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Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap Year Day- A Break From the Norm...

It will snow late today or tonight. I know this not from my scientific background. Not from the computer models, analysis, or even my third eye. It's because I got my haircut yesterday. Nikki reminded me that almost every time I got a cut since December (4th), it snowed the next day or night. Sometimes it's these patterns that take a while to figure out. Fellow snow lovers- if I had known, I would have gone more often. Heck, I'd look like Norm Lewis by now if I knew it would had brought more snow..
It continues to be a blockbuster season just to our north.
Snow Spotlight: Concord, NH
Current Season: 102.2"
Normal Season: 50.0"
Last Season: 19.3"
On the ground this morning: 42"

There is model support however...
Here is the NGM model depiction for Saturday morning. The green shows the precipitation bullseye from Baltimore up through New England. It will be New England that wins with 6-12 inches of more snow.
Temperatures for us will be marginal near the bay and up the coast. Basically the I-95 stretch will be wet- or wet ground with some flakes. Just north it will be colder to support snow. From New Yorks suburbs through New England- 3-6 inches will fall. Our best bet will be as that cold air catches up- on the north side. That is why I see a chance for a dusting to 1 inch just north of the beltway. I would say Carroll to central Baltimore/Harford and Cecil Counties, and York County in PA have the best chance of this. The timing also shows it lingering in the morning with a slow improvement in the afternoon. So March rolls in on Saturday. Do we call it a lion or a lamb. I will go with the lamb since after the morning it will be an easy weather weekend. That means that the end of the month should be rough. "In like a lamb, out like a lion."

A big, but quick warm up!

The next storm will again take that inland track to our west. But strong ridging ahead of it will stream in some warm air. Here is the 850mb map for Monday showing temperatures at around 5,000Ft will be 12C-14C. That could translate to nearly 60F down on the ground. It will set the stage for just rain- at least on Tuesday. Beyond that is still up for debate as a cold pocket of air will try to wrap around the Low and could bring an elevation snow to central Maryland. But that would need some special conditions to set up. I am still holding out on jumping on that wagon. It is pretty certain

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Another Waste of Cold Air

With temperatures running around 15 degrees below normal, we have nothing to show for it. Today is my 5 year anniversary at WMAR (ABC2). I had to sit out for two weeks during my transition from 5 years at WBAL- and my first day back was covering a snow storm that dumped only 3 inches at BWI but about 5"-6" in Baltimore county. It was anti climatic after the 28" of snow two week earlier. I remember standing on a snow bank next to the Nautilus Diner on York Road in Timonium. I was standing higher than the street sign. Ah- good times...
If nothing else, this season's weather pattern has been persistent. That is the 'haves' continue to 'have it', and well you know the rest. While I would love to play Robin Hood and spread the wealth for my fellow snow lovers, I have not figured a way to do that yet. However, I wanted to point out one of the lucky cities- Chicago.
This image is from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) onboard NASA's Terra satellite on February 24, 2008. It shows the snow cover in the Great Lakes area. Chicago on the south east end of Lake Michigan- does not typically get Lake Effect snow, so they rely on standard synoptic scale (what you see on a weather map) storms to bring them the fluff. Here are the snow stats for them up through today:
Normal: 30.2"
Last Season: 30.3"
This Season: 50.9"
That is 2/3 above normal.
Record Season 1978-1979: 89.7"

While they are a long way from their record... Just average snow for the rest of the winter will bring them into the top 10%, and the most since 1980. Definitely an impressive season for them.

So what about us? I am beginning to lose my optimism. While I still hold that there will be a large coastal storm, it may come a little too late to help our snow efforts. A clipper passing to our north tomorrow night will bring only the chance or rain or snow showers. I would be surprised if there is anything substantial out of this. behind it, the trough will lift and we will warm up over the weekend. The next storm, will be a warm rain maker. Temps may get close to 60F by Monday. As for that coastal I touched on yesterday... it does not look promising now. The track of the Tuesday storm will lock up the cold air well to our north. It will set the stage for another storm for the end of next week- that will again stay to our west. More snow for Chicago, non for us.
We can still look back to March 10-13 of 1993 for signs of late season storms. Still waiting...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

It's Back............

Frigid end to February. Here is the famed 500mb map showing the vorticity or 'spin' in the mid levels of the atmosphere. While no organized system showing up no the maps, this shows us where there is energy to produce flurries or snow showers as the core of the arctic air moves in for a few days.
This is a slow progression, but lined up for all of us. So even if you had some sun this morning, this tells me that clouds will build quickly and all of us- not just the Hereford zone- have a chance at flurries or a snow burst this afternoon. I have been getting calls from weather watchers on the north end all morning. A few reports of a dusting of snow grains on cars and grass. So there is a chance of a light coating with some heavier bursts today. The roads are warm, and the temps will be 'warm enough', so I don't expect a road problem.
Call it a wind machine, as gusts over 30mph will push the cold air in and make it feel like the lower 20s.

