Ph.D. Student - Earth System Science (UC Irvine), B.Sc. - Atmospheric Sciences (Cornell University)
By: Zachary Labe , 8:46 PM GMT on February 14, 2008
Good Wednesday evening!!! Our nice little snow has ended across most of Pennsylvania. And now the moon is out. So it should be a good night to view the full lunar eclipse, but bundle up out there out temperatures are going to drop in the teens tonight along with some new fresh fallen snow. After every storm I like to do a quick reflection on my forecasts, as it helps me figure out where I went wrong. I must admit my forecasts were pretty right on, except for a few counties. Centre county, Union county, Northumberland County, Montour County which I had in the 1-2inch zone did not recieve much other than a coating. Also in York and Cumberland county snowfall totals were around an inch higher. But other than that I would say my forecast was pretty good. Clippers are difficult storms to forecast with always a few surprises. I have seen clippers be forecast for 3-5inches and only a coating actually occurs. And in the opposite sense I have seen forecasts for 1-2inches in areas and in one case a report of 11inches of snow in the mountain tops was reported. I personally enjoy the Alberta Clippers. They are small storms, but the bring fresh snow and a cold blast behind them. Another about that now onto the end of the week storm. Tomorrow I am writing a new blog and setting it up in my typical winter storm format. But for now I will use the blog tonight. Please if you have any questions or opinions about the forecasts, leave them in a comment below. Well I still think that this storm is going to be pushed south with Pennsylvania in the thick of the heaviest of the storm. Some of the foreign models show the phasing of the jets to develop a strong coastal low, but I do not see this being the case. To me also I think it will be colder than forecast with most everyone above the Pennsylvania turnpike seeing all snow. I think amounts will be moderate to heavy. With the heavy amounts confined to the higher elevations. But this could change as there is a chance this could be more of an ice storm. But one thing I am pretty certain is no areas should see plain rain at any point in the storm. Temperatures will probably stay below freezing the entire event, even in Philadelphia. Travel will be a mess especially Friday. Well that is all for tonight and look for my new special winter storm blog tomorrow. Enjoy the lunar eclipse and have a great evening!!!
Good Wednesday Afternoon!!! Well the snow is falling across the southern parts of Pennsylvania. For now I am keeping my snow map as it looks in line with reports and current observations. The radars seem to be having a tough time identifying the areas of precipitation. The backedge is still in western Pennsylvania thanks to current observations as even Pittsburgh is still reporting light snow as of 400pm. But there does seem to be some weaking with the precipitation sheild on the northern edge. So I will keep monitoring the situation throughout this late afternoon.
Here are the latest snow reports for Pennsylvania...
... Adams County...
New Oxford 3.0 540 PM 2/20
... Cumberland County...
Camp Hill 2.5 502 PM 2/20
Carlisle 1.5 412 PM 2/20
... Franklin County...
Upper Strasburg 2.0 545 PM 2/20
... Somerset County...
Meyersdale 5.2 508 PM 2/20
Boswell 4.7 423 PM 2/20
... York County...
Dover 4.0 600 PM 2/20
York 3.2 548 PM 2/20
York 2.5 402 PM 2/20
York 2.0 432 PM 2/20
Seven Valleys 1.5 533 PM 2/20
Dallastown 0.5 348 PM 2/20
... Fayette County...
Farmington 3.0 500 PM 2/20
Chalk Hill 1.0 500 PM 2/20
Uniontown 0.5 500 PM 2/20
*Note I will be updating the reports throughout the day.
