Ph.D. Student - Earth System Science (UC Irvine), B.Sc. - Atmospheric Sciences (Cornell University)
By: Zachary Labe , 8:55 PM GMT on March 01, 2008
Storm reports in progress...
Philadelphia, Philadelphia County - 1.47inches - record
Wrightsville, York County - .47inches
Montandon, Northumberland County - 1.18inches
Port Royal, Juniata County - 1.05inches
Harrisburg, Dauphin County - .51inches
Muncy, Lycoming County - 1.35inches
... Clarks Summit, Lackawanna County...
Flash flood, reported by County official.
Flooding of Summit Creek Road
... Harford, Susquehanna County...
Flash flood, reported by County official.
Numerous roads flooded along with reports of basement flooding
... 2 miles S of Dallas, Luzerne County...
Flash flood, reported by County official.
Huntsville creek out of banks
... Honesdale, Wayne County...
Flash flood, reported by County official.
Numerous back roads were flooded and impassible
... Erie County...
Erie Airport 12.0 100 PM 3/8
... Allegheny County...
Pittsburgh WFO 2.4 649 PM 3/8
Severe Weather Reports...
... Allentown, Lehigh County...
Thunderstorm wind damage, reported by Emergency Mngr.
Numerous reports of trees down. Some roofs off houses.
... Seven Valleys, York County...
Thunderstorm wind damage, reported by trained spotter.
Estimated 55-60 mph with small hail
... Bucks County...
Cornwells Heights 58 600 PM 3/8
... Chester County...
London Grove 46 600 PM 3/8
***Update as of 1230pm...
Well good afternoon!!! The storm is taking shape and the center of the low pressure is directly over Hagerstown, MD. That is a very odd location for a low to be as most storms do not travel over the Appalachian mountains, but this low did. The low pressure is moving NNE. A significant dry slot has formed in western Pennsylvania and westcentral Pennsylvania. It will be interesting to watch the progression of the dry slot to see if it moves more east which it very well might. This will cut down on rain totals for central Pennsylvania and preclude significant flooding, but still flooding will take place and is already occuring across many areas. There are widespread flood warnings out for Pennsylvania and even flash flood warnings out for Philadelphia and the suburbs. Currently training thunderstorms are pulling up from Delaware and will be moving into far eastern Pennsylvania within the next couple hours. Areas that recieve these thunderstorms will see 1inch of rain in less than one hour. Flooding will be likely. Later today a few strong to severe thunderstorms may form in southeastern Pennsylvania also with the potential for high winds and a locallized tornado possible. High wind warnings are now out for some areas of Pennsylvania where winds may gust up to 65mph for over a 6hr period. Combine those winds with the saturated ground and this will make trees and power lines to come down very easy. As for snow there is a partial break for some areas but now heavy snow is moving back into some areas. I have heard reports that Pittsburgh is now back to heavy snow. So far snow totals have been up to 8inches in areas outside Erie. In the city of Erie 7inches of snow has fallen. Areas in the northwest mountains are reporting around 5inches. Pittsburgh has recieved so far on the order of 1-3inches. As the afternoon progresses conditions will deteriorate with heavy snow and high winds. As the low pressure passes off to the northeast of Pennsylvania expect winds to increase. I expect the deformation band of snow to move into central Pennsylvania this evening and die out by the time it reaches the Susquehanna River. It will be an interesting weather day today and I will have more updates coming soon!!!
This friday's thoughts are more of taking a look not necessary directly at the weather, but more of observations I have noticed in the past week. March is and will always be a transition month. The transition from the cold winter's wind to the moist, warm weather of summer. March is a month full of some of the most extreme weather that can occur. Our weather in this month is similar to a typical winter week in Denver, Colorado with temperatures up to 65degrees, but then the next day a snowstorm hits. The cold blast stays for a day or two, but the sunshine and milder weather melts the snow in few days. Across Pennsylvania the deep snowpack begins to melt with still north sides of mountains holding on the quite a bit of snow. Here in upper Dauphin County we have had snowpack on north sides of mountains until Mid April. March weather in considered unpredictable, but the animals can tell you alot about this month's weather. As birds begin to fly back north and flower bulbs began to push up out of the ground we all know Spring is on its way. I have noticed our flower bulbs around the home are popping out of the soil and even our tulip bulbs are coming out slightly. Soon I will began to plant my onion bulbs and see them pop out in April. The last snow of the season is usually in early April and is caused the Onion Snow as spring onions come out of the ground during this time of year. Also I have noticed the birds have become quite more active with them hanging around our feeders 24/7. Even a few birds have moved back into one of the birdhouses on our property. Usually every birdhouse we have is filled with families of birds by the end of April. My local deer spottings have been low lately and have not seen any around lately coming out of Blue Mountain. Food is relatively sparse this time of year, but the creeks are running high due to typical March rains and February snowmelt. Also soon it is time for Trout Season and usually the first day of trout season brings the end of Winter. Stocking of local streams is beginning from local trout farms. Fish are still relatively slow moving right now after hibernating in the icy, cold water all winter. Nature is something that goes hand-in-hand with forecasting the weather and is something that can be very interesting to watch unfold as the seasons change. As you can probably tell my excitiment for spring is growing and I cannot wait to see that first patch of green on the mountainside after being bear all winter. And by late April the local wildlife become quite active with deer and even an occasional bear coming down the mountian into the valley right into our neighborhood. Last year the bear came down to the home behind mine and broke my neighbors rainspouting and birdfeeders. Spring is around the corner and remember to watch nature unfold as the seasons change every day. With each passing day the winter seems to come closer to ending.
