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Miller-B Type Winter Storm System

By: Lee Grenci, 8:13 PM GMT on March 12, 2017

To my dismay, I read a short-range discussion about the imminent winter storm along the Atlantic Seaboard tomorrow night and Tuesday. I quote: "A low pressure system crossing the Midwest states is expected to phase (sic) with another low off the southeast U.S. coast." I don't know about you, but the word, phase," in this context suggests two low-pressure systems merging along the East Coast. It's just not true.

For the record, I usually reserve "phasing" to describe the merging of two 500-mb short-wave troughs. The idea that low-pressure systems "phase" is a new one on me.


The 36-hour forecast from this morning's GFS 12 UTC run of 500-mb heights (in meters) and large values of 500-mb absolute vorticity (color-filled) greater than 20 x 10-5 sec-1. Valid at 00 UTC Tuesday (Monday evening at 8 P.M. EDT). Courtesy of Penn State.

Given that 500-mb data are obligatory in any analysis and forecast, let's start there.
The 36-hour forecast from this morning's 12 UTC run of the GFS (above, valid at 00 UTC Tuesday, which is Monday evening at 8 P.M. EDT) showed a compact but feisty 500-mb short-wave trough over Mississippi and Alabama. The solid contours are 500-mb heights (in meters) and values of 500-mb absolute vorticity greater than 20 x 10-5 sec-1 are color-filled.

In time, this 500-mb short-wave trough is predicted to move eastward to the Atlantic Seaboard, and then become negatively tilted as it moves northward along the coast (see animation of the 27-hour to 60-hour 500-mb forecasts below (every three hours). The forecasts are valid from 15 UTC Monday to 00Z Wednesday (11 A.M. EDT Monday to 8 P.M. EDT Tuesday).


An animation of the 27-hour to 60-hour GFS forecasts (every three hours) of 500-mb heights and 500-mb absolute vorticity, Valid from 15 UTC Monday to 00 UTC Wednesday (11 A.M. EDT Monday to 8 P.M. EDT Tuesday). Courtesy of Penn State.

At the surface, the GFS 36-hour forecast, valid at 00Z on Tuesday, shows two centers of low pressure...one just west of the southern Appalachians and an incipient low off the Southeast Coast (below).


The 36-hour forecast of MSL isobars from this morning's 12 UTC run (valid at 00 UTC Tuesday, which 8 P.M. EDT Monday evening). Courtesy of Penn State.

Those two lows have as much chance of "phasing" than I do of winning the Tour de France. For starters, it would be curtains for a surface low to cross the Appalachians to the "Lee side" (Get it? :-). Indeed, a low-pressure system crossing the Appalachians would have to lift cold, very stable air associated with cold-air damming. In effect, cold air damming puts the brakes on low-pressure systems attempting to cross the Appalachians. Instead, the low tends to migrate northward along the western foothills of the Appalachians, where easterly winds downslope and create some slightly negative pressure tendencies (an inverted trough). But the writing is already on the wall...with the short-wave trough heading toward the East Coast, the low west of the Appalachians will eventually dissipate.


An animation of the 27-hour to 60-hour GFS forecasts (every three hours) of MSL isobars, Valid from 15 UTC Monday to 00 UTC Wednesday (11 A.M. EDT Monday to 8 P.M. EDT Tuesday). Courtesy of Penn State.

Meanwhile, the 500-mb short-wave trough will move toward the Southeast Coast (revisit the 500-mb animation), where the temperature contrasts between land and sea provide fertile grounds for cyclogenesis. Indeed, divergence ahead of the advancing 500-mb short-wave (and over the low-level baroclinic zone) will pave the way for cyclogenesis and, eventually, a nor'easter. For proof, check out the rapid development of the coastal low on this animation of 27-hour to 60-hour GFS forecasts from the 12 UTC run this morning (above).

In this way, the low west of the Appalachians is sometimes said to "transfer its energy to the coast." Any way you slice it, the imminent winter storm in the Northeast Monday night and Tuesday will initially consist of two lows...one dissipating low west of the Appalachians and one rapidly developing low along the Southeast Coast.

Such a scenario is described as a Miller-B type storm system. There is nothing resembling a "phasing" of low-pressure systems as the short-range discussion I read early this morning pontificated. Just more sloppy language and science in the age of fast-food meteorology.


