I provide a weather email service for people in MD. I am a storm chaser & Skywarn spotter. For daily weather tidbits follow me on Twitter: @wxmanMD.
By: cws6196, 11:24 PM GMT on February 25, 2012
A quick note to mention the possibility of scattered intense snow squalls later this evening. Snow squalls are intense droppings of snow over a short time period, usually accompanied by strong winds and bringing low visibility. Accumulations should not occur, although a dusting or so immediately following the squall is possible.
There are snow showers currently happening to our NW, and given the trajectory of the jet stream and strong wind currents, these snow showers could be driven into the area as snow squalls.
By: cws6196, 3:46 AM GMT on February 24, 2012
update Friday morning
Now that the rain has left the area for the moment, the sun is beginning to become visible. With the heating of the day we could see an increased potential for severe storms later this afternoon. I expect strong storms to begin around 3:00 pm or so, but this is just an estimate. There are tornado watches issued for northern portions of VA and MD is on the border for a severe weather threat. I am not saying it will necessarily happen here, but being this close to the threat we all need to be aware of the potential. The cold front will be moving into the area, depending on how warm the air is when it gets here will partially determine the strength of the storms.
Be aware of the sky around you. I will keep you posted here, on Twitter (@wxmanmd) and my Weather Phone which is currently updated (443-470-9804)
original post Thursday evening
This warm weather we have been enjoying is coming to an end Friday with the approaching cold front. In spring-like style, the clashing of the air masses can lead to thunderstorms, some severe. Rain and some storms will come through from the morning into the afternoon. These storms will be scattered. The main threat tomorrow will be the wind. Even without storms, wind could be strong and destructive.
I expect the NWS to issue wind advisories sometime Friday. Follow me on Twitter (@wxmanmd) and my Weather Phone will be updated.
By: cws6196, 2:48 PM GMT on February 20, 2012
That didn't go so well. This winter has been frustrating to forecast due to the lack of snow as well as inconsistent model data. The storm did pull north, but unfortunately a bit too late and a bit weaker. Snow did happen with some in Southern MD but the bulk in VA with a report of 10". I do believe that given the teleconnections (climatology of the oceans), La Nina, time of the year and sun angle, I am thinking this was our last shot at snow for Central and Southern MD this season. If we enter next winter in an El Nino climate we will not have such the mild winter.
Below are the snow reports from the area. Even though snow threats may be over, continue to follow me daily on Twitter (@wxmanmd) for weather conditions and interesting tidbits of weather info.
The following are unofficial observations taken during the past 24
hours for the storm that has been affecting our region. Appreciation
is extended to Highway departments...cooperative observers...Skywarn
spotters and media for these reports. This summary is also available
on our home Page at weather.Gov/Baltimore
********************storm total snowfall********************
Location storm total time/date comments
1 SW Dentsville 1.0 1200 am 2/20 trained spotter
2 ESE Bryans Road 0.9 1105 PM 2/19 trained spotter
Saint Charles 0.5 1125 PM 2/19 trained spotter
La Plata 0.5 1015 PM 2/19 trained spotter
...St. Marys County...
3 ESE Park Hall 0.1 1155 PM 2/19 trained spotter
2 NE Bushwood T 516 PM 2/19 trained spotter
4 NW Earlysville 6.5 1129 PM 2/19 trained spotter
3 S Charlottesville 4.0 600 PM 2/19 trained spotter
Earlysville 0.2 400 PM 2/19 co-op observer
3 E Greenville 10.0 900 PM 2/19 trained spotter
Fishersville 9.5 914 PM 2/19 dept of highways
Stuarts Draft 6.0 600 PM 2/19 trained spotter
3 NE Waynesboro 5.0 452 PM 2/19 County emrg mgmt
1 se Greenville 4.0 503 PM 2/19 trained spotter
1 WSW Weyers Cave 4.0 900 PM 2/19 trained spotter
4 NNW Churchville 3.5 820 PM 2/19 trained spotter
1 WNW Mount Sidney 0.2 502 PM 2/19 trained spotter
...City of Charlottesville...
