More snows are coming...

By: Zachary Labe , 9:02 PM GMT on November 19, 2008

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"Afternoon Thoughts" (Updated 11/19)
Extremely exciting weather week resembling a typical winter week in Pennsylvania with clippers and lake effect snow. I will be posting several blogs this week to focus in on each event. This third blog will be issued Wednesday evening covering the clipper system passage on Thursday and the lake effect snow to follow that through Friday night. And then of course a new blog will be issued Sunday of that weekend to account for next weeks weather and Thanksgiving Weather. So overall a busy weather week is ahead for lots of us resembling a typical northwest flow in late December.
As we all know each NWS has a different threshold for posting winter weather warnings/advisories. For example in the southeast last winter during one of the winter storms in Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi they had winter storm warnings out for 2-4inches of snow. But here in Pennsylvania they would only issue winter storm warnings for accumulations above 6inches. It all is dependent on how adapt locals are to driving in winter weather. For example nearly 6inches of snow would shut down Atlanta for days, while over a foot and a half of snow would be needed to shut down Northeastern cities. Well doing one of my morning runs through the NWSs, I noticed that Sterling, VA NWS was going to be operating a new system during this winter for Public-Impact Advisories during the winter. For example a winter weather advisory last winter meant snowfall would be greater than 2inches and less than 5inches. Now if winter storms occur during rush hour with as little as 1inch of snow, a winter weather advisory will be issued. It all is dependent on the time of hour the storm hits and the amount of impact on local traffic patterns. Here is a link from their public information statement… Link. Now many other NWSs have been talking about something similar to this such as snow squall warnings during the winter. I believe that is an even better idea to issue snow squall warnings instead of the special weather statements, which no one even takes serious. Many major car accidents every winter are caused by white out conditions during snow squalls. Here is a link to a great case study of implementing warnings during snow squalls… Link. So overall it will be interesting to see how this new system works in the Washington DC. My personal opinion is the public needs to have a basic set of advisories or warnings. If you get to many special warnings then they will not understand the thresholds and not take things seriously. Your comments are also welcome. Have a great day!!!

"Current Surface Plot"

(Courtesy of HPC)

"Regional Radar"

(Courtesy of Wunderground)

"Regional Advisories"

(Courtesy of NOAA)

"Forecast Discussion" (Updated 11/19)
Ok this forecast discussion will be a bit different than usual because instead of posting a forecast scientific synopsis for Thursday through Saturday, I decided to keep this section just devoted to my forecast of the Alberta Clipper. The sections below will cover the rest of the weather conditions for the next three days.

A very dry atmosphere remains present with dewpoints very low and extremely low for November standards. A shortwave along with a rotating weak cold front will drop southeast from the Great Lakes and track just around the New York/Pennsylvania border bringing some light snows to the state. Some very impressive dendritic levels remain in place with some decent values of Omega. But with weakening isentropic lift and high pressure carving moisture out of the system located to the east, it will generally be a moisture starved system. But it does appear a decent light warm air advection snow will take place with what could be a pretty widespread 1inch of snow. On my snow map the region labled one to three inches will generally be on the lower end of the spectrum except for the west and northern mountains. With very cold temperatures aloft below -10C for H85s, and boundary layer temperatures into the mid 20s or lower, this could make for some decent snow ratios near 20:1 and this will help the fluffy snow across the northern border counties to maybe produce up to 4inches of snow on the northern sides of the west to east ridges with elevations above 2000ft. Some lake enhancement will also help those regions out with some more moisture. Generally QPF will be less than .15inches across the entire state with amounts lower to the south. Areas east of the mountains in the Lower Susquehanna Valley may see a coating to half inch of snow in some areas, but areas east of them will only see a few flurries. Best accumulations will be across Erie, Crawford-Warren, McKean, and Potter Counties. The best chance of seeing an inch of snow will be from the line Raystown Lake-Lewisburg-Mansfield and westward. But overall this should be a fairly widespread light snow event with generally a C-1inch in most locations adding to northern locale's snow packs. Clipper system will pull away completely moisture starved by mid morning Thursday. If anything with my clipper map, I probably went a bit to generous to southern areas, but I sort of have a feeling there will be a bit more moisture with the clipper than what some models show. I sort of like the GFS with this system.

Clipper Snow Map from Wednesday Night through Thursday morning...


"Regional Satellite"

(Courtesy of Penn State Meteo.)

"Current Water Vapor Loop"

(Courtesy of Penn State Meteo.)

"Weekly Forecasts" (Updated 11/19)
Thursday- Clipper system should be departing to the east of the region leaving behind a few snow showers particularily across the north country and flurries elsewhere. Additional accumulations will generally be less than one inch for most areas. Flow will begin to shift from the southwest to the northwest. Moisture will be picked up from the Great Lakes across western Pennsylvania in the form of more lake effect snow. Squalls will be particularily around the Laurel Highlands where favorable banding should bring at times 2inch per hour type snow rates particularily towards dusk. Highest accumulations will be around the higher elevations of southeastern Fayette County and southern Somerset County. But elsewhere accumulations could bring parts of western Pennsylvania a few inches of snow with some Huron-Erie streamers forming and heading towards Pittsburgh potentially around rush hour leaving some quick light accumulations. Winds will be gusty by late afternoon out of the northwest gusting to at times 30mph. Temperatures will be nearly 10degrees below normal with only eastern areas reaching the 40s while elsewhere across the state highs should be in the 30s. Acccumulations for lake effect will generally be the highest in the western slopes of the Laurel Highlands potentially upwards of 10inches of snow with most valley locations across western Pennsylvania near 2inches. Flow begins to become slightly more favorable for northwestern Pennsylvania to get in on the action later Thursday night with squalls forming across the Northern Mountains. Snow accumulations may approach 6inches in favorable snow belts. Lows statewide will be well below normal in the 20s.