Next up, more light snow. This system is for Friday will pass to our north. that is not a good track for us since it will provide a westerly wind that easts up the flakes on this side of the mountains. But there is a chance of snow showers late Friday into Saturday morning. Ironically, it will warm up behind this 'cold front'. This weekend should be a return to the 40s, but not for long.
There is a some buzz about a potential coastal Tuesday or Wednesday. Likely we get rain to move in on Monday- but a second storm may form as we get into the colder air mass, and it could get interesting....

Here is the GFS for March 4th. It shows a development far to the south- but well after a cold front pass with rain. This would depend on upper level support to bring this north- but now it looks like a kick out to sea- with marginal temps. Tomorrow a few more mid range models will pick up on this for their last time frame. If it still looks possible, I will touch on it. I know we are grabbing at straws, but time is beginning to slip away. While I still hold that we will transition to a much colder pattern, I'd hate to wait for late March and April (as in recent years), with snow that does not stick- let alone on Opening Day at Camden Yards. That is looking more possible.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Environmental Check

Today will be wet. Just rain, maybe a clap of thunder. It's all about storm track- and the cold side with snow is just to our north. March is around the corner, but there will be a few more shots at getting that satisfying storm. I am off to visit a group of first graders this morning, so I will tough on that when we begin to cool down tomorrow.

I've already mentioned the record snowfall in many locations to our north, Great Lakes and in the Rockies. It's been an active winter- just not for us- yet...
Today, I wanted to share a few environmentally related stories:
Are you bothered by high gas prices.. me too! Regular gas is about 75 cents higher than this time last year. A lot can be blamed on a refinery explosion last week that limits the supply of gas, regardless of how much oil we have to work with. Since no new refinery has been allowed to be built in the US in the last 20 years- supplies are tight.
This report in today's USA Today brings an issue I've talked about to the mainstream. Electric cars are not the answer since they will result in more pollution from power plants.
Flex fuel cars are not the answer, while they are being pushed on the market. They use Ethanol 85 derived from corn which sounds great. But it tends to be 20% less fuel efficient, so you would have to fill up your tank more often- thus burning more in the long run. It has also caused the price of corn and other crops to jump. In fact last year Germany had a hops shortage since farmers were growing crops for E-85 instead. Beer prices went up and there was a public outcry.
If you have a realistic answer- please share.
As for home electric bills, we can be appreciative that it has not be too cold here. I spoke with a family yesterday that has a 2800 square foot house. Their BGE bill last month was close to $1000. I live on a south facing hill and will gladly put up solar panels- if it becomes cost worthy. The going rate is 12%-18%, which does not pay off the high cost of installation. Again, we do not have any legitimate alternative solutions yet. While France is 75% run on Nuclear Power- without a meltdown- don't expect to see a new Nuclear Plant here soon. Again- what do we do if we can't use our own oil reserves??? Just watch the prices go up. Trust me, I feel your pain!

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Brand New Week!

What did you do this weekend??? I spent it hiding at home from angry snow lovers....Nahhhhhhhhh... In fact I made it up to Rountop for great snowboarding conditions. We may have gotten less than wanted/expected, but the local ski areas are in great shape.
As for that hype and percieved miss from last week... I and looking for a few video clips from our newscast last week. I did my best to NOT overhype the storm, and even said so on the air (if I can find the clip I will post it here tomorrow). But because of overwhelming coverage, and instead of 2-4 inches around the beltway, it was more like around 1 inch... it 'seemed' like a miss. OK, we expected more ice as well, but it was icy. Just thanks road crews and warmer roads for an easy day off Friday...
Almanac: Today is the anniversary of the hottest February day in Baltimore weather history. It was 83F in 1930. That year had two other high temperature records that are still on the books (Feb 20th- 76F, Feb 21st- 74F). That decade of the 1930's continues to show itself as the hottest on record for us The year of 1934 leads the charge with the most record highs still on the books. For those of you who think I am one sided... there were 9 record high temperatures set or tied in February since 1990.

Now this new week brings a little roller coaster ride...
Since I am not a once model forecaster, I wanted to show you the UKMET depiction for tomorrow morning. At this time, I do not see a major event, and it should be mostly rain for us a we warm back to near 50F. But the morning will be a close call. As we start off clear, and clouds roll in after midnight, there is a chance the temperatures get down close to freezing. Combine that with drizzle or light rain arriving at sunrise... and there could be an ice set up for the morning. Freezing drizzle can be more dangerous than freezing rain, since it tends to ice up faster, and not be taken seriously. Most likely this will be confined to our north, but worth a note. Otherwise, this will just be a rain event for us.

Behind this system will be a true arctic intrusion. While snow showers are in my forecast for us on Wednesday, it's the temperatures that need the headline.
Here you can see the 850mb (around 5000Ft) temperature of -18C on Thursday morning. That will translate to our surface air temperature in the teens. Despite sunshine, we will have trouble cracking 30F in the afternoon. That may set us up for a chance of snow on Friday... but I will hold back the reigns on that horse until tomorrow.

