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Friday, November 30, 2007

Every End is a New Beginning

WINTER STORM WATCH FOR PA issued around Noon for SUNDAY MORNING. I'll post tonight if MD gets on board.
Today is the end of a few things... First November 30th marks the end of Hurricane Season. A season that has been marred with ridicule. First the new director of the Hurricane Center had to resign after criticizing the lack of funding for old satellites. The expected active season was a dud. Yes we had 14 named storms, 5 Hurricanes, of which 2 were major. But this article in the Miami Herald points out the miss by the forecasters. This article from the Houston Chronicle suggests that some storms did not deserve a name. I agree and had blogged about these Sub Tropical systems early in the season.
Which brings me to the new beginning: My new web site is ready! This link will take you to the What's New Page. Don' forget to look at the menu tabs for Weather Graphics, Radars, and Maryland Spotlights on County weather.This blog as you see it can be seen in my new site with a clean and simplified look. So the next time I mention that I blogged about something months ago, this archive will help you find it. For those of you that have built web sites, know the work involved. So doing this myself, and getting in by my deadline of December is a personal accomplishment. I miss my family, as I have spent a lot of my free time working on this. Thank you all for your support and allowing me to share my thoughts with you over the past few years. Now I can share more, along with your comments and pics, etc. There is still a little more development needed, but let me know what you think. Please remember to bookmark the new page.

I am waiting for the new model runs, so my forecast map for Sunday is what I am sticking with. As the cold air gets 'dammed in' from High Pressure in Eastern Canada, I still see a chance for a morning mix - especially north of Baltimore. The gradual warming will likely bring our high in the 40s at night. So mostly rain for this one, but some flurries possible on Tuesday. It can be found in my Weather Graphics

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I may be right, for the wrong reason...

A few days ago, I mentioned that we had a pattern shift and a chance that the weekend storm might bring snow or a mix. Here is the temperature map of the 850mb level (above 3,ooo ft) for Saturday. The wind flow is still NW, and our numbers are around -6C. This (cloud) level and number are important for wintry precipitation. The problem is that it will be clear early Saturday. But it does set the stage for the approaching storm.

The models have been all over the place - especially the GFS. Initially it had a Low passing to our west in the Great Lakes, Tuesday night it shifted the track closer to us due to the strong cold air mass and developing trough. Last night, it went back west. This time of year I would expect that track. Here is the same GFS model for Sunday morning. While the storm will be a mean wind and snowmaker for MN, it will push a wind shift to the south for us. As the cold air gets pushed out, the warmer air is forced up and over developing 'over running' clouds and wintry mix. The pink is that precip, while the yellow line shows the likely freezing line. However, that upper level temperature will be cold enough that the first round might be snow or sleet early Sunday. When the real 'stuff' gets here, it should be rain. This is the type of situation where temperatures warm overnight. As the storm passes, the colder air has a chance to bring some Lake Erie snow showers here on Tuesday. Still 4 days out, and the models may shift again....

