Bitter cold continues; more snow on the way

By: sullivanweather , 12:00 PM GMT on February 28, 2014

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Synopsis and surface features




A powerful ~975mb low pressure system currently over the western Pacific, off the coast of California, will be the focus of attention over the next several days as it will eventually become a long-duration winter storm for a good portion of the region. Elsewhere of note, a very strong (>1040mb) arctic high pressure is sprawling across the Canadian Prairies, building toward the northern Plains. This arctic high will also become a very important factor in the evolution of the upcoming winter storm. Not to be overlooked is a moisture-starved low pressure emerging in the central Plains which will translate northeast to a position north of Lake Ontario by Saturday afternoon. This system will drop an arctic front in its wake, the position of which will be vitally important in determining snowfall amounts and where the transition zone of ice to rain aligns. Closer to the region an arctic front is currently exiting the coast and high pressure is building down from the central Great Lakes as another arctic airmass settles in across the Northeast.


Short-term Forecast


The last of the snow showers and squalls associated with the latest arctic trough passage are now exiting the New England coastal regions of southern Maine and the Cape Cod region. Left behind is a bitterly cold arctic airmass being ushered into the Northeast on 15-25mph winds, with higher gusts. A sheared band of light to moderate lake effect snowfall continues to stream off the still unfrozen Lake Ontario. This will bring two to as much as six inches of snow across the Mohawk Valley/southern Tug Hill region, highest amounts confined in areas closer to the lake. Otherwise expect mostly clear skies and slackening winds overnight, leading to a very cold morning. Temperatures will fall below zero across most of interior New York and Pennsylvania and single digits will extend down to the coast. Perhaps escaping the single numbers will be extreme southern New Jersey, eastern Long Island, southeastern New England and eastern Maine where low teens will suffice; one last cold morning to close the books on this meteorological winter.
Friday will break bright and sunny, despite the cold, for most locations. Lake effect snowfall will end in the morning hours across the Mohawk Valley under subsidence provided for by high pressure. This subsidence inversion will also keep it quite chilly, given the modest sun angle on February 28th. Highs will struggle to climb to ten across far upstate New York and northern New England. Teens will pretty much cover the rest of the interior. Low twenties will do for the coastal/urban centers. These temperatures will challenge daily record low maximums for many locales.

The area of high pressure builds toward Maine during the evening hours Friday and temperatures will begin to warm aloft quite rapidly. At the surface, however, it will be a different story as clear skies, light winds and the very dry airmass still in place will cause a rapid drop in temperatures early in the evening. The normally colder spots across interior Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and southern New England; sheltered valleys, pine barrens, places where deeper snow cover still exist, have the potential to drop below zero fairly early on in the evening before leveling off around midnight as clouds and moisture begin to infiltrate from the southwest. Elsewhere across these interior sections temperatures will drop into the single digits once again. Coastal locations will see lows mainly in the teens, as will areas west of the Appalachians and up across the lake plain due to increasing southerly flow. Across northern New England temperatures will have a more typical diurnal pattern through the night will temperatures settling within a few degrees of zero for most locations, although some of the colder sheltered valleys of northern New Hampshire and northwestern Maine will get in the negative ten to negative twenty range.


Mid-term Forecast


High pressure moves off to the Canadian Maritime provinces Saturday morning with southerly flow behind the departing high increasing. As mentioned in the synopsis, low pressure will be moving well north of the region, across Ontario and Quebec, aiding in the southerly flow. This will allow for a noticeably milder day, with temperatures just about everywhere across the Northeast some ten to twenty degrees higher than Friday's highs. Breaking the freezing mark will be coastal and valley locations up to southern New England and areas west of the Appalachians. The Pittsburgh area, for example, may even break into the mid-40s. Across the interior, it will be another day in the ice box as temperatures will only climb into the twenties. So although it will be milder and twenties will be a nice climb from the single numbers above and below zero from the morning, highs will still average several degrees below normal. The somewhat brisk wind from the south will, at times, push wind chills into the low teens and single digits.