Good Tuesday evening! Well still not alot of agreement with the models for the end of the week storm. The EURO has a warm solution with a primary low pressure heading up the coast, but it draws alot of warm air northward. The GGEM and JMA show a strong coastal storm that brings a dangerous ice storm to most of Pennsylvania after heavy snow. The DGEX, NAM, and GFS show a flat wave along the front that puts Pennsylvania in the heaviest snow path. The low pressure then heads straight out to sea. That is quite alot of different scenerios. Personally my solution for the storm that I think is the most probable is the flat wave. The GFS has been rather consistent with this idea, though it varies in precipitation intensities. The SREF also seems to agree with this solution and that model has high accuracy. I think that the high pressure will keep the precipitation to the south and only let the northern band of precipitation get into Northern New York and southern New England. I do not see the low pressure sliding up the coast at this point. Alot of things are going against that solution. But still my forecast has low confidence in what I think will happen. It can easily change. Though one thing is that in either scenerio Pennsylvania can expect a major winter storm. Now precipitation types and totals is what is going to be difficult to forecast. This is going to be one of the most difficult forecasts this year and many people have different opinions. Now I know on the other hand some people think the JMA and GGEM look to be the solution. But remember the JMA and GGEM have had some of the worst track records in models. So for now I would expect significant travel delays on Friday and Saturday. In my opinion we are either looking at a moderate snowstorm or a significant, heavy ice storm. My gut and instincts tell me more of the solution, but who knows. One thing I can say for certainty is that the models and forecasts will change between now and the date of the storm. As usual you will find updates here on my blog everyday for the storm and during the storm. Have a great evening and I would be happy to hear everyone's opinions on this upcoming storm!!! Enjoy the light snow tomorrow!!!
Good Tuesday afternoon. Well there is my snow map below for the clipper tomorrow. I do think the southern portion of the state will seeing light accumulations, even into Philadelphia. The higher amounts are located in the Laural highlands where there are higher elevations and colder temperatures. Snow ratios will be key in seeing some of the accumulations. The snow will be in the west by morning and in the east by afternoon. It will be a light and fluffy snow. Interesting this morning when the front went through I got a brief snow shower that layed a nice dusting of snow everywhere. Another great sign that winter is still here. Alot of interestings things are going on with the late week storm and I want to see the 18z model runs before I post my latest thoughts. So look for another update this evening and have a great day!!!
Here is my snow map for the Alberta Clipper moving through the area on Wednesday...
Some of the snow amounts are higher due to high snow ratios and the lift from the higher elevations which will produce areas of heavy snow.
Good Evening! This update tonight is for the end of the week storm I what I currently think. It is a difficult forecast for the end of the week storm as every model run seems to show a different scenerio for what may occur with the storm, but as of now this is what I think. A low pressure tracks up the Ohio Valley into Kentucky. This spreads snow across Pennsylvania, but warmer air is drawn northward in the southern half of the state spreading a wintry mess. Then I see a transfer of energy to the coast and this develops the new primary low pressure off the coast. This would keep precipitation as a wintry mix in the east with snow in the north and west. As the storm comes to a close all precipitation would turn back to snow before it quickly ends. This could be a long duration event as the high pressure will keep the storm with slow movement. I see most areas below freezing temperature wise at the surface for the entire storm, maybe in and right around Philadelphia would be rain mixing in. But a couple points I want to make. 1). I do not think this is a repeat of the 2003 president's day blizzard 2.) It would not surprise me if models trend warmer, as this is what I think may happen 3). This could be a very significant storm that lasts a while 4). My forecast for this storm is still very uncertain 5). I see for the most part all of I-95 at this point changing to rain at some time during the storm. So overall this storm bears watching, but I am not too excited yet and definetely not jumping on the snow bandwagon yet. I have many doubts about this storm. So in any case keep checking back here for more updates everyday and if you have and questions or opinions please leave them in a comment below. Have a great evening and look for an update sometime tomorrow!!!
I must say it has been a boring winter for people in and around Philadelphia. Even though we have not seen the most snow around here in Harrisburg. We did get impressive ice storms, a few snowstorms, large snow squalls, and winter thunderstorms. To me this winter has been pretty good in terms of all different types of winter storms. Alot of variety in the weather makes it very interesting. We have had cold blasts and times of warm spells, but not one pattern lasted very long. I think alot of people are dissapointed with the winter, but I must say I have not been dissapointed. The winter was full of extreme temperature swings and winter storms. We cannot just look at how much snow to see how successful the winter was in terms of winter storms, but we must look at the overall extreme patterns of the winter season.
Make sure to check out my weekly weather reviews section below. This week I wrote on the infamous NOAA Weather Radio and the famous magazine Weatherwise. These are two great weather resources to own. I also want to mention I have been documenting everyday's weather in the Harrisburg region for the past 3years, so if you are interested in a storm that might help to forecast a current storm you can leave me a comment and ask the weather for a certain date.
