Winter Forecast 2011-2012

By: Zachary Labe , 7:26 PM GMT on October 01, 2011

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The first snowflakes have begun to fly in a few of the higher elevations of the east coast. This weekend an anafront and associated ULL (Upper Level Low) will allow cold air to filter in near the 850hPa low with heights dropping to near 0C or -1C. This will allow the elevations above 2500ft particularly in West Virginia and southern Pennsylvania to see some light snow accumulations anywhere from a coating to upper to 4in in West Virginia. Also a few weeks ago, snowflakes were reported up on Mt. Washington in New Hampshire and covered the ground for a day or two after before milder air moved in. Given the beginning of October, the start of winter threats is just a tad over a month away and even some early season snowstorms have occurred before in mid October. Looking ahead at the long term pattern though does favor above normal temperatures. The long range GFS shows little to no frontal passages around mid month with upper level heights well above normal. This will keep ridging across much of the Midwest and Northeast keeping temperatures on the mild side. I think October will end up with monthly anomalies near +2C for many locations. Drier conditions also are possible during this period with a very inactive weather pattern. The ECMWF is a bit more aggressive with some cooler air mixing in the pattern every now and then, so there are still some uncertainties in the long range.

Winter 2010-2011 was characterized by a moderate La Nina under another very negative NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation) mean. This allowed for relatively snowy conditions across much of the Northeast especially the farther east one traveled with record snows particularly towards New York City. Lake effect snows were also well above normal with 174in before reported at Laurel Summit in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Areas along the I-81 corridor received below normal snowfall due to the abnormality of the amount of coastal storms affecting only eastern areas, especially the I-95 corridor. This winter will be dramatically different for much of the country as we are beginning a more active solar cycle and moderate La Nina.

The atmosphere is a fluid with differential heating across the entire planet. Given the energy budget feedback of unequal heating from the equator the poles, mechanisms such as convection, conduction, and latent heat balance temperatures globally. These currents of energy help to maintain the balance of the fluid making everything interconnected. Therefore weather patterns over areas such as Europe and Asia are equally important in forecasting weather conditions over North America. It is critical to look at the entire circulation to get a better understand for forecasting long term weather patterns. I will refer to a series of indices throughout the context of my forecast. This indices help to give a general idea of weather patterns in different regions of the world. Many of these indices offer correlations relating back to weather pattern conditions more closer to home over the eastern United States. The following explanations are defined by Paul Kocin and Louis Uccellini's "Northeast Snowstorms Volume I (2004). The Southern Oscillation (SO) is one of the most important indices noting short term climate patterns over the equatorial Pacific by using sea level pressure anomalies to correlate to cooler or warmer than normal sea surface temperatures. This is the determining factor for El Nino vs. La Nina. El Nino's are characterized by warmer sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies over this region strengthening the Pacific jet stream causing a series of related weather patterns across North America and the rest of the globe. El Ninos are noted with warmer air flowing into the western United States given the active jet. The subset subtropical jet remains abnormally active given a period of storminess over the southern United States. La Nina's on the other hand weaken the Pacific jet with colder air spilling south over the northwestern United States favoring ridging and dry conditions over the southern United States.


Fig. 1 shows the effects of El Nino/La Nino on surface temperatures.

The SO index has been kept since 1882 utilizing sea surface temperature anomalies. El Nino episodes tend to have strong correlations to above normal winter precipitation over the eastern United States courtesy of the active subtropical jet while La Ninas generally have the opposite relation. Strong cases of either El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events tend to produce relative warmth and lack of snowfall over the entire Northeast.


Fig 1.1- This chart courtesy of the Mt. Holly NWS tells an interesting story of Nina vs. Nino seasonal snow totals.

The most important short term index is the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) measuring pressure anomalies across the Atlantic Ocean. A negative NAO is associated with a weak subtropical high and Icelandic Low. The Icelandic low is also displaced to near Newfoundland associated with blocking patterns over the eastern Atlantic and Europe. This pattern favors milder air over Greenland with colder air over the Northeast. A positive NAO is noted by lower pressures over the Arctic with higher pressures over the Atlantic resulting with a strong westerly and southwesterly flow over the eastern United States.

Fig. 2 presents the sub sequential effects of each subset NAO status.

A strong NAO status can override the effects of the current ENSO status. Therefore the NAO is the most critical index in determining winter patterns. Unfortunately the NAO is a variable index and results in short term changes in patterns. This makes long term predictions quite difficult. Current ensemble models predict NAO deviations generally two weeks in advance. Several theories have arisen in the idea of long term NAO trends. Unlike the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) index, the NAO is not often looked at in terms of 10 year trends. But risen correlations do suggest several periods show trends towards a more negative NAO regime and vice versa. Given the increasing negative NAO trends, I do believe we have entered a decadal period favoring an increased negative NAO regime. The 1960s seemed to have favored a negative NAO regime while the the late 90s and early 2000s favored a positive regime. This does not always mean the NAO is positive for the entire period; remember it is a weekly variable index.