Friday- Flow turns north-northwest keeping a widespread cyclonic flow over the state of Pennsylvania with cellular snow showers. Bands will begin to break up over the morning hours and turn into a widespread cellular nature. Most of the heavy snow accumulations will take place in the morning. Shortwave moves over region and enhances snow showers with the arctic front, even a bit of WINDEX showing up for the event. Snow showers will even make it east of the mountains potentially causing C-1inch even in some eastern locations. Some snow showers may reduce visibility to less than .25mile at times. Additional accumulations across western and northern Pennsylvania particularily the snow belts will result in 2-4inches of snow throughout the day. Highs will be well below normal by 10-15degrees with all locations having highs below 40degrees with some areas not getting out of the low 20s up near Bradford. By nightfall bands will begin to start breaking up with snow showers becoming more intermittent. Skies will slowly clear. With snow pack over many mountain areas, lows will drop to near record values across the north in the single digits with elsewhere lows generally in the teens with the southeast in the low 20s.

Saturday- The coldest day of the season will unfold on Saturday with temperatures aloft near -15C, anomalously cold for this time of year by several deviations. High pressure will remain in control with only a few snow showers across the snowbelts mainly in the morning. Additional snowfall will be around a dusting. Sunshine will prevail for most of the day and winds will generally not be as strong. Highs will be near 20degrees below normal and likely not hitting the freezing mark for a majority of the state, except the Philadelphia metro area. Highs may even stay just shy of 20degrees near Bradford with a nice snow pack reflecting the sunshine, but for most locales they will be in the upper 20s to low 30s. Nightfall will bring an extremely cold night. If winds can decouple along with clear skies, there could be some near record lows challenged with most locations below the 20degree mark. Stay warm that night.

"Current River Ice Reports and Ski Conditions" (Updated 11/15)
Well after this cold spell probably next week we will be talking about some ice reports of small ponds and maybe even a few early ski resorts opened up in the Laurel Highlands such as Blue Knob and Shawnee Mountain Ski Area. Snow pack will be building up out that way and conditions will be cold enough to keep the snow pack around along with even some snowmaking. So for those early skiers here in Pennsylvania, you may be able to get out there by this coming weekend and next week towards Thanksgiving. Very nice start to the season. Also some local ponds may start to be gathering ice on the very tops and should be very thin. But still it could pose some problems as it makes it look deceivingly thick especially for younger local children. Water temperatures right now are dropping relatively steadily already in the upper 40s across the shoreline of Lake Erie. This is cold enough to cause hypothermia if fallen into water for an extended period of time. Water temperatures will be rapidly falling throughout this coming week. Snow pack will also be building up in the Adirondacks and Tug Hill Plateau in New York for skiing next weekend along with the White and Green Mountains. Also mountains into Garret County, Maryland and West Virginia may see up past a foot of snow. Stay tuned for more updates on local ski reports. Here is a list so far of planned openings for ski resorts…

Ski Sawmill... 12/08
Ski Liberty... 12/05
Shawnee Mountain Ski Area... 11/29
Camelback Ski Area... 12/05
Blue Mountain Ski Area... 12/05
Whitetail… 12/08

-Link to official reports page from NWS...Link.
-Link to local ski resort snow conditions...Link.

"Current Northeast Snow Depth and Northeast Windchills"

(Courtesy of Wunderground)

"Lake Effect Snow Conditions" (Updated 11/19)
A pretty significant outbreak of lake effect snow is headed our way once again. A clipper system will be departing during the morning of Thursday with some light synoptic snows over the region resulting in a few coatings to an inch or two. Winds will shift from the south-westsouth to the west-northwest with a 280 trajectory bringing impressive banding across the Laurel Highlands. Decent Omega and dendrite growth, along with ice crystal growth should result in some high DBZ bands. With Lake Erie water temperatures in the upper 40s and temperatures aloft below -10C in the 850 layer with 1000-500mb thickness levels near 520, some pretty unstable lake effect snow bands will be produced first across the Laurel Highlands with a nice upsloping flow. Orographic lift will aid highest elevations above 2500ft for nealy a foot of snow on the western facing slopes. Valley locations will see that total cut in half. Some high snow ratios are possible as shear values will be low leading to the development of some steady Huron-Erie streamers. Flow will begin to slowly shift near 300 trajectory by evening on Thursday with lake effect snow becoming more widespread over western and northern Pennsylvania with bands starting to develop in the northwest mountains. Snow accumulations be highest in parts of Crawford, Erie, and Warren Counties with some James Bay-Huron-Erie streamers. Once again snow rates may be high and with cold temperatures snow ratios will be near 15:1 for a pretty fluffy snow. By Thursday night flow will become more steady around 310 trajectory as arctic front approaches the region with weak shortwave. This shortwave will enhance snow shower activity, but with high inversion heights steady bands will begin to break up resulting in more cellular activity. Even some indices on the WINDEX index showing that there could be some heavy squalls including areas east of the mountains. Many areas may see coatings to an inch or two of snow in the heavier snow showers. All areas will likely see at least one snow shower. H85 temperatures continue to drop near -15C resulting in some pretty unstable air. Total snow accumulations for the entire outbreak will be nearly a foot in the northwest mountains and the Laurel Highlands with a widespread few inches of snow across western and northern areas. Elsewhere areas will see dustings to up to two inches of snow.

