Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Updated Christmas & After Snowfall Map

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Storm Snowfall Map

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Stronger. Further West. The Trend Is My Friend.

Forecast Update:
Higher Accumulations in Salisbury/Rowan

Expected Accumulation in Rowan County: 5"

Again, bulk of snow should be PM into overnight hours.

I'd like to make an NC accumulation map but limited to iPhone at the moment

Stay tuned for further updates.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Update on Xmas Snow

No MAJOR changes to my previous forecast, however, latest model runs of the GFS/NAM (18Z) and WRF have all placed the location of the surface low (see HPC depiction below) further west than the past 2 days or so.


Closer equals more precip here, and right now 1.5-2" call looks good when combined with the various other factors affecting accumulation. Timing call still on track with the bulk of snowfall late afternoon into the night. There is still a small chance that the energy (cold high pressure)  from the north is slower, allowing the southern low to strengthen enough to "bomb" out earlier, and it will be interesting to see what happens not only here, but along the eastern seaboard. A 50-100 mile deviation means snow or no snow for places like DC, NYC, Philly, Boston the I-95 corridor. In fact, the heaviest snowfall accumulation should be the coastal plain region in NC. More snow at the beach than here... Here is the latest NWS precipitation (QPF) forecast for the next 3 days combined:



The last factor that always wreaks havoc on operational forecasts of snowfall  is banding. This micro-scale phenomenon happens frequently in the NC Piedmont when low pressure starts to strengthen (deepen) off the coast. Any precipitation banding that does occur will make pinpoint accumulations even harder - guess we'll just have to wait and see. If you have any questions or want me to explain something use the comment section.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Looks Like...Less of a Snowstorm

I find it a little depressing to begin this winter weather blogging season (it's official now) without hyping a big snowstorm, especially when a few days ago it seemed Christmas 2011 would be the snowiest ever seen in Smallisbury and other locales in and around NC. But then I said to myself, self, no point letting the weather get you down, this is a time for celebration and enjoying the company of friends and family. No I didn't...let's be serious...I'm a bona-fide weather nerd and it's killing me that we ARE NOT going to have a Christmas snowstorm of epic proportions.

Glad to get that off my chest. Now, for the forecast: 


Expecting snow to fall in Salisbury beginning around noon (primarily in the afternoon) on Christmas Day into the evening before tapering off on Sunday AM. 

Accumulation: 1.5 - 2 inches. 

SNOW MAP AND UPDATES TO FOLLOW TOMORROW AFTERNOON DEPENDING ON CONDITION OF MY LIVER, UNLESS THERE IS REASON FOR DOING SO EARLIER. EXAMPLE: A 100 MILE WESTWARD SHIFT OF THE EXPECTED STORM TRACK. 
(DEAR SANTA...???)

My Weekend Forecast Coming Soon...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire;
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

-Robert Frost

Most likely my one and only poetic post - albeit not my words

Thursday, September 9, 2010

2010 Summer Climate Summary & The Tropics

Required Knowledge/Note/Detailed Nerdiness: "Meteorological Summer" runs from June to August 31, so no, you're not crazy, summer is not officially over. The lunar/solar summer began June 21 (Summer Solstice) and officially ends September 22, @ 11:09 P.M. EDT (Fall Equinox).

Aside: As you nerdy egg balancing enthusiasts get ready...I'll spoil your fun...you can balance an egg (if you know what you're doing) any day of the year, not only on the equinoxes. What is an equinox you might ask, well - "an equinox occurs twice a year, when the tilt of the Earth's axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the Sun, the center of the Sun being in the same plane as the Earth's equator "(Wikipedia - yeah digging deep). The two are the Spring/Vernal, and Fall. Hence the egg theory...that isn't true. But by all means (Mom), carry on.

Back to The Headline: Here are the NWS statements that I've abbreviated to include Charlotte for Salisbury, NC and D.C. for Charlottesville. And, I've done simple calculations for Charlottesville about days over 90 - the NWS typically reports major city climates only because their records date back longer - but I'm not sure how long for each. Moral of the story: It was a HOT Summer. I know, I'm a nice guy for sharing this classified info with you. Here are the NWS summaries I have shortened to pertinent cities:

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GREENVILLE-SPARTANBURG SC
958 AM EDT WED SEP 01 2010

...WARMEST SUMMER EVER FOR ASHEVILLE AND GREENVILLE-SPARTANBURG...