Some details are starting to present themselves with a bit more clarity in recent model guidance regarding the evolution of the impending winter storm but before the main storm arrives, an arctic front associated with the low pressure over Quebec will sag southward during the overnight hours Saturday. A general light snowfall will develop in the post-frontal airmass and this will deposit a coating to two inches of fine, powdery snow through the morning hours on Sunday across the interior. The higher amounts will be concentrated toward the western half of New York and Pennsylvania. Closer to the coast, any light precipitation from the frontal system may fall in the form of light rain or sleet and won't amount to much. Conversely, for the St.Lawrence/Champlain Valley region northeastward to northern Maine, the overnight Saturday period will start cloudy with some scattered snow showers. Then skies will gradually clear toward daybreak Sunday morning and continue to do so during the day on Sunday as dry air from high pressure to the north filters down.


Long-term Forecast



SNOWMAP(S)

Event #1 Sunday




Event #2 Monday




Total snowfall from both events



text forecast will follow soon

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46. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
12:22 AM GMT on March 06, 2014
sullivanweather has created a new entry.
45. listenerVT
3:20 PM GMT on March 05, 2014
Quoting 44. VTUPSer:


Was this from one storm recently? I'm near Pico and our snow pack isn't quite as fresh as that. Well, it's fresher now after a couple of inches Tuesday night.


No, the photo post explains that it's March 7th and 13th, 2011.
Member Since: July 11, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5598
44. VTUPSer
11:51 AM GMT on March 05, 2014
Quoting listenerVT:
Well, we were expecting -10F last night and got -15F.

I thought that would be the last of the minus temps this year, but now they have -8F for tomorrow night.

We have about 3-4" of ice with at least 3" of snow on top. But! This was the scene at my house on 7 March 2011:




(There's a red pickup truck in that photo.)


See?



Was this from one storm recently? I'm near Pico and our snow pack isn't quite as fresh as that. Well, it's fresher now after a couple of inches Tuesday night.
Member Since: February 2, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 22
43. crowe1
10:11 AM GMT on March 05, 2014
From KALB long term:

As far as precipitation is concerned...just isolated snow showers
with each upper impulse and cold front with the lack of moisture.
Beyond Tuesday...the pattern could be setting up in a more
interesting manner with some vague signals of some loose consensus
in guidance and ensembles of some sort of more active phase...but
that is quite far out in time and have lots of time to watch things.

Weather may occur in the future...
Member Since: January 26, 2007 Posts: 15 Comments: 922
42. listenerVT
4:56 AM GMT on March 05, 2014
Well, we were expecting -10F last night and got -15F.

I thought that would be the last of the minus temps this year, but now they have -8F for tomorrow night.

We have about 3-4" of ice with at least 3" of snow on top. But! This was the scene at my house on 7 March 2011:




(There's a red pickup truck in that photo.)


See?

Member Since: July 11, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5598
41. PhillySnow
1:12 PM GMT on March 04, 2014
Hi all. That was apparently an extremely difficult forecast, since those who followed the storm development all got it wrong. I've learned to really respect you all for your patience and curiosity while figuring out what's going to happen from so many variables.

And speaking of which, sullivanweather, I realized I misunderstood your thoughts on climate change. I've since been reading up and conversing with P about it to understand why some meteorologists I respect say the theory is faulty. The situation among the scientific and political communities is now boggling my mind. There's more research for me to do, clearly, and I thank you for pointing out that there is disagreement in the scientific community. I suspect most lay people like myself do not realize that.
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40. listenerVT
2:50 AM GMT on March 04, 2014
Deleted this and incorporated it into my post above.
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39. jerseycityjoan
9:18 AM GMT on March 03, 2014
Sully,

Don't worry too much. It is interesting to do a post-mortem as a learning experience but there will always be surprises in weather, I think.

I myself still prefer the old Wunderground.com format.

Thank God they are still allowing us to get to it via classic.wunderground.com

Maybe your phone can handle Classic but not the current version.

