Thursday, January 30, 2014

1-2-3, Snow

Quick update:

The extreme cold will abate the next two days after 11 days so far this month of DOUBLE DIGIT DEPARTURES. (Meaning that our temp has been 10 below normal 11 days this month and today will be the 12th)

We are watching 3 storms.

Storm one cuts WELL to our west and is no threat for winter weather. Outside shot a little piece swings through Monday and gives a little snow, but I'm not on that train yet.

Storm 2:  Tuesday- Wednesday Cuts to our west and a secondary low forms near VA Beach. We start as sleet and freezing rain and end as rain. I think it's a tricky event with cold air, and some models kicking out a decent amount of sleet with it. (inch of sleet is like 3-4 inches of snow) Freezing rain after this cold snap COULD be a pain.

Storm 3: I'm sure many have seen a couple insane maps of 1-3 feet up and down the east coast back into the plans. That's a cumulative map of the next 10 days, but we do have a legit risk of an impressive event. Storm 2 is followed by an arctic Front that goes well to our south and links up with some energy on the sub tropical jet. Great potential for a BIG winter event.

This is 10 days out, and it's never a lock. With that, the model consistency has been rather impressive. Often, but not all the time the models see the big ones FAR away. Will update because this has the potential to be an impressive ice and snow event. I won't post a computer generated map, but the Euro Model has been showing a foot or more across our region with this event. ** Great potential**

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Snow update

Hope you follow me on FB because I've been updating thoughts on this.

Models have been all moving around enough where it has been a challenge.

Would not be shocked if we get 2-3 inches, would not be shocked if get NOTHING. But, you have to make a call, right??

Lynchburg, Coating to 2 inches.

Danville to 1-3 inches.

Roanoke Coating to inch.

BIG event Hampton Roads, VA Beach area.

Snow is actually streaking well out ahead of our low and is overhead, but it will take HOURS and HOURS to reach the ground because it's very dry and once it starts, the clock starts running for it be pushed to our east. If it starts earlier, we may get a little more, if it is delayed we could end up with nothing. Historic ice and snows Coastal NC down to GA.

We get a break for a few days and then pattern COULD get active with cold temps, just not THIS cold. I have a "fear" of a major ice storm due to the overall pattern.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Shiver Me Timbers

Yesterdays snow fall was a disaster for any forecaster. It ended up WAY north, and really anything south of DC and east of the BR struggled to get a decent event. Hopefully, I conveyed that well in my thoughts here. I was glad most places pulled out an inch, but I know folks on Boonsboro who did not, and once again we had more snow here than my kids when they are with their Mom. (It's happened 3x in the past 12 months)

I live on Timberlake and we had decent snow band between 9 and 9:30-- it's when half of our 1.5 inches fell.

The forecast over the next week is Cold and Colder. You may need 2 pair of gloves and yes, please share them. Temps may not get above freezing till Saturday and then fall under again for 3-4 more days. 

Let's be honest, cold is boring. I walked to my car tonight to find a book my son wanted me to read him and thought how bad it would be homeless in this cold. While that means nothing to my blog, this will be a "historic" cold outbreak when all is said and done. But, if we don't score much more snow-- does it really matter?

Snow chance?

We will have 2-3 more pulses of energy that approach BEFORE late next week. I think all three whiff to our north, but all three COULD bring a few flurries or snow showers. If we could get any of these pushed to our south, we could swing another coating to an inch but that doesn't seem likely at this time. 

Some data has indicated that LATE next week-- Thursday to Saturday Time frame (Jan 30-Feb 1) Time frame. Anything that's 10 days out is a guessing game of sorts, but sometimes the best time to look for an event is transition-- like yesterdays was leading into a cold snap or late next week, leading OUT of a colder pattern. Either one has issues with precipitation type as cold air is either coming or going. 

Remember I'm on Twitter or FB for updates that I don't do on here and if you click an add I'll eventually get a $100 check from google. I'm about half way there! 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Last second thoughts

First, please post me your obs, pics et al on FB and Twitter tomorrow. I really do enjoy them.

I wish we had more clarity. I'm still sticking with my call of 1-3 inches from Roanoke to Lynchburg, with 3-4 just north through Northern Amherst County.

I'm stil shocked the NWS has stuck with it's 4-6 call for 460 north. Much smarted and educated mets there, but the data, outside the GFS/ SREF has not supported that call.

Couple fears-

NAM and RGEM, 2 short term models are very dry, like .05 to .10 total liquid. This would be coating to an inch and it can't be ignored.

Short term models called RAP and HRRR seem to support this, if not WORSE. However, they are known for being north at this range.

GFS model is like old consistent friend. It won't ever go crazy either ways, has some flaws but you can work around the. It has been consistent with 2-4 inches.

The sooner the snow starts, the more we will get. (Brilliant) That's because the precipitation will move east and slow at some point, if that doesn't reach your region by mid to late morning, you may have a long wait.

Could be one burst in AM, lull with ligher stuff and one more nice burst mid to late afternoon.

Final call:

1-3 ROA to LYH
2-5 NRV-MT Emire up 81. Once you get up to Staunton, those numbers Double
Coating to 2 inches south of Stauton River, down to NC state line.

Guessing for exact cities.