In a case study by Kocin and Uccellini, 18 sites were subdivided to reflect the impact of the NAO on cities with seasonal snowfall averaging less than 20 and greater than 40in. The results indicated the impact of the NAO on seasonal snowfall is greatest along the I-95 corridor including all of the major metropolitan areas. Quoted by "Northeast Snowstorms," "Since the seasonal snowfall within this region is significantly influenced by the occurrence of moderate to heavy snowfalls, an important relationship between the NAO and the occurrence of significant snowstorms is indicated." Also Kocin and Uccellini uncovered another relationship noting the transition periods from negative NAO to positive NAO characterized by a significant Northeast winter storm. For further information on this correlation note the 1950 Appalachian Storm, 1962 Ash Wednesday Storm, 1979 President's Day Storm, 1983 Metropolitan Storm, 1993 Superstorm, and 1996 Blizzard.

it is also important to note is the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO).This index monitors SST anomalies in the northern Pacific and can be closely followed based on 10-year trends. A negative PDO is often associated with a warmer pattern for the central and eastern United States with cooler conditions to the west and vice versa for a positive PDO. It is closely in correspondence with the shorter term Pacific/North American Oscillation (PNA). Typically La Ninas are often correlated to negative PDO regimes while El Ninos are noted with positive regimes.


Fig 3. Notice that during positive phases the snowier winters tend to occur. Take Washington, DC snowfall and look at the snowy seasons of...

57/58- 40.4inches
02/03- 40.4inches
95/96- 46.0inches

Note that on the PNA chart in the circled locations, the winters have a positive PNA are also found to be quite snowy.

Other indices looking at monsoonal patterns across the Indian Ocean include the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) and the Madden-Jullian Oscillation (MJO). The MJO is noted in another cyclical pattern favoring waves from 1-8 each with different effects on the position of the jet stream noting troughs and ridges across North America. The Quasi-biennial Oscillation (QBO) is a cycle period noting the equatorial zone winds between the easterlies and westerlies in the stratosphere. The QBO has correlations for the Northern Hemisphere during the winter months helping to identify stratosphere warming events which often correspond to colder periods over the Northeast.

The over aching theme in this quick explanation of several global teleconnections is the concept that everything is related in the atmosphere. Many of these correlations noted above are in inexact science due the volatility of the atmosphere. The sun is the ultimate controlling force in the resultant weather. Solar radiation enters a series of interactions with the Earth's surface and atmosphere creating an extreme complexity. Air masses form when air takes on the characteristics of the region its sitting on with cold air masses moving towards the tropics and warm air masses moving towards the poles. The Earth system is trying to reach an equilibrium. This balance that is trying to be reached causes the extreme weather. Because the sun varies in activity, it is likely effects on the Earth's weather patterns also occur as a result. But science in this field is very uncertain.


Fig. 4 shows the current sunspot cycle dating back to 1850.

For the time being we are entering a period of reduced solar activity despite a recent uptick in sunspots.

Because of the complexity in the Earth system taking account for a multitude of variables and factors, long term weather predictions are difficult. In any case, using a few of these indices above help to paint a sketch into the world of long term seasonal predictions. And using climatological means, forecasters can hope to try to make an 'educated guess' in seasonal predictions.

The winter 2011-2012 will be characterized by a moderate La Nina carving the template for temperature and precipitation trends over North America. Current Oceanic Nino Indices (ONI) indicate anomalies falling below 0C during the last three months indicating a cooling of sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific. Once ONI readings drop below -0.5C, a cool ENSO period is defined. Last winter was also defined by a La Nina as ONI readings dropped to -1.4C at its max during the November, December, January period Link.

Current ensemble and global model predictions indicate a continued drop in SSTs, especially in Nino region 3.4

Given the upcoming Nina, we can already note the higher chances for a weaker subtropical and Pacific jet favoring drier and warmer weather over the eastern United States. But the next index on the list is the NAO, which at times can override the ENSO status.


This figure above strongly supports the decadal NAO trend theory. Please note the increasing abnormality in negative NAO values during the last few years. In fact record daily -NAO values occurred in 2010. During this past summer, the NAO also was generally negative throughout June, July, and August. This often correlates to a negative NAO regime during the winter. A negative NAO features higher than normal heights over northeastern Canada and Greenland creating a 'blocking' pattern helping to instill colder air over the northeastern United States with a trough-type pattern. It physically 'blocks' the warm air from moving north and from storms penetrating to the west over the Ohio Valley and Midwest. La Ninas often correlate to positive NAO regimes, so given the variability in the index, I do expect the -NAO regime to continue on average for the winter, although there will be warm periods.

It is very important we establish the -NAO given the high likelihood in a southeast ridge formation. If we do not establish this regime, then the Middle Atlantic will likely be toast this winter. Looking at the state also of the -PDO emphasizes the La Nina theme with the formation of the Aleutian Low over Alaska which helps to keep troughs over the Pacific Northwest. Very few large coastal storms have occurred during this type of setup. Given the weaker subtropical jet, the threat of Miller A coastal storms is smaller than normal. A miller A cyclone in one which forms in the Gulf of Mexico or so and travel up the entire eastern Atlantic coast. A miller B is the cyclone forms as a redevelopment off the primary low, typically off the North Carolina coast and really undergoing bombogenesis off of southern New England.