Friday, February 22, 2008

About that Ice...This afternoon

So I tried to take the blame for over doing the snow- especially on the north side. I thought this morning burst would bring more snow, but it actually stopped for a few hours on that north side. that's what ended any potential for my forecast. Not a full bust, I admit my mistake. Otherwise, this is all behaving as expected. Mostly freezing rain, and a slow process of warming up. Here is my Afternoon Breakdown. It will not be perfect, but as close as I can get to show the places that hang on to the ice. At our news meeting this morning, I mentioned to draw a line from I-70 through the city and up I-95 in Harford and Cecil counties. Anywhere north will be the Roads will likely stay wet, while windshields freeze if you drive. The first morning model package is showing a general .1-.2 inches of ice potential...
The hardest thing today will be to watch the surface temperatures.
As I write this at 10am:
ABC2- Baltimore/Towson: 27F
BWI: 30F
Annapolis (many stations): 30-32F
Westminster: 25F
Easton: 30F

This morning map shows the developing Low with the second wave of rain and freezing rain on the way this afternoon.
There are county breakdown pages with camera images and local weather stations in the tabs above.

Shifting Snow Bands. More Sleet and Ice

Scroll down for Sleet vs. Freezing Rain Animation:

Update at 8am:
What I got right:

  • An average of 1-2 inches at daybreak.
  • Most snow totals will end in the morning.
What I got wrong:
  • Snowcast was a bust.
  • Heavier snow north. The turn over is beginning there.
  • New Freedom had 3 inches, Hereford had 2 inches.
  • While I was aiming for 2 or more in Towson, we only got about 1"
5am Post:

As I drove in early today, snow in Hunt Valley turned to mostly sleet and freezing rain in Towson and ABC2 Studios in North Baltimore. That was 3:00AM. As of 4:30, it was back to snow. Here is the radar from 3:17am showing the sleet in Baltimore County. It went back to snow soon after, and the snow seems to be winning the push early.

I am wavering on my snow bands, but wanted to make a little adjustment. The fine tuning is to bring the 1-2 inch line into downtown Baltimore, while 2"-4" from north Baltimore through the Hereford Zone. I'd hate to look back and see that my first forecast was better, but I had to attempt to adjust this morning.

There is a guarantee of an ice event today. The question is when it turns to ice. As I have mentioned before, I often look at atmospheric thickness of certain layers. The thickness will expand when warmer, and shows the potential for sleet vs. freezing rain. For those of you that look at models, this diagram may help. The numbers listed in meters is the general limit for icy weather. If I have a chance I will try to post an example. The wintry precipitation diagram is just below.

Most important today: I see most places north and west of Baltimore staying near or below freezing. That will mean much more ice into the afternoon and evening.
A busy day, so I have to leave it here for now.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Nothing has changed except the inevitability of this storm. I am holding with my forecast in this morning's post below. For those eager eyes- I thank you for the requests, but I am spent for the day, so no model clips or text deciphering. Friday will be busy and long as I will most likely be there through the evening. Please check in with ABC2 in the morning. I will post any maps here and on the TV Graphics Page. Besides tracking the snow/ice/rain lines- there is another question of the back end chance of snow. I will touch on that tomorrow. Enjoy the day....


The net result of Wednesday's storm was very close to my forecast (you can see in the post below).
Here you see 2 distinct bands of moderate snow. Unfortunately for most in the Baltimore metro area, it was just around 1 inch. That is in tune with my original forecast, yet the increased range did verify north and south. Annapolis was the big winner with 4 inches of the fluffy stuff. However DC and Chantily, VA barely got a dusting... Just bad luck I guess.

As of 6am- here is Winter Storm Watch Map, and my First Call:

The overnight models are trying to push BWI up to around 34-36 on Friday which would turnover to plain rain. However the model trend has been to be too biased with storms, pushing them to far north.
Below is what I am looking at to factor into my forecast:

  1. Storm track verifies just a little south and east.
  2. Colder temps this morning, plus snow pack may establish a colder start for the storms arrival.
  3. NE wind= Cold air Damming. Most models are notorious for warming us up to fast. Take the Election Day storm for example... While it may not guarantee more snow, it could mean a longer duration of ice. That's not good for anyone! The freezing line often sets up near I-95 thanks to our geography and topography. The bay can warm up nearby areas, while the hills (500ft-1000ft) stay cooler, and lock cold dense air in the valleys longest.
  4. Warming at cloud level will make this more of a wet/heavy snow (compared to yesterday), and likely push sleet or freezing rain for most of central Maryland during Friday.
Here is a breakdown of wintry precipitation:

The red layer show warmer temperatures (above freezing), above the ground which can remain cold. It all depends on how thick that layer of warm air.
Sleet: A raindrop has a thicker layer of cold air to refreeze before reaching the ground.
Freezing Rain: A raindrop does not freeze until after it touches the ground/tree/power line, etc.

Mid Day Update:
I am having a hard time accepting the morning model package. While there is trend down in temps (especially the GFS), I still think it is too warm. The range is from 33F-36F. That is for BWI. Remember Election Day? That was also a set up with below freezing temps lasting most of the day from Towson north. As for maps and charts and stuff... They don't show much, but I will try to get back on later today to highlight something. However, it all breaks down to this... There is pretty much a guarantee that it will start as snow, and drop 1-2 inches by daybreak. There is also a guarantee of mid level warming, so sleet and extended freezing rain will be the mid day and afternoon story (north). The potential is for 1/2 inch of ice on top of the snow. That could allow it to stick better and cause the power problems late in the day.
So I am sticking with my initial forecast I have above. Depending on how fast and intense the snow builds in, will be the ultimate test for how much we end up with. For many, not much more than when you wake up- because of the change over.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Final Snow Call- Today, and 5:30 update..