THIS WAS THE WARMEST SUMMER EVER RECORDED AT ASHEVILLE...WITH AN
AVERAGE TEMPERATURE OF 75.4 DEGREES.

THIS WAS THE SECOND WARMEST SUMMER EVER RECORDED AT CHARLOTTE..WITH AN AVERAGE TEMPERATURE OF 81.1 DEGREES. THE RECORD WARMEST SUMMER IS 81.5 DEGREES IN 1993.  FOR THE MONTHS OF JUNE...JULY AND AUGUST...THERE HAVE BEEN 67 DAYS AT CHARLOTTE WITH HIGHS OF 90
DEGREES OR HIGHER.  THE HOTTEST DAYS WERE JULY 8 AND 25 WITH 101
DEGREES.

THIS WAS THE WARMEST SUMMER EVER RECORDED AT
GREENVILLE-SPARTANBURG...

TOMKO/OUTLAW

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON DC
418 PM EDT WED SEP 1 2010

...PRELIMINARY CLIMATE SUMMARY FOR SUMMER 2010...

RESULTS POSTED BELOW ARE TO BE CONSIDERED AS AN UNOFFICIAL SUMMARY.

FOR WASHINGTON DC...

THE METEOROLOGICAL SUMMER PERIOD...JUNE TO AUGUST...OF 2010 WAS THE
WARMEST ON RECORD FOR WASHINGTON DC. THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE DURING THIS 92 DAY PERIOD WAS 81.3F...OVER ONE DEGF HIGHER THAN THE PREVIOUS WARMEST METEOROLOGICAL SUMMER ON RECORD OF 80.0F RECORDED IN 1980.

FOR THE FIRST TIME ON RECORD...SINCE 1872...THE HIGH TEMPERATURE
FOR THE METEOROLOGICAL SUMMER MONTHS OF 2010 IN WASHINGTON AVERAGED OVER 90 DEGREES...90.2F. THE PREVIOUS WARMEST HIGH TEMPERATURE FOR THE METEOROLOGICAL SUMMER SEASON WAS 89.3F IN 1980.

THE LOW TEMPERATURE AVERAGED 72.4F FOR THE METEOROLOGICAL SUMMER
MONTHS OF 2010...WHICH WAS THE WARMEST ON RECORD BY 1.6 DEGREES.

SO FAR THIS YEAR THROUGH AUGUST...WASHINGTON DC HAS EXPERIENCED 57
DAYS OF 90F OR GREATER...WHICH IS TIED WITH 1988 FOR THE MOST NUMBER
OF SUCH DAYS ON RECORD THROUGH AUGUST...AND IS 12 DAYS OFF THE
RECORD OF 67 90-DEGREE DAYS FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR THAT WAS SET IN 1980."

Charlottesville, based on NWS data from the airport, experienced 58 days of 90+ temps and the 7th, 24rh and 25th days of July were the warmest at 101. Of course this is ambient temperature, not factoring heat index.

There you have it - officially a hot summer in the South/Mid-Atlantic!

I''ll post more on the tropics some other time - right now TS Igor is far out in the Atlantic Ocean - but it definitely bears watching. Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Earl to Batter the NC OBX

Hurricane Earl as of 11pm EDT -

Latest from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) :

"MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS HAVE INCREASED TO NEAR 140 MPH...220
KM/HR...WITH HIGHER GUSTS.  EARL IS A CATEGORY FOUR HURRICANE ON
THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON HURRICANE WIND SCALE.  SOME FLUCTUATIONS IN
INTENSITY ARE LIKELY TONIGHT AND THURSDAY...BUT A GRADUAL WEAKENING
TREND IS ANTICIPATED THEREAFTER.

EARL IS A LARGE HURRICANE.  HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP
TO 90 MILES...150 KM...FROM THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE
WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 230 MILES...370 KM.

THE MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE ESTIMATED FROM NOAA HURRICANE HUNTER
AIRCRAFT OBSERVATIONS IS 932 MB...27.52 INCHES."