Looking at the current precipitation anomalies and monsoonal trends in the Indian Ocean, we can determine several patterns in the MJO and there effects on the long term pattern. It appears several wavelengths remain open favoring phases 6-8 this winter especially early towards December.

Current snow depth and ice coverage across the globe remain below normal climatological values, but yet above long term lows such as 2007.

It is important to follow the snow coverage over parts of Siberia during the month of October with strong correlations to winter temperature patterns. So far numbers appear encouraging.

North Atlantic sea ice also has been steadily increasing in coverage the last few winters with the buildup over cold air over that region lately.

In quick summary, this year's winter forecast relies on the importance of the NAO regime in response to the moderate predicted La Nina. Also wavelengths from the MJO/QBO will remain important. Looking at these indices, a general summary results in a winter characterized by the importance of latitude and proximity displaced from the Atlantic Ocean. Given the La Nina, I do expect the formation of the dreaded southeast ridge. This will bring milder periods especially to the Middle Atlantic region particularly south of 40N. The storm track may be focused to the west of the Northeast, but given the negative state of the NAO, redevelopment in terms of Miller B storm systems are very likely. For those along and north of 40N, the heaviest snows will fall in this region in these cases while areas in the Delmarva sadly watch from the dry slot. The likelihood of large-scale miller A storms will remain below normal, but cannot be ruled out. I am expecting snowfall to near normal for areas along I-95 with above normal snowfall for those 100mi inland. The likelihood of another well above normal snowfall season for the major cities remains low given climatology. There have never been three consecutive winters of over 40in of snow for Philadelphia for instance. Temperatures will average slightly above normal for Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia while normal to below normal temperatures are possible for New England given weak troughing over this region.

Winter 2011-2012 Anomalies
KDCA- (+2.0F) (90-110% of normal snowfall)
KBWI- (+1.5F) (100-110% of normal snowfall)
KPHL- (+1.5F) (100-125% of normal snowfall)
KMDT- (+1.0F) (110-130% of normal snowfall)
KNYC- (+1.0F) (100-125% of normal snowfall)
KBOS- (+0.5F) (125-130% of normal snowfall)

I think the winners in the snowfall department will generally be those farther inland with some additional latitude favoring southern New England. The I-81 corridor could do well this winter if the southeast ridge remains relatively benign. The colder temperatures anomalies will be saved for northern New England across Maine, New Hampshire, upstate New York, and Vermont. I am expecting December to average below normal region wide while January and February are warmer with then perhaps a cooler March. Snowfall will generally occur in the form of overrunning precipitation, secondary lows, and clippers. The threat for ice storms is heightened due to upstream blocking locking in the colder air at times as cyclones track through the Ohio Valley. A few may be wondering about the prospects of this wet pattern continuing... And to be honest often wet patterns in the summer can quickly swing to dry patterns in the winter. But really this correlation is pretty weak. I expect precipitation to be near normal for much of the region.

For the final section, I thought it would be interesting to post some archived maps of major nor'easters of our past courtesy of Penn State Meteo. EWall...

12 February 1983...


7 January 1996...


14 March 1993...


17 February 2003...


Follow my 24hr forecasts on Twitter... Link and Facebook... Link.

"Lower Susquehanna Valley Doppler"

(Courtesy of WGAL)

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193. PalmyraPunishment
12:42 PM GMT on October 25, 2011
what contest?

btw, i'm probably back for good. although given my circumstances, that'll probably never be etched in stone until things change, but uh... carry on.
Member Since: January 31, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 2250
192. MariettaMoon
12:36 PM GMT on October 25, 2011
Ok, so we have 3 so far for the contest. We need more... Is Sully still running a blog? I might go on and post the contest idea there too.

Something tells me the ECMFW is way too hyper given it's the only one in that camp and considering climatology, but I sure am routing for it! The UKMET gives us some hope. Everything else looks terrible and out to sea. With the NAO trending positive, you would think an out to sea solution is unlikely. I wonder how much the unpredictable nature of Hurricane Rita in the Carribean/Gulf is wreaking havoc with guidance. Maybe guidance will never get a grip.

I saw an Aurora exactly like that just northeast of Philly years ago. It felt like you could just reach out and grab it.
Member Since: June 11, 2011 Posts: 36 Comments: 677
191. Zachary Labe
11:23 AM GMT on October 25, 2011
Quoting MariettaMoon:


The freeze line so far this season has been seperated between east & west. Anywhere east of the Susquehanna and its west branch hasn't seen the freeze yet. For instance, Mount Pocono in northeast PA has an average freeze of October 10th but hasn't gotten there yet. Bradford in northwest PA has an average freeze of September 23rd and finally got it on October 6th.

A heavy frost / light freeze did slide down out of the mountains into Franklin, Cumberland, York & Adam counties in PA this past weekend.

F1 Man: You're welcome.

Blizz... Heading up to my parents new mountain house in Arrowhead Lakes on the Pocono Plateau this weekend. What do you think about snow chances there this Saturday? A little too much waffling still for me but just wanted to pick your brain about it for a minute.

