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March 2011

03/31/2011

STORM MAY SPARE TRI-STATE AREA FROM BIG SNOW TOTALS

WE'LL BRIEFLY COVER THE MEDIUM TO LONG RANGE, AND THEN FOCUS THE MAJORITY OF THIS DISCUSSION ON THE SHORT TERM. SATURDAY LOOKS RATHER UNSETTLED AND STILL CHILLY. SUNDAY WILL BE THE BETTER OF THE TWO DAYS THIS WEEKEND WEATHER WISE...DRY, AND A BIT MILDER. OUR NEXT SHOT AT SIGNIFICANT PRECIP WILL PROBABLY COME BY MONDAY. ODDS FAVOR RAIN WITH THAT SETUP, BUT WE CAN'T RULE OUT A LITTLE FRONT-END SNOW OR SLEET FROM THE MOUNTAINS OF NORTHCENTRAL AND NORTHEASTERN PA ON NORTHEASTWARD INTO INTERIOR NEW ENGLAND.

ENOUGH SAID ABOUT THAT. NOW, LET'S FOCUS ON THE CURRENT SITUATION...ONE THING THAT REALLY STANDS OUT WHEN YOU LOOK AT A NATIONAL RADAR IS THAT THERE ARE MANY PLAYERS ON THE FIELD...SEVERAL DIFFERENT PIECES SCATTERED ALL OVER THE PLACE. THE ONE FEATURE THAT AFFECTED US LAST NIGHT IS NOW MOVING THROUGH NEW ENGLAND. AREAS OF CONVECTION, INCLUDING SEVERE T-STORMS IN FLORIDA, COVER PARTS OF THE SOUTHEASTERN STATES. A SMALL BUT WELL-DEFINED AREA OF PRECIP IS NOW MOVING NORTHWARD THROUGH EASTERN KY AND INTO WV. FINALLY, ANOTHER PIECE OF ENERGY WITH ASSOCIATED PRECIP IS HEADING INTO THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI VALLEY. AT THE SURFACE, THE MOST NOTICEABLE LOW PRESSURE CENTER IS LOCATED NEAR SAVANNAH, GA. EVENTUALLY, EVERYTHING WILL CONSOLIDATE AND BECOME BETTER ORGANIZED OVER THE NEXT 24 HOURS. BY THIS TIME TOMORROW, WE WILL BE DEALING WITH A DEEPENING SURFACE STORM SOMEWHERE OFF OF THE NEW ENGLAND COAST. HOWEVER, THE MAIN THEME TODAY IS FOR THE INTENSIFICATION TO TAKE PLACE A LITTLE LATER IN THE GAME AND FARTHER NORTHEAST. NONE OF THE MODELS ARE FORECASTING A CLOSED CONTOUR AT 700 AND 500 MB UNTIL AFTER 12Z TOMORROW. BY THEN, THAT WILL TAKE PLACE A LITTLE NORTH AND EAST OF NYC. THAT MEANS THAT THE BEST INFLUENCE FROM THAT DEEPENING LOW WILL BE FROM EASTERN NY STATE INTO NEW ENGLAND AND EVENTUALLY THE

WE HAVE TRIMMED BACK OUR SNOWFALL ACCUMULATIONS SOMEWHAT FROM THE CATSKILLS AND LOWER HUDSON VALLEY SOUTH AND WEST. WITH THE PRECIP TAKING LONGER TO GET ITS ACT TOGETHER, AND THE BOUNDARY LAYER VERY MARGINAL, THIS WILL LIKELY BE A SITUATION WHERE ELEVATION TAKES ON A MUCH MORE IMPORTANT ROLE IN THE PRECIP TYPES. THIS FIRST SYSTEM REALLY WIPED OUT ALL OF THE CHILLY, DRY AIR AS DEW POINTS HAVE COME WAY UP SINCE YESTERDAY. SINCE THERE IS NO FRESH, COLD AIR ANYWHERE NEARBY, WE NOW HAVE TO TOTALLY RELY ON THE DYNAMIC COOLING ALOFT THAT OCCURS WITH THE HEIGHT FALLS AND DEEPENING OF THE LOW. THAT IS WHAT WE THOUGHT YESTERDAY. HOWEVER, WITH THE SYSTEM BEING WEAKER IN THE EARLY TO MIDDLE STAGES OF THIS EVENT, AND THE PRECIP INTENSITY BEING LESS, IT WILL TAKE LONGER FOR THE RAIN TO MIX WITH, AND IN SOME PLACES CHANGE, TO SNOW. WE ALSO HAVE HAD TO ADJUST DOWN OUR THINKING ON LIQUID PRECIP TOTALS FROM THIS SYSTEM...CLOSER TO 1/2" OR MAYBE 1/2" TO 3/4". SO, INSTEAD OF THIS BEING A MAJOR NOR'EASTER FOR US, IT REALLY WON'T BE ALL THAT BAD.

03/29/2011

STORMIER 2ND HALF OF THE WEEK

SINCE THE WEEKEND, THE UPPER-AIR FLOW PATTERN ACROSS THE EASTERN U.S. HAS BEEN RELATIVELY FLAT. THAT HAS KEPT THE FAST MOVING IMPULSES AND THEIR PRECIP TO OUR SOUTH. HOWEVER, IT APPEARS THAT WILL BE CHANGING DURING THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS, AS THE FLOW UNDERGOES SOME BUCKLING. THAT WILL LEAD TO THE CHANCE OF AT LEAST TWO DIFFERENT PRECIP EVENTS HERE BETWEEN NOW AND THE START OF THE WEEKEND.