Good luck.
Member Since: September 29, 2001 Posts: 0 Comments: 186
38. sullivanweather
5:10 AM GMT on March 03, 2014
Hey everyone. Sorry I've been away. I had to get some rest yesterday and by the time I finally got up I had my weekend plans to get to. Unfortunately, I can't really access this site on my phone anymore, it just shuts it down. Literally. The phone just turns off.

I can't believe I actually have to do this but I'm going to have to write up a postmortem blog on how this storm became such a bust (obviously, not a bust for our friends living in Virginia) and why it continually dived south in the models with each run. In many cases, these were lurches south, as in the difference between the 3/1 00Z EC and the 3/1 12Z EC. The difference between the two runs were remarkable given how consistent the prior 5 or 6 runs had been.

I'm actually kind of disappointed in myself for not picking up on the southward track of this storm. All the ingredients for a south track were there, staring us right in the face. A strongly confluent flow pushing south from eastern Canada. A record breaking cold airmass being shunted south by a 1050!!!! millibar high pressure system. These were all-time March records being shattered across the northern Plains the last couple days. From modelling the storm, itself, disregarding track; the models did stupendous with this storm. On a temporal scale and structurally-speaking. This storm was unwavering in the models. It all came down to track. And track, this time, was determined by the large scale features at the surface and aloft which should have clued us in but it didn't. We rely a bit too much on the models in some cases. Why this time?? Maybe because it was a system coming in from off the California coast and we haven't seen any such system this year? Perhaps.

Either way, it's storms such as these which make forecasting such a challenging task to accomplish. Sometimes you think you've considered everything but just didn't give the proper weight to the key item at the appropriate time. And that changes everything.

Member Since: March 8, 2007 Posts: 273 Comments: 12612
37. Rhodyguy
4:47 PM GMT on March 02, 2014
Sully, I don't usually ask my local forecast as I can generally interpolate from other posts but I must say I a bit confused this morning, yesterday coastal RI looked like we were in the middle of the snow band now I'm not sure if well get 8" on nothing? 1200 GFS biased south? But how much? Look forward to your take on what's really happening
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36. cchamp6
4:37 PM GMT on March 02, 2014
Sully,

Any updates? Did this mess really just dive south on us like this?
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35. jerseycityjoan
5:21 AM GMT on March 02, 2014
Re Keeping Us Up To Date on Satellites, Etc.

I assume that for every dollar we do not spend in keeping up to date, we lose several dollars (at least) in inadequate or inaccurate forecasting that leads to physical injury or death, crop damage, manhours lost at workplaces and insurance payouts -- plus FEMA payouts.

It makes no sense not to spend a billion or two or whatever it takes extra each year on disaster prevention and reduction via weather technology.

Why the various groups of people who have a real stake in better weather equipment -- which would seem to include just about every adult in America -- haven't combined resources to do a real lobbying campaign on Congress is beyond me.

There must be more to this than we know.

Oh yeah, we also have defense reasons for wanting tip-top, state of art weather equipment up in the sky and down here below (river gauges and buoys, etc.)

Maybe we are looking at this the wrong way.

We'd all benefit as individuals from better information. Who benefits from the status quo of inadequate information and antiquated and broken equipment?
Member Since: September 29, 2001 Posts: 0 Comments: 186
34. listenerVT
1:28 AM GMT on March 02, 2014
Quoting 23. sullivanweather:
Listener,

The persistence of the cold is what's been rather remarkable. We've really had no one night that was really REALLY cold. The coldest at my station this winter is -9.8°F. But we've been in the single digits 34 times and below zero 13. I have no idea what averages are for this region. There's no first-order climate station for over 70 miles from my house. I would guess in an average year we'd probably get as low as the single digits about 22-24 times and below zero 6-8 times. Looks like we should double those by the end of the cold season.



Thank-you!!