I think your competition idea is excellent and I definitely would be interested. I have always wanted to start something similar, but never organized it.

You probably will see snow. I am starting to lock in Thursday with my ideas of rain changing to snow for northern areas and higher elevations, but Saturday is a bit more uncertain. ECWMF shows major cyclogenesis, while GFS is much flatter.
Member Since: December 14, 2007 Posts: 281 Comments: 15083
190. wunderstorm87
10:34 AM GMT on October 25, 2011
The 0z ECMWF still gives us plenty of snow! Let's get some more consistency and maybe I can believe it because right now it's the only model that keeps this storm near the coast.

The NWS forecast calls for a 50% chance of snow Saturday for me.
Member Since: August 5, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 588
189. PalmyraPunishment
9:42 AM GMT on October 25, 2011
That was about 9:30 PM last evening. I didn't see much in Harrisburg, but did catch a shooting star in the north sky that was noted by many people in the state.

In other interesting developments...

Member Since: January 31, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 2250
188. listenerVT
5:54 AM GMT on October 25, 2011
Palmyra...

When was this? And how come we didn't see it in Vermont too?

Gosh, we used to see the Northern Lights all the time up here. I really miss it.
Member Since: July 11, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5481
187. PalmyraPunishment
3:02 AM GMT on October 25, 2011
Aurora Borealis in Virginia...

Member Since: January 31, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 2250
186. Mason803
12:42 AM GMT on October 25, 2011
Quoting TheRasberryPatch:


I told you the forecast has been on again off again with a mention of snow.

Mason - I know what you mean. did you bring along your tower for your wind gauge?


Patch,

Oh yeah, the tower came with me. I just got done painting it the classic red and white strip from the asos colors. Im planning on installing it sometime this week.
Member Since: November 5, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1139
185. TheF1Man
12:19 AM GMT on October 25, 2011
Quoting MariettaMoon:
I've been thinking about doing a Northeast Winter 2011-2012 snowfall challenge this year. I have ideas for 2 contests with 2 separate winners. The contests would involve 41 official measuring stations from Virginia & West Virginia through Maine. One would be for total seasonal snowfall, and the other for selected snowfall events throughout the season with an accumulated winner at seasons end. Not all snow events would be selected because that would get too hectic. I'd aim to do some coastal storms that affect a good portion of the northeast, as well as a few heavier clippers and such that come through. I'd leave lake effect snows out of it because they can last for days and I think it would be too hard to differentiate which portion fell as part of a storm and which as lake effect etc. I might even start 1 or 2 early season snow events, for example if this coming weekend storm looks like it might turn into something. I'd aim at doing up to 10 events total.

I would announce the start of each selected storm 3 days / 72 hours before it is expected to start in the northeast region and would accept forecasts up until 24 hours before the start of the event with an announced deadline of course. So it would be a "24-hour forecast challenge" if you will. If I can get at least 5 people to participate I'd gladly start it up. I might have to start a separate blog for the contests & the guesses as to not clog up Blizz's blog, but I'd post the results here as well. I think this would be a fun element to add to the 2011-2012 season!

Anybody who's interested let me know as soon as possible.


I'm in! A separate blog would be a good idea.
Member Since: February 23, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 676
184. wunderstorm87
11:59 PM GMT on October 24, 2011
Quoting Blizzard92:
Wow, CTP added chance of snow in the forecast grid for Harrisburg Friday night!

The 12z ECMWF gives us "plenty" of snow Friday night into Saturday night with a nor'easter, but the GFS keeps the low well off the coast, which is probably the better solution at this point.


Check out the 12z ecmwf snow maps on the wunderground model page if you really want to see the ridiculous amount it progs for Harrisburg, but I give it about a 1% chance of happening this early in the year(lol).
Member Since: August 5, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 588
183. MariettaMoon
11:38 PM GMT on October 24, 2011
I've been thinking about doing a Northeast Winter 2011-2012 snowfall challenge this year. I have ideas for 2 contests with 2 separate winners. The contests would involve 41 official measuring stations from Virginia & West Virginia through Maine. One would be for total seasonal snowfall, and the other for selected snowfall events throughout the season with an accumulated winner at seasons end. Not all snow events would be selected because that would get too hectic. I'd aim to do some coastal storms that affect a good portion of the northeast, as well as a few heavier clippers and such that come through. I'd leave lake effect snows out of it because they can last for days and I think it would be too hard to differentiate which portion fell as part of a storm and which as lake effect etc. I might even start 1 or 2 early season snow events, for example if this coming weekend storm looks like it might turn into something. I'd aim at doing up to 10 events total.

I would announce the start of each selected storm 3 days / 72 hours before it is expected to start in the northeast region and would accept forecasts up until 24 hours before the start of the event with an announced deadline of course. So it would be a "24-hour forecast challenge" if you will. If I can get at least 5 people to participate I'd gladly start it up. I might have to start a separate blog for the contests & the guesses as to not clog up Blizz's blog, but I'd post the results here as well. I think this would be a fun element to add to the 2011-2012 season!