This is the map I will use on the air at noon. This bump up in snow total is based on the following:

  1. This looks like a repeat of Dec. 5th Storm. that track and strengthening phase while rounding the trough brought this same range.
  2. Colder temps mean more fluff in the snow.
  3. I see the potential for slightly higher amounts north and a burst near Rt. 50 from DC to AA County.

As of around 5pm, the radar looked very similar to my forecast split. It wasn't exact, but pretty darn close. That heavy band along Rt 50 from DC through the Eastern Shore was in line with my map an hour earlier. I know how a lot of you want to know how much 'at your house', that is why I tried to get more specific. I was impressed with this though, so I'll be tacky and quickly pat myself on the back... I did not account for warm roads and perhaps higher sun angle or thin cloud deck. That explains the wet roads until around 5pm.

Here is the 5:30 image from my place showing 2 inches. It's still coming down, and I feel pretty confident about my forecast verifying in most places.
I'd love to hear how much you got, and even see some pictures. If so, send them to, and I'll try to get some on the air in the morning.

More on this storm and Friday's in the post below...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Rolling out the 'white' carpet...

Just a little bit of snow to wet your pallet. More importantly, it will establish a base for the arctic air mass, and lock it in longer for the bigger storm.
While temperatures will get near or above freezing, the cold air aloft will guarantee snow and a high ratio. Often we use a base of 10:1. That's 10 inches of snow for 1 inch of liquid. But when you factor in the temperature at cloud level- where the flakes will form...we can get higher ratios with colder temperatures. The overnight models have indicated an average of about -10C or 14F which allows a dryer more 'fluffy' snowflake. For reference, and with the next storm, this 850mb level which is around 5,000Ft up is what I use compared with surface temperatures as a basis for snow, or some form of ice. That is what I see here. I have bumped my total (Now NWS has as well) due to the type of snowflakes.

This reminds me of the December 5th event. It was a similar push south with the final model runs, and that puts the clipper to our south. That usually results in slightly higher amounts of snow because the mountains will not steal the moisture. In fact a little upslope (winds flowing from the ocean up the hills) on the north side will enhance our little Low. The snow will reach it's peak this evening. I would place a general 4pm-10pm for our accumulating snow time frame.
Looking at the primary mid range model extraction for BWI, here is the liquid equivalent for precipitation:
NGM: .04"
AVN/GFS: .13"
NAM: .08"
WRF: .17"
My general forecast: 1-2 inches of snow. However, watching the enhanced radar- it could easily bump up to the next category (2"-4")on my afternoon update. It's looking like a repeat of the December 5th storm.
It may clear our to catch the back half of the total lunar eclipse tonight if we are lucky.

The Friday storm below, but first...

Sorry I had to post something here for you to view to help the cause. I put one of these on my TV Graphics page, but it gets missed at the bottom.
Before I get to the main event- I want to just touch on my hypothesis on the influence of the moon on our weather. I did mention this yesterday and many times before- and if I pushed a Masters Degree, I would have tested it. However, here we are. A full moon and lunar eclipse tonight, and the two storms are looking stronger. Consider the tidal swing based on the moon, and then translate that to atmospheric (water) and pressure. There also seems to be a connection with geological events as well, and I relate this to influence on magma and plate tectonics. A large 7.4 magnitude earthquake in Indonesia last night prompted tsunami watches around the Indian Ocean. Many large earthquakes in recent memory were within a day of a full or new moon. Including December 26, 2004 in Thailand. It was the same area near Sumatra. Hmmmm. I'd love for someone to pick up this research, or share your thoughts....

The Storm:
I have always hedged my best on the trend of the models. This morning, I see that trend with our clipper and with the main event Friday. Both the Canadian and GFS which I highlighted the other day are showing this. It has turned out to be a busy day for other reasons. This will not be fully in depth, but here's what I've got.
The graphic package was not ready at post time....
Considering the GFS has the best placement of the clipper this morning, I will use it for positioning for Friday. The text output is supporting a change over to ice at least near I-95, as we warm in cloud level (850mb), but stay near or below freezing at the surface. A classic snow/ice line setting up somewhere close. Considering the behavior of today's event staying colder and farther south, I will leave that potential shift for Friday as well. So a forecast of snow to ice, may stay all snow in places. At this point, a good chance for well over 4 inches of snow where it does not change over. However, the ice problem will be bad. I already told a neighbor that she should telecommute on Friday and not drive in... I would put money on school closings, and extended coverage on local TV- Especially here at ABC.
I promise I do more tomorrow.

What goes up, Must Come Down...