 What you need to know:

1. Earl is BIG and POWERFUL, Period. 
2. The Outer Banks of NC and the Delmarva Peninsula are the most vulnerable and likely areas to receive moderate to severe damage.
3. If you live on the Outer Banks - evacuate - but you're prob not reading my blog anyways. If you are planning on visiting soon - don't pack the car yet.
4. Wind damage is not the main concern - flooding and surf/beach erosion from the massive waves will be the major impact, and will be evident up the whole of the East Coast
5. Any deviation, east or west, of the expected track will have serious consequences - good news if Earl moves slightly east, much worse if west.
6. Good news - Earl is only 24 hours from the Outer Banks and forecast model consensus is pretty consistent keeping Earl's powerful winds offshore, hopefully it stays that way.
Also, Earl should weaken as it approaches.
7. Bad News - although not likely to be a direct hit/landfall, Earl will most likely cause permanent and drastic changes to the OBX and unprotected areas of the Delmarva Peninsula.

My General Forecast/Thoughts/Rehash :
   Starting Thursday afternoon into the overnight, conditions will deteriorate along the SC/NC/VA coast. The NC OBX will without a doubt sustain the heaviest damage - road(s) washed out,
Islands disconnected/cutoff when new inlets are cut by the enormous waves, etc. Generally think winds will be nominal, especially considering Earl is a cat 4, but wind gusts up to 100mph
likely if Earl passes where expected. Houses - even those deemed "Hurricane Proof" and survivors of past storms - gone. Earl is generating swells of 45-50ft near the center! Granted, the NE quadrant
where the worst waves and winds are will be to the east, but the speed and size will compensate instead. Other East Coast islands, peninsulas, etc will feel the wrath, but Earl should be weakening and heading N/NE and pulling away from the coast. Bottom Line - severe damage will occur but the areas will be limited - the potential is/was there for much worse.

Monday, August 30, 2010

All Eyes On Earl

It has been a while since I have posted anything but Earl has reawakened the weather nerd otherwise consumed by moving, starting a new job, and dealing with a new (old) house. Below is an infrared satellite shot of Hurricane Earl as of 1130pm eastern time:


Earl, now an impressive category 4 hurricane continues his westward movement (WNW @ 14mph at the 11pm update) away from the Virgin Islands. The next major landmass is...the East Coast of the US/Canada. The National Hurricane Center, in tandem with global/mesoscale weather models, has been shifting the forecast track further west over the past few days, and a strike along the eastern seaboard is definitely possible, though far from certain at this point. Hurricane forecasting is notoriously difficult and unpredictable. Slight shifts in the atmosphere coupled with the potent force of a storm this size spell trouble when it comes to accuracy - forecasting where/how strong Earl will be in 24 hours is one thing, but 3, 4 or 5 days from now is virtually impossible - which the NHC readily admits. Needless to say, everyone from SC to Nova Scotia needs to keep an eye on the development and track in the coming days as Earl nears the US mainland. If the current forecast verifies - highly unlikely - Earl will brush the East Coast  as he turns north and then north east around the NC coast. At a minimum, with the speed and size of the system, there will most likely be major damage along the coastlines in the form of beach erosion due to the large swells. Any deviation to the west and damage could be much greater. STAY TUNED!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hot and Quiet Here But the Tropics are Heating Up - Bonnie???

   This is what's brewing in the Caribbean. Not that impressive looking but what is now 97L should become TD #3 and then TS Bonnie within a day or so.  NHC statement after the picture.
   Meanwhile, here in Hell the heat continues unabated. It will gradually warm up the rest of the week - it'll be around 100 this weekend - more "seasonal" temps around 90 next week. I'll take it. Keep you updated when/if Bonnie officially forms. As it stands, looks like she'll take a westerly track towards S. Florida.



Per the NHC:
A VIGOROUS TROPICAL WAVE...LOCATED NEAR THE EASTERN DOMINICAN
REPUBLIC...IS PRODUCING A LARGE AREA OF SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS
EXTENDING FROM THE NORTHERN LEEWARD ISLANDS WESTWARD TO HISPANIOLA. 
SURFACE OBSERVATIONS INDICATE THAT A CLOSED CIRCULATION HAS NOT YET
FORMED.  HOWEVER...ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED TO BE
FAVORABLE FOR TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION AS THE SYSTEM MOVES
WEST-NORTHWESTWARD AT ABOUT 10 MPH DURING THE NEXT DAY OR SO. 
THERE IS A HIGH CHANCE... 60 PERCENT...OF THIS SYSTEM BECOMING A
TROPICAL DEPRESSION OR A TROPICAL STORM DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Alex Hits Mexico As a Cat 2


The opening salvo to the 2010 Hurricane Season did not disappoint !

