Ph.D. Student - Earth System Science (UC Irvine), B.Sc. - Atmospheric Sciences (Cornell University)
By: Zachary Labe , 6:57 PM GMT on October 23, 2010
"Afternoon Thoughts"(Updated 10/23)
Here I sit, helpless... Everyday as the mail truck drives down the street, it is another day closer to the decisions. My college applications have all been turned in now for almost a month. I have already heard back from my acceptance to Millersville University (I now just recently applied to their Honors College). But SUNY Oswego, Penn State, and Cornell have yet to report back and expectantly so. Most decisions do not come out for several months. There is only so much catching up you can do when it is time to do so. Academically, my grades were highly above average my entire time through grade scale. Yet I really did not have to work hard like some; studying for hours on end was never an issue. In fact many cases a brief 15 minute study would suffice. I consider myself lucky. And now here I am trying to add anything to support my case in the final few weeks, but more or less it is a reflection on my past. I do not have any regrets at all through grade school. Drudging over one test that perhaps did not turn out as good as I had hoped is essentially worthless. It is also funny reflecting that despite my steady interest and passion in meteorology, my choices for college dramatically changed. Penn State had always been on the radar for years as the school where I would definitely go. But when it came down to it, the choices mitigrated. While some may say this is one of the biggest choices of my life, I tend to take the alternate route. College is what you make of it, and if you go into the school with an open face (despite where you go) you are going to have an enjoyable and valuable experience. I keep telling this to myself as I note the small odds of my chances at the prestigious Cornell University. While simply put, my odds are in a random lottery. There are so many unique and amazing students applying all over the world to this elite institution, that simply we are in the lottery. Whether or not I get in to my dream school is not necessarily important; I am going to make the best of the experience. I do not think you will ever meet a person so attuned to knowing their true passion.
(Courtesy of NOAA)
"Current Weather Map"
(Courtesy of Wunderground)
"7-Day Forecast Discussion"(Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware)(Updated 10/23)
A very strong low pressure will sweep out of the Rockies and cut northwest across the Midwest. This anomalous low has been progged to grow very strong with pressures dropping as low as 970mb over northern Minnesota. Ahead of the cold front will be a warm front lifting across the northern Middle Atlantic. H85 thermals will rise to above 10C allowing for unusual warmth for much of the first half of this week. Sunday will feature the departing high pressure heading off towards the Canadian maritimes. Under southwest flow, temperatures will rise into the low 70s for many locations on Sunday with partly cloudy skies. The coming nights will also be significantly warmer with multi-layed cloud decks keeping the warmth from rising. Lows will range from the mid 40s to mid 50s Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights. As the warm front approaches on Monday, light rain will be possible with low stratus. MVFR conditions will persist much of the day with ceilings around 1000ft. Model QPF remains questionable, but a general 0.01-0.25in is possible for the entire northern Middle Atlantic. Again high temperatures will be well above normal into the upper 60s to low 70s. A few mid 70s are possible near Washington DC. By Tuesday, the significant rainfall is progged towards the region. GFS runs have gone back and forth with the heavy rain threat. Recent runs today (10/23) seem to be against the threat. I will have more details on QPF numbers in the coming days. In any case the rain will be scattered showers in a warm air advection type flow. Wednesday will signal the approach of the cold front with more rainfall (0.25in QPF) for many areas. Temperatures again will be mild in the 70s with patchy fog and low clouds throughout the day. By Thursday, the cold front will swing through the region as the low pressure over the Great Lakes trecks northwest. Temperatures will begin to cool for the weeks end falling back to seasonal values. Sunshine will prevail on Friday, Saturday, and possibly Sunday before another cold front dives down across the region as low pressure surges northwest into the Great Lakes once again. The up and down temperature pattern will be very common of the coming week with several rain chances. Total QPF for the week will range from 0.5-1.25in for many areas.
(Courtesy of Wunderground)
(Courtesy of Penn State Meteo.)