"Spinnin' wheel, got to go 'round"- Blood Sweat and Tears.
Another 60's throw back for you Classic Rock fans. Yesterday behaved as expected, except the temperature shot higher (71F-not a record). now we watch the downward slide on the thermometer. I had a conversation with some of the guys at the gym yesterday... we were talking about the big warm ups before some of the historic storms in Baltimore. It is a sign of volatility and atmospheric energy as a ridge that will bring that warm air will be followed by a deeper trough with colder air to feed into a new storm. If you remember something like this- share it in the comment section below.
First thing to watch is how the temperatures behave. I have called for 44F today and 38F tomorrow. If it verifies colder, then the models may not be handling this very well. The cold air will get reinforced by a clipper passing tomorrow afternoon. I have noticed that the trend has pushed it farther south in the past few days. Here is the NAM outlook for Wednesday afternoon. It may not look like much, but it is now poised to give us up to 1 inch of snow as it locks in the arctic air. I do think we have a chance to clear out in time for the Total Lunar Eclipse Wednesday night.

Spinning the wheels for the end of the week, and it looks like your wheels will be spinning on something Friday morning. While there is a tremendous amount of information to digest, I know I have lost some of you with technical overload here. I still plan on getting some of the highlights out, but here is a simplified breakdown for the two primary mid range models I have been following. The Canadian on the right shows an inland track that will likely start as snow Thursday night, but bring ice Friday morning. Depending on the true behavior, this could be a heavy ice event, or eventually turn to rain as the surface low passed just north and west of central Maryland dragging in warmer air. This would be heavier precipiation, but gone Saturday. It does set up a coastal storm for us on Monday.

The GFS model projection here keeps the surface low to our south. That means precipitation will not be as heavy, but stay snow or ice. Little or no rain with this scenario... The GFS does linger snow showers into the weekend with one last burst Sunday morning. It brings another storm (inland runner) our way Tuesday.

Again, this is the over simplified version of what I see now. But I will follow throughout the week. I will introduce more models projections as I see fit, but these will be the benchmarks for how many forecasts will evolve over the week.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Blinded By The Light

"Go-cart Mozart, was checking out the weather chart To see if it was safe outside.."
That's a Manfred Mann tune, which often gets misquoted, but seemed to fit here:
"Blinded by the light, revved up light a deuce, another runner in the night."
Deuce= car
There has been a tremendous amount of buzz about a storm at the end of this week. For time sake I refer you to Mr. Foot's blog who did an extensive analysis of the La Nina, North Atlantic Oscillation, etc.. this past weekend. He may be a little more optimistic than me at this time. The excitement by many may be compounded by a lackluster Maryland winter, and the 5 year anniversary of our #1 snow- record Presidents Week storm in 2003. There are a tremendous amount of pictures and information on the internet of this storm, and I wanted to focus on something different today. Click here for the Feb 17, 2003 radar. Here is a general storm breakdown and comparison.
Anniversary of more big storms:
Among the top 11 snowstorms in Baltimore- 6 have occurred in mid February:
#1: Feb 16-17 2003 28.3"
#3: Feb 11-12 1983 22.8"
#6: Feb 11-14 1899 21.4"
#7: Feb 18-19 1979 20.0"
#8: Feb 15-16 1958 15.5"
#11: Feb 11-12 2006 13.1" (Many have forgotten about this recent storm)

For the regular readers of my blog, you know two main things about me: First- I LOVE SNOW! Second, and most important- I don't like to push the panic button too soon. I have learned a lot in my nearly 2 decade career. Bias can burn you! As good (for those of us that want snow) as something may look 5 days out, things can change. Models change, and all of the ingredients that go into forming a storm may not line up as needed. The more you want snow, you may be blinded by the real data or few models that indicate otherwise. That is my hesitation for Thursday -Saturday's event.
First: the step down in temps will provide a few shots of snow. If you have seen my 7 Day forecast (click the TV Graphics tab above), it looks much more impressive than what will play out.
Two surface trough shows a step down in temperatures. They may not show up a true cold fronts on the weather map, but these kinks in the isobars will in mark a wind shift and temperature drop.
The 850mb temps(cooling at 5,000Ft) show a drop back to -10C and colder.
The 500mb vorticity max= a spin in the upper levels to help enhance the chance of showers as the cold air builds back in...

Friday Morning:
I am not a one model forecaster, but here is the same GFS model for Friday. For space limitations- I am just showing this one projection... as it does indicate what we will be dealing with. Arctic high may be passing overhead or just north. While that would help with the cold air, it will also be be dry and suppress the phasing branches of the jet stream to our south. Right now it looks like an over running event. That means it could be an extended period, but not an organized blockbuster for us. Over running is when warm moist air ride aloft, and cold air stays at the ground level. That can mean either virga (drying up before hitting the ground) or mixed sleet and freezing rain. This is just a snapshot of the potential, not a guaranteed forecast. Again, I don't like to jump the shark this early until I see how the players are playing. So in the next few days, here are a few things to watch:

  1. How cold will it get here. This will show the strength of the new air mass. If we stay in the 30s (BWI) on Wednesday- that is colder than my forecast and a sign it might stay colder.
  2. Where will the High will be positioned? I see it very close to MD on Thursday. If the center can stay north, or slides past sooner, thigh might allow this storm to slip up the back side and bring in more moisture.
  3. When will the High pass? When will the southern branch develop it's Lows? Timing is crucial with this southern branch. If it acts up sooner than Thursday- then it could all pass well to our south. If it develops later than Friday morning, then #1 and #2 will have to be asked differently.
You can also throw in a Full moon on Thursday- and test my hypotheses of enhanced storms thanks to gravity flux. This will be a guarantee to influence coastal regions with above normal high tides. Tomorrow I will start to look at how some other models are handling this event.
"Faith in the flakes."