THE FIRST OF THESE SHORT WAVES IS NOW MOVING INTO THE NATION'S MID-SECTION. THE MODELS HAVE BEEN PRETTY CONSISTENT IN TRACKING THE ACTUAL VORT MAX FAIRLY FAR NORTHWARD TOMORROW AND TOMORROW NIGHT. SO, EVEN THOUGH THAT FEATURE WILL TEND TO WEAK AND GET MORE STRUNG OUT OVER TIME, AND IT WILL ENCOUNTER BONE DRY AIR THE FARTHER NORTH IT GOES, WE DID HAVE TO ADJUST OUR THINKING ON THE NORTHERN EXTENT OF THE PRECIP SHIELD WITH THIS FIRST SYSTEM. THIS LOOKS LIKE A CLASSIC EARLY SPRING SETUP WITH A RATHER MILD BOUNDARY LAYER, BUT TEMPS ALOFT COLD ENOUGH FOR SNOW FROM AROUND THE MASON-DIXON LINE NORTHWARD...BASED ON PROJECTED THICKNESSES AND 850 MB TEMPS. SO, WHAT WE WILL PROBABLY SEE IS A PRECIP EVENT THAT WILL BE DEPENDENT ON ELEVATION, AND ALSO PRECIP INTENSITY. THE MODELS ARE QUITE CONSISTENT IN SHOWING A NICE BATCH OF UPWARD MOTION HITTING THE MOUNTAINS OF SOUTHWEST AND SOUTHCENTRAL PA, WESTERN MD, AND NORTHERN WV. A SMALL ZONE OUT THAT WAVE COULD END UP WITH CLOSE TO A HALF FOOT OF SNOW FROM THIS SYSTEM. AS YOU GET AWAY FROM THAT CORE AREA, SNOW AMOUNTS WILL DWINDLE NOTICEABLY. CLOSE TO HOME, WE FEEL THAT ANY ACCUMULATION OF SNOW AT ALL WILL PROBABLY OCCUR ABOVE 800 OR 1000 FEET IN ELEVATION. OUR MOST LIKELY TIME FRAME FOR THE PRECIP WITH WAVE #1 WILL BE TOMORROW NIGHT.

BEHIND THAT FEATURE, WE WILL BE IN BETWEEN SYSTEMS ON THURSDAY WITH NOT A WHOLE LOT HAPPENING. HOWEVER, THE QUESTION IS...WILL THE LOW LEVELS STAY MOIST ALL DAY LONG, OR WILL ENOUGH DRY AIR WORK ITS WAY IN TO ALLOW THE CLOUDS TO BREAK A BIT? FOR NOW, WE ARE PLAYING THURSDAY AS A MOSTLY CLOUDY DAY AND COVERING FOR SOME DRIZZLE.

WAVE #2 WILL HEAD NORTHEASTWARD IN THE FLOW THURSDAY NIGHT AND FRIDAY. THAT SYSTEM HAS MORE POTENTIAL TO BECOME A MUCH STRONGER STORM OVER TIME. THE TOUGHEST CHALLENGES WILL BE FIGURING OUT JUST WHERE THE LOW WILL EVENTUALLY TRACK, AND ALSO HOW COLD THE AIR MASS WILL BE. THAT, OF COURSE, WILL HAVE A DIRECT BEARING ON HOW MUCH PRECIP FALLS HERE, AND WHAT FORM THAT PRECIP ENDS UP BEING. ALL WE CAN SAY RIGHT NOW IS THAT WAVE #2 WILL PROBABLY CAUSE AT LEAST SOME ACCUMULATING SNOW, WITH THE POTENTIAL FOR A SIGNIFICANT SNOWFALL FROM THE HIGHER ELEVATIONS OF EASTERN PA UP INTO NEW ENGLAND. HOWEVER, THERE MAY BE AT LEAST SOME SNOW SEEN FROM THAT STORM ALL THE WAY TO THE COAST EVENTUALLY. WE HAVE OUR WORK CUT OUT FOR US WITH THAT LATE WEEK STORM, AND WILL FILL IN ALL OF THE DETAILS AS WE MOVE FORWARD. BEHIND THAT SYSTEM, SATURDAY LOOKS TO BE BRISK AND UNSTABLE.

03/28/2011

ANOTHER WEEK WITHOUT SPRING WARMTH

WE CERTAINLY HAVE BEEN IN A CHILLY WEATHER PATTERN LATELY. IN FACT, IT'S BEEN OVER A WEEK SINCE WE HAVE HAD A DAYTIME HIGH TEMP THAT WAS ABOVE NORMAL. UNFORTUNATELY, THIS CHILLIER THAN NORMAL REGIME WILL LAST THROUGH THE WORK WEEK AS WE CLOSE OUT THE MONTH OF MARCH AND HEAD INTO EARLY APRIL.

WHEN SKIES ARE MOSTLY SUNNY BY DAY AND FAIRLY CLEAR AT NIGHT, THIS TYPE OF PATTERN LEADS TO BIG DIURNAL RANGES, WITH BOTH THE MAX AND MIN RUNNING ON THE LOW SIDE OF NORMAL. IN FACT, SOME OF THE NIGHTTIME READINGS OVER THE PAST SEVERAL DAYS HAVE BEEN IMPRESSIVELY LOW ACROSS THE NORTHEAST...FOR LATE MARCH STANDARDS. THE LOW TEMP THIS MORNING IN BRADFORD, PA WAS A FRIGID 8 DEGREES! IN THIS PATTERN, IF WE WERE TO GET A DAY OR TWO WITH PLENTY OF CLOUDS AND EVEN SOME PRECIP, THEN THE DIURNAL RANGE WOULD BE MUCH LESS. PLUS, THE BIGGEST DEPARTURE WOULD COME ON THE DAYTIME HIGH RATHER THAN THE NIGHTTIME MIN. WE MAY HAVE SOMETHING LIKE THAT TO DEAL WITH LATER IN THE WEEK.

