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Unwelcome Nor'easter Poised to Snarl Wednesday Travel

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 2:44 PM GMT on November 25, 2014

After basking in record warm temperatures in the 60s and 70s on Monday, the Northeast U.S. is bracing for a Wednesday winter onslaught, as a significant Nor'easter will bring heavy snows to the roads at the same time that millions of people hit the roads in advance of the Thanksgiving holiday. The unwelcome storm will form off the coast of South Carolina Tuesday night and track north-northeastward, parallel to the coast, on Wednesday. Snow will begin in the Southern Appalachians late Tuesday night and spread northeastwards on Wednesday. Areas to the east of the I-95 corridor will start off with heavy rain, but the rain will transition to wet, heavy snow on Wednesday afternoon as cold air spills southwards along the coast. Little or no accumulation is likely in Washington D.C., which hit a pleasant 74°F on Monday. The story is different, though, in Philadelphia, where a Winter Storm Watch for 2 - 3 inches of snow was posted on Monday--even as the temperature rose to a record high for the date of 72°F. Higher snowfall amounts of 4 - 8" are possible in New York City, which also experienced a record high on Monday--64°F at Kennedy Airport. Boston will also be severely impacted beginning late Wednesday afternoon, with snows of 4 - 6" possible. Portland, Maine, which hit a record 63°F on Monday, is under a Winter Storm Watch for 4 - 8" of snow. The heaviest snows will come Wednesday afternoon into Wednesday evening in the big cities, and may take some time to accumulate on the roads due to stored heat from the warm temperatures of the past few days. Traveling earlier in the day Wednesday is definitely recommended if you have the flexibility, as road conditions will steadily deteriorate through the afternoon into evening. The worst conditions will be experienced inland from the coast, where widespread snow amounts of 6 - 12 inches are likely along a swath from Northeast Pennsylvania and Northwest New Jersey into Maine, including Hartford, Connecticut and central Massachusetts cities like Worcester. As usual with a storm of this nature, small changes in the forecast track of the system can cause large changes in the amount of snowfall near the coast, so stay tuned to the latest forecasts.


Figure 1. Snowfall forecast for the New York City area made on Tuesday morning, November 25, 2014. Image credit: NWS New York City.


Figure 2. Snowfall forecast for the Boston area made on Tuesday morning, November 25, 2014. Image credit: NWS Boston.


Figure 3. Snowfall forecast for the Philadelphia area made on Tuesday morning, November 25, 2014. Image credit: NWS Philadelphia.

Air travel will be heavily impacted
Heavy rains will cause flight delays at the large airports of the Northeast beginning Wednesday morning, and these delays will increase on Wednesday afternoon as the snow flies. All of the major airlines are allowing people to change their tickets for free at the airports expected to be affected by Wednesday's storm; here is one such list of cities from United:

Albany, NY (ALB)
Allentown, PA (ABE)
Atlantic City, NJ (ACY)
Baltimore, MD (BWI)
Bangor, ME (BGR)
Boston, MA (BOS)
Buffalo, NY (BUF)
Burlington, VT (BTV)
Harrisburg, PA (MDT)
Hartford, CT (BDL)
Manchester, NH (MHT)
New York/Newark, NJ (EWR - Liberty)
New York, NY (JFK)
New York, NY (LGA - LaGuardia)
Philadelphia, PA (PHL)
Portland, ME (PWM)
Providence, RI (PVD)
Rochester, NY (ROC)
Syracuse, NY (SYR)
Washington, DC (DCA - National)
Washington, DC (IAD - Dulles)
White Plains, NY (HPN)
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, PA (AVP)

Safe travels, everyone!

Jeff Masters
November Falls
November Falls

Winter Weather

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

Quoting 498. StormTrackerScott:



Good to see you buddy. Lots of standing water around here and its still raining at a moderate rate. This is probably the most rain I had in a 24hr period all year. Now I am just over 63" for the year which is the most I've had in many years.
Hey scott, I'm still around. very busy at work. Yes was the most rain in one event this year and I'm around 57" for the year.
About 3.5" of rain last night and some geniuses in my neighborhood were running their sprinklers this morning. And people wonder why we get put on water restrictions. Ugh.
Quoting 502. tampabaymatt:

About 3.5" of rain last night and some geniuses in my neighborhood were running their sprinklers this morning. And people wonder why we get put on water restrictions. Ugh.