Track of storm...
Well the rain and snow has started across Pennsylvania. The precipitation today was caused by several disturbances. In the beginning of the week I mentioned that the first part of this long duration storm would be a clipper system. And this is sort of what is happening. A low pressure came out of Texas and a low pressure clipper in Canada shared energy and created a sheild of precipitation today. Rainfall totals are around .25inches so far with some high amounts in the northcentral part of the state with amounts around .5inches of rain. Snowfall totals have been around 2-5inches in the west. The lows combined and formed a low pressure that is moving up through northeastern Pennsylvania. The low is very weak and hardly even picked up by the surface maps. Now the lull will develop across Pennsylvania until the big part of the storm gets its act together. Currently in Georgia an already 1004mb low pressure is deepening and moving northeast. As the low pressure moves northeast it may deepen to a pressure of 988mb over southeastern Pennsylvania. That is a very strong low pressure system. I believe the NAM has a good hold on the storm track and the GFS has a good hold on the storm track. The low pressure will move over southeastern Pennsylvania then possibly right over New York City. As the low deepens high winds will develop along with a large shield of precipitation. The low then will move up into New England. As the low passes to our northeast winds will switch from the east to the northwest and will gust up to 45mph statewide. Where snow falls blizzard conditions will occur for a time. Temperatures will fall rapidly and cause many flash freezes. By midnight Saturday night the precipitation will be moving out of the state.
Timeline of storm...
This timeline is experimental.
Saturday afternoon - 12pm - Snow still falling heavy at times in west with changeover moving into Altoona and State College. Heavy rain in east. New precipitation totals of 3-5inches of snow and .4inches of rain. Temperatures ranging from 24-53degrees.
Saturday afternoon - 3pm - Precipitation shield breaking up in east with deformation snow band forming in west. Snow totals 1-5inches with band. Temperatures ranging from 23-54degrees.
Saturday afternoon - 5pm - Deformation snowband breaking up in eastcentral Pennsylvania. Additional snowfall of C-3inches. Temperatures ranging from 19-50degrees.
Saturday night - 8pm - Spotty snow showers statewide with temperatures falling. Wind gusts may cause blowing and drifting snow. Temperatures ranging from 15-44degrees.
Saturday night - 11pm - Precipitation over for most areas except the northern Poconos with light snow showers causing C-1inch of snow. Temperatures ranging 9-32degrees.
Details of storm including precipitation totals...
Well as mentioned earlier the first precipitation shield is going to much weaker than the second shield. As precipitation begins to develop tonight rain and snow will become heavy tonight. Below are a variety of precipitation and wind maps for this storm. As for snowfall amounts look high and this will probably be the largest snowstorm western Pennsylvania has seen in a long time. For ice it looks as to be confined to a narrow band with elevations above 2000ft picking up maybe a quarter of an inch of ice. For rainfall it looks as a widespread 1-3inches will occur in eastern Pennsylvania and maybe even up to 4inches in far eastern areas where thunderstorms form. As for thunderstorms there is a chance of storms and maybe even some severe weather in areas near Philadelphia. If a dryslot can form in that region then severe weather may be even more widespread. Severe weather looks isolated at best with mainly locallized wind damage, but I cannot rule out the threat of a weak tornado. There is quite alot of spin in the atmosphere currently. For flooding creeks, streams, and rivers are already near flood stage so additional rainfall amounts will cause moderate flooding on many waterways. Remember to turn around and do not drown. Look for more updates on the storm tomorrow. Have a great evening!!!
Here is my Snow Accumulation map for March 7-9...
Here is my Ice Accumulation map for March 7-8...
Here is my Severe Weather Risk map for March 7-8...
Here is my Rain Accumulation map for March 7-9...
Here is my Flood Risk map for March 7-10...
Here is my Wind Gust map for March 8-9...
*Winter Storm Warning* for...
*Winter Weather Advisory* for...
*Flood Advisory* for...
*Flood Warning* for...
*High Wind Warning* for...
*Wind Advisory* for...
Look for a full long term outlook forecast on Sunday after the current storm moves out of the picture. The NAO is going negative along with the AO going negative. That indicates cold air moving along the east coast. The NAO is forecast to go down to near -1 and that would be the lowest all winter. The AO is crashing and headed down to -3 which would indicate really cold, arctic air headed south into the United States. That is the lowest value the AO has dropped this winter. So it will be interesting to see what happens midmonth with all of the teleconnections showing favorable colder and snowier conditions across the east. The EURO and GFS both show this pattern and the EURO indicates strong Greenland High Blocking. So winter may come back just one more time. Snowlovers this is our last chance for a significant snowstorm. More coming Sunday.