Well the rain storm is over and yes there were many areas of flooding and increase in creek, stream level stages. For Tuesday it will be a mostly cloudy day with snow showers and flurries widespread across Pennsylvania. The higher elevations may see up to 2inches of snow in the persistant showers. Temperatures will be steady in the low to mid thirties.
*Snow Advisory* for...
*Lake Effect Snow Advisory* for...
What a confusing long term forecast is headed our way. I want to say that the model accuracy for the extended outlook is one of the worst I have ever seen it. Every run is completely different from the next. Also other global models such as the EURO are having a hard time forecasting too.
Tuesday night it will be cold with lows in the teens statewide. Again highs Wednesday will be a few degrees on both sides of freezing. Another sunny, but cold day sets up. Temperatures will be 5-7degrees below normal. But then Wednesday night things begin to cloud up ahead of another front. In this early week period a total of 2fronts will go through. The first front with the major storm and the second front Wednesday night. This will bring periods of snow showers and flurries to the entire state. Instibility may be a little higher than normal in the north and west so maybe a few locally heavy snow squalls can form. After this front models begin to great diverge on their forecasts for the end of the week to the point of none of the models agreeing at all.
Thursday the front is going to stall somewhere in the Middle Atlantic states. Most likely I see it stalling in southern Virginia. Along the front several waves of precipitation will develop. All of the precipitation will be confined to the north of the front most likely in the form of snow. Now all of the models hint at a strong blocking high pressure to the north of the front. The latest 6z GFS hints at the high pressure of Pennsylvania which I think is definitely not the solution. I see the high forming over northern New York state. This would bring precipitation as far north as the NY/PA border. I do not see the snow being heavy, but snow ratios may be high as temperatures will be in the 20s. This will be a long event as the blocking high to the north will slow precipitation. The high pressure may be as strong as 1040mb, which is the highest blocking high pressure system we have seen in a long time. The key to this event is where the high pressure sets up. Trends from the GFS are to bring the high pressure farther south, but I do not think this will end up happening. So look for a light snow event, especially for southern Pennsylvania. The higher totals, of course, will be found in the southern Laural Highlands. Then the question now remains if anything further happens with this wave along the front...
Alright well after the first wave moves along the front. The arctic front will drift northward and the high pressure will retreat east. So this basically means it is going to get warmer ahead of the second wave. How warm is the question. There is talk of a major blizzard for the second wave along I-95. I think that is nonsense talk and I see little to no potential of that happening. People are hyping storms once again. But anyway either the second wave will head up through the great lakes, head straight out to sea off of North Carolina, or become a weak coastal and travel up the coast bringing mostly ice/rain with snow in the far northwest. Personally I see the 3rd scenerio being the most logical to chose at this point. The PNA is going to be negative, the NAO is going to be positive, no arctic high to north, AO is going way positive, and no models show strong coastal low. All of these mentioned above lead to little chance of a strong coastal low pressure with all snow. But I will not completely disgard the chance, as the storm is still a ways off. For now I would not expect anything other than some light rain or ice for the state of Pennsylvania. There are hints of Cold Air Damming so this would lead to me to the idea of the ice threat. This all needs monitoring and I will continue to watch the evolving situation.