Charlottesville 6.0 1000 PM 2/19 public
1 SSE charlottesvill 4.0 1200 am 2/20 broadcast media
...City of Fredericksburg...
Fredericksburg 1.5 1030 PM 2/19 public
...City of Harrisonburg...
2 SW Harrisonburg 1.0 905 PM 2/19 trained spotter
...City of Staunton...
Staunton 6.5 950 PM 2/19 broadcast media
...City of Waynesboro...
2 WSW Waynesboro 7.0 700 PM 2/19 public
2 W Waynesboro 5.5 909 PM 2/19 trained spotter
1 SSE Waynesboro 5.0 500 PM 2/19 trained spotter
Mount Vernon 0.4 945 PM 2/19 on grassy surfaces
1 SW Mount Vernon T 850 PM 2/19 NWS employee
1 SW Mustoe 1.7 1159 am 2/19 cocorahs
1 NE Vanderpool 1.0 615 PM 2/19 trained spotter
2 WSW Monterey 1.0 841 PM 2/19 trained spotter
Madison 2.5 1015 PM 2/19 trained spotter
Haywood 2.0 119 am 2/20 trained spotter
1 SSW Elma 6.5 1211 am 2/20 trained spotter
3 S Afton 5.5 852 PM 2/19 trained spotter
2 NW Massies Mill 4.0 836 PM 2/19 trained spotter
2 NNE Barboursville 6.0 823 PM 2/19 public
1 NW Barboursville 5.5 100 am 2/20 cocorahs
1 NNW Barboursville 4.5 845 PM 2/19 cocorahs
Gordonsville 2.5 743 PM 2/19 public
1 SW Luray 1.0 905 PM 2/19 trained spotter
...Prince William County...
2 WSW Gainesville T 752 PM 2/19 NWS employee
1 se massanutten 2.0 758 PM 2/19 trained spotter
By: cws6196, 4:14 PM GMT on February 19, 2012
update Sunday evening
The temps are dropping and the rain is moving north, although may not reach Balt City. The overnight hours will be the time for accumulation. I would revise my accumulation rates for Baltimore and north to a dusting and Southern MD to 1 - 2 inches. What a storm this has been to forecast! To be honest, I do believe this is our last shot for snow for this winter.
update Sunday afternoon
I am looking at the data now, and the shift to the north appears to be happening (as I had been saying), and snow is already falling in Southern MD, a couple hours ahead of schedule. It was to start as rain, but started as snow. I am not necessarily stating my original forecast will verify, but what I am saying is that the model data did not completely capture this storm. As I have been saying, something is missing and doesn't feel right to me. What I need to now see is how this system pushes northward in real time. I will have another update later this evening, but know this - the storm is not dead.
original post Sun morning
Well, here goes .... On the surface of it this storm appears to doing what all the storms this winter has done; fizzle out for us in MD. But, there is just something not right about some of the dynamics I am seeing. This is why I keep waiting with my updates, trying to figure out what is not adding up. But, here goes:
ACCUMULATION: I see those north of Baltimore seeing an inch; south of Baltimore 1 - 2; Southern MD 2+ inches. But, I reserve the right to be wrong and these numbers jump.....
PRECIP TYPE: May start with rain turning to all snow. A big uncertainty is how soon the change over will occur, and with the warm ground and warm Bay, it could be more rain before any change to all snow.
TIMING: Officially, I don't see the precip starting until later in the afternoon, with the change over to snow until 5 or so. But, there is some indication of precip in VA sooner than forecast.