Hurricane Alex made landfall tonight as a strong Category 2 Hurricane, packing sustained winds of 105mph with higher gusts and a min pressure of 947mb. Category 2 winds are between 96-110 mph on the Saffir-Simpson scale, so it was close to a Cat 3 (111-130mph).

Landfall Info: 10pm Eastern time, 110 miles south of the US border in a sparsely populated area of Mexico. "ALEX WAS THE FIRST CATEGORY TWO...AND THE STRONGEST...HURRICANE TO OCCUR IN JUNE SINCE ALMA OF 1966" (NOAA)

Impressive eyewall presentation on IR satellite (above) and radar: 


As it moves west into mountainous terrain Alex will weaken rapidly and dissipate. Main threat now is flooding, up to 20 inches possible if/when it stalls. Stay tuned for the next one.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

He/She/It - Hurricane Alex Headed For Landfall

First TD, first TS, and first Hurricane of the season - Alex - is going to make landfall in about 24 hrs. She (I'll go w/female) is starting to look impressive on the latest IR satellite, but, not much more time to strengthen before landfall around/just south of the US Mexico border.Check links for the latest NOAA forecast. The rapid increase in circular banding and cooling cloud tops are impressive. Would not be surprised to see Alex come ashore as a solid Category 2.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hottest Day So Far - Relief In Sight?

  McCormick Observatory reported a high of 99.6°F, which makes today the hottest day of the year so far. The 24th of June was 99.5°F - so it was close. That is the ambient temperature - not factoring in humidity, which combined form the heat index. Many people mistake heat index for true temperature and will say it was 106 degrees or something ridiculous . Not that it can't be, but a temperature like that is rare in our region (it has only happened twice in DC) because our typical summer air mass is Maritime Tropical - warm and moist. Moisture or water vapor in the air limits the amount of heating because clouds and/or haze form as air rises and condenses, which limits the amount of direct sunlight to air particles. In so called "dry heat" regions the air mass is dryer and the temps much higher (think of Arizona, Nevada, or any Middle East country.) I don't care for either, humid or dry.
   But, relief is on the way in the form of a cooler air mass behind a cold frontal passage late Mon/Tues. Temps will be seasonal by Wednesday (80's) and should last until the weekend when it begins to slowly warm up again as an upper level ridge returns.

 

Tropics wise, Alex is re-emerging off the western coast of the Yucatan Peninsula as a depression, forecast to attain Hurricane strength in the next few days before landfall somewhere on the east coast of Mexico according to NOAA. We'll see. Latest computer models above, and perm link on the right.

Friday, June 25, 2010

T.D. #1 Forms /T.S. Alex Soon & Thoughts on Yesterday

Here we go...TD 1 is official. NHC is forecasting tropical storm strength (winds greater or equal to 39mph) within the next 12 hours. We'll see what it looks like if it does cross the Yucatan - hurricane models usually handle land interactions very poorly - and reemerges in the Gulf.




Check out the links on the right for the latest updates. Latest Infrared Sat:



Still planning on doing some form of storm summary/analysis from yesterday...but it's the weekend and the World Cup is my first priority. I am pretty confident the damage yesterday was caused by a macroburst, which is a microburst (AKA strong downdraft) but damages/affects a larger area. Technically, to be qualified as a macroburst vs micro the damage has to have a diameter of 2.5 miles or more. I'll have to find ruler and get back to you - not that it matters to the thousands around town still without power. Fortunately I don't know what that feels like...(suckers). Here's a (NASA) picture of what a micro/macroburst "looks" like.


Essentially, a vertical column of air is forced down to the surface at a high velocity, makes contact, and then spreads out horizontally. Three scenarios: either it was a big downdraft in terms of the air column size, the force/speed was so great that the horizontally spreading wind was strong enough to cause extensive damage well away from the "impact zone", or there was more than one microburst. My bet is on the 2nd, but I'll see if that is possible to verify.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Severe Thunderstorm Hits Charlottesville


Damage Photo of 3 cars covered/crushed by a tree- I'll post more pictures and a storm summary tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Il Fait Chaud ! Alex Coming To a Beach Near You?