Anybody who's interested let me know as soon as possible.
Member Since: June 11, 2011 Posts: 36 Comments: 677
182. listenerVT
10:58 PM GMT on October 24, 2011
Vermont is expecting our FIRST SNOW on Thursday!!
http://blogs.burlingtonfreepress.com/weather/2011 /10/24/a-snowy-vermont-thursday/

What's your take on this, folks?


Plus! Rina became a hurricane in just 21 hours and promises to get to Cat 3 or 4 by Wednesday! Wow!
Member Since: July 11, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5481
181. PalmyraPunishment
10:16 PM GMT on October 24, 2011
All I know is, I'm very very ready for some cold air.
Member Since: January 31, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 2250
180. MariettaMoon
9:55 PM GMT on October 24, 2011
Quoting Mason803:
Got down to 31f here in Cashtown sunday morning with a widespread heavy frost. KTHV had a low of 32f. There was a 2 hour frost delay at the golf course. Been so busy moving into my new house and moving all my weather equipment. Starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel finally.


The freeze line so far this season has been seperated between east & west. Anywhere east of the Susquehanna and its west branch hasn't seen the freeze yet. For instance, Mount Pocono in northeast PA has an average freeze of October 10th but hasn't gotten there yet. Bradford in northwest PA has an average freeze of September 23rd and finally got it on October 6th.

A heavy frost / light freeze did slide down out of the mountains into Franklin, Cumberland, York & Adam counties in PA this past weekend.

F1 Man: You're welcome.

Blizz... Heading up to my parents new mountain house in Arrowhead Lakes on the Pocono Plateau this weekend. What do you think about snow chances there this Saturday? A little too much waffling still for me but just wanted to pick your brain about it for a minute.
Member Since: June 11, 2011 Posts: 36 Comments: 677
179. wxgeek723
9:13 PM GMT on October 24, 2011
YES, SNOW IN THE FORECAST!

Lol JK, I live on the coastal plain.

-___-

PHI doesn't seem too interested in this idea, can't find any snow for the forecast in our zone besides the highest peaks of the Poconos.
Member Since: August 28, 2008 Posts: 79 Comments: 3464
178. TheRasberryPatch
8:58 PM GMT on October 24, 2011
Quoting Blizzard92:
Wow, CTP added chance of snow in the forecast grid for Harrisburg Friday night!


I told you the forecast has been on again off again with a mention of snow.

Mason - I know what you mean. did you bring along your tower for your wind gauge?
Member Since: January 26, 2007 Posts: 72 Comments: 6247
177. Zachary Labe
8:34 PM GMT on October 24, 2011
Wow, CTP added chance of snow in the forecast grid for Harrisburg Friday night!
Member Since: December 14, 2007 Posts: 281 Comments: 15083
176. TheF1Man
6:25 PM GMT on October 24, 2011
Quoting MariettaMoon:
Want to share this great current temperature feature by the National Weather Service, maybe some of you have seen it...

Go to: "National Weather Service" homepage
Select: "Snow Cover"
Select: "Interactive Maps"
Select: "Select Physical Element" dropdown
Select: under Hourly Driving Data, "Air Temperature"
Select: "Redraw Map"

This is an excellent satellite based current temperature profile of the lower 48 United States and southern Canada. It used to run about 6 hours behind but recently I've noticed that it now runs exactly on time with the top of each hour. The lines of equal temperature are in 9F incriments based around 32F, so it's a great tool for locating the freezing line. The only thing that still needs improvement is that it only runs from -22F to 86F. In other words, the shading for 86F is the same shading for 100F. Same shading for -22F and -40F etc...

It does an excellent job of showing cold air bleeding from the hilltops into the valleys overnight with the opposite effect during the day, especially when it's clear and calm of course. You can go to any day/hour back to 2002. Drag the curser and zoom to Pennsylvania, then select the morning of January 17th, 2009 to see an extreme case of that phenomenon. it's neat to see how 1000 ft in local relief can make a 20 degree difference.

I think these temperature profiles show up best this way...

Zoom: to a state
Check: "County Boundries"
Un-check: "Hill Shading"
Select: "Redraw Map"

You can check "Rivers & Streams", "Lakes & Resevoirs" or "Roads & Highways" if that helps you to identify certain locations. I find it gets a little messy if you add too many features. I like to Un-Check "Stations" but leave "Cities" checked when zoomed in real close.

This is what I use for current "Snow Depth" as well.


Here's another great distraction to get between me and my homework, thanks MM :)

Also, where's the sun today?! It was poking through this morning but now it's gloomy looking.
Member Since: February 23, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 676
175. Mason803
5:04 PM GMT on October 24, 2011
Got down to 31f here in Cashtown sunday morning with a widespread heavy frost. KTHV had a low of 32f. There was a 2 hour frost delay at the golf course. Been so busy moving into my new house and moving all my weather equipment. Starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel finally.
Member Since: November 5, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1139
174. TheRasberryPatch
4:13 PM GMT on October 24, 2011
Quoting Blizzard92:

Even up here in Ithaca we only reached 31F as our lowest temperature this fall, but this did not correspond with a frost. There has not been a frost up here to date therefore much of the vegetation remains alive including some unusual blogs.