DISCUSSION: As I mentioned previously, the models have put the low all over the place in the last day or so. There was consistency in the data most of the week until now. The current storm system is not as organized as it was over TX, hence the latest model data is taking this into account. As I mentioned yesterday, had the low stayed strong it would naturally shift it to the north, but as this does not appear to be the case, the low is staying to our south. But, there are some indications that the model data, especially the short term NAM model, may be missing some data which "could" skew it's results. But then again, looking at the radar this is not an impressive storm. But, I am still unsure about this forecast. Don't know why, which is very unscientific of me.
I will have another update later today. Follow me on Twitter (@wxmanmd) and my Weather Phone is now updated. Feel free to leave me messages with snow reports or questions on the phone (443-470-9804)
By: cws6196, 9:00 PM GMT on February 18, 2012
update Sun morning
I will be posting a detailed update in an hour or so. But it is somewhat safe to say this event is turning out to be like others this winter. Thus far no winter products have been issued by the NWS, nor do I now expect them too for Baltimore at least. Just waiting for the latest data to come through.
update Sat night
This is not being made easy. Latest data again has the low south and further out to sea, thus diminishing snow amounts. The current storm on the radar is not as organized as it was earlier today. So, this makes the forecast tough. But, if this is a bust, it will fit the history of this winter. I think I need to wait until Sunday morning for a definitive answer. Which is ok since any snow wont happen until later in the afternoon.
For now I am sticking to my forecast, but if the low is further south accumulation amounts will need to come down.
The models continue to shift the storm back and the NWS continues to up their amounts while I have continued to stick to my forecast. I will have another update late tonight, but for now this is a summary of what I have been saying:
TIMING: Should begin south of Balt around noon, moving north lasting into the evening. Heaviest snowfall around dinner.
PRECIP TYPE: Starting as mixed precip, turning to all snow.
AMOUNTS: Those north of Baltimore only 1-2 inches or so; south of Balt a bit more; Southern MD 4+ inches. These amounts will fluctuate depending on the rain.
By: cws6196, 5:02 PM GMT on February 18, 2012
The word for today is: "patience". I know the media outlets are downplaying this system for us, and maybe they are right in the long run, but I feel they are wrong in their rationale. Let me explain how I see this.
BOTTOM LINE: My bottom line is that I am sticking with my previous forecast, at least until tonight.
RATIONALE: First, understand that this winter is not an easy one to forecast. That said, here is what happened. Most of this week the model data has been indicating a coastal storm for this region. The models are run multiple times a day with new data. Briefly, the models are computer programs mathematically programmed to analyze current weather data with historical weather data and weather physics. The output from the data is different for each model as the different models are programmed to specific parameters. As the current, on the ground data is input into the program the models recalculate based off of reality. Storm forecasting too far out is inconsistent since forecast Lows have not yet formed and so the models are lacking the on the ground data. As the storm date approaches and the Low forms, real time data can be input and more realistic outputs are provided from the models. Ok, all that to say that last night at least one of the models forecast the Low to shift to our south, thus cutting down our chances for heavy snow. As they may end up being true, I personally do not want to change my forecast based on a one run model shift. Yet, this is what the media outlets did. What I now want to see is model consistency with the southern track before changing my mind. If the consistency happens, then they were right. But, if the models come back to the north, then they have confused people. Hence the word for today is "patience".
Some of the current model runs today are shifting the low a bit more back to the north. Also, the low has formed and is now in TX (see the attached radar shot). So now we can input realistic data into the models, and we can now track the actual low, not relying on computer generations but on what is really happening. And thus far the low in TX is stronger and more to the east than the models said it would be. Thus, it could get here quicker, and historically, strong lows tend to turn themselves northward, not south (due to the counter clockwise spin). So, if the models were predicting a weaker low, it makes sense to shift it south. But a stronger low may go north, as today's models are again indicating.
Ok, ok. Enough for now (yes, I have too much time on my hands at the moment). I will have another update later this evening after I see what has been happening with the progression of the low today. Follow me daily on Twitter (@wxmanmd) and my Weather Phone is updated (443-470-9804).