We got down to -7F last night, and I'm hoping that northern shield doesn't get shredded. I have my weather ears up. :-)
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33. Pcroton
3:45 PM GMT on March 01, 2014
Quoting 28. cchamp6:
Im guessing he may trim those amount down a bit. Something just doesnt seem right with the way the models are handling this. I am guessing its the strong cold high pressure. Typically this time of the year the higher snowfall totals would be in my area. Hard to believe the word suppression is being used this late in the season.


I am beginning to loathe the word and it's overuse the past few days. I am guilty of it as well as the term fits but I am going to stop.

I will instead suggest where the arctic boundary will come to a halt and that is where our waves of low pressure will ride along.

There. Much better.

As to this storm I think we have a few too many folks leaping on every new map. Some people have Virginia getting bombed with NYC high and dry now. I kinda, would like to suggest, that even just 24 hours out, the present models still don't know how to render the 500mb feature in Southern California - so why would I trust any one of those models in the 72 hour range? I am not inclined to.

Still think yesterday's 12Z GFS had a decent handle on things. Still kinda do.

Today's 12Z runs won't have any significant better data from the 500mb feature. In fact tonights 0Z runs might not get it in time, either. That would mean 12Z on Sunday is our first real trustworthy runs. By then...well..the primary disturbance will be in Texas and we can see it for ourselves what it's looking to do.

*sigh*



====

Sully, every time I hear someone say to my ideas that there's not enough money to repair or increase our observational capabilities - let alone develop satellite sensing technology that can do all that for us with pinpoint precision - I get angry.

Money is there, it's where it's being appropriated. Right now since "Climate Sciences" allow our government to apply Carbon taxes, Green taxes, Fuel surcharge taxes, shipping taxes, energy taxes - all in the name of the perceived threat of AGW. This thing is nothing more than a giant cash cow. A money scam. It is draining funds into the politician and governmental pockets. While that goes on that's where the funding and grants will be appropriated.

I could expand this to say our infrastructure of water, highway, and electric each have basically a $1T pricetag to fully repair and improve... and to date we have spent 3 to 5 Trillion dollars on our "foriegn policy" since the year 2001.

Money exists. It's just being funneled to other causes that really don't help the common man - but it sure is lining the pockets of the elite - so it will continue to be this way.

Soon we won't be able to use our computer modeling at all for the weather. It will be like the 1950s all over again. Sadly...those guys actually knew how to forecast the weather...unlike today's drones who sit idily by waiting the next model map to dramatically flip and shape their forecast to match.

Aye.......I could go on for days here.

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32. cchamp6
1:30 PM GMT on March 01, 2014
Sully,

Thoughts this morning on snowfall totals?
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31. cchamp6
1:20 PM GMT on March 01, 2014
Nice Pic. Isnt it messing with your head how persistent this cold is? I was in Saratoga Springs last weekend and couldnt believe the Hudson was frozen solid and it had snow cover as well. I feel like I am back in 1989 living in Anchorage AK. I dont know if I should hope for warmth which will destroy the roads or wish for more snow at this point.
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30. sullivanweather
1:17 PM GMT on March 01, 2014
Member Since: March 8, 2007 Posts: 273 Comments: 12612
29. sullivanweather
1:13 PM GMT on March 01, 2014
I decided to head out and take some pics of the Delaware this morning. I figured another below zero night should promote the development of some nice steam and I wasn't disappointed. However, my camera batteries died and my backups were dead too. Maybe the cold got them...
Member Since: March 8, 2007 Posts: 273 Comments: 12612
28. cchamp6
12:40 PM GMT on March 01, 2014
Im guessing he may trim those amount down a bit. Something just doesnt seem right with the way the models are handling this. I am guessing its the strong cold high pressure. Typically this time of the year the higher snowfall totals would be in my area. Hard to believe the word suppression is being used this late in the season.
Member Since: December 21, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 1738
27. originalLT
12:31 PM GMT on March 01, 2014
Hi cc, yeah looks that way but Sully's map has you in the 10-14" range in NW CT. Lets see if he modifies the snow map today or tomorrow. He said 6-8" for me in SW CT.
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26. cchamp6
11:19 AM GMT on March 01, 2014
-5 once again this morning. Seems NWS Albany calling for 2-4". High pressure winning out?
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25. originalLT
5:38 AM GMT on March 01, 2014
Thanks Sully, going to bed now.
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24. sullivanweather
5:28 AM GMT on March 01, 2014
If models continue their trend south there may be some shaving off of the northern half of the northern 10-14" zone in the total snowfall map.