Blacksburg 3.3
Roanoke 2.3
LYH 2.5
Danville- .5 (as in half inch)

Afternoon Update for Tuesday snow

Noon model data is in--
Not great for Lynchburg Snow, Roanoke snow and reigon wide snow. It will snow, but likely a 1-3 inch event.

Not as robust if you are a snow fan. Average liquid is maybe .15 to .20 across the board and the trend has been moving the heaviest amounts to the north. A classic mistake is to assume that northern trend is DONE. These northern stream systems are classic for teasing those to the south only to end up much more north of where they were modeled.

When you don't get the heavier snow, in simple terms you also don't get the best snow growth, so the ratio issues I discussed are not as big of a factor.

As stated, I was a bit shocked NWS went Winter Storm watch-- this is a tricky system, but I don't see a likelihood of 4+ inches, If anything I wish I had held fast to my 1-3 thoughts.

Going with my original thought-- 1-3 for Roanoke to Lynchburg
2-4 NRV north along and up 81 (Excluding Roanoke)
Coating to an inch down to NC state line.

20% Chance it trends more north and we get only flurries/snow showers that make a dusting.
65% chance we end up in my current calls.
15% chance we exceed that 1-3 event.

Breaking the snow drought Tuesday...first snow of the year.

I like to get an early jump on snow and ice storms but I was travelling and had only my ipad. This storm has been on the "radar" a few days and like most clippers, the exact track and amounts change. Often, you need to see the "whites" of it's eyes before you know how it's going to truly unfold.

**as I'm typing this NWS has gone Winter Storm Watch for everyone north of the Staunton River.. (AKA, Altavista to Blackburg North.**

Clipper diggs in, reforms just to our south and we get our first snow of the year. (Accumulation snow, that is)

5 thoughts on this event..

1. My original post, had I done it last night was going to be 1-3 inches, with potential for up to 5.
2. Clippers can be tricky with snow ratio. Normal is at 10-1 (inch of rain makes 10 of snow, but it's actually closer to 11-1) Clippers can be 15 or 20-1. So, if we get the .3 shown on models, 5 inches is likely.
3. The further north and east you are, the better you will do.
4. Snow starts between 7-9 am west and 8-10 east. It's all done by 3-4 pm.
5. Wednesday will be a GREAT winter day with temps in the 20's, great sun and snow cover.

Now, the NWS sets the benchmark, but I'm not convinced 3-5 yet. I'm going to move up to the 2-4 range and watch. The GFS model is low guy with .2 liquid and the ECMWF has closer to .3. A short term model called the NAM is like a drunk uncle and shows closer to .5, but has drifted north a bit.

Expect schools to be out Tuesday and Wednesday.

DC area will see 3-6 and Wilmington DE and Philly maybe that or even 4-8.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Cold and colder, but when will we get snow?

The unique thing about this winter so far is the cold air is NEVER that far away, but also that it's always quick to leave. Tremendous blocking in the north Pacific and west coast regions have lead to frequent cold air outbreaks, but also lack of blocking to our east has allowed the cold air to BOOK out of here quickly and we've had a rather benign 2-3 ice events and flurries a few times.

After this respite, which has been a bit cooler than first modeled, more cold air is coming in. For the next 10 days, when it's cold I'd call the air " cold enough" to snow cold-- but not like the "Cold day" of last week. (Hello polar vortex). The week leading to the Superbowl, we may get blocking over the poles that could push the "Polar Vortex" back for a swing through.

January should finish well below normal . "Hello busted January forecast".

Snow chances?
1. Shot for a coating Wednesday evening as the cold front passes a ton of energy on the back side is trying to fire up a storm. Surface temps are marginal and it could be NOTHING or rain, but coating can't be ruled out.

2. Another couple shots over the weekend and early next week. Nothing huge, coating to 1-2 inches at best. It's pure speculation at this point.

After that, it's more speculation. Pattern does not look ideal for a widespread BIGGIE event. But regional and local places always have shots when it's cold. (Not the North Carolina to Maine BIG event)

Keep expectations for a 1-3, 2-4 and 3-6 type events and we should have that type window from Jan 22- Feb 5 or so.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Very cold air on tap Monday- Tuesday

Friday was out cold day with high below freezing and lows in the lower teens this AM.

Moderation on tap today, maybe a little freezing rain in the AM tomorrow, showers then the NEXT cold air attack. We should make a run at 0, but may fall short. (3-5 degrees likely Tuesday AM)

Looking at my Winter outlook, not bad so far as we've not had ANY accumulation snow and the mean storm track has been to our west. We've had some sharp cold outbreaks, but the warmth has lasted long enough to keep things +3 or or so, with it being a much more active storm pattern going forward.

It seems like we will have break from any pending winter weather outbreaks for a while by weeks end and from there is where it gets dicey. Some think that we continue to have cold air JUST to our west, but timing will be continue to be off where it's cold and storms approach as the cold air is leaving. Usually, you will get burned on that type of pattern with eventually 1-2 major snow and ice events. Other thing the mean trough moves east (trough in weather = cold and storym) and we could get a nice 2-3 week run of cold and storms (and yes, snow)

If I had to chose, I'd lean to option one, repeating our pattern but 1-2 pretty big deal events for ice and snow events. I'd target Jan 20-Feb 10th as key times for winter type precipitation events.

If you have an outdoor thermometer-- let me know how low it gets at your house!