this week with a 140+ kt jet stream pointed right into California. This isn’t too unlike what we saw a lot of last winter in the active El Nino pattern. Whether this is too far north or not, I guess we’ll see, but with a load of blocking in Arctic/Greenland and a load of moisture/energy slamming into the West Coast…that to me suggests someone in the East is in for it at some point. We’ll seeWell, after all the talk about the chance of snow for this weekend in the interior Northeast, it turned out to be mostly just model error…but kudos to the European model which did a fairly decent job in calling that this would mainly be a Lakes/Midwest beast. Something is just inherently wrong with the GFS that it can’t handle certain things well…especially interesting considering the ensemble track was south and east even of the model. Let’s discuss what’s up.

First the blizzard. Just massive. Most of you know about the Metrodome roof collapsing under the snow (not unprecedented, but they aren’t going to have that place ready for a game tomorrow). More details on the storm’s impact in Minnesota here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101212/ap_on_re_us/us_winter_storm_midwest;_ylt=AiVEC47U_j2JGmW7yTsO2MKs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTNuNGpramwyBGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMTAxMjEyL3VzX3dpbnRlcl9zdG9ybV9taWR3ZXN0BGNjb2RlA21vc3Rwb3B1bGFyBGNwb3MDMQRwb3MDMgRwdANob21lX2Nva2UEc2VjA3luX3RvcF9zdG9yeQRzbGsDbWlubm1ldHJvZG9t

Storm total at MSP is 17.1″, making it the fifth largest storm on record for the Twin Cities. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/collections/special/columns/updraft/archive/2010/12/storm_update_snowfall_rates_no.shtml

Storm totals were as high as 23″ in Polk County, WI, 21.5″ in New Market and Shakopee, MN, 21″ at Oakdale, MN, and 20″ at Red Wing and Maplewood, MN. http://www.crh.noaa.gov/news/display_cmsstory.php?wfo=mpx&storyid=60336&source=0

Blizzard Warnings remain in effect today from eastern Iowa to the NW suburbs of Chicago and Milwaukee and N Michigan. Winter Storm Warnings are posted for Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, parts of Ohio, and the Appalachians from PA to Tennessee. And Winter Weather Advisories are posted all the way into far N Alabama and Georgia! On top of that, freeze and wind chill warnings/advisories are posted for the Deep South all the way into southern Florida, where nighttime lows early this week are going to rival what we saw back in January. Another round of lake effect snow is going to hammer Central and Western New York again this week (though to me the trajectory looks a little more northerly than what occurred last week, which would mean less snow for places like Syracuse). But we’ll see.

Overall, winter is in force in the Eastern US. At the same time, we’re going to break record highs today across SoCal, with widespread mid 80s expected. Amplification…what goes up must come down…strong, deep trough in the East = strong ridge in the West usually. And we are in an extremely amplified pattern.

What’s to come?

We have a couple systems to watch. With extreme blocking in place, the storm track is going to be pushed further south. The classic, “it’s too cold to snow” pattern for much of the north. One weak wave looks to pass through the southern US Wednesday night-Thursday night. It’s a flat wave though, so I question if other than some nuisance freezing rain or sleet if there will be any real wintry precipitation anywhere with it. It will serve though to reinforce the cold over the East for next weekend.

A more important storm is evident on the European model for the middle of week two (Christmas week). This shows a more amplified storm, which if taken literally, shows a substantial snow chance from the Carolinas to DC. The GFS isn’t showing much other than a cold pattern right now. I am getting somewhat on board for at least the threat of a snow event in the Mid Atlantic next week sometime. The pattern is active later this week with a 140+ kt jet stream pointed right into California. This isn’t too unlike what we saw a lot of last winter in the active El Nino pattern. Whether this is too far north or not, I guess we’ll see, but with a load of blocking in Arctic/Greenland and a load of moisture/energy slamming into the West Coast…that to me suggests someone in the East is in for it at some point. We’ll see

AM Models: Go Inland, Storm!

