April’s Not Foolin’ for New England & Update on Opening Day

Here’s just an updated forecast on Thursday and Friday’s home openers.

Opening Day Thursday

Detroit at NY Yankees
Atlanta at Washington
Still looking at clouds, chilly temps, and scattered showers. I think NY is safe right now, but there are some signs that rain will envelope DC before game’s end, so keep an eye on that.

Milwaukee at Cincinnati
Still looks: Partly cloudy to mostly sunny and generally in the 40s.

LA Angels at Kansas City
San Diego at St. Louis
Still tracking a shower threat in KC. But those look more hit/miss, so I’m not anticipating any major disruption. Saint Louis looks pretty solid with sun and clouds. I’d take mention of showers out.

San Francisco at LA Dodgers
5 PM local time for first pitch at Chavez Ravine, and it will be postcard LA weather. Sunny, with temperatures probably 85-90 for first pitch, slipping into the upper 70s by the end of the game. Second place “Pick of the Weekend.”

Friday’s Home Openers

Minnesota at Toronto
Baltimore at Tampa
Dry and 70s…dome sweet dome.

Houston at Philly
It still looks like the worst of the weather will be in the morning in Philly. The snow/rain will lift into New England during the afternoon. It will be cold, breezy, raw, damp, gross. Should be some flurries around. Despite the fact that the worst will be long gone by game time, I would label this game as a risk to be rained or snowed out though, just because of how miserable the weather will be.

Pittsburgh at Chicago
Mostly cloudy here with some rain showers likely. I doubt it’s delay inducing stuff, but it may make Wrigley an unpleasant experience…sort of a raw, damp day.

Chicago at Cleveland
Still looks partly cloudy here. Looks like low 40s…a pleasant day for baseball, but still a bit chilly.

Boston at Texas
No changes in the ideas here either, except it could be a couple degrees warmer…low to maybe mid 80s in Arlington Friday. The Red Sox will be happy they’re opening there and not in Boston.

Arizona at Colorado
Not what you’d expect in Denver for baseball this early. Sunny, mild, and temps in the low 70s. This is the State of Occlusion “Pick of the Weekend!”

NY Mets at Florida
Taking out any mention of t’storms here. Looks good for the Mets/Fish. Temps upper 70s/low 80s at first pitch.

Seattle at Oakland
Partly cloudy after a nice day when highs should push into the 70s. We’ll see temps around first pitch in the 60s, easing back into the low 60s or upper 50s at game’s end.

Northeast Snow

The map to the left is this morning’s GFS model forecast for snow in the Northeast from Earl Barker’s model website. This is a pretty significant storm, for any time of winter, let alone early April. The GFS forecast is reasonable. Here’s how it breaks down.

NYC-Philly-DC: AM Rain, perhaps ending as some steady snow north and west, with a little coating possible there, and maybe some flurries into the cities.

Northwest NJ/Sussex County: Snow to rain to snow. Ending as a slushy 1-3″ accumulation I think. Higher elevations there could see snow continue longer, and there is definitely a risk that higher snowfall totals occur here. Still model disagreement in this area.

Boston: Mainly a mix in the city, but they could get 3-6″+ just north and west.

Interior CT/MA/Albany: 6-12″ easily, with higher amounts in the higher elevations. Some of those higher terrain areas may see 12-18″ of heavy, wet snow.

Interior NY west of I-87 to I-81 (Albany-Syracuse): Gradually diminishing snowfall gradient of 6-12″ near ALB to 1-3″ near SYR…. 5-10″ for Binghamton/Scranton.

This is just based on a cursory glance, so expect some changes, and refer to the NWS for the most local info. Either way, we’re looking at a large storm, with strong winds possible in New England as well, that could lead to power outages and downed trees/power lines. Just brutal for April.

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The Meteorologist’s Guide to Opening Day(s)

Well, we’re only a couple days away from Opening Day for baseball. Baseball, of course, has what feels like the longest season of the major sports. But its opening day is probably the most significant, because it means summer really is almost here. March is still a winter month, so no matter how warm it gets, most of the time, you know it’s going to get cold again, at least for a time. So baseball reminds us that we are at the end of winter…and it’s time to look to summer.