"Current Lower Susquehanna Valley Radar"
(Courtesy of Wunderground)
"Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Coast Marine and Boating Forecast"(Maryland and Delaware Coastal Forecast)(Updated 10/23)
High pressure will continue to dominate the weekend's weather for a nice boating few days as temperatures warm anomalously into the 70s. But there is a bit of tight pressure gradient, which may allow frictional surface winds to increase 10-15knots through Sunday evening. Ahead of an approaching storm system, winds will once again increase towards Monday and Monday night with small craft advisory conditions. Also waves will increase with crests 1-3ft in the bay. Guidance is very variable over the approaching storm system as a warm front approaches from the south. QPF is in question with some model prognostics indicating heavy rain over 1in, but other runs show less than a tenth of an inch. At this point though, precipitation does appear likely in the Tuesday through Wednesday time frame. By Thursday the cold front will pass through the Chesapeake allowing the flow to have a more northerly component under a northwest flow dominated by cumulus and breezy conditions. Winds will be on the order of 10-20knots. Cooler temperatures will move into the region with highs falling back to seasonal values. Precipitatin chances will finally be over by Thursday night with high pressure moving in towards the weekend. Another weaker cold front may approach for the beginning of that next week.
"Current Atlantic Coast Forecast Wave Heights and Chesapeake Bay Forecast Wind Direction/Speed"
(Courtesy of NOAA)
"Updates on Winter Predictions" (Updated 10/23)
If one would look directly at the NAO, which quite a few do, it would appear that the mean of -0.4283 since June would signal a general cooler pattern that would continue. But there are quite a few more indices that are beginning to show slightly different signals. In fact, unfortunately, I am seeing more and more signs that this winter may be of the typical La Nina regime. There are signs the PV in Alaska may begin to move into the unfavorable location, usually deterring our pattern to significant warmth. But this is not a direct correlation all the time. 500mb charts are also beginning to show signs of a building southeast ridge, again unfavorable for snowlovers. This is all under the anomalous La Nina regime, although departures have begin to cap off recently it appears. A few positive signs include that we are coming off a strong El Nino regime. Also we seem to be start a negative NAO decadal pattern as evidenced by the last few years. And finally we are also coming off a very impressive low sun spot cycle, with still low activity. These variables make this winter very difficult to forecast despite the steadfast La Nina signals. In fact these variables allow for very little correlation to any analog year. I am very interested to see final snowfall anomalies for the northern Middle Atlantic. Either the winter will average right around normal possibly slightly above or the winter will be dreadful with very little snowfall. A big concern of mine this winter is ice storms. Cold air damming will play a significant variable as some cold air gets funneled down from Canada courtesy of the upstream blocking and negative NAO, while the general trough axis supports the storm tracking to our west. In fact there may be several severe ice storms similar to the winter of 2007-2008 in that regard.
Winter Outlook 20010-2011... Link
"Equatorial Pacific SST Anomalies"
(Courtesy of NOAA)
"Fall Foliage Outlook" (Updated 10/23)
Just about all locations have received a frost and/or hard ffreeze. Most areas also have reported an official end of the growing season, excluding just the major metropolitan regions. These cold nights and warm days have signaled a rapid increase in Fall foliage. Locations across northern Pennsylvania are actually past peak. A few oaks remain yellow/brown, but most leaves are off the trees especially for the higher elevations. A bit of light snow was also reported in the higher elevations of northern Pennsylvania during the past few days, so winter is definitely showing signs of a return in this region. The Pennsylvania Grand Cayon, World's End State Park, Rickett's Glenn, etc. are past peak. The peak of fall foliage is now towards central Pennsylvania going west to east just south of the I-80 corridor. A few of the higher elevations have seen significant droppings of leaves especially towards Philipsburg near Black Moshannon State Park and Bald Eagle State Park, but most areas in the ridge and valley region have wonderful color right now. Due to the hot and dry September, leaves are a bit dull this year. I have definitely noticed this here in southern Pennsylvania with more browns than anything. Across southern Pennsylvania, most of Maryland, and Delaware leaves will be reaching peak in about one to two weeks. The last few cold nights have definitely allowed colors to start showing. Burning bushes, maples, Virginia Creeper, ash, etc. trees are already at peak or past with brilliant reds. The oaks seem to be the dull colors this year with many browns and dull yellows. The Blue Ridge region is reporting about 40% color. Towards South Mountain, the predominately oak forests still have about two weeks before peak. Colors are actually running about right on schedule this year and peaks will fall in the typical averages. Out towards western Maryland, Garret and Alleghany counties are well past peak with flurries reported a few weeks ago. Winter will be rapidly beginning in this region in the coming weeks. Enjoy the last two to three weeks of color, because by the end of the first or second week in November colorful countrysides will quickly turn brown.