The 54-hour GFS forecast for 850-mb isotachs (in knots) and 850-mb streamlines, valid ay 18 UTC on Tuesday. Courtesy of Penn State.

Looks like there is a potential for really heavy snow across interior New England and parts of the northern Middle Atlantic States as a low-level jet stream rapidly imports moisture from the Atlantic. Check out (above) the 54-hour forecast for 850-mb isotachs (in knots) and 850-mb streamlines (valid at 18 UTC on Tuesday, which is 2 P.M. EDT Tuesday). Hmmm...greater than 60 knots at 850 mb...now that's a low-level jet stream!!

Look out Loretta!

Lee

Imminent Winter Storm

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

I read the book of northeastern snowstorms by Kocin and Uccellini, and they described the JFK inauguration eve snowstorm as a low that charged right across the central Appalachians without fading out or developing a secondary low off the coast and said it was unique. Not Miller B and not Miller A with a storm coming up from the south. How do you think that happened?
I found another classification system of mid-Atlantic winter storms, which goes from 'A' to 'E'. Interestingly, it doesn't include the Jan 18-20 1961 winter storm. I don't have the Kocin/Uccellini book in front of me, but from what I remember the track was similar to the thick blue line without a secondary low to the south.

I should comment on this but am too busy at home and work to give it the proper analysis. I will say that phasing arguments are usually made about upper air (500mb) , not surface systems and that they do tend to oversimplify what's going on. This system is northern stream dominated but it departs from the classic ones in ways I haven't had time to analyze in detail. I've always preferred to look at the dynamics of each different setup without using classifications which don't always fit well.

I can more easily comment on other remarks such as how unusual the forecast snow amounts are (they arent!!..
it snows in the Mid Atlantic in March and big dumps are a regular part of our climatology) or that we are having a winter like storm (and again the climatology of these goes to mid April for New England and about April 1 here in the DC area).

The only remarkable part of this system and the preceding and following cold outbreaks is that local vegetation is near record advanced for the date and is more vulnerable to deep freezes than usual. But, at least in DC, the arctic air this weekend is a little less "arctic" than I expected (I was wrong, mid 20s instead of my pessimistic upper teens) and plant damage so far has been minimal to nil this weekend.
Quoting 3. georgevandenberghe:

I should comment on this but am too busy at home and work to give it the proper analysis. I will say that phasing arguments are usually made about upper air (500mb) , not surface systems and that they do tend to oversimplify what's going on. This system is northern stream dominated but it departs from the classic ones in ways I haven't had time to analyze in detail. I've always preferred to look at the dynamics of each different setup without using classifications which don't always fit well.

I can more easily comment on other remarks such as how unusual the forecast snow amounts are (they arent!!..
it snows in the Mid Atlantic in March and big dumps are a regular part of our climatology) or that we are having a winter like storm (and again the climatology of these goes to mid April for New England and about April 1 here in the DC area).

The only remarkable part of this system and the preceding and following cold outbreaks is that local vegetation is near record advanced for the date and is more vulnerable to deep freezes than usual. But, at least in DC, the arctic air this weekend is a little less "arctic" than I expected (I was wrong, mid 20s instead of my pessimistic upper teens) and plant damage so far has been minimal to nil this weekend.


Yes, George. The discussion came from WPC...very surprised. The only context I use "phasing" is between two 500-mb shortwaves. Really not very good when WPC issues sloppy stuff like this.
Whatever happens, the Mid Atlantic has been extremely dry and I am eagerly anticipating the water however it falls. Tuesday morning may interfere with Dr appts but it's been a remarkably undisrupted winter so far. Very Very tough forecast for College Park MD because of temperature concerns but I'm expecting a significant dump (5 ") of sticky dense wet snow Monday night/Tuesday and will have to get my cars off the street as a courtesy to the city.. at least with some effort I can.
Quoting 5. georgevandenberghe:

Whatever happens, the Mid Atlantic has been extremely dry and I am eagerly anticipating the water however it falls. Tuesday morning may interfere with Dr appts but it's been a remarkably undisrupted winter so far. Very Very tough forecast for College Park MD because of temperature concerns but I'm expecting a significant dump (5 ") of sticky dense wet snow Monday night/Tuesday and will have to get my cars off the street as a courtesy to the city.. at least with some effort I can.


Be safe, George. Be safe.
Lee side...LOL

Lee, why does it have to snow on my spring break? How am I supposed to get off when I am already off? :/

Age of fast food meteorology? You should have a system of classification for sloppiness...McDonald's recently came out with a larger and smaller version of their Big Mac burger, perhaps this is a Large Bic Mac Award for sloppiness? :)

-Nathan
Quoting 7. Astrometeor:

Lee side...LOL

Lee, why does it have to snow on my spring break? How am I supposed to get off when I am already off? :/

Age of fast food meteorology? You should have a system of classification for sloppiness...McDonald's recently came out with a larger and smaller version of their Big Mac burger, perhaps this is a Large Bic Mac Award for sloppiness? :)

-Nathan


Nathan!!!!! Aren't you excited? I am. I feel like a kid. Yeah, that's a bummer over Spring Break. Sorry 'bout that. This is going to be a good one, Nathan!!!! Great to hear from you!!!
Quoting 1. BaltimoreBrian:

I read the book of northeastern snowstorms by Kocin and Uccellini, and they described the JFK inauguration eve snowstorm as a low that charged right across the central Appalachians without fading out or developing a secondary low off the coast and said it was unique. Not Miller B and not Miller A with a storm coming up from the south. How do you think that happened?


Brian...I don't recall that storm. I'll have to go back and look at it.

Already seeing TV people describing this as a "merger of two storms." ...with the insinuation that two lows are merging. Bad science!!!! Hope all is well.

Quoting 8. 24hourprof:



Nathan!!!!! Aren't you excited? I am. I feel like a kid. Yeah, that's a bummer over Spring Break. Sorry 'bout that. This is going to be a good one, Nathan!!!! Great to hear from you!!!


I am excited. I just wish I had more people to play with. :/ Hoping my gf will be able to reach me on Wednesday...I am supposed to celebrate her birthday then...and then I can have fun in the snow. :)

I always want the most out of a storm, so I better see 20" on the ground. :-)
Lee, I'm near the edge of the forecasted heavy snow. I hope that since the storm will be at night it comes through :)
In most physics and even math discussions, wouldn't having systems "in phase" mean they have certain dynamical attributes occurring within the same (time) dimension range? It would not likely be a location coordinate, by the way, but a range in which other coordinates are varying in a mirror-like fashion for both systems. Using that meaning, would the phrase possibly apply to this forecast? Does the western low move NNE along with the coastal low, resulting in an in-phase velocity? Certainly, regarding a pressure change phase, if one low is dying while the other grows, they would be out of phase from that dynamical viewpoint.
Quoting 7. Astrometeor:

Lee side...LOL

Lee, why does it have to snow on my spring break? How am I supposed to get off when I am already off? :/

Age of fast food meteorology? You should have a system of classification for sloppiness...McDonald's recently came out with a larger and smaller version of their Big Mac burger, perhaps this is a Large Bic Mac Award for sloppiness? :)

-Nathan


In the January 21, 1985 arctic outbreak, FSU was closed for COLD. 6F with strong winds, coldest of the 20'th century and a lot of heating pipes and other pipes broke on campus so there was a lot of disruption. But still closing for COLD!

If you try to classify sloppines you will find that it is polydimensional with many many different forms :-(
Quoting 13. georgevandenberghe:



In the January 21, 1985 arctic outbreak, FSU was closed for COLD. 6F with strong winds, coldest of the 20'th century and a lot of heating pipes and other pipes broke on campus so there was a lot of disruption. But still closing for COLD!

If you try to classify sloppines you will find that it is polydimensional with many many different forms :-(


LOL!!! You started my day with a laugh. Thank you, George!!!!!
Quoting 10. Astrometeor:



I am excited. I just wish I had more people to play with. :/ Hoping my gf will be able to reach me on Wednesday...I am supposed to celebrate her birthday then...and then I can have fun in the snow. :)

I always want the most out of a storm, so I better see 20" on the ground. :-)


What's her name? Tell her I said Happy birthday. I'll see what I can do about those 20". :-)
Quoting 11. BaltimoreBrian:

Lee, I'm near the edge of the forecasted heavy snow. I hope that since the storm will be at night it comes through :)


I am definitely setting the alarm for 3 A.M. Take an ob. Do some shoveling. There is nothing better than shoveling snow in a snowstorm in the wee hours with peace and quiet. To me, it's the most beautiful aspect of weather. I can't wait!

See, even as I approach 70, I'm still a weather-weenie at heart!
Quoting 16. 24hourprof:



I am definitely setting the alarm for 3 A.M. Take an ob. Do some shoveling. There is nothing better than shoveling snow in a snowstorm in the wee hours with peace and quiet. To me, it's the most beautiful aspect of weather. I can't wait!

See, even as I approach 70, I'm still a weather-weenie at heart!


In the DC area frequent shoveling during the day keeps the pavement clearer and allows insolation to help with melting. The exception to this is if the ground is warm and very heavy snow is forecast followed by bitter cold. In that case it is better to leave at least a few inches on the pavement so it will melt from underneath and be easier to remove at the end of precipitation, then immediatly remove it and allow the thin coating of water left to evaporate before it all freezes. Not doing this makes for a thick layer of ice which is very difficult to remove even with heavy equipment and we had one such snowstorm in the area where at least two school days were lost because the stuff was very difficult to clear from school parking lots.

And as I tell my friends from Minnesota, "Our snow in DC breaks snowblowers" The slop we're likely to get tonight will be that kind of snow. The winter storm warning boundary is two miles west of my location.

We don't get a lot of snow here. But we do get huge dumps (1966, 1979. 1983, 1987 (three separate events), 1996, 2003, 2009-10 (three separate events), 2016.. .. .. ..
Quoting 16. 24hourprof:



I am definitely setting the alarm for 3 A.M. Take an ob. Do some shoveling. There is nothing better than shoveling snow in a snowstorm in the wee hours with peace and quiet. To me, it's the most beautiful aspect of weather. I can't wait!

See, even as I approach 70, I'm still a weather-weenie at heart!


Splitting wood the days prior and stoking the woodstove during is my preferred activity with dogs clustered at various points around it. I've got about three days worth on the back porch and need to split a little more tonight.
Quoting 18. georgevandenberghe:



Splitting wood the days prior and stoking the woodstove during is my preferred activity with dogs clustered at various points around it. I've got about three days worth on the back porch and need to split a little more tonight.


George,

How many dogs do you have? What kind?
Quoting 19. 24hourprof:



George,

How many dogs do you have? What kind?


Two labradors and a cockapoo. Also two cats. The cockapoo was my daughter's idea, she wanted her own dog (and now she's off at college UMD) but the dog has been a great addition to the family and the other dogs (and one of the cats), love her. The other cat tolerates her. My only animal squabbles are between the two cats.

Quoting 15. 24hourprof:



What's her name? Tell her I said Happy birthday. I'll see what I can do about those 20". :-)


Her name is Aubrey. :) She's a chemistry major.

Yes, 20"! :D
Quoting 21. Astrometeor:



Her name is Aubrey. :) She's a chemistry major.

Yes, 20"! :D


Tell Aubrey (like her name a lot) that I said hello and that I wish her a happy birthday. Stay safe, Nathan. Stay safe.
Lee (or George), what does the SPC mean by this?

SUMMARY...Heavy snow will continue to increase and develop
north/northeastward through early afternoon. Snow rates in excess of
2+ in/hr are expected, with embedded higher rates likely, especially
across eastern PA into much of central/eastern NY and western New
England.

DISCUSSION...Early-morning water-vapor satellite imagery features an
evolving baroclinic leaf
in association with an increasingly intense
cyclone over the mid-Atlantic/Northeast states. As of 12Z (8AM EDT),
surface analysis depicts a 988 mb surface low near the MD eastern
shore, with considerable pressure falls of 4-8 mb/2 hours maximized
roughly along the I-95 corridor and immediate coast in areas
spanning DE/NJ into southern New England. This remains
observationally consistent with the intense cyclogenesis expected
over the next 6-12 hours northward along the coast into southern New
England by early evening.

Leaf? LEAF? I thought we were in winter. >.< Now the leaves are evolving? :P
Quoting 23. Astrometeor:

Lee (or George), what does the SPC mean by this?

SUMMARY...Heavy snow will continue to increase and develop
north/northeastward through early afternoon. Snow rates in excess of
2 in/hr are expected, with embedded higher rates likely, especially
across eastern PA into much of central/eastern NY and western New
England.

DISCUSSION...Early-morning water-vapor satellite imagery features an
evolving baroclinic leaf
in association with an increasingly intense
cyclone over the mid-Atlantic/Northeast states. As of 12Z (8AM EDT),
surface analysis depicts a 988 mb surface low near the MD eastern
shore, with considerable pressure falls of 4-8 mb/2 hours maximized
roughly along the I-95 corridor and immediate coast in areas
spanning DE/NJ into southern New England. This remains
observationally consistent with the intense cyclogenesis expected
over the next 6-12 hours northward along the coast into southern New
England by early evening.

Leaf? LEAF? I thought we were in winter. >.< Now the leaves are evolving? :P


The baroclinic leaf is a very distinct and obvious satellite cloud signature characteristic of developing midlatitude baroclinic cyclones. They had been described by the late 1970s because I saw them in my satellite met classes at PSU. It is a very common signature and I would have expected it to be with this storm without even bothering to look for it. In data voids over oceans especially prior to good satellite soundings, it was very useful to look for them to determine whether and where short waves were actually forming and amplifying.


Thanks for another great point for all of us, especially forecasters, to keep in mind, Lee.

Btw, I found it quite interesting how the longwave trough behaved in this storm. First of all the northern part of the trough was unusually positively tilted over the Great Lakes - much more than I can recall seeing in the past - while the bottom (nose) of the trough was still neutral and digging southward. Now while the upper part often lags a little behind the nose in going to a neutral tilt, this trough "top" lagged way behind. Indeed it was still not fully neutral as the trough nose started tilting negatively on Tuesday morning around 0600 UTC. And in the final frame of your loop we can see how a low actually closed off over the Lakes. I'm guessing the different orientations of the top and bottom parts of the trough helped close off this upper low?

At any rate, it seems like there was one clue available for us on Monday that the low would come further westward: the trough started digging further south than advertised by the models thus orienting the upper flow more south to north than south-southwest to north-northeast along the forecast low track. My local office at OKX actualy picked this up and mentioned it in their AFD, but then never lowered their way too high snowfall numbers. Frustrating!

Cheers!
As I've said elsewhere, there were two notable things about this storm in the DC area that caused departures from expected conditions.

THe first is classical and common. THe storm track was a little further west and the warm nose intruded further inland changing PTYPE from snow to mixed all the way to the Blue Ridge here. I expected this here in College Park but did not expect it in our northern and western suburbs but they also got it cutting snow totals down a lot. But okay.. this happens and it was within the envelope of outcomes in my mind Monday midday.

The second was not. With a westward penetration of the warm nose, the low levels actually stayed cooler and DRIED more than forecast Monday night. THis caused evaporative cooling which I thought was done with when we had 32F with a dewpoint of 31 at 10PM moday night to renew when temperatures and dewpoints went back to the upper 20s with rain and ice pellets. Instead of some ice pellets mixed in with cold rain, we had about 1.5cm of liquid equivalent fall as ice pellets or freezing rain leading to a major icing event in our southern and eastern suburbs. Given how far west the warm nose went, I was surprised at how far east the icing persisted, all the way to the BAY (Annapolis had a quarter inch of glaze) and south to Waldorf about 30 miles south of my location. Usually with the warm nose that far west, the icing and ice pellets are confined to points west of about I95. But with rain falling, we were definitely in low level cold advection last night, both DCA and BWI reported two degree dewpoint drops between 9PM and midnight with steady precipitation throughout.

In summary I was not surprised by the changeover to ice.. the warm nose was a moderate probability consideragtion, but I was surprised by how far south and east the icing persisted. This was not a light glaze, it was enough to bring down trees with worst glazing to my east (I got more ice pellets).


Finally as to where the failure lay it was in my analysis, not the models. THey had extensive ice pellets and freezing rain areas Monday nights (pick your model for freezing rain, HRRR and NAM did best but all of them had ice pellets and I discounted it because I did not think there would be enough cold air to form as intense a wedge
as verified AND WAAS MODELED) The silver lining is that this should be easy to analyze a-posteri because it's in the models modeled atmosphere and we can look at the relevant terms in the thermodynamic and momentum equations to figure out why. Model and conceptual misses are much harder to do the post mortem on.


Followup The Capital Weather Gang in DC has a pretty good postmortem on this storm

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weath er-gang/wp/2017/03/15/dissecting-tuesdays-very-cha llenging-and-very-powerful-noreaster/?utm_term=.6a a807cec9ba

Quoting 26. georgevandenberghe:

As I've said elsewhere, there were two notable things about this storm in the DC area that caused departures from expected conditions.

THe first is classical and common. THe storm track was a little further west and the warm nose intruded further inland changing PTYPE from snow to mixed all the way to the Blue Ridge here. I expected this here in College Park but did not expect it in our northern and western suburbs but they also got it cutting snow totals down a lot. But okay.. this happens and it was within the envelope of outcomes in my mind Monday midday.

The second was not. With a westward penetration of the warm nose, the low levels actually stayed cooler and DRIED more than forecast Monday night. THis caused evaporative cooling which I thought was done with when we had 32F with a dewpoint of 31 at 10PM moday night to renew when temperatures and dewpoints went back to the upper 20s with rain and ice pellets. Instead of some ice pellets mixed in with cold rain, we had about 1.5cm of liquid equivalent fall as ice pellets or freezing rain leading to a major icing event in our southern and eastern suburbs. Given how far west the warm nose went, I was surprised at how far east the icing persisted, all the way to the BAY (Annapolis had a quarter inch of glaze) and south to Waldorf about 30 miles south of my location. Usually with the warm nose that far west, the icing and ice pellets are confined to points west of about I95. But with rain falling, we were definitely in low level cold advection last night, both DCA and BWI reported two degree dewpoint drops between 9PM and midnight with steady precipitation throughout.

In summary I was not surprised by the changeover to ice.. the warm nose was a moderate probability consideragtion, but I was surprised by how far south and east the icing persisted. This was not a light glaze, it was enough to bring down trees with worst glazing to my east (I got more ice pellets).


Finally as to where the failure lay it was in my analysis, not the models. THey had extensive ice pellets and freezing rain areas Monday nights (pick your model for freezing rain, HRRR and NAM did best but all of them had ice pellets and I discounted it because I did not think there would be enough cold air to form as intense a wedge
as verified AND WAAS MODELED) The silver lining is that this should be easy to analyze a-posteri because it's in the models modeled atmosphere and we can look at the relevant terms in the thermodynamic and momentum equations to figure out why. Model and conceptual misses are much harder to do the post mortem on.


Followup The Capital Weather Gang in DC has a pretty good postmortem on this storm

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weath er-gang/wp/2017/03/15/dissecting-tuesdays-very-cha llenging-and-very-powerful-noreaster/?utm_term=.6a a807cec9ba




George,

I read that blog and I am not impressed.

"as vast quantities of conveyor-belt laden moisture condensed into heavy rain, and froze into sleet and snow." That's just plain sloppy.

I'm not impressed at all.
Quoting 27. 24hourprof:



George,

I read that blog and I am not impressed.

"as vast quantities of conveyor-belt laden moisture condensed into heavy rain, and froze into sleet and snow." That's just plain sloppy.

I'm not impressed at all.


Acknowledged. I think they answered my question though on why we got the Monday night cooling at the surface, from advection, with warm air intrusion above. Development stronger than forecast led to even stronger cross isobar low level flow than usually happens with these systems (there is always a lot), which advected the cold air in. Most analysts didn't even pick up on the cold in our southern and eastern suburbs Monday night which caused more icing than expected.


I missed the "condensed into rain" part. Cold conveyor belt precipitation does not form from the warm process coalescence mechanism and originates as snow. What goes on in the warm conveyor belt is more questionable but not at issue here.