Core of polar vortex over eastern Canada a bit stronger in models of late, could provide quite a zone of confluence over northern New England that will shear the northern shield of the precipitation to shreds. Will monitor the trends and although some of the larger scale features guiding this system along are looking more clear it is still important to note that the core of the system is still off the coast of California and has yet to undergo a true sampling from the radiosonde network over the Southwest. Still going to take another 24 hours for the system at upper levels to fully come ashore and hopefully by then some of the finer details will begin to come together.
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23. sullivanweather
4:23 AM GMT on March 01, 2014
Listener,

The persistence of the cold is what's been rather remarkable. We've really had no one night that was really REALLY cold. The coldest at my station this winter is -9.8°F. But we've been in the single digits 34 times and below zero 13. I have no idea what averages are for this region. There's no first-order climate station for over 70 miles from my house. I would guess in an average year we'd probably get as low as the single digits about 22-24 times and below zero 6-8 times. Looks like we should double those by the end of the cold season.

Member Since: March 8, 2007 Posts: 273 Comments: 12612
22. listenerVT
2:52 AM GMT on March 01, 2014
It's been a cold winter for sure. We've hit minus temps about 14 times in Burlington and about 20 times out here in the sticks, half of those below -10F and 4 below -20F. One more week of sub zeroes ahead, then some warming, beginning Thursday, will be most welcome.
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21. listenerVT
2:30 AM GMT on March 01, 2014
Great to see a new post up, and very informative as always! :-)

Looks like I'm out of luck for snow this 'round, but I don't feel deprived, given the Winter we've had here. We still have plenty on the ground.

We got down to about 3F last night and are already seeing -2.6F tonight! Brrr.

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20. sullivanweather
11:36 PM GMT on February 28, 2014
P,

We're letting these observation networks, satellite deployments, etc., lag behind modernization and replacement because of the funding being dumped into chasing the phantom of global warming. It's infuriating. I've been ranting about this now for a decade and over that decade I've watched exactly what you're describing; the decay of our meteorology at the expense of anthropogenic climate change.
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19. sullivanweather
11:33 PM GMT on February 28, 2014
Hurricane614,

Overnight Saturday night into early Sunday morning arctic front slides by - light snow/snow showers should bring a coating to an inch behind the front between 4am-10am.

Wave of low pressure rides up along front reaching area Sunday afternoon. Snow, or a mix of rain and snow at the very start due to temperatures slightly above freezing in the boundary layer, will begin between noon and 2pm. There will be a 6-8hr period of moderate snow/mix south of I-287/rain south/east of I-78/95. This should leave you about 2-5", lowest amounts closest to the river and in the lowest elevations of the valley, higher toward foothills of Taconics.

Monday morning light snow will begin anew and leave another 3-5" of snow with Poughkeepsie being the break even line there between lower amounts north/higher south. Once south of Cornwall/West Point amounts will start getting into the 6"+ range.
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18. Pcroton
11:25 PM GMT on February 28, 2014
Quoting 16. sullivanweather:
Zotty,

I honestly couldn't say for sure how well models handle systems coming through the Sierras. I do recall vaguely rather poorly. It stands to reason too. Not too many observations are going into the models from this part of the world and once it does move ashore the ob network over the Southwestern US isn't too sparse, but it's not all that dense. I think this is what's causing storm evolution issues in the models.

It would be nice if there had been a few more storms to come through the California and Sierra region this winter to get a sense of how models have handled systems in terms of a seasonal bias. But this is really the only one so far.




The other thing I read recently Sully is that the Buoy network in the Pacific is operating at about 40% capacity...and it's losing 10% or more a year....without repair or replacement.

