Ph.D. Student - Earth System Science (UC Irvine), B.Sc. - Atmospheric Sciences (Cornell University)
By: Zachary Labe , 7:56 PM GMT on February 19, 2014
19 February 2014
I remain incredulous toward my ongoing saga with the maintenance staff.
Picture a lovely, turn of the 20th century tudor-style mansion. Picture this mansion turned a'la-frat. And now picture this mansion turned into a small dormitory. Understandably so, given its age and location (yes, the northwestern-most Lake Cayuga bluff is probably not the most ideal for insulation), my residential hall is probably not the most air-tight structure on this here side of the Mississippi. And the ancient steam/radiator heat is probably not the most efficient. But there is a problem. Inside this mammoth structure is a temperature range that shows a greater deviation than the climate of San Francisco.
It began in the fall.
Day 1: temperature outside falls below 32. No heat. Okay, whatever.
Day 2: temperature falls below 25. No heat. Another whatever, although my poor little ivy plant is showing signs of wilt.
Day 3: temperature falls into the teens. No heat
So because the rest of the people living in this virtual temperature hell remain as passive as ants, I decide to send a friendly email to maintenance inquiring about turning on the heat.
3:15 AM. I wake up in a terrible sweat after suffering eccentric dreams of shapes and colors. The temperature in my room is that of a Brazilian rain forest. Alas, I open the window for some soothing Ithacan air. I last about three days. And I have begun to note that the windows to everyone's rooms are open.
This time I decide to send a bit more strongly worded of an email concerning rapidly increasing temperatures via the tudor's radiator. Now lets keep in mind, my version of strongly worded is most people's normal and benevolent text. So, sorry to disappoint.
After great despair, a median temperature is reached.
Fast forward to January.
After a few relaxing weeks off school, I return from winter break. I open the door to my room and a wall of steam greets me to open my pores. It seems our lovely little radiator system is malfunctioning again. Or is it? My ivy plant begins to wilt again from oppressive heat. And once again I turn to the windows and Ithacan air for some below zero temperature relief. This time I last two days. Another email. The next day, I find myself wrapped in a cocoon with mittens and a wool hat over my head. There is no heat radiating from the radiator. Outside, we are at a warm -7F and the wind is howling up the bluff at 50mph (okay, probably more like 15). I decide to google ways to stay warm without the use of a heating system. As a result, I pitch a blanket tent over my bed. The next morning, I awaken to windows that have frozen on the inside glass pane. The cup of water on my nightstand a frozen block. And my ivy plant. Well. Dead. I decide to give it one more night.
Maintenance controls the heat output. And once again, a spiteful tropical rain forest temperature spell is placed back on the building. And yeah, you guessed it. Another email. This exchange continues to this day. A wanted sign now hangs with my photo in the maintenance closet.
Everyone reading is probably now under the assumption that Blizzard92 is a spoiled brat. Nah. Not so. Anal retentive. Maybe. Exaggerator. Maybe. But when annual tuition numbers of $60,000 flicker in your bursar bills, eh well yeah... And when big brother (there's that exaggerator persona coming out again) controls your room's every temperature function. So yeah, maybe just maybe you can see my frustration. Okay. Probably not.
But that is what a blog is for, right? Complaining about life. All I ask for is a night my house plants do not die, and I can visibly see through my windows without excessive steam or frost build-up. That day. That day will be a great day. R.A.N.T. Over.
Its no surprise that the last 15 days have contained their fair share of cold and snowy. The general public is tired of it. Snowlovers are tired of it. I am tired of it. In fact, early statistics may prove this two-week period to be one of the snowiest on record (excluding anomalous KU storms) for the New York City metropolitan area. It is likely most climatological reporting stations along the I-95 corridor will reach their snowiest or at least in the top 5 snowiest season on record.
The jet stream has finally buckled and shifted in an orientation with increasing southwesterly winds aloft bringing in some much-needed warmer air for the east coast.