Additional Lake Effect Snow Map for Thursday Night through Saturday...


"Current Lake Erie Wind Direction and Speed"

(Courtesy of NOAA)

"Current Lake Erie Water Temperature"

(Courtesy of NOAA)

"Long Term Outlook" (Updated 11/15)
So is the cold pattern going to continue through the rest of November past Thanksgiving? Well in this section I will highlight my forecast. Based on past climatology, typically extended cold patterns like this one are not able to last through an extended period of time. There usually has to be a time for the weather pattern to reload up in the Arctic with a relaxation of the jet stream in the United States. Based on what I am seeing I think we keep the cold weather with well below normal temperatures up until Thanksgiving. Between Thanksgiving and December 1 I think we will see a relaxation of the pattern with a Pacific zonal flow. Now something interesting is that the zonal flow may still keep temperatures below normal, as snow pack will have already developed across much of the nation’s northern regions such as the Dakotas and Great Lakes. This will keep the cooler air over the Northeast preventing a real blowtorch of very mild temperatures. During this time the pattern will reload up into the Arctic and northern Canada. Latest GFS does keep the pattern very cold through December 1, but I believe this is an exaggeration of the cold based on a cold-GFS bias. But then the 12z EURO run from Friday afternoon showed extremely cold temperatures around this period, but then this morning’s 0z run showed a more transient weather pattern. So in a way I am sort of going against the grain. I do think by mid to late week of the first week in December we will see an arctic blast that will hold its ground over the region for almost all of December creating a very stormy period. So overall I do not think the pattern is capable of any extreme periods of warmth any time in the foreseeable winter. I do not want to jump the gun, but the pattern is sort of looking eerily similar to December of 95. Remember some meteorologists had the winter of 95-96 as an analog year for this winter. So overall this pattern is quite interesting with many opportunities of snow, and if we can build up an early snow pack here in November across the Lakes, then I think we are in for quite an interesting December. Stay tuned.

"Current NAO and PNA Predictions"

(Courtesy of NOAA)

"Monthly Outlook" (November)
So hard to believe October has already passed, but it has and we are now entering November. Looking at my October outlook I called for normal to slightly below normal temperatures with normal precipitation. Looking at most official climate stations most areas came in with below normal temperatures around 1-2degrees below normal. I am very pleased with my temperature forecast, but as for precipitation almost all areas were below normal in precipitation and many areas did not see rain until the last few weeks in the month. It seems the Fall season has been pretty dry in consideration to normal. Snowfall was highly above normal in all locations with snowfall totals over a foot in parts of the Poconos and areas in western Pennsylvania saw record monthly snow totals including Pittsburgh which I believe saw the 8th snowiest October on record. Looking at now November there are some better signals for the temperature and precipitation totals than there were last month. Last month there were few signals for the overall pattern.

Temperature- Temperatures look to be near normal across much of Pennsylvania, except southern Pennsylvania which should see below normal temperatures. Across other parts of Pennsylvania I cannot rule out some slightly below normal reports. It seems that the first half of the month will favor above normal temperatures, but clouds from marine layers in an easterly flow will keep temperatures closer to normal in the south. The positive temperature departure should be much higher in the north and west than in the south and east come mid month. By midmonth teleconnective signals are showing a dive-bombing AO along with a positive PNA and a negative NAO. I am thinking the second half of the month will be very cold and that pattern should continue through December. Looking like some nice Greenland Blocking will develop. EURO weeklies and GEFS indicate this pattern switch come midmonth, but the operational GFS is a bit slower to show this pattern change. So overall looking at normal to below normal temperatures statewide.

Precipitation- I think precipitation will be near normal. I am looking at a more active storm track than recent months, but still not anomalous in comparison to normal. Coastal storms look possible along with warm air advection events especially near the pattern switch come midmonth. Snowfall looks to be near normal with almost all areas likely seeing their first accumulating snow before the month’s end. Lake effect snows look possible along with some nuisance clipper type events. Looks like snowfall will be in quite a positive start in comparison to normal for parts of eastern and western Pennsylvania as we head into the start of winter.

"Temperature and Precipitation Outlooks from Climate Prediction Center for next 30 days"

(Courtesy of NOAA)

-Winter 2008-2009 forecast... Link.
-Winter 2008-2009 forecast update... Link.