So our modeling troubles, on the data side of things, is just getting worse.

Certainly a troubling state of affairs.

It is of interest to me how models can have a steady hand in the 5-7 or more day range... and also in the 0-48hr range - but that middle ground - that 3-5 day range they just seem to go off target much as they suddenly did at 12Z today.

I try to wrap my head around this. Nearly no data in the 5 day plus range and they perform logically. Then sparse data in 3-5 day range and they get worse? Almost like that little data is worse than no data at all. Then of course they all "kick in" and "line up" at that favorable 24-36hr period once they are getting the denser data.

I just can't put my finger on that middle time period ground with them.
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17. Hurricane614
11:16 PM GMT on February 28, 2014
Hi Sully.

There is a bunch of uncertainty here in the Mid- Hudson valley. New's is say 3-6, my favorite weatherman saying 4-8, What your opinion on this?
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16. sullivanweather
11:09 PM GMT on February 28, 2014
Zotty,

I honestly couldn't say for sure how well models handle systems coming through the Sierras. I do recall vaguely rather poorly. It stands to reason too. Not too many observations are going into the models from this part of the world and once it does move ashore the ob network over the Southwestern US isn't too sparse, but it's not all that dense. I think this is what's causing storm evolution issues in the models.

It would be nice if there had been a few more storms to come through the California and Sierra region this winter to get a sense of how models have handled systems in terms of a seasonal bias. But this is really the only one so far.

Member Since: March 8, 2007 Posts: 273 Comments: 12612
15. zotty
10:48 PM GMT on February 28, 2014
Sully- what's up! Glad to see the great maps you've put out. Interesting how much warmer you have everything before the front drops through the region. I think you are correct that there won't be absurd snow totals here, open trough, etc, BUT... I was wondering if you have any idea how well models handle storms rolling through the Sierra Nevada range? The storm is soooo stacked right now, and I guess it won't be once it hits those monsters. If it did, though, would that mean a less closed trough?

Regardless I think we are all looking forward to see what will verify. Have a great one (& "hi, Kate!").
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14. sullivanweather
10:39 PM GMT on February 28, 2014
LT,

Very likely in the 6-8" zone.

First wave passes by mainly north of you. You'll get some afternoon showers, possibly ending as sleet or snow Sunday evening. Then it'll be a 8-10 hour wait before the second system arrives around daybreak Monday. This second system should give you a solid 1/2-2/3" QPF with an ~12:1 ratio yielding those snow amounts. Snow ratios are going to be a tough call with this one due to sun angle and the second system occurring mainly during the daytime and lack of dynamics. Mainly, the colder temperatures will mean a powdery snow but the flakes should be on the smaller side. There's nothing which blows me away about this storm in terms of strong lift through the prime snow growth zone or much in the way mesoscale features which could locally enhance snowfall. Mainly just a decent slug of moisture overrunning the arctic front.
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13. originalLT
10:29 PM GMT on February 28, 2014
Thanks Sully, saw your snow map in "P's" blog.
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12. originalLT
10:28 PM GMT on February 28, 2014
Wise guy "P". I Know I'm in a "snow hole " here in Stamford, but really!! Ha Ha.
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11. Pcroton
9:44 PM GMT on February 28, 2014
Quoting 10. originalLT:
Thanks Sully, just saw your post on Pcrotons Blog. So where, in your opinion, does that leave me in Sw CT. when all is said and done?


Half an inch of snow.

*runs*

Member Since: September 26, 2011 Posts: 72 Comments: 12746
10. originalLT
9:29 PM GMT on February 28, 2014
Thanks Sully, just saw your post on Pcrotons Blog. So where, in your opinion, does that leave me in Sw CT. when all is said and done?
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9. sullivanweather
1:33 PM GMT on February 28, 2014
Good morning, Champ!

Same here: -5°F!

13th time below zero this winter.