Important notice to those who haven't been outside in a week or so - it is hot as Hades. And in other depressing news, this heat isn't going anywhere anytime soon.




Tropical Update:
   We might see T.D. "Alex" form in the next day or sooner if the tropical wave (above) in the central Caribbean strengthens and forms a closed surface low. I will update if/when it occurs. Here is NOAA's latest statement (40% chance of formation):

A STRONG TROPICAL WAVE OVER THE CENTRAL CARIBBEAN SEA IS PRODUCING A
LARGE AREA OF DISORGANIZED SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS OVER PORTIONS
OF THE CENTRAL CARIBBEAN AND THE ADJACENT LAND AREAS.  UPPER-LEVEL
WINDS APPEAR TO BE CONDUCIVE FOR GRADUAL DEVELOPMENT AND A TROPICAL
DEPRESSION COULD FORM DURING THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS.  REGARDLESS
OF DEVELOPMENT...LOCALLY HEAVY RAINFALL AND GUSTY WINDS ARE
POSSIBLE OVER PORTIONS OF PUERTO RICO...THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC...
HAITI...AND JAMAICA DURING THE NEXT DAY OR SO AS IT MOVES
WEST-NORTHWESTWARD AT ABOUT 10 MPH.  THERE IS A MEDIUM CHANCE...40
PERCENT...OF THIS SYSTEM BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Nuclear Hurricanes?

Thought I'd lure you in with that headline. Many people know this, however it is still fascinating to think that "a fully developed hurricane can release heat energy at a rate of 5 to 20x1013 watts and converts less than 10% of the heat into the mechanical energy of the wind. The heat release is equivalent to a 10-megaton nuclear bomb exploding every 20 minutes." Don't have to believe me, that quote comes from the hurricane experts at NOAA - if you can call anyone a hurricane expert. 





The tropical wave seen in the IR Satellite shot above is still moving west and located near the Leeward Islands, so named because they are leeward of the Windward Islands. The NHC says "DEVELOPMENT...IF ANY...IS EXPECTED TO BE SLOW TO OCCUR AS THIS SYSTEM MOVES WEST-NORTHWESTWARD AT ABOUT 15 MPH." 


In other notes, I am now routing my blog through my new domain:  www.pennweather.com
You will  be rerouted if you go to the old site so no worries - I know my blog is of the utmost importance to my massive fan base - which I think is my parents and Mitzi - and you suckers who click on it through facebook. Jokes aside, update the address if need be. Also, on the right side you will see links to what I think are the most important/informative tropical sites on the intraweb. CrownWeather aggregates current tropical info and is my recommendation for the place to go if you're looking for a quick look at current conditions and forecasts by NOAA - after you check my blog of course. 


I'm thinking of posting an idiot's guide to Hurricanes in the next few days - basic requirements for formation, strengthening, etc. If there is anything you would like me to include/answer/research, just leave me a comment.

Monday, June 14, 2010

2010 Hurricane Season Predictions



13 days late on the opening of the official 2010 North Atlantic Hurricane Season, but, better late than never. Predictions from NOAA, Accuweather, and Bill Gray's team at CSU all predict above normal tropical activity this year. Check out this site for a quick rundown of their respective forecasts and interesting sidenotes:

http://www.mahalo.com/2010-hurricane-season-forecast

Currently there is an area of low pressure 1400 miles East of the Windward Islands (AKA waaaaay out in the Atlantic) with a decent chance of developing into a tropical storm as it heads West. (That's the picture above.) Will keep an eye on that and update if it develops. Otherwise, things are quiet for now, but that's how it GOES. If you get that, hello fellow weather nerd. Lastly, here are the potential names for 2010:

2010 Hurricane Names

1. Hurricane Alex
2. Hurricane Bonnie
3. Hurricane Colin
4. Hurricane Danielle
5. Hurricane Earl
6. Hurricane Fiona
7. Hurricane Gaston
8. Hurricane Hermine
9. Hurricane Igor
10. Hurricane Julia
11. Hurricane Karl
12. Hurricane Lisa
13. Hurricane Matthew
14. Hurricane Nicole
15. Hurricane Otto
16. Hurricane Paula
17. Hurricane Richard
18. Hurricane Shary
19. Hurricane Tomas
20. Hurricane Virginie
21. Hurricane Walter

Monday, March 1, 2010

Will the Roaring Winter Go Out With A Whimper?