Actually on another rereading, what is "conveyer belt laden?".. Okay I just missed that
On a side issue December 23, 2015 produced the first warm process convective flash flood I've ever seen in the DC area in the winter months.
One other takeaway from this storm, favorable for weather fanatics everywhere is that it shows the role that skilled human analysis still plays in determining the evolution of a situation. It also illustrates the problems with taking short cuts and applying imprecise conceptual models instead of doing such an analysis. I recognized this and spent most of Monday, working and doing the non weather stuff I need to do to keep my house going while outsourcing my forecast problem to the public forecasters who actually do this for a living
Mr. Grenci,

Although I never had the privilege to have personally been taught by you, over the years I've greatly benefited from your teaching the masses, like here and on Weather World. A good teacher never stops, my best teacher/professor taught me. I would appreciate your help in determining if I'm wrong in saying that forecasts for major storms (excluding hurricanes) are less accurate now than two decades ago?

Specifically seems to me that in the last decade the accuracy of forecasting the local or granular (I think is the term for the smallest grid for a given model) level impact storms has worsened. The models seem to be doing better in recognizing which storms will be major and which won't lately. However, the days when the a meteorologist used "tricks of the trade" to catch errors in the large models and understand how a regions, state level, geography would influence a forecasted event seem to have passed. Am I experiencing a case of 'rosy rear view mirror' syndrome, or a real trend in the meteorological community? Am I perceiving the influence of storm systems behaving more intense as the atmosphere attempts to balance its increased energy levels?

I'd like to better understand how to interpret the weather models and improve my meteorology skill levels. Do you have any recommendations on were I should turn to? I have an electrical engineering degree, so have no problems with math intensive instruction. I guess I found my love of weather too late.

Thank you again for your posts and willingness to keep teaching us.

Really wishing I didn't miss place to choose my own handle, WU-501842 just doesn't cut it. :-)
Mr. Grenci,

Although I never had the privilege to have personally been taught by you, over the years I've greatly benefited from your teaching the masses, like here and on Weather World. A good teacher never stops, my best teacher/professor taught me. I would appreciate your help in determining if I'm wrong in saying that forecasts for major storms (excluding hurricanes) are less accurate now than two decades ago?

Specifically seems to me that in the last decade the accuracy of forecasting the local or granular (I think is the term for the smallest grid for a given model) level impact storms has worsened. The models seem to be doing better in recognizing which storms will be major and which won't lately. However, the days when the a meteorologist used "tricks of the trade" to catch errors in the large models and understand how a regions, state level, geography would influence a forecasted event seem to have passed. Am I experiencing a case of 'rosy rear view mirror' syndrome, or a real trend in the meteorological community? Am I perceiving the influence of storm systems behaving more intense as the atmosphere attempts to balance its increased energy levels?

I'd like to better understand how to interpret the weather models and improve my meteorology skill levels. Do you have any recommendations on were I should turn to? I have an electrical engineering degree, so have no problems with math intensive instruction. I guess I found my love of weather too late.

Thank you again for your posts and willingness to keep teaching us.

:-)
Quoting 30. WU-501842:

Mr. Grenci,

Although I never had the privilege to have personally been taught by you, over the years I've greatly benefited from your teaching the masses, like here and on Weather World. A good teacher never stops, my best teacher/professor taught me. I would appreciate your help in determining if I'm wrong in saying that forecasts for major storms (excluding hurricanes) are less accurate now than two decades ago?

Specifically seems to me that in the last decade the accuracy of forecasting the local or granular (I think is the term for the smallest grid for a given model) level impact storms has worsened. The models seem to be doing better in recognizing which storms will be major and which won't lately. However, the days when the a meteorologist used "tricks of the trade" to catch errors in the large models and understand how a regions, state level, geography would influence a forecasted event seem to have passed. Am I experiencing a case of 'rosy rear view mirror' syndrome, or a real trend in the meteorological community? Am I perceiving the influence of storm systems behaving more intense as the atmosphere attempts to balance its increased energy levels?

I'd like to better understand how to interpret the weather models and improve my meteorology skill levels. Do you have any recommendations on were I should turn to? I have an electrical engineering degree, so have no problems with math intensive instruction. I guess I found my love of weather too late.

Thank you again for your posts and willingness to keep teaching us.

Really wishing I didn't miss place to choose my own handle, WU-501842 just doesn't cut it. :-)


Wow! I am so grateful. I love teaching and I love fighting for sound science, although, like you, I have the sense that it is a losing battle.

I still believe that "choosing the model of the day" is, unfortunately, a default approach to weather forecasting. I also believe that ensembles and a probalistic approach to forecasting, tempered with sound scientific principle, is the right approach.

