Monday, February 7, 2011

Initial Snow Forecast: Big Swing Minus The Big Bang

I'll cut to the chase here due to time restraints, but the title sums up the general weather pattern shift that will occur following a snow event on Thursday.

Typically weather pattern shifts are precipitated (I can't help myself) by a major weather event/storm that signals the change. Last post I thought we had a fairly impressive looking setup for a snow-storm here on Thursday followed by very cold air - and then a major warm up to follow.

Instead, the system I still expect to bring snowfall to our area on Thursday is looking more subdued and weaker - yet the warm up is still on track. While I am not ready to write off the potential for a more robust system to develop by Thursday, the odds are against it - and therefore you will see the NWS, Weather Channel, AccuWeather, and whoever else guesses at the weather toning down their respective forecasts for snow on Thursday with corresponding increases in the overall temperature.

Here is my take: while not (by any stretch of the imagination) a major winter storm, by nightfall Thursday I expect to have approx 3" (or call it 2-4) of snow on the ground here in Salisbury, with areas south and east of us on the higher end of that. Huge deal, no, but it does look to be an all snow event which is always welcome compared to the proverbial "mixed-bag" we often receive. Temperatures on Thursday will struggle to get above freezing, fall below 32 when precip starts (early AM) and moderate slightly on Friday. It is possible (according to my 8 ball forecasting machine - yes, you can find them at Wal-Mart too).n Friday night could be the coldest night we see until next year if snow is on the ground.

As much as it pains me to write that (and secretly hope I am wrong) - the weather pattern will switch rather quickly after the storm passes. Expect a more zonal flow (West to East not North to South) in the following weeks - the persistent trough we have been experiencing in the Eastern US will make reappearances but not stay, and this means warmer weather and less storminess overall. Not to say Winter is completely done for, but climatology and the developing upper air pattern both point towards it.

So much for brevity. Plan to post at least once more before Thursday. Stay tuned.