Now on to my overall pattern outlook for the end of February into mid March. Finally I think us eastcoast snowlovers are going to get our snow. I am going to write about all of the factors leading to possibly a snowy March. And I will say it again, WINTER IS NOT OVER! Also I believe the 2008-2009 winter will be quite snowy due to the weakening La Nina. Weak La Nina's in the past have created some of the snowiest winter seasons, such as 1996. But anyway I will leave that for another blog to talk about. Back to our winter. Alright the let me first look at the cold air that is necessary for snows. Fist off I will start with the Northern Hemisphere Teleconnection Patterns. The NAO which is going +1 postive shortly will be headed towards neutral by the end of the month favoring colder conditions with a more favorible east coast storm track. We really do not want a highly negative NAO because this favors strong high pressures that send coastal storms out to sea in many cases. The PNA though is going negative which does not really favor on the east coast colder air. But the AO is going negative and this is what we look for when Siberian Cold airmasses head south into the United States. Now the pesky southeast ridge which has been pushing this warm air aloft northward during our coastal storms bringing our snow to ice is showing signs of weakening. I have been tracking the strength of the southeast ridge with every storm and in each storm the mix/snow line is falling farther south which shows the southeast ridge is having less of an impact on our weather. The La Nina is also showing signs of becoming less moderate. It still will be moderate through March, but it appears that it won't be as strong in the moderate stage, if that makes sense, lol. When we have a weak La Nina statistics prove that conditions become more snowy and cold in the east. Also a famous quote that winters tend to make up for each other shows that since we have not had a snowy winter so far maybe it will make up for itself in the last March. That is not exact science, but more of a wisetale. But still in past years the statement seems to be true. Also history shows some of the most extreme weather of an entire year occurs in March with many nor'easters occuring in the past. The Superstorm of 1993 occured in March. Even last year a widespread 5-12inches of snow fell across Pennsylvania on St. Patrick's Day in March. Now let me talk about the Global Models and what they seem to make of the overall pattern. The EURO 8-10 outlook shows quite a bit of blocking over Greenland and Scandinavia which favors an east coast storm track. The EURO also has a form of the NAO is shows it becoming negative. The GFS has been back and forth with the overall pattern so there is very low confidence in what the GFS thinks. But overall what I think is that a steep eastern trough will form by the very end of this month with a negative tilt. A weak to moderate high pressure will form in Canada ushering in the cold air, I do not think it will be arctic air or record breaking cold, but it will be cold enough for snow. The negative tilt to the trough will allow storms to track up the eastern seaboard. So for me it looks like a stormy March is ahead. Also long term meteorologists seems to agree with the above statement. Remember this is pretty much our last chance for winter in March. After about the 20th winter shortly comes to an end. So keep your fingers crossed. One good note is none of the models indicate any extreme warm up anytime in the forecasted future. So I will have updates on this long term throughout the upcoming week. Below you can find the latest NAO and PNA predictions. If you have any questions or opinions, leave them in a comment below. I am happy to answer any questions and take in consideration different opinions. Have a great day!!!
*Note the positive trend.
*Note the negative trend.
"Just to throw out there"
Alright about the forecast models so far for this new year. They have performed very poorly. I do not really trust any of them. Though the EURO and NAM I see as the best performance models for this winter. It is very difficult to get an idea of what weather patterns we are in for the long term due to the models uncertainty and their various predictions each day. I do not think hyping a storm 5days and farther out is a very good idea. The models predicted long term storms have never come out as planned this year. Hyping a storm out to 15days is just plain crazy as storms predicted that far out will probably not even come to fruitation. Many storms were predicted to come up the east coast and turned out heading into the Great Lakes, so forecasting a storm that far out should not even be done. The thing with long term models is to look for patterns and pattern changes, that is what I look for. I will never forecast a specific storm 5days out or longer. Take the models into consideration when making a forecast but never go directly by them. Use some weather knowledge of forecasting to go about forecasting weather patterns. Then if we see a weather pattern favorable for a specific type of storm then we can start looking into storm chances.
"Regional Forecasts" (Wednesday)
1. Eastern- (Allentown, Southern Poconos)-
Afternoon light snow. C-1inch of snow. High 30.
2. South Central (Harrisburg, York, Lancaster)(my home)-
Afternoon steady light snow. 1-3inches of snow is possible. High 29.
3. Southern- (Philadelphia)-
Late afternoon light snow. 1inch of snow is possible. High 35.
4. Central- (State College)-
Snow showers. Cloudy. Cold. C-1inch of snow. High 26.
5. Northern- (Erie, Bradford, Williamsport)-
A few snow showers. Cold and cloudy. High 27.
6. Western- (Pittsburgh)-
Steady light to moderate snow. 1-3inches of snow is possible. Cloudy. High 28.
7. Johnstown, Altoona-
Periods of moderate snow. Cold. 2-4inches of snow is possible. High 27.
***Note on regional map, the number equals which region in Pennsylvania. I chose regions with similar climates, geography, and elevation to make my overall forecast for the region.
