Thursday, January 29, 2015

Superbowl Sunday & Nor Easter Comments.

I wanted to comment first on the Nor'Easter from this past Monday-Tuesday. Tough storm but fun to attempt and forecast. There has been a lot of comments either way and my readers are usually kind towards me for many reasons, some being that they've known me their entire life. (Yeah, like you Shannon H) It was like a comedy of errors watching model runs (Most run 2x a day, some run 4x a day and some run every hour) The lack of trends and consistency was remarkable.
1. Models are just that-- MODELS. They are not sensible weather and literally once the data is uploaded it's already WRONG. Point being, we've made huge advances but models will be wrong. When a low has to reform and the difference is 75 miles between a foot and NOTHING, these things will happen.
2. Damage control can be mitigated by conveying uncertainty in the forecast. Outside of Eastern New England, this was a KNOWN possibility all along. Chatting with a friend and his wife along the CT coast, I promised them a foot and said 24-30 was possible. I knew that was a lock. They were on the western edge of where I KNEW a foot was possible. I would not have promised them 2 feet. They reported 20, but a met from the area reported 14.
3. Start small. Even in most of Massachusetts, I found the 2-3 feet NWS calls a bit much. It's always easier to start small and convey totals could go up based on strength and track. In NYC area, where they were on the far west of the 2-3 feet 'modeled" snow-- even more so a reason to go low.
4. The trick is in the wording-- there has to be some ambiguity in forecasting.  Convey a cushion to your audience allows you to back track when needed.
5. You, as an "receiver" of the forecast needs to educate yourself.  Be able to tell where you on a map, have a radar app on your phone. (Rainy Days for Android, My Radar for Iphone)
6. Media outlets need to be quicker in updating forecasts. When a storm is developing wrong, radio stations, etc often have the "old" tape running for a long while after a storm is clearly going to different.
7. Facebook could do the world a favor and make a special category for Weather services, even if it doesn't include my "folksy" page. For legit weather entities, OLD data coming up in the FB stream is brutal. For the average person, they could have been VERY confused. I'd see an update from NWS near NYC that had old maps, then the new maps underneath it based on their algorithm of who liked and posted. Rather than putting more pressure on these outlets to delete data, have something done where old data can be pushed back in time sensitive situations like this. Facebook and Zuckerburg have changed the world-- how about some efforts to save some lives and just make it easier. SO many people get information from  facebook about the weather. Make it a priority that people are getting CURRENT information, not 12 hour old data, which is ancient in weather terms.

Superbowl Sunday-

Don't think it's out storm again. *Lynchburg and Roanoke area*

Just can't get a break this winter. Decent cold air in place, and a strong arctic front racing our way and it seems the cold air will be 12 hours too late. Storm tracking JUST a bit to close for all snow.

1. Departing HP slow to leaving-- this doesn't allow our storm to move or develop south.
2. Our actual Low, forced to move between
3. Arctic High bringing cold air.

Low should track NE Louisiana to Bristol TN to Norfolk.-- if not even a shade north.

Starts as snow, mixes with sleet and rain, ends as snow.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Forecasting ...

Means to predict or estimate.

Remember that when your weather guy gets one wrong. :)

True story last weekend while watching that Seahawks - Pack game that I put on facebook-- Famous last words, this feels over. Pack had dominated most of the game, Seahawks had no time and again could not move the ball. We know how that ended up for my call-- NOT TOO GOOD!

This storm has been up and down-- the best thing I said was when it was suppressed (Best snows over eastern NC per the models) is that I am more concerned it will be too warm than not wet enough.

This map shows where our LOW is tomorrow early evening and shows you where the is a LOW over CANADA where we need a high. That low is what costs us a decent snow event. Had it been a decent High that pushed JUST cold enough air, we'd be looking at a 12 inch snow fall.
Note the L near FL coast and the SECOND L in Canada. That is killing our cold air supply. 

Forecasting this has been tough. There are no exact flow charts to show you what should go where for temps and this is very marginal everywhere. 

1. Danville should be mainly rain. Maybe a quick burst of sleet and or snow start then a cold rain. 

2. Roanoke and Lynchburg won't see a ton of snow, but an inch or two of sleet and snow is possible, especially west of LYH towards Roanoke. 

3.  Lynchburg will start as a burst of snow and sleet and move to sleety rain and maybe a period of freezing rain. The data shows cold air JUST above the surface so literally SNOWFLEX could have ice forming while timberlake road is just wet. (It's happened before)

4. Roanoke Will start as sleet and snow, hang on to sleet longer and end as rain. 

5. Would be remiss to not mention Blue Ridge Weather has idea of a second wave of snow saturday AM. Would be rare, but possible 

6. Fast mover- best stuff should actually be gone by midnight or shortly there after. 

We do have some other chances for snow in the next 2 weeks. Superbowl weekend LATE has an interesting set up where there is a strong pulse on the Sub tropical Jet and some decent cold shots coming from the arctic regions. Both seem legit.
1. The SOI (Southern Oscillation Index) bottomed WAY out which means the get will be more amped with moisture and energy. 

2. The EPO is forecasted to go negative. That is what kept us cold most of last winter. 

This will be a now cast event-- I like a quick coating in LYH and some freezing rain. I like more sleet in Roanoke, ending as rain. The further up 81 you get, the more snow and sleet you get. Decent event Hagerstown, Lancaster..etc. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Dusting off the blog..Friday- Monday

It's been a while since a blog and honestly, I'm leaning towards event one (Friday Night and Saturday)NOT being a big deal for us. It's the classic case of so close, yet so far away. I think we get from between .75 to 1.25 inches of rain/junk falling out the sky saturday and 50% it's mainly rain, 25% we get enough snow to cover the ground and WAY at the bottom, 10% chance of 4+ inches of snow. (Not the WPC 10% chance either, for my weather enthusiasts)

Without getting to technical, where we need a HP to supply cold air, we have a low pressure. parts of NW Virginia and MAYBE the Mts to our west could survive this, but for Roaonke, Lynchburg and Danville LIKELY means MOSTLY rain. We've got 3 days to play this out, but I often say-- when is the last time in a storm we ended up colder than progged. Answer is--..A LONG WHILE.

Will update as needed, but strongly in the mainly rain for the Roanoke, Lynchburg and Danville areas. Areas above 2k feet and well to the north and west like Harrisonburg, etc may do well.

Event 2- Clipper type system is going to dig VERY deep Monday time frame. (Dig- how far south it goes with the upper air energy) In general, I like to see the energy at least at the VA/NC state line, if not down to -40 in Carolina. This vortmax is possible heading into GEORGIA. Funny, because it's not far off from making a heck of a low and there is a way we miss the storm as it moves south and then north up the coast.  As of now, this may be our first chance to get decent snow of like 1-4 inches over much of the region.

Will update with some maps later for those who like more data.