So with that in mind, let’s look at Thursday and Friday’s opening games and how the weather may impact them.

Opening Day Thursday

Detroit at NY Yankees
Atlanta at Washington
Right now, I feel the worst of the weather in the Northeast will be Wednesday and Friday. So it will be chilly, raw, but under partly to mostly cloudy skies.

Milwaukee at Cincinnati
Partly cloudy to mostly sunny and generally in the 40s.

LA Angels at Kansas City
San Diego at St. Louis
Looks like there will be some showers in Missouri on Thursday. I think the best chance in Kansas City is earlier in the day than the 4 PM first pitch, but in St. Louis they could see some raindrops. I don’t anticipate a rainout at either game, but it’s worth watching. Temperatures at both stadiums will be around 50, slipping back into the 40s by the end of the game.

San Francisco at LA Dodgers
5 PM local time for first pitch at Chavez Ravine, and it will be postcard LA weather. Sunny, with temperatures around 90 for first pitch, slipping into the 80s by the end of the game.

Friday’s Home Openers

Minnesota at Toronto
Baltimore at Tampa
Dry and 70s…dome sweet dome.

Houston at Philly
Expect a miserable morning in Philly. Looks like rain, possibly ending as some snow flurries. And right now, flurries couldn’t be ruled out for the game, with temperatures during the game in the 30s, to maybe around 40 degrees. I would label this game as a risk to be rained or snowed out though, just because of how miserable the weather will be.

Pittsburgh at Chicago
Mostly cloudy here with some rain showers possible. Doubtful this game will be delayed or rained out, but with temps in the 40s and the threat of some showers, it will be another miserable game.

Chicago at Cleveland
Partly cloudy here. Looks like low 40s…a pleasant day for baseball, but still a bit chilly.

Boston at Texas
Nice weather developing in Texas later this week, with sunshine and temps around 80 or in the low 80s.

Arizona at Colorado
Nice and mild in Denver Friday, with sunshine expected right now and temperatures well into the 60s to perhaps near 70 degrees.

NY Mets at Florida
Can’t rule out a stray shower or thunderstorm in South Florida Friday evening, but the worst of the weather should clear the coast during the day. Looks like low to mid 80s around game time.

Seattle at Oakland
Partly cloudy after a nice day when highs should push well into the 70s. We’ll see temps around first pitch in the 60s, easing back into the low 60s or upper 50s at game’s end.

So there are your opener. Admittedly, they could be worse (for instance a Friday game in NY or Boston would be a disaster). But it still looks cool, raw, and unpleasant in most areas…typical late March/early April weather. Unless of course, you are in Los Angeles, Oakland, or Denver.

So welcome baseball season!

As an aside, this storm on Friday WILL be of interest to a lot of folks. We are looking at potential for snow, possibly some significant snow, in interior Pennsylvania, New York, and much of New England. The track is right…let’s see if it actually materializes.

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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!

What 2 Watch 4

Watching the Onion Sports Dome tonight, so there’s a play on SportsCenter. A couple things to watch. As the annoying snow/ice/sleet/rain storm exits the Northeast tonight, attention focuses on the next two systems. The first one looks to bring a quick hitting shot of snow in a couple days, followed by a much stronger and larger system next week, who’s ultimate fate remains to be seen.

GFS Forecast for Friday Morning, credit: PSU E-Wall (http://www.meteo.psu.edu/~gadomski)

A very quick moving system will swing through the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Thursday night and exiting Friday afternoon. The map to the left shows the GFS forecast for Friday morning, which has a pocket of moderate to heavy precip in Central Jersey and just south of Long Island. This is a pretty cut and dry situation, with the system sliding through. The only final question is on track. Once that’s in line, we can pin down amounts and locations. Right now it appears that there will be a solid stripe of 2-4″, surrounded by lighter amounts. At this point, the models pin it north of the Mason-Dixon Line and northwest of I-95. So Philly-NYC expect roughly 2-4″ right now. There is the chance it could be closer to 5-6″ in spots, but this will not be a major storm. Then, as the storm blows up exiting the New England coastal region, we could see some heavy snow fly back toward Boston and Eastern Massachusetts. I wouldn’t be shocked to see higher amounts there. Heavy snow will also fall in western Maryland and western PA and parts of WV.