Weekly Weather Reviews
This weeks reviews are on the famous NOAA Weather Radio and the magazine Weatherwise.
Ok, this is something new I am going to try to write. This section will be dedicated to weather stations, weather technology, weather books, weather websites, weather magazines, etc. reviews that I write. I am going to try to write a review once a week on Sunday about some of the above topics. Also I am going to rate each item out of 5 stars. (*****)
Also if anyone else has a topic idea or something to add about my review you can leave it in a comment. Hopefully this will give you some knowledge about all of the fascinating weather accessories that are out there. And maybe you can try some out yourself.
Technology- NOAA Weather Radio(*****)-
One of the best things to have during times of severe weather and winter storms is the NOAA weather radio. Many companies make them in all forms. I have a basic radio from Oregon Scientific that runs great. It has several options to chose when operating the radio. I use the STANDBY setting which keeps the radio silent and then when a warning is issued it turns on and makes a loud alarm and then the imfamous NOAA voice pops on and reads the statement. Some of the other settings are silent, off, standby, and on. In the on setting weather forecasts from NOAA are repeated for a forecast for your area. The radio needs to be set to your county viewing area. This radio is very useful for when severe weather strikes an area during the middle of the night. The radio will sound and you can listen to the warning and possibly seek shelter. The radio has saved many lives and provides adequate warning time. Also the radio is like an alarm clock too with an LED light that lights up the background. The radio comes with a table stand, a wall stand, and a belt clip to keep it with you when you are outdoors. The NOAA radio runs on 3AA batteries or an AC adapter that is provided. Many schools and businesses also are buying these to get adequate warning time ahead of severe weather. In some states it is mandatory for schools, trailers, and businesses to own a radio. The cost of these radios varies on the type of model, but a basic one like mine cost around $50.00. But these radios may save your life during times of severe weather and I think it is a great idea to have one located in your home. These radios may be sold online or found at your local outdoors store.
The goods (+)
Provides adequate warning time ahead of severe weather
Also warns you of Civil Emergency Messages
Provides NOAA forecasts for your area
Provides climate info for your location
Several settings that appeal to your liking
Backup LED light
AC adapter run
Volume settings with loud alarm warning you of an event
Sounds off for all types of warnings and advisories
Has saved many lives in the Tornado Alley of the Midwest
Handy for local schools and businesses
The bads (-)
Price is a little expensive for the Weather Radio
Difficult setup to set the radio to your county
For over 50years the most popular weather magazine has been putting out bi-monthly issues of the magazine Weatherwise. The magazine is devoted to the weather with wonderful arcticles on all sorts of things. Though I do think the magazine focuses too much on Global Warming. One of the best things about the magazine are the great pictures. Also once a year the yearly Photo Contest issued comes out and that is the most popular. Most of the arcticles are about weather currently ongoing around the world. I would like it if they talked a little more about the pasts weather. This is a great magazine for the professional meteorologist or the simple weather watcher. I would advise buying one issue before buying a subscription. The price of one magazine is around $6.00. The magazine is full of information and a great item to have.
The goods (+)
Advertisements are all weather related, such as weather equipment and weather degrees at colleges
Great section on weather questions
Wonderful weather review section
Great authors of arcticles
Beautiful pictures of the weather with a wonderful Photo Contest issue
Bimonthly magazine full of lots of information
Goes over recent past months weather with the lower 48states, Alaska, and Canada
Modern weather issues that are mentioned
Great meteorologist forecasting section
The bads (-)
Talks alot of Global Warming and not current weather
Does not look to often at past storms
A little pricy for a magazine
My snow totals (10miles northeast of Harrisburg)
07-08 Seasonal Total so far... 18.75inches
Monthly Total... 9.5inches
Daily Total... 1inch
Snow Cover... 1inch
My accuracy for Harrisburg snowstorms, 07-08
Jan. 26........C-2inches........Coating of Snow
Feb. 4.........C-2inches........Coating of Snow/Sleet
Feb. 9.........1-3inches........2inches of snow
Feb. 10........C-3inches........1inch of snow
Feb. 20........1-2inches........Yet to be determined
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