Same in my neighborhood infact my neighbor had his on all night when it was pouring.


Quoting 484. hurricanes2018:



lots of rain right now!!
its raining here
By the looks of it we could stay rain free here in FL after today for the next 10 days as the US heads into a quieter and warmer pattern.

Its really dark outside.I do not see substantial snow in our future (D.C)
after this little cold snap a snook told me winters done florida
Quoting 507. islander101010:

after this little cold snap a snook told me winters done florida


Well I don't know about that but it does look warm for the next 2 weeks as a whole across the US. Rain free too as we need to dry out around here as the water levels are crazy high right now.
Looks like NYC will be the rain/snow line much like Washington DC.

Yesterday the NWS seemed to think NYC would be getting a lot more snow. Today, they've backed off the snow totals for the city 2-4" westside to no accumulations on the eastside and Long Island.

Flooding across New Smyrna Beach this morning as that area has had nearly 70" of rain this year.



NWS snow forecast for the Boston area.
All this rain this morning across Orlando is causing accidents all over the place. Here is one below on SR 528 near Orlando International Airport.

model sees a pair of storms in the west pac the one further east looks like a bomber
Estimated rainfall for Port Saint Lucie is 54.437 inches of rain year-to-date.
On the El-Nino front it appears our sub surface warm is continuing to grow stronger. This rain event across FL the last several days has a lot to do with El-Nino and is the reason I said yesterday their may not be a "Dry Season" in FL this year yes October was dry but going forward expect wet weather to prevail although it looks dry here for the next 2 weeks but then signs are the rains return.




I have been posting about the possible flooding event in the Philippines and the possible formation from this heading towards Vietnam. Perhaps people should read EVERY article before they criticize.

Later, I shall be posting about the daily temperatures in Katmandu and Latvia.

After a hot, great day in South Florida, it looks like our turn to get some rain. This will only feed into the low forming off of Carolina. Sorry to hear about all the misery to our neighbor in Central and Northern Florida yesterday.


Nice little thunderstorm last night deposited .87 in my rain gauge here on the side of Volcan Turrialba in Costa Rica, after several days of dry weather had stressed the flowering plants. I'm glad to have some moisture!
Already significant snow falling and heavy rain on the coastal areas.



I like storms.
First flakes starting to fall in Margaretville NY.
Quoting 521. CycloneOz:

I like storms.
Me too!..I am awed by the power and very design..I will never go through another major....I hope...
524. bwi
Looks like a sleet ball on radar west of DC



raining here in new haven,conn
Quoting 522. GeekOnTheHill:

First flakes starting to fall in Margaretville NY.

Geek on the Hill..Neat handle....I live on Grassy Mountain.....Geek on a mountain..:)
Quoting 526. hydrus:

Geek on the Hill..Neat handle....I live on Grass Mountain.....Geek on a mountain..:)


Well no mountains or hills here but I do I have a Spring nearby so I could be called NerdInASpring. LOL
Quoting bwi:
Looks like a sleet ball on radar west of DC


I think that's a ground clutter issue with the radar site.
This is a nightmare for travelers trying to get in and out of NYC today (The busiest travel day of the year).

Its snowing hard here in York, PA. The flakes are huge!!!
Here's the NWS map of the observed (not estimated) rainfall amounts for the US over the past week. While Florida and Georgia have received by far the most precipitation, it's interesting to note that the southern tip of Florida has been the largest "dry" area east of the Mississippi. Speaking of which: the trusty rain gauge at my house picked up a whopping 0.27" from the current event.

rain
Quoting 508. StormTrackerScott:



Well I don't know about that but it does look warm for the next 2 weeks as a whole across the US. Rain free too as we need to dry out around here as the water levels are crazy high right now.
Winter will be back as Stratospheric warming continues ( although it is still up a ways ) and the AO will go negative again , just in time for the return of the MJO....Put dat all togetter and ja get a large , bitter cold , mess....Should arrive Mid December.....or so...