I'll probably finish writing out the storm forecast later today and post a snowfall map tomorrow when the storm starts to come into range of the more hiRes short-range models.
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8. PhillySnow
1:33 PM GMT on February 28, 2014
Thanks for weighing in on this storm, sullivanweather, and for the discussion, P. It isfun to watch. I do have a little concern about icing, being right around the transition zone at this time. (Media, PA - 10 miles west of south Philly). Seems it'll be cold enough for sleet rather than freezing rain, but it's early yet.
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7. cchamp6
1:28 PM GMT on February 28, 2014
Glad to see you on here Sully! Looking forward to your snowfall map. Cold this morning-5!!
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6. sullivanweather
1:17 PM GMT on February 28, 2014
P,

It's going to be a solid storm but I don't think we'll see any absurd snowfall totals from this one. Due to the open nature of the trough aloft and the relatively weak surface pressure of the low the main forcing mechanism for precipitation production will be isentropic lift and synoptic scale frontogenesis. Dynamics and mesoscale banding will be lacking with this storm so, within the band of steadier snowfall, no one area will see totals much higher than the average, nor will any one area receive much lower totals than the average. Snowfall totals will be fairly uniform. This should make for easier forecasting. Problems I see arising will be: placement of transition zone and changeover times. A sooner changeover to snow will bring areas around southern NJ/Penn southern border into the heavier snow band. A later changeover and only a couple inches will fall. This is where the biggest forecast bust potential for the upcoming storm lies.
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5. Pcroton
1:02 PM GMT on February 28, 2014
Thanks for the clarifications, S.

Looks like a really exciting storm. Already been a lot of fun tracking it in the Pacific.
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4. sullivanweather
12:58 PM GMT on February 28, 2014
P,

I'm also going to highlight in the long-term section of the blog exactly what you point out in your first comment.

Seemingly all our big snow events this winter have come following the passage of an arctic front which stalls somewhere around the Pennsylvania southern border region and ends up serving as a focusing mechanism for enhanced snowfall totals. I feel we'll see the same course of events play out here with this latest upcoming storm system -- another very cold temperature snowfall -- followed by some well below zero overnight lows following the storm. There's really no thermal barrier provided by the Great Lakes anymore to modify these arctic airmasses as they come down from Canada. This will continue to be an issue this Spring until at least mid-April. So while there may be several nice warm-ups any cold front has frost potential well into the Spring this year. Gardeners take note.
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3. sullivanweather
12:51 PM GMT on February 28, 2014
P,

When the models initialize they take in data from a variety of sources, one of which being sea-ice cover. Typically, ice cover analysis fed into the models is from data that's usually a day old or older and is run at a constant state throughout the model run. So when the models snow accumulation algorithm is run it will show snow accumulation on top of sea-ice but won't show snow accumulation where there's open water. I was simply pointing out areas over the Great Lakes that weren't showing up in the snow accumulation charts would have snow accumulation as the models were "seeing" areas of the Great Lakes as open water which will have frozen over by the time of the storm's passage several days in the future.
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2. Pcroton
12:08 PM GMT on February 28, 2014
Oh, I also noticed a tweet of yours citing the models using old lake ice data.... and I tried to complete your thought on that but wanted to get your finished thought instead.

Models too warm/too far north at that point I felt - and was this what you were alluding to a day or two ago?

Member Since: September 26, 2011 Posts: 72 Comments: 12746
1. Pcroton
12:06 PM GMT on February 28, 2014
Glad to see you're up for this one.

Models appear to really like PA/NJ for a good dumping.


That is one strong element in the Pacific and it's not going to entirely fizzle out as it heads for the southern plains. A lot of moisture, a strong sub-tropical jet, an intense thermal gradient showing upper 70s in north-central texas and single digits below zero in southern Kansas on Sunday afternoon is going to provide a lot of added energy.

I feel like all winter long the forecasts and models downplayed the significance and strength of these arctic boundaries leading to a much more extreme event and totals each time. I don't see anything down here to think this won't follow suit.

Should be an exciting hit for us here in central NJ.

Member Since: September 26, 2011 Posts: 72 Comments: 12746

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