Fall Foliage Reports... Link
"Average Date of First Freeze"
(Courtesy of NOAA)
"Long Term Outlook" (7-14 Day Time Frame) (Updated 10/23)
After another Great Lakes storm is progged around the first of November, cooler air from Canada will dive into the United States accompanied by a negative NAO. The arctic has seen a dramatic increase in ice cover in the past two weeks with gains also noticeable in the snow department in northern North America. Wavelengths support this building cold air to dive south around the first week of November. Already 16-day GFS prognotics show colder air moving through with below 0C 850mb heights and sub 1000-500mb 540dm thicknesses. But yet again, the GFS signals another Great Lakes storm. It appears it is possible the typical La Nina regime may be setting up with cooler weather followed by a day or two of warmth before the front moves through. This would allow occur with the low pressures headed to our northwest. None the less several precipitation chances are possible in the 7-14 day time frame, generally from Great Lakes cutters. These lows dive out of the Rockies and track along the west periphery of the trough, which is setup just west of the heatland. The southeast ridge is preventing this trough axis from moving east. This shows the despite the negative NAO, the La Nina is so anomalous that is overrides the blocking in Greenland. In general the next two weeks will average temperatures (+0F)-(+0.5F) above normal. There may even be a day or two in the mid to upper 70s in southern Delaware and southern Maryland as the southeast ridge budges north ahead of the Great Lakes multi-storm systems.
"Current NAO and PNA Predictions"
(Courtesy of NOAA)
"Monthly Temperature/Precipitation Outlook"(November)(Updated 10/23)
I think I am going to trend a bit on the mild side for the upcoming November despite interesting teleconnections. Mean 500mb guidance from the past week show a bit a southeast ridge beginning to flex its muscle into the southern Middle Atlantic. Latest 10/23/10 0utc GFS 10-14day 500mb mean actually supports this continuing in that range with a 588dm ridge over the southeast. Right now the polar vortex is just north of Alaska by about 200mi, which is good for now. But guidance suggests this may sink southward towards November. This tends to favor ridging over the east coast and troughing over the western United States up through Alaska and the Canadian Rockies. But current ensemble runs indicate a negative NAO to open up November. There will likely be an eastern cool pattern during the first week of November. The La Nina continues to show that it is already one of the strongest La Ninas on record. But it is encouraging to see little temeperature drops in Nina 3.4 SSTs. For those looking for an early season snowstorm this year, a few encouraging signs can be found in the cryosphere. Levels are at around normal values, which are actually higher than the previous few years. Siberian snow cover has shown impressive gains in the last two weeks and has reached above normal levels. Also North America snow levels have increased in northern Canada and Alaska courtesy of the trough moving through and associated low presssure system. None the less, I believe typical La Nina conditions will dominate November's weather with a southeast ridge. But cooler weather may return towards the end of the month with perhaps the first inland snowfall in this time period around or just after Thanksgiving. We shall see how those wavelengths turn out. Precipitation chances are right around normal for all areas. The farther south one goes in the Middle Atlantic will dictate how anomalous the warmth is this month as weak troughing from the negative NAO may be enough to save some areas in Pennsylvania from the warmth.
"Temperature and Precipitation Outlooks from Climate Prediction Center for next 30 days"
(Courtesy of NOAA)
"Here north of Harrisburg 2010 statistics"
(Severe Weather Stats...)
Severe Thunderstorm Watches- 13
Severe Thunderstorm Warnings- 10
Tornado Watches- 2
Tornado Warnings- 1
Total Thunderstorms- 20
Flood Watches- 4
Flood Warnings- 4
Monthly Precipitation- 3.01inches (October)
Yearly Precipitation- 35.04inches
Heat Advisories- 5
Excessive Heat Watches- 1
Excessive Heat Warnings- 1
90degree days- 38
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