*Note the negative trend.
*Note the positive to negative trend.
"Just to throw out there"
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 of March winter shortly comes to an end. So keep your fingers crossed. 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!!!
"Regional Forecasts" (Saturday)
1. Eastern- (Allentown, Southern Poconos)-
Heavy rain with thunderstorms at times. Winds may gust up to 50mph this evening (WEST). Flooding likely. Additional rainfall of 1-2inches. High 47 and falling.
2. South Central (Harrisburg, York, Lancaster)(my home)-
Moderate to heavy rain periods. Northern locations may see late day changeover to brief snow. Flooding possible. Additional rainfall of 1inch. Coating of snow in some areas. Winds may gust up to 65mph later in the day (WEST). High 52 and falling.
3. Southern- (Philadelphia)-
Heavy rain and thunderstorms. Some storms may be severe with damaging winds and isolated tornadoes. Flooding imminent. Additional rainfall of 2-3inches. High 60.
4. Central- (State College)-
Periods of rain showers changing to snow showers. Winds may gust up to 55mph (WEST). .5inches of additional rainfall with C-2inches of snow possible. High 37 and falling.
5. Northern- (Erie, Bradford, Williamsport)-
Blizzard conditions in west with heavy rain in east. 5-10inches of additional snow in west with 1-2inches of rain in east. Winds may gust up to 55mph (WEST). High 25-39.
6. Western- (Pittsburgh)-
Heavy snow at times. May mix of a little sleet or freezing rain. 2-5inches of additional snowfall. Winds may gust up to 45mph (WEST). High 34.
7. Johnstown, Altoona-
Periods of rain showers changing to a steady light snow. 1-3inches of snow is possible. Winds may gust up to 60mph (WEST). High 36 and falling.
***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
Well this week my review are on a weather station and a weather book. The weather station was very poor and the book is fantastic. Check the reviews out!
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!
Book-Restless Skies by Paul Douglas(*****)-
One of my favorite weather books I have in my "Weather Library" is Restless Skies by Paul Douglass. Paul Douglass is a meteorologist out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The weather book is a 256page book full of weather pictures, illustrations, and diagrams. Chapters are Stormy Weather, Seasons of Change, Tornado, Hurricanes, Thunderstorms, Forecast 2020, High-Tech Weather, Your local Weather, Facts-Fibs, and Weather Trivia. There is a weather quiz in the back of the book and I am proud to say that I scored in the top meteorologist range, lol! The book has great dipictions on how the weather works and focuses on that more than historical storms and records. Climate change is only a small chapter and section of the book where it offers different opinions. I recommend this book to the professional meteorologist or just the avid-weather watcher.
The goods (+)
Great section on winter and winter weather
Offers section on weather reviews like I write
Not too detail but not too basic
Great diagrams of how some weather works
The bads (-)
A little outdated copyright in 2004
Could use a glossary in the back of the book for typical definitions of weather terms
Wireless Forecast Station with Wind(**)-
I wrote a review on a professinal Lacrosse weather station a few weeks ago produced by The Weather Channel. I was not very happy with the wind readings and it seemed to be caused by the propellar anemometer. So I decided to go and search for a relatively cheaper weather station that was devoted to measuring wind speeds. I found one that was a Lacrosse station and the anemometer was cups instead of the propellar style. So after a strenuous setup the weather station was finally up. Note there are lots of cables that need to be run to set up the weather station. The weather station also does pressure tendacy, 24hr weather forecasts, inside temperature, outside temperature, inside humidity, outside humidty, beaufort scale, wind direction, wind gust, wind sustained, windchill, and predicted moonphases. So for a few weeks everything on the weather station was working great and I was very pleased. The wind recordings seemed to be much more accurate. But then it started get strange wind readings of near 50mph on a perfectly calm day. It continued on perfoming quite strange with then temperature readings well above what they should have been. And finally a few months later the entire outdoor weather recordings shut down and would not record. I tried everything to fix it, but nothing would work. Overall though I was not too concerned because I still had my other weather station. But for $160.00 it should not have broken in a few months. I still have the weather station setup outside though hoping it will work one day. The indoor weather recordings do work. After this weather station I stepped up my level of accuracy for weather stations and got a Davis Vantage Pro2 last November, a review on that is coming soon!
The goods (+)
Accurate wind readings
Accurate wind chill reading
Accurate temperature reading
Nice addition with moon phase forecast
Storm alert alarms
Easy panel and buttons to navigate
Min/Max readings are saved
Accurate pressure readings
The bads (-)
Failure with outdoor readings within a few months of operation
Difficult setup of weather station
Low LED lighting on panel of indoor weather station
My snow totals (10miles northeast of Harrisburg)
07-08 Seasonal Total so far... 25.5inches
Monthly Total... Trace
Daily Total... 0inches
Snow Cover... None.
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........1nch of snow
Feb. 12-13.....1-4inches........5.5inches of snow
Feb. 20........1-3inches........1inch of snow
Feb. 22-23.....3-7inches........4inches of snow
Feb. 26-27.....C-1inch......... .25inches of snow
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