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

New Nasa Images

This is the Ferrar Glacier, Antarctica. This past month, NASA, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the British Antarctic Survey jointly developed this accurate image of the 7th Continent. The Full Story from NASA's Earth Observatory can be found here.
If you want to see the 3D movie view, click here or on the image.
This is independent of the recent stories that have been released expecting a mild winter. The Climate Prediction Center is building it's forecast off of the La Nina in the Pacific which historically brings milder temperatures to much of the US . I am not a big fan of this- besides my love of snow. They are limited by their computer models, and restrictions of data out of the Pacific. Recently they mis-identified the position of the El Nino, which led to a bad forecast. Besides, how often does a 3 month forecast work out. It's not any better than the 7 Day I show no TV. I would venture to say that because they are saying mild, we have a better shot of it turning out cold. We have to watch the storm this weekend to see how the pattern will set up. But at this time- we may have a better shot of over running light snow on Sunday if it arrives early enough. The wrap around snow for the east will depend on the path of the Low. This path will likely produce a modest snow storm - but for whom. Best bet now would be Detroit and Chicago.
I will have more on this tomorrow, with a few model outlooks.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Birthday of a weather legend:
Anders Celsius: 1701-1744
astronomy was his passion, but he made a major contribution to science with a simplified temperature scale. Instead of the Fahrenheit scale which ranges from freezing of 32F to boiling at 212F, Celsius developed his scale based on 100 degrees. He did attempt to turn things around, and use 0 for boiling and 100 for freezing, but this was reversed back to the way we know after he died.
From a scientific standpoint, this makes the math much easier working with the metric system (based on 10).
In terms of weather, the rest of the world uses Celsius except the USA. Perhaps we are stubborn to change, but the wider variation of numbers does make it easier to explain a range of conditions. It sounds odd to think a warm day in the summer would be 30 degrees C, instead of 86 degrees F. Yet having freezing at 0C does make sense. All upper level data is measured in Celsius and used for all mathematical computer models.
Locally, our rain was a disappointment. At least officially. BWI measured only .16", yet northern sections of Carroll County picked up much more. Manchester recorded 1.28", and is only about 30 miles from BWI. Today will be a reversal of fortunes. The warm air surged in last night, and we were still at 62F at midnight. As the strong winds shift to the northwest, we should stay in the 50s or get colder this afternoon.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Making Up for Lost Time

Despite the little warm up today and tomorrow, November temps are now just normal for Baltimore. The rain however, is -1.21" for the month, and -7.26" for the year. No doubt, we're still in a drought. But today's rain should help a little. This map here is the Canadian model precipitation forecast for 12hrs ending this evening. The yellow and orange in the mountains highlights over 1 inch (legend is in mm). While this type of system will often weaken after crossing the mountains, we should still get close to 1 inch. This cold front will also be responsible for some thunderstorms overnight.
Even better news is for Atlanta. Their reservoirs have made headlines with the potential of going dry next month. Their fortune as changed. Last week, a storm brought over 2 inches of rain. This one could do the same. A little bit a time. To put it all in perspective... Atlanta is still officially -19.08 inches below normal for the year. That is nearly 1/2 of what they should have had by now.
Beyond this storm, the colder air will make a return gradually. A taste on Wednesday, then we're back into the 40s with the next surge this weekend.

Weathertalk readers: The new web site debut is just days away....

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I Like What I See

First it was flurries - last night. It's a little early to get excited about snow, even though some ski areas are open. Our below normal temperature pattern is holding, yet this is just a balance of the heat we had in October and early this month. We are now just about normal at BWI as it stands today.
This pattern change however is showing promise. Here is the early week storm as seen by the Canadian model. Here you can see over 1 inch of rain for the south- including Atlanta, GA. Definitely a pattern change for them. This storm is coming from the southern branch of the jet. A sign of a winter pattern, one that will tap into Gulf of Mexico moisture. This is a signal for improvement in the dry south US. Nothing surprising here with our La Nina pattern. So what you see next is somewhat expected...

Looking longer range, I have posted the 5 day GFSx. This is the upper level 500mb flow. The spots highlighted are vort maxes, or pieces of energy that are ingredients for building storms.
The closed Low off of the southern California coast will open up and develop the next southern branch Low. While I highlighted a ZONAL flow for the eastern US, the jet itself should be located just south of the Great Lakes. So this time, there will be colder air in place. The pattern for La Nina would have these developing Lows ride west of the Appalachians. That means snow for midwest, and rain for the B'more and the rest of the I-95 cities. But if the cold air holds like we have now, then a slight push east with the next storm could shift snow and ice potential east as well. No Guarantees! But it is something to watch. Note: December 5th has been the 1st major snow event for Baltimore 4 of the last 5 years. It is about that time....