Sunday morning got down to 36F. The weird part was my windshield was frozen. I mean there was water on it that had frozen. It was pretty thick. My wipers could not wipe it away. I had to use my defrosters to melt the ice.
Member Since: January 26, 2007 Posts: 72 Comments: 6247
173. Zachary Labe
4:02 PM GMT on October 24, 2011
12z NAM very cold with accumulating snow for much of northern Pennsylvania and southern New York into New England.
Member Since: December 14, 2007 Posts: 281 Comments: 15083
172. Zachary Labe
2:40 PM GMT on October 24, 2011
Quoting MariettaMoon:


So what would that be counted as, an official freeze without an official frost? I would think 32F is a freeze no matter what, unless ice crystal formation on the vegetation is necessary to be considered a freeze.

It is considered a freeze, but it just does not have the same type of damaging effects a frost would have. Hopefully this week we get some frost or snow to kill the bugs and also help me allergies, lol.
Member Since: December 14, 2007 Posts: 281 Comments: 15083
171. MariettaMoon
1:27 PM GMT on October 24, 2011
Oops, I just discovered that those current temperature maps do run about 8 hours behind, anything thereafter are "forecast temperatures" for that hour. It will say "forecasted" and "experimental at the top of the map if it is the forecast for that hour. It won't say either of those if it's an actual observation.

The forecast temperatures run out 2 days and are pretty wicked as well.
Member Since: June 11, 2011 Posts: 36 Comments: 677
170. MariettaMoon
12:59 PM GMT on October 24, 2011
Want to share this great current temperature feature by the National Weather Service, maybe some of you have seen it...

Go to: "National Weather Service" homepage
Select: "Snow Cover"
Select: "Interactive Maps"
Select: "Select Physical Element" dropdown
Select: under Hourly Driving Data, "Air Temperature"
Select: "Redraw Map"

This is an excellent satellite based current temperature profile of the lower 48 United States and southern Canada. It used to run about 6 hours behind but recently I've noticed that it now runs exactly on time with the top of each hour. The lines of equal temperature are in 9F incriments based around 32F, so it's a great tool for locating the freezing line. The only thing that still needs improvement is that it only runs from -22F to 86F. In other words, the shading for 86F is the same shading for 100F. Same shading for -22F and -40F etc...

It does an excellent job of showing cold air bleeding from the hilltops into the valleys overnight with the opposite effect during the day, especially when it's clear and calm of course. You can go to any day/hour back to 2002. Drag the curser and zoom to Pennsylvania, then select the morning of January 17th, 2009 to see an extreme case of that phenomenon. it's neat to see how 1000 ft in local relief can make a 20 degree difference.

I think these temperature profiles show up best this way...

Zoom: to a state
Check: "County Boundries"
Un-check: "Hill Shading"
Select: "Redraw Map"

You can check "Rivers & Streams", "Lakes & Resevoirs" or "Roads & Highways" if that helps you to identify certain locations. I find it gets a little messy if you add too many features. I like to Un-Check "Stations" but leave "Cities" checked when zoomed in real close.

This is what I use for current "Snow Depth" as well.
Member Since: June 11, 2011 Posts: 36 Comments: 677
169. MariettaMoon
12:28 PM GMT on October 24, 2011
Quoting Blizzard92:

Even up here in Ithaca we only reached 31F as our lowest temperature this fall, but this did not correspond with a frost. There has not been a frost up here to date therefore much of the vegetation remains alive including some unusual blogs.


So what would that be counted as, an official freeze without an official frost? I would think 32F is a freeze no matter what, unless ice crystal formation on the vegetation is necessary to be considered a freeze.
Member Since: June 11, 2011 Posts: 36 Comments: 677
168. Zachary Labe
2:02 AM GMT on October 24, 2011
Quoting MariettaMoon:
The first snow normally falls in October in the southern tier mountains of NY & northern tier mountains of PA as well as in the Laurels & Blue Ridge. November to the south & east and very early December from Philadelphia south & east.

Many areas in the PA mountains are a few weeks late on the first freeze. The northwest mountains & Laurels have seen a couple.

Even up here in Ithaca we only reached 31F as our lowest temperature this fall, but this did not correspond with a frost. There has not been a frost up here to date therefore much of the vegetation remains alive including some unusual blogs.
Member Since: December 14, 2007 Posts: 281 Comments: 15083
167. MariettaMoon
1:16 AM GMT on October 24, 2011
The first snow normally falls in October in the southern tier mountains of NY & northern tier mountains of PA as well as in the Laurels & Blue Ridge. November to the south & east and very early December from Philadelphia south & east.

Many areas in the PA mountains are a few weeks late on the first freeze. The northwest mountains & Laurels have seen a couple.
Member Since: June 11, 2011 Posts: 36 Comments: 677
166. TheRasberryPatch
6:08 PM GMT on October 23, 2011
Quoting Blizzard92:

I kept checking the WU forecast and never saw snow for Harrisburg. Where are you looking?