"Here northeast of Harrisburg 2008-2009 winter statistics"
(Snow Stats)
Current Snow Cover- 2-5.5inches
Monthly Total- 6.00inches
Seasonal Total- 6.00inches
Winter Weather Advisories- 0
Winter Storm Warnings- 0
Heavy Snow Warnings- 0
Blizzard Warnings- 0
Snow Advisories- 0
Winter Storm Watches- 0

(Temperature Stats)
Lowest High Temperature- 31
Lowest Low Temperature- 24
Wind Chill Advisories- 0
Wind Chill Warnings- 0

(Snow Storms Stats)
First Snow - October 29 - Trace
First Snow on Ground - November 18 - Coating
Lake Effect Snow - November 21/22 - 6.00inches

First snow of year... (Blizzard92)
5inches here 10miles northeast of Harrisburg, PA
First snow of year...
First snow of year... (Blizzard92)
5inches here 10miles northeast of Harrisburg, PA
First snow of year...
First snow of year... (Blizzard92)
5inches here 10miles northeast of Harrisburg, PA
First snow of year...

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236. Zachary Labe
1:36 AM GMT on November 24, 2008
TheRasberryPatch- Down to 23degrees all ready tonight. Pretty January like out there once again with some snow on the ground.


***New blog will be coming out tomorrow afternoon containing forecasts for all of next week.
Member Since: December 14, 2007 Posts: 282 Comments: 15095
235. TheRasberryPatch
8:49 PM GMT on November 23, 2008
Blizz - a high of 38.8F with most of the snow melted except like you in the shaded spots where there is still some significant snow.

thanks for stopping by the blog. if you try it let me know and tell me how your birds liked it. i think you will see a huge difference once the find it.
Member Since: January 26, 2007 Posts: 72 Comments: 6252
234. Zachary Labe
8:49 PM GMT on November 23, 2008
wxgeek723- It all takes time with the blog activity. It was definitely quite a cold snap. Highs have been here 36, 36, 43, 35, 31, 38 (today). Those are February typical average highs in a week.
Member Since: December 14, 2007 Posts: 282 Comments: 15095
233. Zachary Labe
8:46 PM GMT on November 23, 2008
weathergeek5- Well more in between the medium and long range. The first cold front will come around the 1-3 of December. Maybe southern jet branch of jet phase for coastal around then? That cold front will be followed with a similar airmass we are now, then around the end of that week comes the coldest airmass, which may be the coldest December temperatures in quite some many years.
Member Since: December 14, 2007 Posts: 282 Comments: 15095
232. wxgeek723
8:44 PM GMT on November 23, 2008
230 comments! I wish my blog was that popular! Lol. Mount Holly noted today that if Philadelphia's temperature does not rise above 40F, it would be the 6th consecutive day that Philadelphia has been below 40F. This would be an all-time record, something even a midwinter cold snap couldn't accomplish. And this is just November. It shows you how intense this cold snap really was.
Member Since: August 28, 2008 Posts: 79 Comments: 3472
231. weathergeek5
8:37 PM GMT on November 23, 2008
The thing I have to realize is this is for next week right? It is now in the med-range. oooh boy walking 20 minutes from the bus stop will be cold. I will have to get my layers ready. The lake effect snow belts will be measuring this by feet before they freeze. I guess this would be classified as a blue norther right?
Member Since: December 25, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1744
230. Zachary Labe
8:31 PM GMT on November 23, 2008
weathergeek5- Yep, some of the ensemble models bring down the -20C across parts of the Northeast which would bring temperatures down to the surface for highs into the teens and twenties for even some of the major metros. Definitely looking to be cold and EURO and GFS are coming together for a pretty decent consensus.
Member Since: December 14, 2007 Posts: 282 Comments: 15095
229. weathergeek5
8:22 PM GMT on November 23, 2008
WOW I see.
Member Since: December 25, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1744
228. TheRasberryPatch
8:10 PM GMT on November 23, 2008
Blizz - that is one reason why i haven't made any suet cakes lately.

jthal - i started a new blog just on homemade suet cakes. take a look at the one recipe i put in there. it is a good one. i will have more to come if i get responses.
Member Since: January 26, 2007 Posts: 72 Comments: 6252
227. Zachary Labe
8:00 PM GMT on November 23, 2008
TheRasberryPatch- Wow, that is cheap. Birds seem to like the suet cakes during the winter. Looks like a high of 38degrees was reached today with about a trace of snow in sunny locations, but still a good 3-4inches in shaded locations, so all in all not bad for snow pack in November.

weathergeek5- It should be horribly cold the first half of December. Just look at the latest 12z runs for the anomalies in that time period from the EURO and GFS. They tell the story... Link
Member Since: December 14, 2007 Posts: 282 Comments: 15095
226. TheRasberryPatch
7:51 PM GMT on November 23, 2008
Blizz - where i found the cakes very cheap is at Agway on Rt 39 just south of Rt 22. I was buying them for 0.59 cents a cake. That is another reason I haven't made any lately. Lazy is another haha
Member Since: January 26, 2007 Posts: 72 Comments: 6252
225. weathergeek5
7:44 PM GMT on November 23, 2008
Thanks! Lately I have been looking at these winters and I am finding similarities to them. I doubt if this winter will be as severe as those 2. However for the mt holly NWS to say that about the winter of 1976-1977 they think that this one may touch that. How is the first week of December looking? I have been hearing it could be the coldest in 20 years.
Member Since: December 25, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1744
224. TheRasberryPatch
7:43 PM GMT on November 23, 2008
jthal i do have a recipe. let me look for it. its been awhile since i pulled it out. the birds would go through it so fast that i would get discouraged. just because of the cakes being gone in no time.
one suggestion - save your bought cake forms. that is what i would use to form my cakes.
Member Since: January 26, 2007 Posts: 72 Comments: 6252
223. Zachary Labe
7:27 PM GMT on November 23, 2008
weathergeek5- For the winter of 1976-1977, here is a link to a map of the temperature anomalies from December through February... Link.