I had high hopes that the low pressure system currently located over the four corners region would come east and go up the coast Nor'Easter style, letting loose one more sizable snow here in Cville. Alas, unless there is a serious last minute correction of the track of the low to the west, that will not be. The above graphic from the HPC shows the expected track. So those of you who have had enough of snow take heart, looks like we'll dodge one. That's not to say we won't see some snow flakes Tuesday night, but anything over 2" would be a serious deviation from current expectations.

For those in NC (Salisbury/Charlotte), you still have a chance of seeing more snow accumulate, but you also have issues to deal with. Primary limiting factor for accumulations will be warm lower-level temperatures. This means it needs to snow moderately hard for the atmosphere to cool (evaporative cooling) down through the whole column of air to have snow fall. This is compounded by the fact that most of your precip should fall in the daytime, which will keep temps warmer. So you will most likely see at least a rain snow mix initially, if not plain rain, before a change to snow. If it takes too long to switch, the total amount of precipitation left for snow will be minimal. Like most winter storms in NC, the last minute details will be most important.

So, after all that coffee inspired rambling, I expect around 2-3" from Salisbury to points south and west. It's likely that SC could see more, because they'll have more precip as they are closer to the track of the low.

As this storm pulls away from the coast on Wed/Thursday, it will be chilly and blustery here in Cville as High Pressure builds in. But, this weekend looks to be nice- maybe approaching 60 degrees by Sunday. I think this will be the last hurrah for you guys in N. Carolina, and climatology agrees with me. Here in Cville, the window is closing, but don't count us out yet.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Winter Is NOT over

Just wanted to put that headline out there. While we will see rain- if you can believe it- in Charlottesville on Monday, there are a few potential winter storms in the next 2 weeks. My prediction is we won't see the last of snow until the Ides of March (15th). That is, snow falling out of the sky. Right now things look interesting around Thursday of this week, and again around the 3rd of March. Will update as we get closer --and I get more work done.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snow Monday

Just a quick update. Quick clipper system coming through on Monday. Looks like snow should fall from the afternoon into the early overnight accumulating 2-4". Will update if need be.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Tuesday-Wed Update

Models coming in a little wetter on each run. Gonna target 4-6" around here due to the increased QPF. Still risk sleet mixing in, cutting down on potential accumulations. Just what we need....more snow!

This weekend still looks like a no-go with the storm system staying well south, but I'm gonna keep an eye on it. Stay Tuned.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Snow Tuesday-Wed & Storm Recap



An impressive storm to say the least. Highest report I've seen was 40" in Colesville, MD. Officially received 16.8" here. I didn't measure because there was already snow on the ground, but suffice it to say we got enough. Areas north and west received more, as we would have if it didn't sleet as much as it did.

Short Term- Looking at a Snow/Sleet combo Tues PM-Wed AM. Accumulations will be highly dependent on how much sleet we see, but I expect around 4" total. The low pressure center will bomb off the coast up near DE/NJ so those areas will get pummeled.

Long range- Another low will track to our south this weekend. At this time, looks like it will stay south of VA/NC, but the potential is there for the track to shift further north depending on the speed of another upper level feature coming out of Canadia. Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Snow Map #2




No major changes. Generally expect 18" of snow around Charlottesville to DC area. Some spots will see more, depends on the exact track of the storm. NWS just upgraded us to a Winter Storm Warning, calling for 16-24", so we're generally on the same page. Certainly looking like an all time record-breaking SEASON ('95-'96), although not all time snowfall. Snow will begin to fall around daybreak-10AM tomorrow, and it will be nasty by the afternoon into Sat, then cold. Will update if need be. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Preliminary Snow Forecast




Initial thoughts for Fri-Sat. Snow should start late afternoon in Cville. There's a chance some sleet/freezing rain could mix in at times, cutting down accumulations, but that's not possible to tell when and where at the moment. I'll update as we get closer.

Stay tuned.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Starting to Get Ridiculous




The year of weekend storms continues. I can't help but post the latest GFS precipitation forecast (00Z) run. This map shows expected precip, beginning during the day Friday through Saturday night. I won't get into details, but suffice it to say that if the model run is evenly somewhat accurate, Cville is in for another winter storm with around a foot of snow.