European Model Forecast for Sunday Morning: http://raleighwx.americanwx.com/models.html
GFS Forecast for Sunday Evening: http://raleighwx.americanwx.com/models.html

Good news and bad news if you’re an eastern snow lover today. The good news is that the ability for snow to fall because of cold weather looks to stick around for awhile. This morning’s model runs look quite cold for the Eastern US, and blazing warm for the West over the next 10 days or so. And it looks like at least some lighter snows will fall over a fairly large area for the end of this week. However, the bad news… this morning’s model runs did no one any favors regarding the potential for a significant storm early next week. The top map is the European model forecast…the bottom is the GFS, valid through the day Sunday (All model maps from Allan Huffman’s site here). You can see from both of these models, the center of the low…still a strong one…is pretty far inland. This absolutely crushes parts of the interior, specifically Ohio, NW Pennsylvania, Western NY, and Ontario. The Euro is even further west today, hitting Wisconsin, Michigan, and Central Ontario hard. Again, this does not mean that this is now a dead issue. But, this is modestly decent agreement, and there’s reason for me to think the threat further east (specifically east of I-81) is fairly limited.

 

European Model 500mb Forecast Sunday Morning (http://raleighwx.americanwx.com/models.html)
GFS 500 mb Forecast, Sunday Evening (http://raleighwx.americanwx.com/models.html)

If you look at the maps to the right, these are the 500 mb maps (slices of the atmosphere about 20,000 feet up) for the same time periods as above. Remember, things in the atmosphere move in waves with ridges and troughs. For a big eastern storm, you usually need a big ridge in the West and a big trough in the East. That exists here. But it’s the orientation that’s key. If you look at the Euro (top), the axis, or center of the ridge, is located through Portland and Seattle. If you look at the GFS (bottom), the ridge axis is along the Idaho border with Washington and Oregon. For a really good storm to impact areas east of I-81 to the big cities, you really need this ridge axis to set up around Boise, ID. If you notice, the GFS is a lot closer to a decent storm than the Euro (which wacks areas way far away from most of the Eastern cities)…and it’s no coincidence that the ridge axis on the GFS is a good 300-400 miles further east than the Euro.

Keep an eye on this in the coming days because this isn’t a slam dunk, as the operational models are not in lockstep with their ensembles, as has often been the case this autumn/winter…and in fact those show the potential for a further east tracking storm. So today wasn’t a great day of runs for snow lovers east of I-81, but this is by no means a dead issue.

Hey, lastly, cool video of the day for you… the entire 2010 Atlantic Hurricane season looping by on satellite. See all 19 storms go by (don’t blink, you might miss some!):

First Significant Storm in the East Coming?

Last Night's Initialized Euro 500 mb and Surface Map (what's happening "now") - All model images from Allan Huffman's Model Site: http://raleighwx.americanwx.com/models

Well, after that lengthy post-Thanksgiving post, I got slammed with flu-like symptoms. So no posting since last week. But, now we’re on the up and up, and the weather looks interesting to say the least.

Let’s start with what’s up right now. We’ve had an interesting couple days with an awfully far south traveling clipper system bringing snow from the Midwest into parts of the Southeast. If you look at the map to the left, it shows what was happening last night, as initialized by the European model. The bulging green/yellow colors on the right indicate  a “block” in the atmosphere centered near and over Greenland (-NAO). As a result, we’re seeing colder air drain out of the higher latitudes on the western side of the block (and, if you’ve heard a bit about cold in Europe, the eastern side too). This is a similar scenario to what was seen  for much of last winter. We appear to be in a long-term phase of this North Atlantic Oscilliation (NAO) being more negative.

84 Hour NAM Snowfall Projection for Maine/Quebec - From Earl Barker's Model Site: http://wxcaster.com

So we’ve got the cold hanging in. We’ve had some snow. Now that one clipper system is going to arc back inland over southeast Canada and deliver some nasty weather to northern Maine and Quebec, and you can see “projected” snow totals from the NAM model to the right (Earl Barker’s model website for the original graphic…great site to bookmark). That be a lot of snow if it materializes, which it should.

Friday Morning's European Model Map (http://raleighwx.americanwx.com)

Beyond this point, things get interesting. The first fly in the ointment comes Thursday night through Saturday morning, as another Alberta Clipper system drives across the Lakes. You can see that at left. Based on my past experience, this right now appears to be a 1-3″ or 2-4″ type of snowfall for areas north of I-80, with higher amounts possible in the mountains and on the coast of New England. Obviously, we’re still a good five days out, so that’s just a VERY rough guess. For what it’s worth, the GFS model also shows this. So far so good.