Winterstormsblog- Thanks.
Member Since: December 14, 2007 Posts: 282 Comments: 15095
222. Winterstormsblog
7:15 PM GMT on November 23, 2008
Nice pictures Bliz.
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 86 Comments: 5650
221. weathergeek5
7:06 PM GMT on November 23, 2008
How was the winter of 1976-1977? Because my NWS is talking about that one. I think we hit 40 so the streak has ended:

WILL PHILADELPHIA MAKE HISTORY TODAY???

THRICE SINCE OFFICIAL TEMPERATURE RECORDS HAVE BEEN KEPT IN
PHILADELPHIA HAVE MAXIMUM TEMPERATURES FAILED TO EXCEED 40 DEGREES
FOR FIVE CONSECUTIVE DAYS. THIS YEAR, 1938 AND 1898. THERE HAS NEVER
BEEN SIX IN A ROW. WE WILL HAVE A CHANCE TO BREAK THAT TODAY. BTW
THE NEAREST SIX IN A ROW WAS DECEMBER 1-6 OF 1976, REMEMBER THAT
DECEMBER AND JANUARY?

EXPANDING THE VIEW A BIT, THE LOW LEVEL FLOW IS BACKING AWAY FROM
THE GREAT LAKES AND RADAR IMAGERY IS SHOWING A MARKED DECREASE IN
LAKE EFFECT RETURNS BOTH OVER OUR CWA AND UPSTREAM LOCALES. WE WILL
KEEP THE NORTHERN ZONES FLURRY FREE THIS AFTERNOON. AS FAR AS TEMPS
GO, WE NUDGED MAX TEMPS DOWN A BIT. MORNING SOUNDINGS ARE SHOWING
MAX TEMPS IN THE 30S FOR TODAY. THE AIR MASS WILL CONTINUE TO MODIFY
THIS AFTERNOON, BUT AS WE SOMETIME SEE THE WARMING IS FORECAST TO BE
MORE PRONOUNCED ABOVE 900 MB THAN AT THE SURFACE. SO WITH A COLD AIR
MASS IN PLACE AND BASED ON THE COLD START AS STATED IN THOSE
SOUNDINGS, WE NUDGED THEM DOWN SLIGHTLY. ON A RELATIVE BASIS IT WILL
FEEL BETTER THIS AFTERNOON THAN YESTERDAY, STILL MAXIMUM
TEMPERATURES WILL BE AROUND 10 DEGREES LOWER THAN NORMAL.

NO CHANGES WERE MADE TO FORECAST MINS OR EXPECTED INCREASE IN CLOUDS
FOR TONIGHT.

Member Since: December 25, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1744
220. jthal57
6:18 PM GMT on November 23, 2008
RaspberryPatch-do you have a good recipe for suet? I have thought about trying to make my own, just haven't made the leap yet!
219. Zachary Labe
5:52 PM GMT on November 23, 2008
TheRasberryPatch- Yep, I put them up for the winter more than even regular bird seed. I found that at Bass Pro they have really good deals on suet cakes with plenty of varieties.
Member Since: December 14, 2007 Posts: 282 Comments: 15095
218. TheRasberryPatch
5:21 PM GMT on November 23, 2008
you put suet cakes up for the winter? i have had some cakes last 2 weeks and some last a month. when i used to make them myself, the birds would have them done in a couple of days.
they like the homemade kind so much more, but who doesn't prefer homemade to store bought.
losing a lot of snow. might be able to get one last cut of grass. i was hoping to get that done this weekend, but we know that isn't going to happen. i wanted to give it a buzz cut and mulch any remaining leaves on the ground.
Member Since: January 26, 2007 Posts: 72 Comments: 6252
217. Zachary Labe
3:18 PM GMT on November 23, 2008
TheRasberryPatch- Birds have been very active. Actually just yesterday I put some suet cakes up for the birds for the winter.
Member Since: December 14, 2007 Posts: 282 Comments: 15095
216. TheRasberryPatch
3:15 PM GMT on November 23, 2008
I see you have your feeders still up Blizz. i am sure the birds are grateful with the snow and cold the past week or so. my feeders have been very active the past two days.
if this cold keeps up we may see the bay freeze over also.
Member Since: January 26, 2007 Posts: 72 Comments: 6252
215. Zachary Labe
2:55 PM GMT on November 23, 2008
WxWyz- Thanks. Brr!!! It sure is cold across many areas, except the west and looking to stay cold.

pittsburghnurse- There were quite a bit of single digits around the state last night. Looking like a wintry mess headed towards much of Pennsylvania, so lets hope they are more prepared with the salt trucks. If not, it is going to be a long winter.
Member Since: December 14, 2007 Posts: 282 Comments: 15095
214. pittsburghnurse
2:41 PM GMT on November 23, 2008
Good morning Bliz and all,

At 7am, it was 9F at my house. The official reading from NWS was 12F. Single digits already. There appears to have been a light dusting of fine snow overnight. Right now the sky is cloudless with bright sunshine.