MESOSCALE DISCUSSION 1955
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
0728 AM CST WED NOV 26 2014

AREAS AFFECTED...PARTS OF SWRN VA / ERN AND NERN WV / S-CNTRL PA

CONCERNING...HEAVY SNOW

VALID 261328Z - 261730Z
SUMMARY... SNOWFALL RATES AROUND 1 INCH PER HOUR ARE EXPECTED THIS MORNING. THE HEAVIER SNOWFALL RATES WILL INITIAL BE CONFINED TO LOCALIZED AREAS BUT WILL BECOME MORE WIDESPREAD TOWARDS THE MID LATE MORNING HOURS.

DISCUSSION... 13Z SURFACE MESOANALYSIS SHOWS THE 32 DEG F ISOTHERM INVOF THE VA/WV BORDER NEAR AND W OF THE SHENANDOAH VALLEY NEWD INTO WRN MD AND S-CNTRL PA. OBSERVATIONAL TRENDS HAVE SHOWN THE AREA AOB FREEZING BECOMING MORE WIDESPREAD WITH TIME AS HEAVIER PRECIP RATES AND WET-BULB COOLING CONTRIBUTE TO COOLING PROCESSES NEAR THE SURFACE. THE 12Z RNK RAOB SHOWED THE TEMP PROFILE NEAR OR BELOW 0 DEG C FROM THE SURFACE UP THROUGH THE TROPOSPHERE...SUPPORTIVE OF SNOW P-TYPE. FARTHER NE... THE 12Z IAD RAOB SHOWED A TEMP PROFILE ABOVE FREEZING IN THE SURFACE-1 KM LAYER.

MODELS INDICATE H7-H5(about 700mb-500mb) UPWARD VERTICAL MOTION TO MAXIMIZE OVER THE SRN HALF OF THE DISCUSSION AREA THROUGH 16Z WITH A SHIFT NWD NEAR AND NORTH OF THE MASON-DIXON LINE AFTER 16Z. MODELS SHOW THE DENDRITIC GROWTH ZONE /-12 TO -17 DEG C/ TO OVERLAP WITH STRONG UPWARD VERTICAL MOTION AND THIS WILL LIKELY FAVOR HEAVIER PRECIP RATES. A FURTHER EXPANSION IN AREA OF NEAR-SURFACE TEMPS AOB 32 DEG WILL FAVOR SNOW BECOMING MORE WIDESPREAD AND 1 INCH PER HOUR RATES WILL BECOME MORE COMMON THROUGH THE MID TO LATE MORNING HOURS.

..SMITH.. 11/26/2014

Had to look up those H abbreviation meanings. Seen them before but I forgot.
Everyone in the east coast, take care with this storm.

Have a Good Thanksgiving Day, wunder bloggers!
534. flsky
Just wondering when the year was when there wasn't a travel nightmare on Thanksgiving.

Quoting 529. StormTrackerScott:

This is a nightmare for travelers trying to get in and out of NYC today (The busiest travel day of the year).


Quoting Doppler22:
Its snowing hard here in York, PA. The flakes are huge!!!


It looks like mostly snow across PA.
Quoting 534. flsky:

Just wondering when the year was when there wasn't a travel nightmare on Thanksgiving.


This is true , it is out of the ordinary , but not rare so to speak.
Nearby Weather Stations TEMP GOING DOWN FAST !!
Beacon Hill/Lake Saltonstall - Branford, Branford
35.9 °F
DopplerDon.com
41.8 °F
Rock Hill
35.5 °F
New Haven - Criscuolo Park
38.1 °F
Foxon
34.2 °F
East Haven Town Beach
36.3 °F
Branford Shoreline
37.2 °F
538. flsky
There are many areas in New Smyrna that get flooded every year- same in Daytona. A lot of mitigation needs to be done.

blockquote class='blogquote'>Quoting 510. StormTrackerScott:

Flooding across New Smyrna Beach this morning as that area has had nearly 70" of rain this year.