Now heading into next week, the models continue to advertise a significant East Coast event. I’m not entirely convinced this will be a big snow event for anyone in particular. The three main models (Canadian, American, and European) all show the storm. The GFS is a little more suppressed, which isn’t abnormal. So it would just be a mild snow event. The European and Canadian models are much stronger and hug the coast. So what we have here is a situation. We’re a week away and we have a storm showing up, and it could be potentially strong. We’ve got it showing up a little further west than more recent big snow events on the whole. And we have disagreements on overall track.

So, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about next week. The bottom line: Way too far out to hype this thing. It could do any number of things. It could be snow, it could be rain, it could be a mix, it could be nothing. So stay tuned!

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Boxing Day Storm Chances

Apologies for not really blogging much…been a busy time here…and it’s been raining here, a lot. Up to about 6.5″ of rain since Friday and more coming tonight and tomorrow. One of the wettest December storms on record in SoCal. And 15.5′ of snow at the summit of Mammoth Mountain! Ski the West this year!

On to this weekend. The last couple weeks we’ve seen two noteworthy storm threats in the East. The first ended up going across the Midwest and burying Minnesota. The second went wide right and brought some decent snows to southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod (6-12″).

So this is number three. And number three is different than Nos. one and two. The players on the field are much different. But the end result is essentially the same…the East Coast and Northeast are targeted for snow and we’re about 4-5 days out. Let’s do some quick modelology and then discuss more specifics.

Morning Computer Model Forecast for Sunday Morning (from http://raleighwx.americanwx.com), clockwise from top left: GFS, GFS Ensemble Mean, Euro (Mon Morning), Canadian

The GFS has been back and forth on a storm impacting the NE. This morning’s run was substantially more suppressed with the storm, lending to very light, but widespread snow Christmas Night and Boxing Day (Sunday). The Euro has been steadfast on a fairly potent storm. And this morning’s run was absolutely epically biblical, with massive snow for a lot of folks. There’s also a Canadian model that has been flopping back and forth and today is similar to the GFS in terms of impact.

 

Right Click the image to the left and open it in a new window. These are the main model runs from this morning forecasted for Sunday morning. Let me explain. The top left is this morning’s GFS…clearly suppressed a bit and well east, but the one to the right of it is the GFS Ensemble Mean (an average of a bunch of different GFS runs with different parameterizations basically).  This looks to be slightly further suppressed and further east. That’s not uncommon, as it’s an average of about a dozen runs. But, it doesn’t inspire increased confidence.

The bottom left is the Canadian…a little more aggressive than the GFS, but still mostly a swing and a miss. But then we get the Euro at bottom right. I had to fast forward this to Monday morning, as on Sunday, it shows the center of the storm off the GA coast.  This is a massive hit for a lot of folks. Essentially 12-18″, if not 24″ over a large area.

What do I think? Here are some pros and cons…pros being things suggesting snow…cons being things that act against it.

Pros

  • Large storm system hitting much of California (this occurred a lot last year preceding the big ones in the East and has not happened yet this year.
  • European model being steadfast about a large storm.
  • NAO transitioning from strongly negative to neutral (NAO= North Atlantic Oscillation…blocking over Greenland. Often times the biggest storms are the ones that occur when this oscillation transitions from negative to positive).
  • Other factors in the Atlantic in place that would suggest a storm is possible.

Cons

  • Axis of the ridge of high pressure in the Western US is centered over Wyoming (For a major storm to hit, you oftentimes need to see this axis set up around Boise, ID. I would feel FAR more confident in this storm if that ridge axis were to set up about 200 miles further west, which could still happen, but we have a way to go).
  • Models have had a tendency to overdo storms in the East thus far this year (in terms of snow impact).
  • GFS model has not been terrible this year, and the fact that it’s showing and has trended more suppressed is not encouraging.