IN THE SHORT RANGE, HOWEVER, WE WILL HAVE MORE OF THE SAME THAT WE HAVE BEEN DEALING WITH LATELY. THE BLOCKY PATTERN HAS KEEP THE STORM TRACK WELL TO OUR SOUTH, LEAVING US HIGH AND DRY HERE. ANOTHER FAST MOVING DISTURBANCE IN THE FLOW IS NOW RUNNING BY TO OUR SOUTH, AND WILL EXIT THE SOUTHEAST COAST THIS EVENING. AN UPPER LEVEL VORTEX CONTINUES TO SPIN ITS WHEELS OVER EASTERN CANADA, WITH LOW PRESSURE AT THE SURFACE DOING THE SAME THING. THAT, IN TURN, HAS LOCKED IN A HIGH PRESSURE SYSTEM OVER MANITOBA AND WESTERN ONTARIO. WHAT THIS BOILS DOWN TO FOR US IS A MOSTLY CLEAR, COLD NIGHT TONIGHT, THEN A PARTLY SUNNY DAY TOMORROW WITH A CHILLY BREEZE.

BY WEDNESDAY AND WEDNESDAY NIGHT, WE MAY HAVE TO CONTEND WITH ANOTHER FEATURE COMING ALONG IN THE FLOW THAT MAY BE ABLE TO SPREAD CLOUDS AND SOME LIGHT PRECIP A BIT FARTHER NORTH THAN THE SYSTEMS HAVE DONE RECENTLY. WE SAY "PRECIP", BECAUSE NOT ALL THAT FALLS WOULD BE IN THE FORM OF RAIN....IF IT GETS FAR ENOUGH NORTH. THAT WOULD BE ESPECIALLY THE CASE OVER THE HIGHER ELEVATIONS OF PA.

AFTER A SHORT RESPITE, THINGS WILL GET VERY INTERESTING LATE THIS WEEK. THE UPPER FLOW IS FORECAST BY ALL MODELS TO BUCKLE TO SOME DEGREES. THAT, OF COURSE, WOULD ARGUE FOR A MUCH FARTHER NORTHWARD PUSH OF ANY LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM WITH ITS PRECIP SHIELD. THE BIG QUESTION IS...WILL THERE BE ONE MAIN STORM THAT COMES OUT, OR WILL THERE BE A COUPLE OF SEPARATE, BUT WEAKER PIECES THAT GET EJECTED? THE BOTTOM LINE IS THAT WE DO HAVE A FAIRLY "RIPE" LOOKING SETUP BY THURSDAY NIGHT AND FRIDAY WITH A LONG WAVE TROF POSITION BECOMING ESTABLISHED TO OUT WEST IN THE OHIO VALLEY, AND STILL PLENTY OF CHILLY AIR LINGERING OVER THE NORTHEAST.

03/25/2011

FROZEN IN A COLD, QUIET WEATHER PATTERN

WE ARE FACING A PRETTY QUIET WEATHER PATTERN FOR THE NEXT SEVERAL DAYS. BY FAR, THE MOST NOTICEABLE ASPECT OF OF OUR WEATHER FROM NOW THROUGH THE WEEKEND AND INTO EARLY NEXT WEEK WILL BE THE PERSISTENTLY CHILLY AIR AND CONTINUOUSLY BELOW NORMAL TEMPS. WHILE IT NOT ALL UNUSUAL TO GET SHOTS OF COLD AIR AT THIS TIME OF YEAR, IT IS SOMEWHAT OUT OF THE ORDINARY TO GET A LONG STRETCH LIKE THIS WITH DAY AFTER DAY OF BELOW NORMAL TEMPS. IT STILL APPEARS THAT TOMORROW WILL BE THE CHILLIEST DAY OF THIS PERIOD, AS 850 MB TEMPS AND THICKNESSES SEEM TO BE BOTTOM OUT THEN. ACTUALLY, AREAS SOUTH OF THE MASON-DIXON LINE WILL PROBABLY HAVE THEIR COLDEST DAY ON SUNDAY WITH THE CLOUDY SKIES AND SNOW FALLING FOR AWHILE.

WE SEE A GRADUAL UPWARD TREND IN TEMPS ON MONDAY AND TUESDAY, BUT READINGS WILL STAY BELOW WHERE THEY SHOULD BE IN LATE MARCH. AS WE SAID YESTERDAY, WE DO EXPECT SOMEWHAT OF A BREEZE AT TIMES THROUGH THE WEEKEND. HOWEVER, BY MONDAY, WITH A BETTER ALIGNED FLOW, WE WILL NOTICE A GUSTIER BREEZE. THE AXIS OF THE SURFACE RIDGE WILL SLOWLY BUT SURELY PROGRESS EASTWARD BY TUESDAY, RESULTING IN PLENTY OF SUNSHINE.

IN THE LONGER RANGE, THERE ARE DIFFERENCES IN THE MODELS AS TO HOW THEY HANDLE ADDITIONAL SHORT WAVES MOVING ALONG IN THE FLOW. THE TIMING, TRACK, AND INTENSITY OF EACH OF THOSE SYSTEMS WILL HAVE TO BE WORKED OUT FOR THE MIDDLE AND LATTER PART OF NEXT WEEK. ONE THING WE ARE CONCERNED ABOUT IS THAT IF THE FIRST OF THOSE FEATURES COMES OUT QUICKLY ENOUGH BY WEDNESDAY AND RUNS INTO THE DRY, CHILLY AIR MASS IN PLACE, THEN WE COULD BE DEALING WITH SOME WET SNOW, OR MIXED PRECIP, IN SOME LOCATIONS ACROSS THE NORTHEASTERN STATES. ELSEWHERE, IT MAY JUST BE A CHILLY RAIN. AGAIN, THOSE DETAILS WILL HAVE TO BE WORKED OUT LATER ON. IN THE MEANTIME, WE WILL HAVE DRY WEATHER FOR THE MOST PART THROUGH TUESDAY, WITH PERHAPS JUST A BRUSH WITH FLURRIES FOR AWHILE ON SUNDAY IN THE SOUTHERNMOST PARTS OF THE AREA AS A WAVE PASSES BY TO OUR SOUTH.

03/24/2011

SNOW IS GONE, BUT COLD IS HERE TO STAY

ALL OF THE CRAZY WEATHER OF THE PAST COUPLE OF DAYS IS NOW HISTORY. THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT WE ARE GOING INTO A NICE, QUIET WEATHER PATTERN FROM NOW INTO THE WEEKEND. THE MOST CHALLENGING PERIOD IN OUR FORECAST WILL BE LATE SATURDAY NIGHT INTO SUNDAY. WE'LL HAVE MORE ON THAT SITUATION IN A BIT.

BY FAR, THE MOST NOTICEABLE ASPECT OF OUR WEATHER IN THE SHORT TO MEDIUM TERM...AT LEAST THROUGH EARLY NEXT WEEK...WILL BE THE VERY PERSISTENT NATURE OF THE BELOW NORMAL TEMPERATURE PATTERN THAT WE ARE IN. THE AIR MASS THAT CURRENTLY BLANKETS THE NORTHCENTRAL AND NORTHEASTERN PART OF THE COUNTRY IS UNUSUALLY COLD FOR LATE MARCH. THAT IS DUE TO THE FACT THAT IT ORIGINATED OVER THE ARCTIC REGIONS. WITH THE UPPER FLOW PRETTY MUCH BOTTLED UP OVER THE NEXT SEVERAL DAYS, NOT A WHOLE LOT WILL CHANGE AT THE SURFACE. A POLAR VORTEX OVER SOUTHEASTERN CANADA WILL SPIN ITS WHEELS AND WOBBLE AROUND FROM DAY TO DAY, BUT REALLY NOT GO MUCH OF ANYWHERE. THAT, IN TURN, WILL LOCK IN AN UPPER LEVEL RIDGE SOMEWHERE OVER SOUTHCENTRAL CANADA. SOUTH OF THESE FEATURES, A FAIRLY POTENT JET WILL TRAVERSE THE U.S. FROM WEST TO EAST. AT TIMES, THE UPPER FLOW OVER THE STATES WILL BE RATHER FLAT, AND AT OTHER TIMES IT WILL BUCKLE. HOWEVER, THE BOTTOM LINE IS THAT THE MAIN STORM TRACK THROUGH THE WEEKEND AND INTO EARLY NEXT WEEK WILL REMAIN TO OUR SOUTH.

A SURFACE HIGH PRESSURE SYSTEM NOW OVER NORTHERN HUDSON BAY WILL BE SLOW TO PUSH SOUTHWARD INTO ONTARIO DURING THE NEXT FEW DAYS. BY MONDAY OR TUESDAY OF NEXT WEEK, THAT SURFACE HIGH PRESSURE RIDGE MAY FINALLY BE RIDGING FROM THE NORTHERN GREAT LAKES REGION INTO THE MID-ATLANTIC STATES. SO, WITH THIS KIND OF SETUP BOTH ALOFT AND AT THE SURFACE, WE WILL MAINTAIN A NORTHWESTERLY FLOW FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME. THAT WILL KEEP US IN THIS WINTERLIKE AIR MASS, WITH A CONTINUATION OF BELOW NORMAL TEMPS. THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT IT IS LATE MARCH, AND NOT NOT FEBRUARY OR JANUARY. FOR THAT REASON, THE STRONGER SUN AT THIS TIME OF YEAR WILL ALLOW DAYTIME READINGS TO GET HIGHER THAN THEY WOULD HAVE A SHORT WHILE AGO. IN FACT, IF YOU ARE OUTSIDE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY OR INTO THE EARLY TO MID-AFTERNOON AND SUN IS OUT, IT REALLY WON'T FEEL ALL THAT BAD, ESPECIALLY IF THE WIND ISN'T BLOWING TOO STRONGLY AT THAT TIME. WE DO EXPECT A BRISK BREEZE AT TIMES OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS, BUT IT MAY NOT BE TRULY WINDY OR BLUSTERY UNTIL MONDAY....AS OUR FLOW BECOMES BETTER ALIGNED.

EVENTUALLY, THE AIR MASS WILL BEGIN TO MODERATE BY THE MIDDLE OF NEXT WEEK, AND TEMPS WILL TREND UPWARD SOMEWHAT. AS FOR DISTURBANCES MOVING EASTWARD IN THE FLOW, ONE SHORT WAVE WILL ZIP EASTWARD TOMORROW AND TOMORROW EVENING...SOUTH OF THE MASON-DIXON LINE. THAT SYSTEM WILL DAMPEN OUT AS IT MOVES EASTWARD, BUT IT STILL MAY BE ABLE TO PRODUCE A BIT OF LIGHT PRECIP AS FAR NORTH AS PORTIONS OF VA AND THE SOUTHERN DELMARVA PENINSULA. THIS FAR NORTH, WE WON'T NOTICE ANYTHING MORE THAN PATCHY HIGH CLOUDS.

DURING THE SECOND HALF OF THE WEEKEND, WE WILL HAVE TO KEEP A CLOSE EYE ON A STRONG SYSTEM THAT COULD END UP BEING A BIT FARTHER NORTH THAN THIS FIRST ONE. WITH ALL OF THE COLD AIR IN PLACE, WE ARE CONCERNED ABOUT SNOW FALLING FAIRLY FAR SOUTH INTO VA AND WV. THE MORE NORTHERN TRACK OF A VORT MAX PUSHING EASTWARD QUICKLY IN THE FLOW WOULD ARGUE FOR A BIT OF SNOW OR FLURRIES FAIRLY FAR NORTH...MAYBE UP TO I-80 . HOWEVER, WITH THE BAROCLINIC ZONE BEING SO FAR SOUTH, AND THE AIR MASS BEING SO DRY, WE ARE LEANING TOWARD THE PRECIP BEING FARTHER SOUTH...PROBABLY FROM SOUTHERN PA AND CENTRAL NJ ON SOUTHWARD. WE'LL LOOK AT THIS MORE CAREFULLY AGAIN IN LATER DISCUSSIONS.

03/23/2011

YOU NAME IT, WE HAVE SEEN IT THIS EVENING

These late winter/early spring storm systems can be very interesting while coming off of a La Nina winter and this current storm system is a prime example of what can happen. One typical feature of the La Nina is ridging in the Eastern Pacific which sends cold air masses down it's eastern side into western and central Canada then into the northern US. We also have a negative NAO leading to a strong Omega blocking ridge over central Canada. A very energetic jet stream flow continues south of all of the blocking over Canada and The Northern Atlantic from over the top of the ridge in The Gulf Of Alaska into California then eastward across the lower 48 exiting off the east coast.

This is a very ominous pattern really as there is a very large contrast in temperatures from north to south across this storm track. Our latest storm has one center back in the Ohio Valley with a developing storm farther east over northern VA. These lows are along a very strong boundary between warm and moist air to the south and cold air to the north. The boundary stretches this evening from the mouth of The Chesapeake bay to the secondary north Virginia low then back west to the primary low near Cincinnati. We find temperatures in the 20s with snow over New York State contrasted by temperatures near 80 degrees in North Carolina! This extreme contrast helped to fuel thunderstorms, some of which produced hail and strong winds back through the Upper Ohio Valley into southwest PA earlier where funnel clouds were spotted as well. One tornado ripped the roof off a high school and damaged 10-20 homes in Hempfield 5 miles southwest of Greensburg, PA. This is also southeast of Pittsburgh. Some of this convection is pushing across The Tri-State area at this hour with heavy downpours, sleet, snow and some thunder and lightning. The mixed precipitation should eventually change to just snow by midnight as that warm layer of air up at about 5-6 thousand feet goes below freezing but by that time, the second storm center will be pushing off the coast and precipitation rates will be diminishing.

I expect a coating to an inch of snow in the city & LI with a couple of inches near, and around I-80 in NJ. Hudson Valley could also see light additional accumulations. The precipitation should diminish to spotty snow showers a few hours after midnight.

Much colder air aloft will come across the region Thursday as the main short wave crosses the area and this will give us the possibility for a rain or snow shower in the morning. As the wave axis exits to the east of our area a colder but dryer northwest surface flow will probably break the clouds for a little sun tomorrow afternoon but highs will run about 10 degrees below where they should be this time of year. This "locked in" blocking pattern insures that our temperatures will stay below normal for several days with the active jet stream running to our south. Friday and most of Saturday will offer some quiet weather with some sun but those beloved below normal temperatures then the next system tracking farther south then our current system will bring us the chance for some more snow Saturday night into Sunday if the moisture gets this far north.

03/21/2011

PLENTY OF WINTER IN THE FIRST WEEK OF SPRING

HAPPY SPRING! THE VERNAL EQUINOX TOOK PLACE LAST EVENING AT 7:21 P.M. EDT, AND TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING 2011. HOW IRONIC THAT PARTS OF THE NORTHEAST ACTUALLY HAD TO DEAL WITH ACCUMULATING SNOW TODAY. 3-5" OF SNOW FELL IN THE HIGHER ELEVATIONS OF NORTHEASTERN PA, THE SOUTHERN TIER OF NY OVER INTO THE CATSKILLS, AND ALSO IN NORTHWESTERN NJ. THE LOWER ELEVATIONS OF THIS REGION, AND EVEN OUT OVER A LARGE AREA, PICKED UP 1-3" OF THE WHITE STUFF.

CURRENTLY, SNOW IS STILL FALLING IN PORTIONS OF NEW ENGLAND. IT IS VERY INTERESTING TO NOTE THAT THE LAST TIME IT GOT REALLY WARM IN THE NORTHEAST AND MID-ATLANTIC STATES...ON FEBRUARY 18TH, TWO SIGNIFICANT SNOW EVENTS QUICKLY FOLLOWED A FEW DAYS LATER ON THE 21ST AND 22ND. THE FIRST OF THOSE STORMS WAS A MORE NORTHERN EVENT...BASICALLY FROM AROUND I-80 ON NORTHWARD INTO NY STATE AND NEW ENGLAND. THE SECOND SYSTEM AFFECTED PLACES FARTHER SOUTH, WITH PITTSBURGH PICKING UP ABOUT 8", AND THE MOUNTAINS OF SOUTHWESTERN PA GETTING CLOSE TO A FOOT. THAT SAME STORM TOTALLY MISSED NYC AND BROUGHT ONLY 0.2" TO THE LEHIGH VALLEY. PHILLY, HOWEVER, PICKED UP CLOSE TO 5", WHILE BALTIMORE GOT 2.5".

IN ANY CASE, AS WE LOOK FORWARD TO THE REST OF THIS WORK WEEK, IT DOES APPEAR THAT OLD MAN WINTER IS NOT DONE YET! WE'VE GOT ANOTHER TRICKY PRECIP SITUATION ON OUR HANDS LATE TOMORROW NIGHT, WEDNESDAY, AND WEDNESDAY NIGHT. A TREMENDOUS TEMP NORTH TO SOUTH TEMP GRADIENT WILL SET UP BY MIDWEEK, CREATING A VERY WELL-DEFINED BAROCLINIC ZONE FROM THE MIDWEST TO THE MID-ATLANTIC REGION. THE ZONE FROM THE NORTHERN GREAT LAKES INTO UPSTATE NY AND MOST OF NEW ENGLAND LOOKS COLD. TEMPS WON'T BE MUCH HIGHER THAN FREEZING IN THAT AREA ON WEDNESDAY, AND SOME LOCATIONS WILL NOT MAKE IT OUT OF THE 20S. MEANWHILE, FARTHER SOUTH, AND ESPECIALLY SOUTH OF THE TRACK OF A STRONG LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM, IT WILL BLOW TORCH BIG TIME ON WEDNESDAY. AS CLOSE BY AS SOUTHERN VA, TEMPS ON WEDNESDAY WILL SOAR TO NEAR 80. WE EXPECT THE LOW TO TRACK FROM JUST SOUTH OF CHICAGO ON WEDNESDAY MORNING TO A POSITION OFF THE MID-ATLANTIC COAST BY THURSDAY MORNING.

WE ARE CONFIDENT THAT FROM PORTIONS OF MICHIGAN TROUGH SOUTHWEST ONTARIO AND OVER INTO NY STATE AND MUCH OF NEW ENGLAND, NOTHING BUT SNOW WILL FALL FROM THIS STORM. A SMALL STRIP WILL LIKELY PICK UP 6-10" OF THE WHITE STUFF! FARTHER TO THE SOUTH, THERE WILL BE A ZONE OF MIXED PRECIP...STARTING OUT AS SNOW OR MIX, MAYBE MIXING WITH OR GOING OVER TO RAIN, AND THEN PERHAPS ENDING AS SOME SNOW OR SNOW SHOWERS. THAT PROBABLY INCLUDES OUR AREA. CONTINUING FARTHER TO THE SOUTH, THIS WILL BASICALLY BE A RAIN EVENT, ALTHOUGH THERE COULD BE A SNOW SHOWER AT THE TAIL END. NEAR AND SOUTH OF THE TRACK OF THE LOW, WE COULD BE DEALING WITH STRONG TO SEVERE T-STORMS ON WEDNESDAY AND WEDNESDAY EVENING. FOLLOWING THAT STORM, A NORTHERLY FLOW OF UNUSUALLY COLD AIR WILL BECOME ESTABLISHED AND PRETTY MUCH PERSIST RIGHT THROUGH THE UPCOMING WEEKEND AND INTO EARLY NEXT WEEK. TEMPS DURING THAT PERIOD WILL RUN WELL BELOW NORMAL FOR LATE MARCH.

IN THE MEANTIME, OUR WEATHER WILL BE RELATIVELY QUIET IN THE SHORT TERM TONIGHT AND TOMORROW.

03/17/2011

WARMEST DAY OF 2011 ON THE WAY

TODAY DEFINITELY TURNED OUT TO BE A GREAT DAY WEATHER WISE. CERTAINLY A NUMBER OF FOLKS HAD A CASE OF SPRING FEVER TODAY! WE ARE STILL ON TARGET FOR A WARMER DAY TOMORROW. AS WE HAVE BEEN PREACHING ALL WEEK LONG, WE HAVE TO GIVE TEMPS EVERY CHANCE POSSIBLE TO REACH THEIR PREDICTED HIGHS ON FRIDAY...SOUTH AND EAST OF THE FRONTAL BOUNDARY. TOMORROW'S SETUP DOES VERY FAVORABLE FOR IT TO GET QUITE WARM HERE. SOME CLOUDS WILL BE AROUND FOR AWHILE TOMORROW MORNING, BUT THEN IT WILL TEND TO GET SUNNIER BY THE MIDDAY AND AFTERNOON HOURS. WINDS WILL SHIFT INTO MORE OF A WESTERLY, DOWNSLOPING DIRECTION TOMORROW, AND ALSO PICK UP IN SPEED. THE ATMOSPHERE WILL BECOME PRETTY UNSTABLE TOMORROW, AND WILL END UP MIXING ALL THE WAY TO 850 MB TEMPS. EVEN THOUGH THOSE 850 MB TEMPS WILL BEGIN TO FALL TOMORROW AFTERNOON, THEY WILL REMAIN HIGH ENOUGH TO REACH OUR PREDICTED HIGH. WE DO HAVE RECORD HIGHS LOOKED UP FOR MANY LOCATIONS TOMORROW. WHILE THERE WILL BE A FEW RECORDS TIED OR BROKEN TOMORROW, A LOT OF PLACES WILL PROBABLY FALL JUST SHORT. WITH THE UPPER LEVEL ENERGY PASSING BY SO FAR TO OUR NORTH LATE TONIGHT AND TOMORROW, IT LOOKS LIKE WE WILL HAVE A DRY FRONTAL PASSAGE HERE. WE DO EXPECT SHOWERS TO AFFECT THE REGION FROM WESTERN AND NORTHERN PA AND UPSTATE NY INTO PARTS OF NEW ENGLAND LATER TONIGHT INTO TOMORROW. HOWEVER, FARTHER SOUTH AND EAST IT WILL LIKELY STAY DRY.

COOLER AIR WILL FILTER INTO THE AREA FROM THE NORTH TOMORROW NIGHT WITH A NORTHWESTERLY FLOW BEHIND THE FRONT. BY FAR, THE TRICKIEST PART OF OUR FORECAST WILL BE DURING THE PERIOD LATE TOMORROW NIGHT INTO SATURDAY MORNING. THE MODELS HAVE FLIPPED AND FLOPPED ON THEIR RESPECTIVE SOLUTIONS FOR THAT TIME, REGARDING THE WAVE (OR LACK THEREOF) ALONG THE SURFACE FRONT, AS WELL AS ITS IMPACTS. IN A WORST CASE SCENARIO, RAIN (OR SOME MIXED PRECIP) IS AS FAR NORTH AS NORTHERN PA, THE HUDSON VALLEY AND SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND ON SATURDAY MORNING. ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN, RAIN MAY NOT BE MUCH FARTHER NORTH THAN THE MASON-DIXON LINE, WITH DRY AIR WINNING OUT BY EARLY SATURDAY FOR AREAS FARTHER NORTH. GIVEN THE FACT THAT WE WILL BE IN THE RIGHT REAR QUADRANT OF A NICE JET STREAK GOING BY TO OUR NORTH LATE TOMORROW NIGHT INTO SATURDAY MORNING, THERE IS CERTAINLY A CHANCE THAT THE MOST BULLISH SOLUTION WORKS OUT. FOR NOW, WE PROBABLY JUST HAVE TO WAIT FOR A FEW MORE RUNS OF THE MODELS TO MAKE A FIRM STANCE ONCE WAY OR ANOTHER ON THAT WAVE IDEA.

EITHER WAY YOU SLICE IT, WE DO FEEL THAT DRIER AIR WILL BE WINNING OUT HERE BY SATURDAY AFTERNOON, LEADING TO A RETURN OF SUNSHINE. OF COURSE, HOW QUICKLY THE SUN RETURNS ON SATURDAY WILL DETERMINE HOW HIGH TEMPS GO THAT DAY. WHERE WE ARE NOW SEEMS REASONABLE, BUT FURTHER ADJUSTMENT MAY BE NECESSARY. AS HIGH PRESSURE BUILDS INTO THE NORTHEAST ON SUNDAY, THE RESULT WILL BE MOSTLY SUNNY SKIES AND SEASONABLY COOL TEMPS.

OUR NEXT SHOT AT GETTING SOME WET WEATHER WILL COME EARLY NEXT WEEK...DETAILS TO FOLLOW IN LATER DISCUSSIONS.

03/15/2011

AFTER SOGGY START WEDNESDAY, A FANTASTIC FINISH TO THE WEEK

OUR STRETCH OF QUIET WEATHER CONTINUED TODAY AS HIGH PRESSURE PUSHED OFF THE NEW ENGLAND COAST. MEANWHILE, A WELL DEFINED LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM IS CENTERED OVER SOUTHCENTRAL INDIANA AS OF 2 P.M. MOISTURE ASSOCIATED WITH THAT LOW IS PUSHING STEADILY NORTHEASTWARD. CLOUDS ARE ALREADY SHOWING UP AND THEY WILL CONTINUE TO THICKEN EARLY TONIGHT. THEN, WE DO EXPECT RAIN TO OVERSPREAD THE REGION LATE TONIGHT. AS WE SAID YESTERDAY, WE ARE A LITTLE CONCERNED ABOUT SOMETHING OTHER THAN RAIN FALLING AT THE ONSET OF THE PRECIP OVER THE HIGHER ELEVATIONS FROM NORTHCENTRAL AND NORTHEASTERN PA ON NORTHEASTWARD. THAT STILL SEEMS REASONABLE, GIVEN THE DRYNESS OF THE AIR RIGHT NOW AND THE 850 MB TEMPS BEING NEAR 0 IN THOSE AREAS. WE WILL LIKELY SEE A WET BULBING EFFECT EVERYWHERE AS THE PRECIP MOVES IN. AT ELEVATIONS ABOVE 1500 FEET, THERE WILL PROBABLY BE JUST ENOUGH COOLING FOR THE PRECIP TO BE IN THE FORM OF SOME WET SNOW AND SLEET INITIALLY, OR AT LEAST A MIX OF RAIN, SLEET, AND WET SNOW. IN THE WORST CASE SCENARIO, AN INCH OR TWO OF SNOW WILL ACCUMULATE TONIGHT FROM THE ENDLESS MOUNTAINS AND POCONOS OF PA INTO THE CATSKILLS OF NY AND THEN THE BERKSHIRES OF MA. OTHERWISE, THIS WILL JUST BE A STANDARD RAIN EVENT FOR EVERYONE ELSE.

THERE ARE DECENT HEIGHT FALLS THAT OCCUR TONIGHT, AND THAT WILL COINCIDE WITH A BRIEF BUT NOTICEABLE INCREASE IN THE LOW LEVEL JET. SO, THIS WILL PROBABLY BE ONE OF THOSE SITUATIONS WHERE IT RAINS LIGHTLY OR DRIZZLES FOR A 10 OR 12 HOUR PERIOD. HOWEVER, THE TIME WHEN THE RAIN COMES DOWN HARDER WILL BE RELATIVELY LIMITED...MAYBE JUST THREE OR FOUR HOURS. YESTERDAY WE TALKED ABOUT US GETTING 1/2" TO 3/4" OF RAIN, AND THAT STILL SEEMS REASONABLE. IN FACT, THERE MAY BE VERY FEW PLACES THAT GET 1" OF RAIN WITH THIS SETUP. THAT IS GOOD NEWS FOR THOSE CONCERNED ABOUT RENEWED FLOODING PROBLEMS, AND THE FLASH FLOOD GUIDANCE HAS COME UP A BIT. EVEN SO, WE ARE STILL A LITTLE CONCERNED ABOUT SOME LOCALIZED PROBLEMS. THE FASTER MOVEMENT OF THIS SYSTEM NOW SEEMS TO BE THE CORRECT SOLUTION. FOR THAT REASON, WE EXPECT THE RAIN TO TAPER OFF AN END TOMORROW MIDDAY, FOLLOWED BY CLOUDS BREAKING FOR SOME SUN IN THE AFTERNOON AS A WESTERLY BREEZE BEHIND THE DEPARTING DISTURBANCE USHERS IN DRIER AIR. WITH SKIES BECOMING MOSTLY CLEAR TOMORROW NIGHT AND WINDS TURNING LIGHT, THAT MAY SET UP THE FORMATION OF PATCHY FOG, WHICH COULD SPILL OVER INTO THURSDAY MORNING. OTHERWISE, THURSDAY IS LOOKING GORGEOUS AS HIGH PRESSURE BUILDS INTO THE AREA. TEMPS WILL RESPOND NICELY ON THURSDAY TO THE STRENGTHENING MARCH SUN.