Quoting 527. StormTrackerScott:



Well no mountains or hills here but I do I have a Spring nearby so I could be called NerdInASpring. LOL
A long time ago , I would dive with the Manatees at Homosassa Springs in Crystal River..One of the clearest rivers in the world , and fed year round by many springs, keeping the water temp at 72 degrees regardless of the air temp..What a great time swimming and scratching Manatees bellies. They swim right up to you with curiosity , just a few inches from your face..Very gentle creatures,...By the way they are huge..
Quoting 531. Neapolitan:

Here's the NWS map of the observed (not estimated) rainfall amounts for the US over the past week. While Florida and Georgia have received by far the most precipitation, it's interesting to note that the southern tip of Florida has been the largest "dry" area east of the Mississippi. Speaking of which: the trusty rain gauge at my house picked up a whopping 0.27" from the current event.

You guys certainly missed out on this rain event. Maybe you'll pick up a little bit more today. I got over 4". The NWS was dead on with their forecast on this one.
541. flsky
All you have to do is post about it 2 or 3 times to get thread going.

Quoting 494. ekogaia:

This site increasingly frustrates me. Perhaps it should be renamed "Florida weather" or perhaps "parochial US based weather".

It was my impression that this is a tropical weather site with global coverage.

For instance there is a tropical depression presently crossing the South Indian ocean that does not merit a mention and is not being tracked at all. If this was a Cape Verde wave or an atlantic depression or even a bloody squall line in central florida the message board would be getting its garters in a twist.

Point is, lets please bear in mind what this site is - it is the wunderground tropical weather discussion forum. Could we perhaps bear this in mind and look at what is happening in the rest of the world - there is a rest of the world out there by the way.

So, for anyone who is interested there is a tropical depression in the S. Indian, with high shear. An interesting twist is that the Volvo ocean race, a global circumnav dash on state of the art one design 70 footers is rapidly approaching its vicinity.

Otherwise there is a predictable bit of chilly weather in the NW US. Yay.

Quoting 530. Doppler22:

Its snowing hard here in York, PA. The flakes are huge!!!
Nothing but cold rain here.
543. flsky
Nerd at 28 ft elevation....

Quoting 527. StormTrackerScott:



Well no mountains or hills here but I do I have a Spring nearby so I could be called NerdInASpring. LOL
Quoting 542. washingtonian115:

Nothing but cold rain here.


At 10:AM the "rain" is making solid splats which take a few seconds to melt away on the windshield here in College Park. No visible snowflakes
yet.
Quoting 534. flsky:

Just wondering when the year was when there wasn't a travel nightmare on Thanksgiving.



1619 and prior
Quoting 544. georgevandenberghe:



At 10:AM the "rain" is making solid splats which take a few seconds to melt away on the windshield here in College Park. No visible snowflakes
yet.
Are starting to see a heavy wet flake or two.Nothing of importance.
Fat Flakes are starting to mix in with the rain.
Quoting 542. washingtonian115:

Nothing but cold rain here.


Cold rain down here in Chatham, VA :/
21W sprung from the brief invest 93W overnight. Here's models for it.

They get a Nor,Easter, we get a clipper..

Quoting 549. Skyepony:

21W sprung from the brief invest 93W overnight. Here's models for it.


Looks rather impressive...Not far from where Haiyan hit.
Quoting 548. Storms306:



Cold rain down here in Chatham, VA :/
You should see some wet flakes soon.If it's changing over in the heat island of D.C then you can rest a sure that you will see some.
More flakes starting to mix in although still fat.
Quoting 553. washingtonian115:

You should see some wet flakes soon.If it's changing over in the heat island of D.C then you can rest a sure that you will see some.
More flakes starting to mix in although still fat.


The DC heat island is at minimum intensity during stratiform precipitation events and in strong cold advection situations. The former applies today.