In a nutshell, we have things supporting this and things working against it. We need to wait until tomorrow night’s runs to REALLY get a grasp on this, as the storm hitting California will finally have come ashore. The models have done a fairly decent job modeling this massive event out West, and while that doesn’t always translate East, that means they are on to something. So if I had to break down the situation:

  • At the least, light snow is likely Saturday night and Sunday in much of the East.
  • The highest odds for significant, plowable snow is south and east of I-95, along the Jersey/Delmarva Shore and southeast New England.
  • The odds for significant, plowable snow significantly diminishes substantially north and west of the Northeast Corridor (essentially a line from Concord, NH-Danbury, CT-Norristown, PA-Frederick, MD).
  • This is a Boxing Day/post-Christmas Storm right now and Christmas Day looks satisfactory (except south of the Mason-Dixon Line, nuisance snow could snarl travel in some areas).
  • This is not a guaranteed, knock out forecast by any means.

Stay tuned on this, as there will be much to discuss in the coming days.

More Storms For SoCal and Windy Links

Lightning flash in Pasadena, CA, 10-20-10

The picture at left represents the best I could do after midnight to capture lightning. Tough around here when you’ve got such a low ceiling and a lot of ambient light to capture much of anything. Still, it was a nice little show…and rather unexpected at midnight in SoCal. Remember, weather doesn’t occur here. Yesterday broke that rule big time as many areas, especially Orange and San Diego Counties got absolutely pummeled by thunderstorms… pretty much all day long. A few records to share from the NWS around SoCal:

Daily Maximum Rainfall
-Long Beach, CA 0.57″ (0.14″ 1979)
-Sandberg, CA 1.49″ (1.24″ 2004)
-San Diego, CA 0.81″ (0.58″ 2004)
-Palm Springs, CA 0.38″ (0.11″ 1963)
-Thermal, CA 0.51″ (0.03″ 1962)
-Barstow, CA 0.66″ (0.06″ 1977)
– Needles, CA 0.06″ (0.03″ 1963)

Some pretty impressive numbers for mid-October. Also impressive were the non-record totals from Orange and San Diego Counties:

– Oceanside: 2.76″
– Escondido: 2.52″
– Segunda Desheca: 2.44″
– Laguna Niguel: 2.40″
– San Onofre: 2.37″
– San Juan Capistrano: 2.32″
-Ramona: 2.31″
-Temecula: 1.81″

Inland OC and SD County Mountains got slammed with 1-4″+ of rain, including 4.17″ at Mt. Laguna. In addition to all this, Ventura County got hit hard, with hail, lightning strikes and a few fires. A 1″ diameter hailstone was measured near Simi Valley as well. That’s impressive for any time of year here. So all in all, this is very positive, given that the presence of a strong La Nina means we’re going to get far less than our normal allotment of rain this coming winter.

Here are a few links to round things out:

– Some additional info on the stormy pattern heading into the Pacific Northwest. Looks quite active still!

VORTEX 2, the awesome tornado chasing project in the Plains, is finally starting to present data and has things lined up for future information. This should hopefully help us understand the anatomy of severe weather, specifically tornadoes a lot better.

– NASA is being asked to develop a Planetary Defense Coordination Office to help devise plans and solutions in case asteroids or comets threaten Earth. This should be somewhat interesting.

– An experiment was recently carried out to show how well built homes are so much better suited to handle hurricanes than older models. They used 105 giant fans to simulate 95 mph winds. Crafty!

– Boston.com’s The Big Picture posts amazing pictures. Today’s installment features award winning photos taken through light microscopes. Some really cool stuff here.

First Winter Storm of 2010-2011 in the East

I’ve always been a fan of out of season snow events. That’s not to say that mid-October is out of season in the mountains of New York and New England, but it still feels awfully early, especially when it was 102 degrees inland here in SoCal yesterday. Still it looks favorable that somewhere in the Southern Greens, Berkshires, or eastern Adirondacks above 2,000′ or so is going to end up with a pretty decent amount of early season snow. This is always an issue because with the nor’easter, you’re also going to have wind and with the water content of the snow high, this is a perfect recipe for power outages, downed tree limbs, etc.  Fortunately these are fairly sparsely populated areas being impacted. Additionally, this storm looks to dump a lot of rain. It looks like 1-3″ of rain on average from Eastern NY into New England. Should be a pretty dynamic storm to say the least.