They had it last night. I saw it around 9pm
Member Since: January 26, 2007 Posts: 72 Comments: 6247
165. originalLT
3:37 PM GMT on October 23, 2011
Guys, I think in general, climatology would be against anything but flurries for the Harrisburg area in late Oct.. I just can't get too excited yet about these long range predictions, they come and go. Blizz, I think up where you are there would be a better chance of some accumulating snow in late Oct. I went to grad school in Binghamton NY, and we did have some snow there whiten the ground before Halloween.
Member Since: January 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 7410
164. Zachary Labe
1:59 PM GMT on October 23, 2011
Quoting TheRasberryPatch:
Wow - now this morning there is NO talk of snow next Saturday and highs in the low 50's. Why does WU do that? I realize it's an extended forecast, but to have two forecasts that are totally different from each other and in a matter of hours.

I kept checking the WU forecast and never saw snow for Harrisburg. Where are you looking?
Member Since: December 14, 2007 Posts: 281 Comments: 15083
163. TheRasberryPatch
11:02 AM GMT on October 23, 2011
Wow - now this morning there is NO talk of snow next Saturday and highs in the low 50's. Why does WU do that? I realize it's an extended forecast, but to have two forecasts that are totally different from each other and in a matter of hours.
Member Since: January 26, 2007 Posts: 72 Comments: 6247
162. TheRasberryPatch
1:36 AM GMT on October 23, 2011
MM - tell me about it. I had never heard of it until I moved to PA in 2002. It's so stupid

Blizz - I see they changed the forecast on WU from Thursday evening snow(Yesterday) to now on Saturday with a high of 37F and a low of 25F. That will sure give us a good hard freeze.
Member Since: January 26, 2007 Posts: 72 Comments: 6247
161. MariettaMoon
10:44 PM GMT on October 22, 2011
10/19 RECORD HIGH MINIMUM
Dulles VA: 60F*

10/18 RECORD HIGH MAXIMUM
Norfolk VA: 86F*

10/17 RECORD HIGH MAXIMUM
Roanoke VA: 81F*
Norfolk VA: 84F*

10/14 RECORD HIGH MINIMUMS
Caribou ME: 54F (t)
Houlton ME: 56F*
Portland ME: 58F*

10/13 RECORD HIGH MINIMUM
Blacksburg VA: 59F*
Member Since: June 11, 2011 Posts: 36 Comments: 677
160. MariettaMoon
8:40 PM GMT on October 22, 2011
Quoting Blizzard92:

Halloween!? Cannot be? You must be mistaken...


I don't quite understand having Halloween on a day that's not Halloween. Never heard anything like that growing up in the Philly burbs. Imagine some towns choosing to celebrate Christmas on the 21st instead of the 25th.
Member Since: June 11, 2011 Posts: 36 Comments: 677
159. wunderstorm87
3:51 PM GMT on October 22, 2011
My low was 34.6F last night. That's the lowest temperature so far this fall.
Member Since: August 5, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 588
158. Walshy
3:21 PM GMT on October 22, 2011
Quoting Blizzard92:

Yea this blog has been dead recently, haha. Models certainly are showing some sort of bigger storm around the 180hr range now including both the ECMWF and GFS. That is still pretty far out there though, but something to watch. It sure has been a warm fall here in the Northeast. Even areas as far south as Alabama have seen a frost this year, lol.


Florida too. More than once.
Member Since: May 17, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 904
157. Zachary Labe
1:42 PM GMT on October 22, 2011
Quoting TheRasberryPatch:


No mistake...but of course in your hometown it's still the Thursday before...I am sure Bugs Bunny would have a great remark

This weather pattern is so boring...Just nothing to report, really!! No highs or lows. No frost or freezes. No snow or flurries.

Blizz, got anything? something? Maybe we can discuss PU having one of the worst offenses in the Big Ten...hahahaha and doesn't deserve a top 25 ranking

Yea this blog has been dead recently, haha. Models certainly are showing some sort of bigger storm around the 180hr range now including both the ECMWF and GFS. That is still pretty far out there though, but something to watch. It sure has been a warm fall here in the Northeast. Even areas as far south as Alabama have seen a frost this year, lol.
Member Since: December 14, 2007 Posts: 281 Comments: 15083
156. TheRasberryPatch
12:02 PM GMT on October 22, 2011
Quoting Blizzard92:

Halloween!? Cannot be? You must be mistaken...


No mistake...but of course in your hometown it's still the Thursday before...I am sure Bugs Bunny would have a great remark

This weather pattern is so boring...Just nothing to report, really!! No highs or lows. No frost or freezes. No snow or flurries.

Blizz, got anything? something? Maybe we can discuss PU having one of the worst offenses in the Big Ten...hahahaha and doesn't deserve a top 25 ranking
Member Since: January 26, 2007 Posts: 72 Comments: 6247
155. Zachary Labe
12:22 AM GMT on October 22, 2011
Quoting TheRasberryPatch:


Looking at WU's extended forecast they have a chance of snow for Thursday evening with a low of 30F. Thursday's high they have @ 46F and Friday is supposed to be cold as well.
The poor kiddies in Lower Paxton might be Trick or Treating in the snow. Hershey and Palmyra got with the program and is having it on Halloween. Can you believe it? Here in Pennsylvania? WOW Imagine that trick or treating on Halloween

Halloween!? Cannot be? You must be mistaken...
Member Since: December 14, 2007 Posts: 281 Comments: 15083
154. TheRasberryPatch
8:07 PM GMT on October 21, 2011
Quoting Blizzard92:
Thanks everyone!