Otherwise, as I posted earlier to friends on another forum, when we get fire ants in this area, (and we're close to their winter tolerance now) the first surviving mound will probably be in the grass next to a DCA runway :-)
The flakes becoming fatter and fatter by the second.
It is looking more like GEOS-5 was onto something about the Northeast coastal areas having more rain & less snow. This is beginning to be reflected in the NWS graphics & ECMWF. The storm should still bring plenty of snow on the backside of it as it moves up the Northeast. There is also that bumper system we were watching dump snow over CO area the other day, though diminished that should come through the cold behind the Nor'easter and bring snow down MI, IA, MO, TN, KY and on Thanksgiving into NC, VA, may last to dust DC or just south of there. I'll leave that frame here for washi.. Updated my blog entry on the Thanksgiving travel models & added more NWS graphics.


Quoting 553. washingtonian115:

You should see some wet flakes soon.If it's changing over in the heat island of D.C then you can rest a sure that you will see some.
More flakes starting to mix in although still fat.
But no snow for DC out of this system, right? :-)
Quoting CaneFreeCR:
But no snow for DC out of this system, right? :-)


Temperatures are in the low 40s in DC right now (snow mixing with rain on the north/west side of town).
But as soon as you get out of the city (to the west or northwest), it's pretty much all snow with temperatures in the mid 30s.

no snow at my house all rain in new haven,conn..

On the El-Nino front it appears our sub surface warm is continuing to grow stronger


it can't grow stronger...there is no heat engine to increase it's heat...it's correct to say that it is expanding and the anomalies are increasing as to the pacific waters cooling during the fall season...it's the same but reverse of what we saw during the spring and summer as the surface waters were first to heat the kelvin wave anomalies decreased as they reached the warming surface waters

as for the cfsv2......it is the only model that shows a moderate to strong el nino event and noaa on their enso blog has detailed not only how close to accurate it is in short term time frames but it is highly prone to errors 6 months out......also michael ventrice talked about this and explained the high anomaly values at the end of the model run is due to an erroneous bias based on the warm kelvin wave
Quoting 529. StormTrackerScott:

This is a nightmare for travelers trying to get in and out of NYC today (The busiest travel day of the year).


its raining in new haven,conn no snow on the ground here
Quoting 553. washingtonian115: More flakes starting to mix in although still fat.

Just spotted some of your flakes on the WAMO-cam, Wash :-)
Snowing heavily now.
Snow is now mixing with the rain in New York City.
El Nino is a myth.

There has has been NO Pacific warming in 15 years.

Al Gore.

Its a ruse to get into yer pockets.


: P

Snow is coming down heavily too.
Quoting barbamz:

Just spotted some of your flakes on the WAMO-cam, Wash :-)


Pretty cool. I wonder if the flakes are making it all the way to the ground before melting with temps in the low 40s?
If the snow picks up we should see the temperature drop.
Quoting 557. CaneFreeCR:

But no snow for DC out of this system, right? :-)
Its just like last year on the day before Thanksgiving where we had snow flakes but they didn't stick.
Barbamz yes the flakes are starting to really come down.
JeffMasters has created a new entry.
and to not just pick on the cfsv2...when it comes to el nino and long range models...as noaa explained in a rather long article recently...they're pretty much useless..

here's an excerpt

Objectively, How Good were the Forecasts?
Here we consider two measurements (among many) that summarize how well the forecasts match with the observations. One is the correlation coefficient, which shows how well the pattern of the forecasts (i.e. up and downs of the time series) follows that of the observations. The correlation coefficient ranges from -1 to +1; +1 means that the observations follow perfectly what was forecast, while -1 means the observations behave exactly the opposite of what was forecast. A coefficient of 0 means that the forecasts and observations show no relationship with one another. Coefficients of 0.5 or more are often considered to show useful forecast information.

