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Monday, February 11, 2008

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?


Doug Easterly, Cherry Hill, NJ said...

Justin, I recall the Blizzard of 1983 - started 25 years ago today. I was a junior at Lafayette College in Easton, PA (Lehigh Valley) and it was a Friday. After my morning class I was watching AM Philadelphia with Wally Kennedy and this was around 10AM and he said it had been snowing for already an hour there and I was thinking we don't have anything yet - this thing must be pretty slow! Well, at 11AM when I went to get my mail at Marquis Hall, the first flakes started to fall. By evening it was really starting to pile up and around dinnertime was accumulating at one point 2 inches an hour! I recall using the student cafeteria plastic trays to sled down the small hill in front of Pardee Hall. At one point, yes I did hear thunder and see a flash! I also recollect standing in front of the Lafayette President's residence on Cattell Street and looking down at the City of Easton (Lafayette is on a hill) in the evening and seeing a Penndot plow train move through on Route 22 - and seeing NO other traffic. I measured the snowfall at Lafayette College at 24 inches. The snow pretty much ended at 1AM and I went to bed. The next day dawned bright and brilliant - a cloudless blue sky like today.

Doug Easterly, Cherry Hill, NJ said...

Justin, apologize but I mistyped..The accumulation I recall for an hour wasnt 2 inches but 6 inches! It was snowing so hard I couldnt see DKE fraternity on Sullivan Lane (now something else) from the second story corner room of the next door AXP fraternity (also now something else) - which really is only a distance of about 100 yards!!

Justin said...


Happy memories, huh? I have a similar one from another famous storm. Those are few, but not too far apart. If you consider, Feb '83, Mar '93, Jan '96, Feb '03. We might be due for another one soon.

Thanks for sharing...