Friday, February 15, 2008

Proof in the pudding...Climate and snow.

I have now posted 100 blogs since switching over to this new web site and system in November (it was over 1000 on the old site). I would be remiss if I did not point out the latest Climate Report. I know this will anger a few readers, but I have to point out facts that are being shoved aside. On the map below you can see the National Climate Data Center highlights for the globe for January. Click the map for the full report.
It has been a rough winter in terms of cold and snow for many areas, but the extremes have been in the Middle East (Baghdad had it's first snow in at least 40years), and China (record snow and over 1 million travelers stranded before the Chinese New Year.
In the US- the headline seems a little biased:
"January 2008 - Cooler and Wetter than Average in Western U.S., Warmer in Northeast 31st Warmest Globally"
Deeper in the article it mentions the nation was just below the 20th century average, but focused on the global rank. 31st warmest is much cooler than the heat of the past decade, but that is not mentioned. If anything- Since mid 2007 there has been a pronounced global cooling trend.
Also there has been record snowfall:
Boston: December was .2" below all time record snow.
Great Lakes : Chicago, IL has more than 3x it's monthly snow. Almost 2x their seasonal snow.
Madison, WI have about double their normal snowfall. 80.2" snow compared to a normal of 35".
The Rockies: Vail already has the most snow on record, and there are a few more months to go). Below the global map I have posted the Colorado Ski press release from yesterday. So this winter may not look like much to us (so far), but it has been extreme in most of the nation. I hope to see that in the February Climate Report

Happy VAIL-entine's Day: More Record Snow at Vail, Beaver Creek and Heavenly Sweetens the Pot for Spring Ski Season

  - More than 25 feet of snow season-to-date at Heavenly allows resort to
extend its ski season into May
- Since Dec. 1, Vail has received more snow than any other year in its
history and Beaver Creek has experienced its snowiest December and January
since 1996

BROOMFIELD, Colo., Feb. 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- It's official.
Mother Nature has showered the ski slopes of Vail, Beaver Creek and
Heavenly with love -- up to 25 feet of her love in the form of snowfall
this season which has given skiers a truly sweet "VAIL"-entine's Day
present, the best powder skiing conditions in recent memory.

Skiers and snowboarders at Breckenridge and Keystone are celebrating,
as well, with season-to-date snowfall that's up to 33 percent above average
with Keystone reporting its snowiest January in seven years.

It's not just the quantity of snowfall -- it's also the frequency and
timing of the storms. The snowfall at Heavenly, Vail, Beaver Creek,
Breckenridge and Keystone hit at the perfect time of the season, just
before the December holidays and has continued to fall ever since. At Vail,
it snowed 24 of the 31 days in January, the highest number of January snow
days in seven years.

With the deepest snow that's fallen at Heavenly Mountain Resort in
30-plus years, resort officials decided to extend their season 14 extra
days to Sunday, May 4. Heavenly reported its snowiest January on record
with more than 13 feet in just 31 days.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

It Snowed- 60 miles east and south...

Some spots have iced up, but we missed the snow. We had flurries, but it was 1/2" to 2 inches on the Eastern Shore. Ocean City also had snow on the beach. Here is the radar from 3:02 this morning showing the band of snow I expected to develop- just missing us. In fact this does look a lot like the GFS map plot, but I did expect, and hope we would get some of that before it departed. Well, they did get nearly an inch or so from Easton to Ocean City.
All we get now is a day full of sun and a flag full of wind! It had already gusted over 40mph this morning, and will be gusty most of the day. While we will get close to 40F, it will feel like the mid 20s.

The weekend storm is looking less promising. Our lifting trough will make it tough for the next storm to ride up our side of the mountains. That means an OH Valley track and a rain event for us Monday. We may have some cold air left on Sunday for a start of snow or a mix- but the warm air will win again.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Heavy Rain, Ending as Snow?

A slow warming this morning, but a dramatic jump in temps across the 'Bay. Here is the 11 O'clock snapshot of the radar with some temperatures to show the wide range. Just after clipping this, Easton dropped to 44F. The strong wind from the north, will bring back the colder air sooner. Besides, blowing my forecast of 44F, it will probably bring a snow change over sooner.
This developing coastal Low (see maps on TV Weather Graphics Page) will pull down the cold air before the moisture departs. My early thinking of a dusting up to 2 inches is on track... although a faster turn over could bring more in spots. There has not been much model support (other than the GFS) but they have not handled this well from the start. However, this coastal Low is wrapping up faster than the models can catch onto, so I think it will end sooner. Depending on how much moisture is left, there could be more snow east tonight. Either way, everything will ice up. Nothing else to do but watch it and wait for it to turn back.

Cupid's Cruel Trick- Ice-2nd Year in a Row

It was exactly 1 year ago- just before Valentine's Day, when we had to deal with one of the worst sleet storms in recent memory.
Here is a cleaner map that what I posted last night. I must say that I-83 from PA line south is mostly wet, but a lot of ice has collected on trees, power lines and side roads. Yesterday's snow added to it north of Mt. Carmel... so the threat of downed trees and power lines will be increased in the areas highlighted here: North Harford Zone, Hereford Zone, and Carroll County.
In fact, these areas will likely add more ice this morning, as near the beltway temperatures are ranging from 31.5F to 32.5F However, there are spots near 34F- so the warm air is slowly winning. It will be tough to point out who is still icy. Just play safe, as ice does not melt immediately. In fact a layer of rain water on top of melting ice could be just as slick!
For the latest closings- click here.

If you have an ice story or pictures (after sunrise), please send them to me at the station:

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


This is just a quick, dirty and blurry copy from the NWS page. I just got the warning issued at 6:45pm. It has become obvious that this cold air will not budge tonight. Again I must beat myself for not following my own rules. Cold Air Dams always last longer than the models indicate. This morning's light snow was important for just coating the ground and reinforcing the cold air. It did so by moistening the air, while holding temps in the 20s. The map here (while a little fuzzy) does clearly show how these cold air dams lock in between the Chesapeake Bay and the mountains. While an easterly wind will gradually warm us up into the mid 30s, farther inland will have significant icing. The late afternoon (18z) NAM model has indicated a chance for up .2" of ice near I-95 and the city, while inland in Howard, Carroll and northern Baltimore counties- up to 1/2 inch of ice could drop trees and power lines. Of course the build up on roads will likely delay or close schools. I would still do the homework and have an easy day tomorrow. It will not be easy on my end. I will be up and out the door by 2:30am just to make sure I can get to work on time and alive. I HATE ICE! But I will have the most extensive look at it on the air in the morning. Hope you can tune it... it's still ratings month you know.....

Some snow, then sleet, freezing rain, rain, and ending as snow

Say that 5 times fast!
Last night I made a quick post to point out what I caught as a Primary Day surprise. Well, I was still surprised when it was snowing at 2:00am. It was just a brief round of light snow well out ahead of the next developing storm. Here is a morning snapshot from Villa Julie College in Stevenson. That is about 2 miles off the NW corner of the beltway. You can see it was just enough snow to cover the parking lot, but it was slippery.
It will really begin to affect us mid day, but it should be more of a sleet and freezing rain mix as an easterly wind will warm up the mid layers of the atmosphere. Not a whole lot of accumulation is expected- at least while frozen, but it will be a nuisance, and the kids are already off of school. By the time the storm rolls in, will will be all rain tonight and tomorrow. This is make up time. Making up for the drought, as another 1-2 inches of rain are likely.
I am still curious about the developing secondary Low that may hold the moisture will the cold air returns Wednesday night. I still think it is possible that we end this thing with snow, and perhaps some accumulation. The NAM model does not show much, while the GFS extracted data for BWI shows the potential for up to 3 inches or snow as the storm pulls away. I hate to sound like election coverage, but I will post again when more information comes in.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Throw in snow for Tuesday morning...

First a correction to my morning post. Through=throw. Darn spell check thinks it's better than me.. well it is most of the time, but I let that slip. I was watching the radar this evening and noticed how far east the apparent snow had advanced. It does look like a lot of virga- seen on radar, but dries up before reaching the ground. Still, a chance for some snow in the morning, perhaps at daybreak. Well, that is much faster than I led on to, but I may have a lot to talk about in the morning. It still looks like it will be changing over to rain as warmer air works in, but this timing has my forecast all messed up. no new data will arrive until after I go to sleep, so please tune in to my forecast in the morning....

This Cold, There Must Be Snow!

After winds pushing 50-60mph Sunday, the rapid change resulted in a 68 car pile up on I-81 in PA. My parents got stuck in the road closure, and thankfully not part of the wreckage. If was my dad who made a 'pit stop' and that delay allowed them to miss the accident by 5-10 minutes. How's that for luck? In western MD, Wisp Ski Resort was able to muster 2.5 inches out of this system. Better than nothing, huh?
Happy Anniversary! It's 25 years honoring the great Blizzard of 1983. I am having trouble finding a snowfall map of the event, but here is the official statement from NWS Sterling:

February 11-12, 1983: The Blizzard of 1983 beat the Presidents' Day Storm and was the second greatest snowfall for Baltimore since records began. It covered an unusually large area of Virginia and Maryland with more than a foot of snow. Two feet of snow lay in a band across Washington, Frederick, Montgomery, Carroll, Howard and Baltimore Counties. The storm set a new 24 hour snowfall record at Baltimore with 22.8 inches. Parts of Northern Virginia up into western Maryland measured as much as 30 inches on the ground. Hagerstown reported 25 inches of snow (its second greatest storm behind the January 1996 snowstorm). For a couple hours of the storm, snow fall at an amazing rate of 3.5 inches per hour. Thunderstorms intensified the snowfall in some areas.Winds gusted over 25 mph all day on February 11 causing drifts up to five feet. The heavy snow and winds paralyzed the region. The cost of clearing the snow from roads was in the millions of dollars.