I have to work tonight. Glad for the higher temps and dry roads. I work nontraditional hours like a lot of people in health care. I hope the salt trucks help me out here as the winter progresses. There's no getting out of my neighborhood when it's icy.

Member Since: October 14, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 639
213. WxWyz
2:18 PM GMT on November 23, 2008
Like those snow pics, Blizzard.
Still pretty dry here. Friday mornings low was 19 which was pretty chilly. Warm up today ahead of cold front and the forecast has been iffy on any precip for today. Have a good one!
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 352 Comments: 3847
212. Zachary Labe
2:06 PM GMT on November 23, 2008
sullivanweather- Brrr!!! I will come check them out.

JDinWPA- If this cold keeps up I would not be surprised to see a lot of Lake Erie frozen over. Water temperatures are skyrocketing downward all ready with snow pack on all shores. Should be an interesting situation to monitor.
Member Since: December 14, 2007 Posts: 282 Comments: 15095
211. JDinWPA
2:04 PM GMT on November 23, 2008
Good morning Bliz. Overnight low of 12.6 here. But, this morning, the sun is shining and the birds are singing. It feels like the light at the end of the tunnel, even though I know, sigh, it's really the headlights of an oncoming train.

When the time comes, the ice jams on the rivers should be spectacular this season. It's been a while since there's been the big blocks of ice littering the river banks.
210. sullivanweather
1:46 PM GMT on November 23, 2008
5.4°F this morning here.

Got some great pics posted. Snowflakes from the lake effect that drifted down overnight.
Member Since: March 8, 2007 Posts: 273 Comments: 12612
209. Zachary Labe
1:32 PM GMT on November 23, 2008
pittsburghnurse- Thanks. I always look forward to reading everyone's comments and inputs even if we don't agree.

JDinWPA- Well more snow is coming, so you may just be building up that snow pack for quite a long time. Chance of snow all week for your area. Winter is here to stay. Long term guidance shows even colder weather for beginning of December.

cchamp6- Wow, it is hard to believe it is November.

jthal57- This week's forecast one will be a complex one at that. I want to see the 12z runs before posting some of my thoughts. Then tomorrow I will post a new blog with snow map covering the entire event.

TheRasberryPatch- It will probably be a bit colder than forecasts with snow cover. Roads here are still white, dumb township. But you are right most of the snow will likely melt.


***Low of 14degrees here this morning, which ties the record at Middletown for the date.
Member Since: December 14, 2007 Posts: 282 Comments: 15095
208. TheRasberryPatch
1:23 PM GMT on November 23, 2008
low of 20.5F. from the forecast might get most of my snow melted. we will see. i got another 1/2"-1" accum from that shower late afternoon early evening.
Member Since: January 26, 2007 Posts: 72 Comments: 6252
207. jthal57
1:08 PM GMT on November 23, 2008
Blizzard- low of 17F here this AM with some flurries! Finally! I am a bit confused over the upcoming week's forecast...your thoughts?
206. cchamp6
12:33 PM GMT on November 23, 2008
Low temp. of 5.9 here this morning. BRRRRRRR!!
Member Since: December 21, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 1641
205. JDinWPA
4:31 AM GMT on November 23, 2008
Good evening Biz. Well, we had another inch on the deck this morning with an overnight low of 16.6 and a high of 26.1 today. There were some snow globe flurries off and on today. You know, the kind where there's flakes flying in the air but nothing is added, kind of like when a snow globe is shaken.

I was reading past posts about bizzards and snowy winters. The only true blizzrd I have lived through was March of 93, when we got around 27 inches of drifting, blowing snow in just over 24 hours. (I think that total is correct, but could have been more.) There were chest-high drifts in my driveway. It's been the only time we had to call a plow truck in.

The were some rough winters in the late 80s. One night I was on my way home after stopping at the store on the way home from work, when I ran into a white-out 1 1/2 miles from home. Everything was white and I wasn't sure where the road was. I ended up following the electric poles that I knew were along the road, all at a snail's pace. I did make it into the driveway, although halfway in, the truck slid sideways and I buried it in the snow-pack walls that lined the driveway that winter. That truck was a '81 full-sized, 1 ton chevy 4X4, similar to a small tank. But there it sat, buried to the headlights (which were 4 1/2' off the ground) in that packed snow.

You know, I'm really not missing those days at all, now that I think about it! lol!
204. pittsburghnurse
2:50 AM GMT on November 23, 2008
Congrats Bliz on your friendly blog spot. I enjoy the statewide and regional net that's been cast. Seems we're pro, amateur and just plain interested. Sometimes we just stop in to say hi. I'm learning lots about weather lingo from your blog and just learning how to live on the other side of the Mason/Dixon line in the winter. Thanks everyone!