There might be another brief  dose of wintry type weather, possibly some early season lake effect precipitation, as we go into next week. Either way, it looks cooler than it has been in the East.

What will be interesting is whether this is just another nor’easter or hinting at what could be a favored storm track heading into the cool season. Very often, these early storms prelude what ends up happening…not to say that this is, but it is at least worth noting. One major difference between this nor’easter and what was seen much of last year is that the heavy precip from this will fall in New England (last autumn and winter, this was displaced much further south). This is something we’ll have to keep an eye on going forward.

Winter Storm Watch for the mountains of NY, MA and VT (NWS Burlington has a policy to not issue watches just for their mountains, but the spine of the Greens could get spanked in this storm).

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE ALBANY NY
412 PM EDT THU OCT 14 2010

MAZ001-NYZ032-033-042-047-051-058-063-082-VTZ013-014-151000-
/O.NEW.KALY.WS.A.0008.101015T1200Z-101016T2200Z/
NORTHERN BERKSHIRE-NORTHERN HERKIMER-HAMILTON-NORTHERN WARREN-
SCHOHARIE-WESTERN ALBANY-WESTERN GREENE-WESTERN ULSTER-
NORTHERN FULTON-BENNINGTON-WESTERN WINDHAM-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...PITTSFIELD...NORTH ADAMS...ATWELL...
BIG MOOSE...EAGLE BAY...MCKEEVER...NOBLEBORO...NORTHWOOD...
OLD FORGE...SPECULATOR...WARRENSBURG...COBLESKILL...MIDDLEBURGH...
ALTAMONT...HUNTER...TANNERSVILLE...WINDHAM...SUNDOWN...
ELLENVILLE...WOODSTOCK...WEST HURLEY...KERHONKSON...NAPANOCH...
PHOENICIA...NORTHVILLE...MAYFIELD...BENNINGTON...JACKSONVILLE...
NEWFANE
412 PM EDT THU OCT 14 2010

...WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM FRIDAY MORNING THROUGH
SATURDAY AFTERNOON...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN ALBANY HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM
WATCH FOR ELEVATIONS ABOVE 2000 FEET...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM
FRIDAY MORNING THROUGH SATURDAY AFTERNOON ACROSS THE SOUTHERN
ADIRONDACKS...NORTHEAST CATSKILLS...AND HELDERBERGS...THE
SOUTHERN GREEN MOUNTAINS...AND NORTHERN BERKSHIRES.

RAIN IS EXPECTED TO MIX WITH...AND EVENTUALLY CHANGE TO WET SNOW
ACROSS HIGHER ELEVATIONS WITHIN THE WATCH AREA...BEGINNING FRIDAY
MORNING ACROSS THE SOUTHERN ADIRONDACKS AND NORTHEAST
CATSKILLS...AND ACROSS THE SOUTHERN GREEN MOUNTAINS AND NORTHERN
BERKSHIRES FRIDAY AFTERNOON. PERIODS OF SNOW...POSSIBLY HEAVY AT
TIMES...WILL CONTINUE INTO FRIDAY NIGHT...BEFORE GRADUALLY
TAPERING OFF SATURDAY.

THE POTENTIAL EXISTS FOR SNOWFALL ACCUMULATIONS OF 7 INCHES OR
GREATER WITHIN THE WATCH AREA. THE WEIGHT OF WET SNOW MAY BRING
DOWN TREE LIMBS...ESPECIALLY IN AREAS WHERE LEAVES REMAIN. THIS
MAY RESULT IN SOME POWER OUTAGES.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A WINTER STORM WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT
SNOW...SLEET...OR ICE ACCUMULATIONS THAT MAY IMPACT TRAVEL.
CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS.