Scientific Forecaster Discussion

Return to Local Conditions & Forecast

Without Abbreviations
With Abbreviations

Area forecast discussion 
National Weather Service State College PA
1158 am EST Friday Feb 27 2015

a large area of high pressure will build across the area through
the first half of the weekend. A low pressure system will lift out of
the Midwest late in the weekend...passing over the region Sunday
night. A stronger area of low pressure will likely track west of
Pennsylvania late Tuesday or early Wednesday.


Near term /until 8 PM this evening/...
late morning visible satellite and radar loop shows that only areas of
shallow scattered-broken strato cumulus remain across the region as the
earlier...highly-localized and enhanced areas of fgen snows
quickly dissipated between 12-14z.

Expect just a few flurries to fall from the cold shallow strato cumulus
this afternoon with high temperatures only in the upper single digits to
lower teens across the northwest mountains and Laurel Highlands...and upper
teens to middle 20s from the central mountains southeast into the lower susq

A large area of high pressure will build east from the Ohio Valley
and clear out most or all of the strato cumulus by dusk...followed by
clear skies this evening with just some thin cirrus spreading in
from the SW.


Short term /8 PM this evening through 6 PM Saturday/...
clearing skies...a calm wind and snow cover will likely result in
the lowest temperatures until next winter tonight as the center of high
pressure moves over Penn.

The ideal radiational cooling conds should allow readings to
bottom out from 10-15f below zero across the western
0-5f above zero across the lower susq valley. The coldest rural
valleys in northwest and ncent Penn could see the Mercury settle to
around -20f at 11-12z Saturday. Some locations across the northwest mountains
are likely reach wchill advisory criteria...despite a light/calm
wind. However...confidence in widespread apparent temperatures blw -15f
not there yet for an advisory.

Fair and still cold weather expected surface high
drifts over the area. A fast-moving middle level shortwave is prognosticated by
all models to track across the area late in the day. Low precipitable water air
mass will preclude any precipitation concerns. However...cirrus may dim
the sunshine at times. Ens mean 850/925mb temperatures remain well blw
normal for the date...likely supporting highs only in the 20-25f


Long term /Saturday night through Thursday/...
a relatively mild/active southwest flow aloft should prevail
through the period as the persistent upper ridge over the western
U.S. Temporarily breaks down. An Arctic high pressure system over
central PA at the start of the period will retreat into Atlantic
Canada by Sunday night. The combination of shortwave energy in the
southern stream ejecting from a dsw trough and a digging northern stream
trough moving southeastward from south central Canada toward the upper
Midwest seems to drive an expanding area of warm air advection type snowfall
spreading eastward sun-Monday behind the southerly return flow into
a retreating cold sector associated with the departing Arctic high.
The precipitation should be enhanced along an expanding baroclinic zone
across the central and eastern upper ridging builds over
the southeast U.S.

While there appears to be little indication of a strong surface
low...models still generate 0.25-0.50 inch quantitative precipitation forecast amts along the
baroclinic zone. Thermal profiles seem to favor snow across the northwest
1/2 of central PA with mixed ptypes in the south/southeast.
Preliminary 24hr snow/ice amounts were derived using a multi
model quantitative precipitation forecast blend with pseudo internal bias correction factor and
wpc westward. This results in advisory level snowfall over the northwest 1/2 and
0.10 inch ice/freezing rain over the lower susq valley. Confidence in the amts is
average at best given uncertainty in quantitative precipitation forecast and low-level temperatures.
The lack of a defined surface cyclone also raises some reg flags.

Another cold hp system builds into the region Monday-Tuesday with another
SW flow warm air advection moisture surge along baroclinic frontal zone likely
impacting the area into the middle of next week. Timing
differences are evident with the GFS more bullish on precipitation
returning early Tuesday vs. Slower European model (ecmwf) (tue ngt). Mixed ptype issues
are expected again with this next system.


Aviation /18z Friday through Wednesday/...
areas of MVFR ceilings /in the form of shallow strato cumulus clouds/ will
continue this afternoon...before a large area of high pressure
currently over the Ohio Valley builds east over Pennsylvania
tonight. Winds for the afternoon hours will be mainly west/northwest at
7-10 kts.

Expect widspread VFR after dusk with winds going light and


Tonight and sig weather expected.

Sun...snow spreading across the western mountains during the predawn hours
Sunday. Precipitation should stay all snow across the northern mountains of Penn.
Snow expected to mix with sleet and freezing rain central and southeastern
Penn...and possibly change to all rain across the SW part of the
state later Sunday afternoon and night.

Monday...mixed precipitation with ceiling/visible reductions possible...mainly am.

Tuesday...VFR am. Mixed precipitation with ceiling/visible reductions possible late.


the coldest February on record is still looking likely. Monthly
mean temperatures through the 26th...ipt 18... 20.7.

The current record coldest February..ipt 19... 21.4 both set
in 1934.

So far...this month is the third coldest ever at ipt...and fourth
coldest ever at MDT.


Ctp watches/warnings/advisories...


near term...Lambert
short term...Fitzgerald
long term...Fitzgerald/steinbugl

National Weather Service Glossary of Abbreviations