Lake effect is very interesting. You can have sunshine one minute, dark clouds the next, light snow showers that turn into an intense white out snow squall in an instant, then it all stops and there could be filtered sunshine again.
Member Since: October 14, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 639
203. Zachary Labe
2:19 AM GMT on November 23, 2008
TheRasberryPatch- Full inch of snow here before it stopped. Pretty impressive making the two day total of 6inches of lake effect. I wish we had lake effect snow too more often, very interesting to watch, but causes lots of travel problems.

seflagamma- Thanks. Just finished shoveling outside. More snow here next week. Have a nice evening!!!

Snowlover2010- Yep, quite possible, especially with evaporational cooling.

cchamp6- Well you got all the thunderstorms during the summer along with a great winter last winter; it is our turn, lol.

weathergeek5- Interesting, thanks for posting. Every point hits head on with me.


***By the way, thanks everyone for posting, my first 200 comment blog today. Also by the way it is 19degrees here, going to be a cold night.
Member Since: December 14, 2007 Posts: 282 Comments: 15095
202. weathergeek5
11:37 PM GMT on November 22, 2008
Here is the prediction of the winter by NBC10's Glenn "Hurricane" Schwartz:

So, that’s why I’m tending to go with the cold and snow pattern with 25 to 35 inches for the season."

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The winter could be an icy and cold one in the area.
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NBC10 Meteorologist Glenn Hurricane Schwartz is predicting 25-35 inches of snow in his long-range winter forecast.

It's Gonna Be Rough
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This all started for me in 1997.

A very strong El Nino was developing in the tropical Pacific. There was an article in a magazine correlating strong El Nino’s with warm winters. So I went on the air and predicted a very warm winter with very little snow.

All three winter months (December, January, and February) made the Top-10 warmest lists in Philadelphia and we had less than one inch of snow during the whole winter!

It worked out so well that viewers expected me to do the same thing the next year. The whole thing started -- pardon the pun -- snowballing and before too long the other stations in town were making winter forecasts (often, coincidently? the same night NBC 10's airs).

Seasonal forecasting has come a long way in the past 15 years. But, no one can predict the winter as well as we do with short-term forecasting.

We try to be 90 percent accurate in the forecast for tomorrow but can only hope to do better than 50 percent in the long run. That would indicate “skill” in such forecasts.

In the past 11 years, I’m probably in the 60 to 70 percent accuracy range depending on how strictly it’s judged. It’s very hard to quantify accuracy of such forecasts, partly because I’ve gotten more specific over the years.

Others remain more generic, so how can they be compared?

I just hope that overall the long-range forecast has been of help to those who care about what is likely to happen in the most crucial season of the year. Last year turned out well, accurately predicting very little snow and above average temperatures. Some of the details were off, but the general trend was right on the mark.

The pressure exists now to put out a forecast every November. Frankly, there have been some years when I wish I could just pass but that doesn’t occur in the real world.

This year is far from a sure bet but there are strong signs of certain things.

Here it goes:
The first thing I look at is trends. While the atmosphere varies greatly each year and no two seasons are alike, there are tendencies that show up when we look to the past.

For example, we had only 6.3 inches of snow last winter. What happens in the winter after one with less than 10 inches of snow? The tendency is for the season to be snowier than average.

In fact, some of our snowiest winters occurred after a small snow season.

* Our record winter of 1995-'96 was preceded by a winter with 9.8 inches.
* The year before our 2002-3 season of 46.3 inches we only had 4 inches!

On average, we get 22 inches after a low snow season above the long-term average of 19.3 inches.
Over the past 20 years, the average is more than 25 inches.

A second trend is what has happened in October and November. Cold October and November’s tend to have colder and snowier winters than average.

Tony Gigi of the National Weather Service has done much of the research in this area. This October was a bit below average with temperatures -- after a mild start, November may turn out to be below average, too.

Another trend is the frequent coastal storms we’ve seen in the past couple of months. The atmosphere is obviously favoring a coastal storm track, which can be favorable for big winter storms if there is enough cold air.

Now we get to the overall conditions in the oceans and atmosphere, leading off with La Nina or El Nino.

Last year was at least a moderate La Nino, which often leads to mild winters.

This year, we are much closer to a neutral East Pacific. Looking back in history shows neutral years tend to be colder and snowy here.

Here’s the comparison from last year to now: 2007 vs. 2008

Just as the El Nino/La Nina is an oscillation in the ocean (called ENSO), there are others in the atmosphere that can be detected.

*
The Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) which is related to the ocean temperature pattern in the Pacific.
*
The Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (QBO), where high winds switch from easterly to westerly every couple of years or so.
*
And the better known North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), which is related to ocean temperatures in the North Atlantic.

The QBO stage, in particular, is the opposite of what we saw last year and the PDO is also trending toward the opposite stage as last year. The NAO is still so variable that it is basically unpredictable months in advance.

When we look at all the indexes, we try to find previous years with similar conditions. They are called "analogs." The "analogs" have been very helpful in previous winter forecasts.

This time, the closest years to this one are 1959-60, 1961-62 and 1966-67. The winter of 1961-62 was the closest analog I found.

Let’s see what happened in those winters.

Amazingly, all three had very similar weather -- basically cold and snowy. Furthermore:

*
Each November had some snow
*
December had significant snow
*
January was the relatively warmest month compared to average with very little snow
*
February had significant amounts of snow
*
March had quite a bit of cold and snow.

So, that’s why I’m tending to go with the cold and snow pattern with 25 to 35 inches for the season.