OUR WARMEST DAY STILL SEEMS TO BE FRIDAY. AS LONG AS THERE ISN'T' TOO MUCH MOISTURE AROUND ON FRIDAY, AND/OR AN EARLIER ARRIVAL OF A COLD FRONT PRESSING IN FROM THE NORTH, WE CERTAINLY HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO REALLY "BLOW TORCH" THAT DAY. WE DO HAVE TO USE THAT WARM SPELL BACK IN FEBRUARY AS OUR BENCHMARK. GIVEN THE CHANCE, IT WILL ABSOLUTELY GET WARMER THIS TIME AROUND THAN IT DID LAST MONTH...AND IN SOME CASES BY A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT. WE DO BELIEVE THAT 80 DEGREE HIGHS WILL SHOW UP ON FRIDAY AFTERNOON SOUTH OF THE MASON-DIXON LINE!

THERE WILL BE PROBABLY BE A LOW PRESSURE WAVE THAT RIPPLES ALONG THE FRONTAL BOUNDARY ON FRIDAY AND FRIDAY NIGHT. DEPENDING ON WHERE IT TRACKS, WE COULD BE DEALING WITH MORE THAN JUST A PASSING SHOWER. THAT IS SOMETHING WE WILL EXAMINE MORE CAREFULLY DURING THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS. FINALLY, THERE IS SOME DEBATE AS TO HOW QUICKLY IT COOLS DOWN EARLY IN THE WEEKEND. THE GFS WOULD SUGGEST THAT SATURDAY IS STILL A VERY MILD DAY WITH A HIGH LAUNCHING PAD AND A GOOD DOWNSLOPING FLOW. THE EURO, ON THE OTHER HAND, IS MUCH FASTER IN COOLING IT DOWN ON SATURDAY. AGAIN, THIS IS A TOPIC FOR LATER DISCUSSIONS.

03/14/2011

LAST WEEK OF WINTER LOOKS QUIET

ON THIS DATE BACK IN 1993, THE EASTERN PART OF THE U.S. WAS JUST BEGINNING TO RECOVER FROM THE FAMOUS MARCH SUPERSTORM. THE CENTER OF THAT POWERFUL STORM STORM WAS IN THE NORTHERN GULF OF MEXICO ON FRIDAY EVENING, MARCH 12TH, AND IT EXITED THE SCENE THROUGH NOVA SCOTIA BY SUNDAY AFTERNOON, MARCH 14TH. HERE ARE SOME OF THE INCREDIBLE STATS ASSOCIATED WITH THAT STORM...310 DEATHS. $6.6 BILLION IN DAMAGE (ADJUSTED FOR 2011 U.S. DOLLARS), RECORD LOW SURFACE PRESSURES OF 960 MB, DAMAGING WINDS...BOTH WITH TORNADOES AND SEVERE T-STORMS, AND ALSO SYNOPTIC WINDS AROUND THE LOW ITSELF, AND FINALLY...A LARGE SWATH OF HEAVY SNOW, ON THE ORDER OF 20-30". THERE WERE SOME REPORTS OF AS MUCH AS 3 FEET OR MORE OF SNOW IN THE CENTRAL AND NORTHERN APPALACHIANS.   FORTUNATELY, WE DON'T EXPECT EVEN CLOSELY RESEMBLING THAT EVENT ANYTIME SOON HERE.

OVERALL, THIS LAST WEEK OF WINTER WON'T BE TOO HARD TO TAKE WEATHER WISE. IT IS STARTING OFF DRY AND CHILLY, WE'LL HAVE SOME WET WEATHER DURING THE MID-WEEK PERIOD, THEN IT WILL TURN QUITE A BIT WARMER LATE IN THE WEEK. IN FACT, WE EXPECT MANY MORE LOCATIONS TO REACH OR SURPASS 70 DEGREES THIS TIME AROUND...ON FRIDAY, COMPARED TO THAT BIG WARMUP WE EXPERIENCED BACK IN THE THIRD WEEK OF FEBRUARY. FOLLOWING THE SPRINGLIKE WARMTH OF FRIDAY, GUSTY NORTHWEST WINDS WILL BEGIN TO USHER IN COOLER AIR ON SATURDAY. SUNDAY LOOKS DRY AND MORE SEASONABLE AS HIGH PRESSURE BUILDS BACK INTO THE REGION.

AS FOR THE TIMING OF THE PRECIP, WE EXPECT THE FIRST RAINDROPS TO BEGIN FALLING HERE SOMETIME TOMORROW NIGHT. THE BULK OF THE RAIN WILL OCCUR LATE TOMORROW NIGHT INTO THE FIRST HALF OF WEDNESDAY. AS FOR RAINFALL TOTALS FROM THIS SYSTEM, WE ARE LOOKING AT A GENERAL 1/2" TO 3/4" OF RAIN, WITH A FEW SPOTS PICKING UP AN INCH. AS WE LONG AS WE DON'T GET ANY MORE THAN THAT, THEN THERE SHOULD NOT BE ANY MORE WIDESPREAD RENEWED FLOODING PROBLEMS. ONE CONCERN THAT WE DO HAVE IS THAT WHEN THE PRECIP FIRST GETS UNDERWAY, THE AIR MASS MAY BE JUST CHILLY ENOUGH AND DRY ENOUGH FOR SOME WET SNOW AND/OR SLEET...EVEN SOME FREEZING RAIN...IN THE HIGHER ELEVATIONS FROM NORTHCENTRAL AND NORTHEASTERN PA ON NORTHEASTWARD. THIS WILL ESPECIALLY BE THE CASE ABOVE 2000 FEET.