The next system will race in on this northern branch of the jetstream. The approaching system is running up against this very dry arctic air. It may waste it's potential snow on virga- just to saturate the atmosphere and allow the warm air to move in by evening. However, I have to throw in the chance for some light snow late Tuesday afternoon, but rain is more likely overnight. The developing storm will ride to our west bringing warmer temps and rain on Wednesday.

The Canadian Model here for Thursday morning is the most aggressive with the second part of this week's storm. While there does seem to be a second low forming over the gulf stream, the wrap around moisture and cold air filtering in does appear to be promising for a snow burst before sunrise.
This continues to be an active season, just waiting for things to line up for us. Beyond this departure, there is another shot for snow or a mix developing over the weekend.

Final Note: With the results of my Morning TV Poll complete, I now pose this question: To those who watch another station, why? Is it habit? Just don't like ABC2?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Cold Air Delayed????

I made a mistake. While I look back at my Friday post and did account for some of what was happening today- I still brought the cold air in too soon. Sure the polar front is passing through this morning, but my 10+ years in Maryland has proved that the cold air gets hung up on the other side of the mountains and gets delayed 12-24 hours. Downslope winds are the main culprit. They warm up as they ride eastward - down in elevation, and also dry out. Here is the 10AM visible satellite image. I do expect more clouds this afternoon, but you can see two disting jet streaks seen as cloud lines left to right over Maryland.
On the flip side, upslope winds help produce clouds and snow showers, and lock in the cold air. Garret County was down to 22F this morning at 10AM, while Baltimore was in the mid 40s. The vort max, and jet max I showed on Friday is also wrapping up tighter and lifting just north of us. That is why we missed out on the chance of snow. If anything, a lucky flurry back west and north up near the PA line.
It will get cold, just wait until tonight to move in . Tomorrow will be a struggle to bet back to 30F while wind chills will be in the teens. Just the first sign of our cold pattern.
I am still waiting for a clear view on Wednesday's storm. I will have to push back my assessment until Monday's post. Until then, enjoy this pic. My friend who worked safety and security at the Super Bowl, also took a ride up to Glendale, AZ. Here you can see a contrast of snow in the desert. See everyone else is getting it this year. Just a matter of time until the wealth is spreads.

Friday, February 8, 2008

The Low Down on the Cool Down

First: The final hours of my Morning TV Poll. I notice the wide range of viewing and hopefully will hear from some of you as to why? Better yet, what could we do at '2' , to get you to switch over to us. Again this is my own personal quest, and not connected to anything at the station. However, if you have any comments, please share them below:
As for the weekend, I am waiting for the morning models to come in. There has been some adjustment to how cold, based on the position of the trough. Still some questions about next week's potential snow as well.
Afternoon Update:

Here is the NAM 500mb vorticity map for Sunday morning. I've highlighted the vort max, and jet showing the potential for some of the Lake Enhanced snow showers surviving the trip over the mountains overnight. This trough will wrap a little tighter, and lift near the PA line during Sunday. That could help snow showers up near the PA line, but may allow the west wind to 'donwslope' and let the sun return on the south side. That could make the difference in the temperatures- so I had to adjust us up from my early call of 28F to now 35F at BWI.
It will be windy, and noticeably colder, but that will lapse a little during the week as we wait for the next event.

This potential storm next weekhas been all over the place. What appeared to be a slow moving arctic boundary, then spawning a coastal low well offshore and lingering snow for us- now looks like it may actually spin off a surface Low in the deep south and allow it to develop on it's own. Here is the GFS outlook for Thursday morning. This is 6 days out, but showing a surface low riding over or just east of Maryland. This will hinge on any cold air in place, but has potential for us to get snow. I will be watching this closely- well that goes without saying. But this is Valentine's Day as well as a planned visit to an Elementary School in AA County for our Noon Show. It would be Murphy's Law to cancel a weather visit for a weather event. Definitely not the first time... Either way- fellow snow lovers, there is hope. It was Valentine's week last year when we had our big ice storm.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Back To Reality

Yesterday we broke a 70 year old record with our High temperature of 72F. More tornadoes and fatalities, the storm report is at the bottom of this post.

Today is a bit more like winter, albeit with slightly warmer than normal temperatures. This is just the transition in our pattern change I promised last week. I mention promise because I caught some flack from some of you who did not believe me.
Here is the visible satellite form 11am showing how the cold air advection often result in wide variety of weather observations. The yellow circle highlights the clear skies and low 50s south of Annapolis, while clouds increase around Baltimore, and it was overcast on the north side of the beltway with temps in the low 40s. The westerly winds (blue) interact with the mountains to produce wave clouds that break up as the downslope winds push closer to the coast.

I still anticipate snow showers and much colder temperatures this weekend. I am in a time crunch, so I will tackle that tomorrow.
Below is the map of Wednesday's Storm Reports: Only 2 tornadoes, but this is part of the deadliest outbreak in two decades.