The snow season should start early and end late compared to average around here. There also will be quite a number of days with temperatures below 20 degrees.

Interestingly, the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center is predicting another very mild winter, so my forecast goes against that. That’s because it’s not a guarantee, folks -- it’s a forecast. Please keep that in mind if I fall on my face.
Member Since: December 25, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1744
201. cchamp6
11:12 PM GMT on November 22, 2008
High temp. of 26 here today. A few flurries, thats all. You guys are lucky down there with all the snow. It was windy and miserable here today.
Member Since: December 21, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 1641
200. Snowlover2010
11:01 PM GMT on November 22, 2008
NWS State College now says I could see several inches of snow Mon night thru Tues. Is this really possible?
Member Since: January 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 1003
199. TheRasberryPatch
10:27 PM GMT on November 22, 2008
i have close to another 1/2" and still coming down good and for the first time it is laying on the roads.
would love to see this scenario play out more during the winter. we hardly ever get a good lake effect like this for 2 days.
Member Since: January 26, 2007 Posts: 72 Comments: 6252
198. seflagamma
10:16 PM GMT on November 22, 2008
love your snow pictures from yesterday. I see you did get a lot of snow.. and you say it is still snowing in your part of PA???

That is so wonderful!!!

have a great weekend and have fun playing in all that snow.
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 297 Comments: 40882
197. TheRasberryPatch
10:14 PM GMT on November 22, 2008
yea, Blizz its snowing pretty good here also. good size flakes. wow, 6 inches? i lost a lot this afternoon, but still have some. no where near 6" even in the shade
its ashame the radar can be set better.

Sparty is taking it on the chin.
Member Since: January 26, 2007 Posts: 72 Comments: 6252
196. Zachary Labe
10:12 PM GMT on November 22, 2008
jthal57- High of 31degrees here. Still snowing moderately here with some areas in the yard with 6inches in the shadows.
Member Since: December 14, 2007 Posts: 282 Comments: 15095
195. jthal57
10:09 PM GMT on November 22, 2008
Blizzard- High of 32F today. Incredible. I know many around the state have had snow (not here), but the cold is just as amazing.

WE ARE................PENN STATE
194. Zachary Labe
10:03 PM GMT on November 22, 2008
TheRasberryPatch- Did I move to Oswego, NY? Lol, snowing to beat the bandits here with almost another inch of snow. Radars can barely pick up on band. I am using same radar you are, but not sensitive enough. Lake effect snows always have a hard time being picked up by radar.
Member Since: December 14, 2007 Posts: 282 Comments: 15095
193. TheRasberryPatch
9:57 PM GMT on November 22, 2008
i saw what you had wrote Blizz. you would think we were in mid January.
so far just a dusting here. what radar are you checking out. the state college nexrad shows the streamers, but it isn't nearly sensitive enough to pick up the shower i am getting right now.
Member Since: January 26, 2007 Posts: 72 Comments: 6252
192. Zachary Labe
9:35 PM GMT on November 22, 2008
TheRasberryPatch- Really coming down here with nearly .5inches of snow as an estimate. Did you check out our NWS forecast for next week? Looking wintry.
Member Since: December 14, 2007 Posts: 282 Comments: 15095
191. TheRasberryPatch
9:29 PM GMT on November 22, 2008
I am getting that shower now, Blizz. This past week is amazing. i believe the average high is close to 50 and we have been in the low to mid 30's most of the week.

GO SPARTANS
Member Since: January 26, 2007 Posts: 72 Comments: 6252
190. Zachary Labe
9:28 PM GMT on November 22, 2008
Well what an end to the afternoon, very small but intense squall over my area for last 30minutes with visibilities near .25mile at times at a fresh little accumulation of snow which I will measure later when it is over. I also have another picture I will post tonight of this squall
Member Since: December 14, 2007 Posts: 282 Comments: 15095
189. Zachary Labe
9:12 PM GMT on November 22, 2008
NWS seems to have gone with a colder scenario for next week for my area...

Monday: A chance of rain and snow before 1pm, then a chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 43. Calm wind becoming south around 6 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.

Monday Night: Snow likely. Cloudy, with a low around 32. Chance of precipitation is 70%.

Tuesday: Snow showers likely. Cloudy, with a high near 35. Chance of precipitation is 60%.

Tuesday Night: A chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 29. Chance of precipitation is 50%.

Wednesday: A chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 38. Chance of precipitation is 50%.
Member Since: December 14, 2007 Posts: 282 Comments: 15095
188. weathergeek5
9:08 PM GMT on November 22, 2008
Just started to snow here again; very light.
Member Since: December 25, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1744
187. sullivanweather
9:06 PM GMT on November 22, 2008
I don't think I'll get much more than a dusting here, if anything.

Although the flurries have recently started to pick up in intensity. The sun is only 40 minutes away or so from setting so I think the bands are starting to expand more as terrestial convection wanes.
Member Since: March 8, 2007 Posts: 273 Comments: 12612
186. Zachary Labe
9:00 PM GMT on November 22, 2008
sullivanweather- Based on radar and what is coming down and already just appeared on ground we may see .5-1inch additional. I recently have despised the NAM QPF maps. Seem to be way off lately.
Member Since: December 14, 2007 Posts: 282 Comments: 15095

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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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