0z ECMWF and 6z GFS still maintain an interesting low situation next week with a hybrid low sent up in the cold sector along or off the east coast. Looks to good to be true though...


Looking at WU's extended forecast they have a chance of snow for Thursday evening with a low of 30F. Thursday's high they have @ 46F and Friday is supposed to be cold as well.
The poor kiddies in Lower Paxton might be Trick or Treating in the snow. Hershey and Palmyra got with the program and is having it on Halloween. Can you believe it? Here in Pennsylvania? WOW Imagine that trick or treating on Halloween
Member Since: January 26, 2007 Posts: 72 Comments: 6247
153. Zachary Labe
11:35 AM GMT on October 21, 2011
Thanks everyone!

0z ECMWF and 6z GFS still maintain an interesting low situation next week with a hybrid low sent up in the cold sector along or off the east coast. Looks to good to be true though...
Member Since: December 14, 2007 Posts: 281 Comments: 15083
152. TheF1Man
9:45 PM GMT on October 20, 2011
Don't worry blizz, it took me 3 months to really start becoming friends with the ones I have now, stay optimistic!
Member Since: February 23, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 676
151. originalLT
3:00 PM GMT on October 20, 2011
Hang in there Blizz, as TRP says, the second semester, things will get more "social"!
Member Since: January 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 7410
150. Zachary Labe
1:38 PM GMT on October 20, 2011
Quoting TheRasberryPatch:
Blizz - don't worry about making friends so far. I think everyone is still getting settled in to a routine. Give it a semester. Come Spring semester things will be different.

We need a good heavy killing frost. Bugs haven't been too bad lately, but I'd like to get them done for the season.

It has been tough. In high school I was an extremely social person, but now it has been completely opposite and therefore lack of...

GFS is still pinpointing at a 2-3 day shot of cold air around the 29th next week. There is some disagreement though with the guidance between the ECMWF and GFS...

Snow threat is diminishing in this time period, although maybe some lake effect? Frost potential is high though. After this short few day period, warmer temperatures will flood back in once again. I will try to get a new blog out this weekend.
Member Since: December 14, 2007 Posts: 281 Comments: 15083
149. TheRasberryPatch
1:29 PM GMT on October 20, 2011
0.51" of rain for yesterday. From what I have seen in the next 7 days there doesn't seem to be any incursion of cold air coming into the mid-west. I haven't seen after 7 days
Member Since: January 26, 2007 Posts: 72 Comments: 6247
148. TheRasberryPatch
10:07 PM GMT on October 19, 2011
Blizz - don't worry about making friends so far. I think everyone is still getting settled in to a routine. Give it a semester. Come Spring semester things will be different.

We need a good heavy killing frost. Bugs haven't been too bad lately, but I'd like to get them done for the season.
Member Since: January 26, 2007 Posts: 72 Comments: 6247
147. wunderstorm87
9:26 PM GMT on October 19, 2011
If you've ever been in front of a misting fan that's nearly exactly how it felt today outside. The mist/drizzle was never heavy enough to register on the rain gauge, but it's been misting most of the day with very gusty winds.
Member Since: August 5, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 588
146. Zachary Labe
1:17 AM GMT on October 19, 2011
*I am now a part time science blogger for the Cornell Daily Sun (Our Newspaper)! I will be sure to post links here when my blogs are posted (won't start till the end of October though).

Quoting TheRasberryPatch:


I can handle that. Just as long as it isn't too heavy of snow. We still have plenty of leaves on the trees and most are still green

It's a shame that WU doesn't have a radar loop on the front page. I prefer to not have to go to another page to see the loop. It can be the same radar, but just loop it.

Probably not snow down in Harrisburg, but probably a frost!

weathergeek5- Seems a bit extreme in my opinion. Although we certainly have been seeing cooling recently across all sectors of the equatorial Pacific. I think a moderate La Nina is a sure bet.

KEEPEROFTHEGATE- Luckily most of the heaviest rain will be along the Jersey shore and to the west of the already soggy Northeast.

hurigo- Thanks for checking in! Thinks going about eh up here. Lots of school work and I still really haven't made any friends after many attempts. But I have definitely been taking all of the opportunities.
Member Since: December 14, 2007 Posts: 281 Comments: 15083
145. hurigo
10:49 PM GMT on October 18, 2011
Hello Blizz, et al.
Forgive me as this is a quick fly-by and I neither read your post nor the commentary.
I hope you are enjoying school and your first new winter of differing perspective. Thought of you today when I was thinking bout arranging for heat. Looks like winter is going to come, just as it usually does.
Member Since: October 9, 2005 Posts: 100 Comments: 6728
144. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
10:31 PM GMT on October 18, 2011
flooding rains coming
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
143. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
10:27 PM GMT on October 18, 2011
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296

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Cornell University- Atmospheric Sciences Undergrad; Research Assist.- Onset of Spring Indices Toolbox; Interests- Small spatial scale climatolology

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