Now it gets real interesting next week:

European Model Map for Next Monday Morning (http://raleighwx.americanwx.com)
Next Sunday Evening GFS Model Forecast Map (http://raleighwx.americanwx.com)

So here we go…the top image is the European model’s forecast from this morning for next Monday morning. It shows a strong low pressure system over Upstate NY, dropping heavy snow in the Lakes and likely a cold, miserable rain to the Big Cities. However, the GFS model to the bottom image, shows the low off the coast. This implies (and if you translate it out further) heavy snow possibly from I-95 East to the coast, especially as you get into Southern New England. Now, this is over a week away, we still have light years (in meteorological terms) to go until we reach any sort of confidence in the forecast, but there’s a decent signal right now showing up that suggests a significant storm is going to form somewhere in the East within about 10 days, and it could deliver the first decent snows of the winter to some areas. Stay tuned!

Funny Friday

Not sure if this will become a tradition or not, but I’ve got a couple fun videos to tag at the end of this post. First some odds, ends, and links.

I had an opportunity to visit a wind farm today, and I have to say, it’s truly one of the coolest things you’ll see. I’ve passed by on highways before, but I’ve never been up close and personal with turbine blades. Just the size, scope, and magnitude of a project like a wind farm is incredible. Like I’ve said in the past, I don’t know if wind power is cost effective enough (until cost-effective, large battery storage capabilities are developed) to really become a serious mainstay, but just the ability to harness the power of wind…and to see how it’s done…really awesome.

Contrail in the Mojave Desert, 11/12/10

In a somewhat related note, we happened to catch a cool looking contrail while at the farm. You can see it pictured at the left. I just wanted to point this out to you because of last week’s “missile” incident near LA. As you can see, the path of a plane can do some funky things to the plane’s contrail, and this was no exception. Had you not been able to see the plane, you might be asking what’s going on here. So at sunset, things change dramatically.

Now on to some links…

Folks in the Mid-Atlantic won’t have climatology on their side if they want a repeat of last winter. My college buddy Jared of the NWS in Sterling, VA provides some of the hard math on how substantial snow is much more rare in winters featuring a pretty potent La Nina, such as the winter of 2010-2011 will have.

The Capital Weather Gang looks back on the Veteran’s Day snowstorm of 1987 that paralyzed DC.

November 10th, 2002 was an epic severe weather day across the country. Greg Nordstrom looks back on it. The sheer number of reports is staggering.

Cliff Mass has a fantastic article on Seattle’s preparedness for winter snow. It’s a good read for anyone curious as to planning for winter weather or anyone interested in community safety in hazardous weather.

Mt. Rainier is on my hit list of places I have to go see somewhat close up during my lifetime. Here’s an article on lenticular clouds capping the peak, and how it can occasionally put on spectacular visual shows with that.

The CIMSS Satellite Blog shows a skinny band of accumulated snow from Wyoming to North Dakota. Some parts of the Plains and Midwest are getting some heavy snow today and tonight. Winter Storm Warnings are up from Duluth through western Iowa. Should be some interesting storm totals out there when all is said and done.

A follow up on my blog entry from the other night about Dr. Judith Curry. The Republicans will have an additional witness in each panel at the House “Rational Discussion of Climate Change” next week.

Alright on to fun video. First off, a weathercaster in Toronto had an unfortunate run in with a polar bear. Well, not him per se, but his microphone, well…yeah:

And lastly, Ellen DeGeneres tees off on television meteorologists for being silly sometimes during weather, whereas you rarely see news people doing the same thing.

http://addins.kwwl.com/blogs/weather/archives/11296?mediaKey=12eace51-0a04-41e6-be55-de8bdbfe7fea&isShareURL=true

She makes a valid point for sure, and these are some things I was taught once I got into the business. But, also, keep in mind, she is talking about Los Angeles. And everything is a big joke out here with regard to weather (with maybe one or two exceptions…who are actually some fantastic TV meteorologists). But I digress…if you’re a meteorologist…just be resigned to the fact that you’ll never be right, no matter how hard you try. 😉