GFS individual ensembles show very little deviation in solution for this time period as a classic Norwegian-style middle latitude cyclone (sub 988mb) plows through the western Great Lakes. The +10C H85 thermal will rise along with the warm front as far north as the New York/Pennsylvania on Friday with surface temperatures rising into the lower 50s for many areas. Warm sector is pretty nicely illustrated by current guidance, and therefore I am expecting temperatures to exceed current MOS values for this Friday-Saturday time frame. Frontogenic forcing along the face of the cold front in addition to moderately steep lapse rates will focus a band of heavy rain that will move across the Northeast on Friday. The greatest axis of vertical velocity components and lifting mechanisms remain displaced to the north and any surface instability displaced to the south across North and South Carolina. 0-3km shear of around 30 knots is relatively unimpressive and the current SWEAT readings are not even registering. I am not expecting any severe weather for any locations north of a Richmond, VA to Salisbury, MD line. A few rumbles of thunders are possible and gusty showers. But even PWATs are sub +1SD, so nothing standing out there. Most areas will receive around 0.25" to 0.50" of QPF on Friday in the form of rain. This will certainly not be enough to push any areas toward major flooding.
The anomalous warm only lasts for a three or so day period this week therefore, limiting any rapid snow melt. Max boundary layer temperatures reach maybe 60F for some eastern I-95 locations. There is a myriad of factors to consider when analyzing ice jams and snow cover melt, but I do not see any red-flags for this period at this time.
A final, reinforcing cold front will move through the Northeast on Saturday allowing H85 thermals to fall back below 0C. Weak forcing and dry air aloft should inhibit any precipitation with this frontal passage.
Weak vorticies will continue to move through the Northeast early next week under a northwest CAA regime. Lake Ontario may produce a bit of moderate lake effect snow during this period given ice coverage is still around 70% in comparison to the 95%+ for the other lakes.
Current global model guidance and teleconnections are signaling the return of anomalously cold air during the final week of February. Upwards of -3SD air will move south over New England with H85s falling to near -20C as far south as central New York.
Multiple shortwaves will rotate through the region next week, but I do not see any glaring significant cylogenesis flags. I understand the ECMWF has been waving at the 10-day time frame, but I am not overly enthusiastic. Reading wavelengths from Asia and extrapolating downstream has been more difficult this winter due to a high number of perturbations in the jet stream, so my confidence is lower than normal.
I am very confident for a significant cold period with temperatures well below normal in the 2/24-3/2 time frame. But I think the majority of the period will be dry. See the January cold spell as a good comparison to this pattern. Although temperatures this time around will not be as cold given climatology. Highs may struggle to reach 30F for southern areas like Washington DC for one or two days in this time frame. Any significant winter storm is likely well off in the horizon, if at all. Bottom line is that the weather pattern is finally becoming a bit more quiet. A relatively meager warm period followed by cold and dry weather.
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Lower Susquehanna Valley Doppler...
(Courtesy of WGAL)
"10mi northeast of Harrisburg 2013-2014 Winter Statistics"
Monthly Total (October)- 0.0"
Monthly Total (November)- Dusting
Monthly Total (December)- 9.6"
Monthly Total (January)- 10.3"
Monthly Total (February)- 25.0"
Monthly Total (March)- 0.5"
Seasonal Total- 45.4"
(Snow Storms Stats)
Trace - November 8 - First trace of snow - Lake effect snow shower
Dusting - November 12 - First snow on the ground - Anafront
1.5" - December 8 - First inch of snow - WAA double barrel low
4.3" - December 14 - Miller B - Changed to freezing rain/sleet
1.3" - December 17 - Alberta Clipper
2.0" - December 26 - Surprise squall/clipper
4.8" - January 2-3 - Miller B Coastal
1.5" - January 10 - SWFE all snow
3.1" - January 21 - Redeveloping clipper with heavy snow along I-95
6.0" - February 3 - Wet snow from coastal low
1.5" - February 5 - All sleet accumulation with 0.3" of freezing rain
1.5" - February 9 - Light snow with Alberta Clipper
10.5" - February 12-13 - Nor'easter
3.5" - February 15 - Alberta Clipper redevelopment
2.0" - February 18 - Clipper/snow squalls
Winter Weather Advisories- 12
Winter Storm Warnings- 4
Ice Storm Warnings- 0
Blizzard Warnings- 0
Freezing Rain Advisories- 3
Winter Storm Watches- 5
Lowest High Temperature- 9.6F on 1/7/2014
Lowest Low Temperature- -3.1F on 1/7/2014
Wind Chill Advisories- 3
Wind Chill Warnings- 0
(Cornell University (950ft elev.) Snow Stats)
Monthly Total (October)- 0.0"
Monthly Total (November)- 3.7"
Monthly Total (December)- 16.4"
Monthly Total (January)- 18.5"
Monthly Total (February)- 19.1"
Monthly Total (March)- 1.5"
Seasonal Total- 59.2"
The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.
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