That doesn't count tomorrow, when we could get 3-4" if things work out right.

Why do they all have to be on the weekend though? The saying goes, the trend is my friend, and I believe the trend will continue, even after this weekend.

The Snow Keeps On Coming



Get your nerd glasses on Will. Above is a radar shot as of 830 PM EST showing what is going to bring a chance of snow to Virginia tomorrow and some light icing in NC. It's an interesting synoptic setup because there are 3 factors in play that will determine what our weather is like tomorrow. #1 is an upper level low in the Mid-West, #2 is an upper level trough and associated precip, and #3 is an area of surface low pressure that is developing and forecast to move up the coast towards VA before quickly moving east out to sea. Right now, #2 will be drawn/catch up to #3 and help the area of low pressure deepen (get stronger) as it moves up the coast. The question is, and none of the models show it, is whether #1, the upper low, will have any interaction with #2. If it did, I would expect an area of enhanced precipitation would set up somewhere in our general area as the low strengthens off the coat due to the increased vorticity and divergence aloft, or "phasing" of the systems. While I don't think #1 will catch up in entirety, I do think enough energy will be present to increase the meager precipitation amounts currently printed out by the models here in Charlottesville. The max I've seen so far is around .25". If that were snow, temps being marginal as they will be, it wouldn't be much, about 1" like the NWS is forecasting for late tomorrow afternoon into tomorrow night. However, if the models aren't initializing the speed or strength or the lows and troughs, the precip amounts could be higher.

So in short: I'm going to go out on a limb and say the models are wrong. I think we will see approx 3" of snowfall here in Cville by Wed morning.

Also, the other storm is still on the table in a BIG way for this weekend. Stay tuned.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Snow Totals & More Snow This Week????



Forecast- Cville 6". Lynchburg 8". Roanoke 12". Danville 14". Greensboro 12". Salisbury 8". Charlotte 4"

Totals- *From NWS* Cville 8". Lynchburg 9.3". Roanoke 9.1" . Danville 6.5" and .75" of sleet. Greensboro 8". Salisbury 7". Charlotte 2"

So. Cville- A Lynchburg- A Roanoke- B Danville- F Greensboro- C Salisbury- A Charlotte- A

Overall: 3.00 or B

Danville killed me w/.75" of sleet. Had that been snow, I'd have been right on the money.

Overall based on my snow map things shifted more north than I forecasted and some of the highest amounts didn't verify. If I find a decent statewide total from VA I'll post it, only NC now.

4.0 Grading Scale
A: 2" +/-
B: 3"
C: 4"
D: 5"
F: 6" <


This week: chance of snow on Tuesday, mainly PM for VA. Could see 1-3" especially towards the eastern half. NC looking marginal for rain/frzra/slop. Will update tomorrow.

BIG storm on the horizon this weekend- could be a classic nor'easter. Stay tuned.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Final Snow Map




I apologize for my poor graphics skills. Also, I'm focused on the piedmont areas of NC/VA much more so than the mtns/coastal areas.


Same General Ideas


Around 6" in Cville, increasing as you go south. Sweet spot should still be around the border, especially in the mtn areas of Roanoke east to Norfolk/VA Beach.

So to grade myself, Cville 6". Lynchburg 8". Roanoke 12". Danville 14". Greensboro 12". Salisbury 8". Charlotte 4".

Hope everyone gets a good snow. Will update if need be.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Snow Fri-Sat Update

General ideas after seeing the past few model runs:

Precip shield slowly moving north.

That matters a lot here in Cville as we are on the fringe of the heavier precip.

Too early for me to update, want to see a few more runs, BUT, looks like we could be on the higher end, if not over 6" based on 12Z Guidance.

NC is still looking good,, and Southern VA & Northern NC still look to be the best snow areas. Depending on the depth of the cold air, could be some localized 12"+

Stay Tuned.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Snow Fri-Sat




Update from Tues. Storm is still coming, but taking a more southerly track. Looks like the best snow will now set up south of us, around the NC/VA border. Current thinking is we're looking for around 4-6" in Cville, rising to around 6-8" near Danville south to SALISBURY, NC and points east. Below that around 2-4", then wintry mix in upper SC.