Yet I constantly see presentations that highlight the European versus the GFS, as if one of them always holds the correct solution. Then presenters choose the model of the day and run with a highly deterministic forecast. Nowhere did I see a probabilistic approach to snowfall, precipitation type, etc. Too bad.

You've probably read this piece I wrote in the AMS Bulletin, but this is how I feel about the current system of forecasting.

Have you considered PSU's online program in weather forecasting (I wrote the original courses)?

Hang in there, and keep trying to learn!!!

And thanks for making my day!

Lee

Quoting 31. WU-501842:

Mr. Grenci,

Although I never had the privilege to have personally been taught by you, over the years I've greatly benefited from your teaching the masses, like here and on Weather World. A good teacher never stops, my best teacher/professor taught me. I would appreciate your help in determining if I'm wrong in saying that forecasts for major storms (excluding hurricanes) are less accurate now than two decades ago?

Specifically seems to me that in the last decade the accuracy of forecasting the local or granular (I think is the term for the smallest grid for a given model) level impact storms has worsened. The models seem to be doing better in recognizing which storms will be major and which won't lately. However, the days when the a meteorologist used "tricks of the trade" to catch errors in the large models and understand how a regions, state level, geography would influence a forecasted event seem to have passed. Am I experiencing a case of 'rosy rear view mirror' syndrome, or a real trend in the meteorological community? Am I perceiving the influence of storm systems behaving more intense as the atmosphere attempts to balance its increased energy levels?

I'd like to better understand how to interpret the weather models and improve my meteorology skill levels. Do you have any recommendations on were I should turn to? I have an electrical engineering degree, so have no problems with math intensive instruction. I guess I found my love of weather too late.

Thank you again for your posts and willingness to keep teaching us.

:-)


My perception, over forty years, is that forecasts at all scales have improved with the best improvement being at the 3-10 day scale from improved global modeling and assimilation techniques to initialize these models. I am disappointed in the progress (positive but smaller than I hoped for 20 years ago) improvements in short range forecasting (out to 24 hours). The growing tendency to hype every weather incident is also, I think a real and growing problem.

I'm also worried that the dynamic meteorology academic community is not doing enough pencil and blackboard applied mathematics work and jumping too quickly to computer modeling of everything.

I don't do enough synoptic analysis (to determine what is really going on right now and what are the models missing) to determine if those skills have decayed in the next generations.
Quoting 31. WU-501842:

Mr. Grenci,

Although I never had the privilege to have personally been taught by you, over the years I've greatly benefited from your teaching the masses, like here and on Weather World. A good teacher never stops, my best teacher/professor taught me. I would appreciate your help in determining if I'm wrong in saying that forecasts for major storms (excluding hurricanes) are less accurate now than two decades ago?

Specifically seems to me that in the last decade the accuracy of forecasting the local or granular (I think is the term for the smallest grid for a given model) level impact storms has worsened. The models seem to be doing better in recognizing which storms will be major and which won't lately. However, the days when the a meteorologist used "tricks of the trade" to catch errors in the large models and understand how a regions, state level, geography would influence a forecasted event seem to have passed. Am I experiencing a case of 'rosy rear view mirror' syndrome, or a real trend in the meteorological community? Am I perceiving the influence of storm systems behaving more intense as the atmosphere attempts to balance its increased energy levels?

I'd like to better understand how to interpret the weather models and improve my meteorology skill levels. Do you have any recommendations on were I should turn to? I have an electrical engineering degree, so have no problems with math intensive instruction. I guess I found my love of weather too late.

Thank you again for your posts and willingness to keep teaching us.

:-)


Bolded in the previous quote. The meteorology discipline needs more people like you!! If you have the resources and time, go for it!
24hourprof has created a new entry.
Quoting 29. georgevandenberghe:

One other takeaway from this storm, favorable for weather fanatics everywhere is that it shows the role that skilled human analysis still plays in determining the evolution of a situation. It also illustrates the problems with taking short cuts and applying imprecise conceptual models instead of doing such an analysis. I recognized this and spent most of Monday, working and doing the non weather stuff I need to do to keep my house going while outsourcing my forecast problem to the public forecasters who actually do this for a living


One last comment, George, about the blog whose link you posted...the short waves DID NOT phase. That guy is just plain wrong.