The other measure is the mean absolute error, which is the average difference between the forecast and observation (and which one is higher does not matter). Here are the results since 2012 for the two measures at 1, 4 and 7 month lead times, respectively, for the two model types:

Model Type

Correlation Coefficient

Mean Absolute Error



Lead 1

Lead 4

Lead 7

Lead 1

Lead 4

Lead 7

Dynamical

0.89

0.60

0.14

0.17

0.32

0.44

Statistical

0.79

0.46

0.12

0.22

0.29

0.31

As one would expect, forecasts made from farther in the past (longer lead times) are less skillful than more recent (short-lead) forecasts, and the 7- month lead forecasts were of little use over this particular period. The dynamical models showed somewhat higher (i.e., better) correlations than the statistical models. The mean absolute error is generally larger for the dynamical models, partly because they averaged too warm during the period, especially when they predicted the warmest SST levels (7). The better correlations of dynamical models were also found in the 11-year period of 2002-2012 (Barnston et al. 2012). Based on the objective performance measures, it is clear that while our ENSO forecasts can be helpful for the coming few months, we have a long way to go in improving their performance and utility beyond that. It is especially hard to predict the timing of ENSO transitions and the correct strength.

Quoting Jedkins01:


Not sure where you're getting the not widespread thing from, a large area got 2-3 inches, and pretty expansive swaths of 4-5, and a few areas greater than 5. A large square mileage area received at or above the average monthly rainfall for November, and November is historically as quiet as it gets in Florida weather wise, normally. So this was a big deal, and it wasn't isolated heavy rains.
What I actually wrote was this wasn't a widespread record breaking rainfall. In the counties with high rainfall totals, it was a big deal. In the counties or parts of counties that had less than an inch, it was a pretty typical rainfall event for Florida, although it was unusual for November. As I said, I know nothing about Florida geography and have zero GIS skills, except for reading the output. The lat/long is included in the station totals put out by Melbourne NWS. If someone does have the GIS skills to put this on a map, it would be interesting to see the geographic pattern of high versus low rainfall stations. Until the data gets mapped, we don't actually know how widespread and expansive the heavy rainfall was.

It's really not any different than our April 29-30 heavy rain and flooding event in Alabama and the Panhandle. My location happened to get almost 11 inches in 14 hours, so that was a big deal for me. The county north and south of me got an inch or less, so they were wondering what all the excitement was in my county.
572. LukeC
Big fat snowflakes coming down here in Springfield, VA. Melting on impact, no worries. The temp is showing 45 degrees.

The birds do seem concerned, though. They're hammering the feeders. I counted nine finches on the thistle feeder, and we had a downy woodpecker and a hairy woodpecker on the suet feeder, two hairy woodpeckers on the peanut feeder, and various finches and songbirds on the sunflower seed feeder. All we need is for the local pair of pileated woodpeckers to drop by, and we'll have a grand showing.
573. JRRP
sar~ Though some totals were slightly higher than depicted here this is a pretty good show of how came down. The north end had pretty wide spread moderate to heavy. I'm in the darker green & had near 2 inches for the event. I didn't see flooding rains but the winds trashed my yard. I know people in the area dealing with slow septic systems. The lighting was pink..the kind to really stay out of. Figured it hit something.. For the second time this year a Spirit Airlines plane was struck by lightning on it's way from Florida to Atlantic City. Landed safely..

Quoting 572. LukeC:

Big fat snowflakes coming down here in Springfield, VA. Melting on impact, no worries. The temp is showing 45 degrees.

The birds do seem concerned, though. They're hammering the feeders. I counted nine finches on the thistle feeder, and we had a downy woodpecker and a hairy woodpecker on the suet feeder, two hairy woodpeckers on the peanut feeder, and various finches and songbirds on the sunflower seed feeder. All we need is for the local pair of pileated woodpeckers to drop by, and we'll have a grand showing.
This post is for the birds...:)
576. vis0
Cap'n trough ate too much turkey? now slowing down? raining on FL man.

PLEASE Don't drive distracted be it with a leg of turkey or a phone in the hand. Get there (destination or somewhere near by) then enjoy. 
Luckyone1's wundercam in East Berlin, PA