See my very poorly drawn map for more info.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Measuring Snow in FEET Again???




OK. I'm hyping this one even though it is 4 days out, mainly because I missed the last big snow here back in December, and I want to see another bomb. Definitely going out on a limb following forecast models that are still 4 days out. For those who don't know much about weather forecast models, 4 days away is a long time and leaves a lot of room for error. That's why everybody always blames the weather-guy for a bad forecast- he's looking at model data to make it, and if it is wrong, usually the meteorologist is wrong. Basically, that's just my CYA statement in case I'm wrong. But it is important to understand that the system that will affect us in Charlottesville on Friday is just coming into the West Coast, and better data is obtained once a system is on land, therefore the closer we get, the more accurate the models become because they have more accurate surface and upper-air observations fed into their initializations which future-cast the weather.

With all that said, at this point I would say 75% chance of 6" of snow between Friday and Saturday. 50% chance of 1 foot. 25% we see 18". But percentages aside, right now I think we'll see approximately 1 foot of snow here in Cville. Lots of factors will affect accumulations, the important ones are how cold is it at the surface and where snow crystals form. It is probable that towards the heaviest part of the snow we'll start seeing ratios as high as 15:1. That means for every tenth of an inch of precip (.10) 1 1/2" of snow would fall. Typically it's around 10:1, so .10 = 1". The picture I posted is the latest operational run (18Z) of the GFS model which shows 1.25"-1.75" of liquid around our area. Doing the math using 1.5" of liquid means 15" of snow at 10:1 ratios and averaging to 13:1 for beginning to end equals 19.5" of snow with the same 1.5" of liquid. Again, this is subject to change, but not to the point of looking at green grass all weekend. We just might not be in this sweet spot. I expect to see 1" of liquid (QPF) generally, which is why I'm forecasting 1 foot. I'll update as we get closer. Stay tuned.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Forecast BUST- More Cold to Come Next Week


OK. Even though it was a few days out, my forecast was crap. We had the kind of weather that drives me nuts in the winter: A cold 33 degree rain. We saw a little sleet, but other than that nothing. A few report of up to 2" of snow/sleet up in the higher elevations, where they had icing as well. I still do not understand the local NWS Office posting and then holding us under a Winter Storm Warning for so long when it was clearly not going to verify. A simple look at the wet bulb temps yesterday afternoon and night told the story: not going to freeze.
Any-who, after a warmer soaking rain on Sunday and maybe again Thur/Friday (Sun might even have some Thunderstorms with it), the northern jet/polar air get back into the mix by next weekend and then we can start looking to see if the southern stream (moisture) hooks up with it. Right now the GFS has -20 isotherm at 850mb into VA next Saturday. Raw printout numbers for low temps with that are around 10. It's a ways off, but a telling sign of the recent thaw coming to an end. Pray for snow.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Goodbye Warmth- Winter Storm Thursday




So check it. Complex winter storm developing for Late Wed/Thursday here in Cville. High bust potential because there isn't a lot of cold air around...BUT it still looks like marginal temperatures plus plenty of precip is going to lead to white stuff on the ground. As of right now, it looks to be a messy storm: rain, freezing rain, sleet, and snow. Which combination and for how long will determine accumulations. The farther north and west you go from Charlottesville, the better chance for a snow/sleet mix. When I say marginal, I mean the difference in half a degree from ~5,000 ft (850mb) to the surface will determine the type of precipitation.

Best guess for Charlottesville right now: Rain late Wednesday turning to Sleet and Snow overnight. Total snow/sleet accumulation: 4". Again, high bust potential either way with 1" of liquid being the average model output. Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

So I Missed the BIG ONE


A little late updating on the Dec 18th-19th storm here in Charlottesville. I drove through part of it, but by the time it was winding down I was somewhere between Chicago and China. Officially 21" fell here, but amounts were variable with 28" reported in Harrisonburg, 20 miles west. So I missed the biggest storm here in the past 15 years, which would piss me off if I hadn't been bound for an awesome Thailand vacation. So, just to recap, I've linked the header to the analysis of the storm which has been ranked a category 3, or major snowstorm by NOAA on the NESIS scale. That stands for Northeast Snowstorm Impact Scale...Anyways, check out the link, it also references other big storms over the past few decades.

As for now, the January thaw is in full effect here...stay tuned for more updates.