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Loss of a Legend

I did not know of the passing of this legend until I got a phone call from the WCBM newsroom. They were just asking me about the pronunciation of the man who founded the classification system for Hurricanes. It's ironic to talk tropics during this cold spell, but Herbert I got the news yesterday about a legend in the Weather World. It was a call from WCBM'sSaffir (saph- her) died the day before Thanksgiving at the age of 90. I did not know the man, but I know that in the famed year of 1969, he made a contribution to the field of meteorology by categorizing tropical cyclones based on wind speed, and damage. This was expanded by Robert Simpson - the former director of the National Hurricane Center. This Safir-Simpson scale is still the best way of communicating the strength of a storm today. A sad note: Now he joins the legendary Ted Fujita (founder of the original tornado classification scale), who dies in 1998.
It's the holiday weekend, and we all have our priorities: Thankfulness, shopping, football, and my personal favorite - the return to the cold. I have been spending my free time between the rest above- rebuilding my web page. Sounds like fun, huh? Well, I wasn't sure I was going to post this weekend, despite the fact that ski resorts (Snowshoe, WV) are opening nearby.

Friday, November 23, 2007

What a Turkey!

For my regular WeatherTalk blog readers who have hopped over here, you may have already guessed what I am talking about today. For the rest, it's definitely not yesterday's meal of choice. This actually goes back to Wednesday, when a guy at my gym started talking about how warm it was, and how he remembered riding his bike in the snow in October. I'll get back to that later, but here is what prompted it: Wednesday was warm. We hit 73F. The record high in Baltimore was 79F in 1900. What was the heat blamed on then.? Yesterday- Thanksgiving, and the high was 74F- still not a record. That was 76F. Although we were close, it was warmer when that was set in 1940! Again, warmer a long time ago and not used a fodder for a theory. Yup we are in warmer times, and humans have polluted the planet. But there are much greater forces at work in this chaotic system we call weather and climate. Still looking at the stats shows that. Now back to my new friend at the gym. He's 52, so that would date back over 40 years - in the 1960's. We I checked the records, and there is only a handful of days with snow for October in Baltimore. There were two days with just a trace - in 1952. Likely it was on the grass and not enough to pedal through on the streets.
Regardless, this guy was not my concern, since we had a reasonable chat about the actual cycles of warm and cold years. I noted that the 1930s and 1940s still hold the majority of heat records around here, while the mid 1940s- 1960s turned quite cold for all of us (globally). A second guy pop his head around the corner and made some snide remark- but as soon as I gave him some hard stats he walked away. Only minutes later he would strike back- mainly with his memory and his parent's memories of colder times. When I offered my email and a proper exchange of information, he responded with, " I don't need to see YOUR science to know the truth". It's that kind of ignorance that befits the label - TURKEY! No need to finish the entire exchange here, but he did say that he is worried for his children. Well, I have a 2 year old son. I'm more worried that his classmates will get bad information in school. My old Climate Page on WeatherTalk has more information. Below is a recent report from John Stossel on 20/20 showing this:

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving-Warm Turkey, Wet Dessert

Welcome to the Original Weathertalk Blog readers. Thanks for hoping over. This will be a temporary home of the blog, while I am building the new website. Below you will see a poll asking for what you would like to see. I have some neat things planned, but would like your input as well.

Here is the Thanksgiving map as I see it. The cold front will wait until late, so your company may stay longer. That snow in Michigan may piled up to 6 inches north of Detroit...but no chance of it getting here. As for next week's storm... if we are lucky, it will hold off until Monday. Yet early next week will be wet and chilly again. I was hoping to see a pattern shift with a digging trough and cold air reaching us by Wednesday. However the early week storm may steal the energy.
It's a holiday! So I will post again on Friday with a look at some of the models. Enjoy the bird

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Testing the Waters

I am an habitual blogger, but my web site got out of control. Note: I took this image back in May. I should note my desire for weather pics in my bio...This is just a test of another venue, while I figure out the rest. For now I can be found at