By: cws6196, 5:35 PM GMT on February 17, 2012
quick update Sat morning
I know many national media outlets and some local forecasters are saying the storm is gone. This continues to be a tricky winter to forecast. I am currently reviewing the latest data and will have another update soon. But it does appear that, as I mentioned yesterday, the low has shifted therefore changing what we get. But, I also don't want to make forecasts on every change in the data, so I am looking for trending (consistency). My update will be out soon.
original post Fri
My apologies for the delay in my forecast, but this is a tricky forecast so I was holding off as long as possible to see the latest details. Had this been a couple winters ago it would be a slam dunk forecast to make, but given the history of model verification this winter as well as the effects of the La Nina, forecasts even a few days from the event are suspect. But, here is how I see things.
TIMING: More than likely this is a Sunday later morning into evening event.
LOCATIONS: Unlike most of our storms this winter, this is more so a Southern MD into Central MD storm rather than a southern PA storm.
PRECIP TYPE: Right now it appears most of us will see rain at the start, but snow will filter in and this will become an all snow event. The atmosphere is still a bit too warm to sustain snow, but as the rain falls through the column of air it will begin to cool the column, and with a northerly wind bringing in cold air, the column will cool enough to sustain continual snow. I do not see this as an ice event.
ACCUMULATION: This is the tough one. I am not yet giving you my final totals as it is too far out, and I don't know how much rain we will have to start with which will cut down on accumulation rates. But, I do see most of us getting around 4 or so inches of snow. If the system lingers longer (indicated by the latest data), then those amounts will increase. There is a "slight" chance this system misses us or just gives a dusting to a couple inches, but I am doubtful of that scenario.
DYNAMICS: There is a phasing of the jet streams and Low pressure around the Gulf, moving NE out to sea. As this Low phases and moves off the coast it should curve slightly north toward MD. Since Low pressure systems spin counter clockwise, the position of the Low indicates our precip type and temps. Current model data keep it to the south, but historically models bring these systems further north closer to the event. Snow would occur to the NW and W of the Low. The counter clockwise flow of the Low brings in moisture from the Atlantic from the eastside, spinning it W into the colder air. As the Low approaches the winds will be from the S and E, hence the rainfall as the air will be warmer southern air moving across the warmer Bay. Depending on the exact placement of the Low will determine how much cold air it can draw down from the N. Currently I see the placement of the Low to be in a prime location to bring us snow. But any shift will change what happens.
I will have another update either later tonight or Saturday morning, depending on how much the data changes. I do foresee the NWS issuing winter weather products sometime Saturday for Sunday. Follow me daily on Twitter (@wxmanmd) and my Weather Phone will be updated as needed (443-470-9804)
By: cws6196, 4:26 AM GMT on February 15, 2012
update Thurs evening
I know I said I would have a snow update tonight, but reviewing the data tonight has not been helpful. I want to see the morning data to get a better handle on this.
Here's how I see it: snow will most likely happen Sunday, possibly mixed precip, probably a few inches, a chance it could be more than 6 inches. See the problem? My concern with what I am seeing is this Winter's pattern as well as the warmth of the Bay. So, give me a bit more time and you will have my thoughts later Friday morning.
original post Tues
As I mentioned in my last post, there is the potential for snow this coming weekend. It is still too early to say anything with certainty, especially this winter, but some of the models are showing a coastal storm forming Sunday. "IF" that happens, and the timing and position are just right, we could see a significant snowfall for the area. But, if the timing is off or the position of the low shifts, then we have rain or a little bit of snow. See why I say it is too early to tell right now? I will have a better idea of this around Thursday, but wanted you to know.
I will have another update on this potential situation. Until then, follow me daily on Twitter (@wxmanmd) for weather related items, and my Weather Phone will be updated as needed (443-470-9804)
By: cws6196, 5:25 PM GMT on February 12, 2012
Well, that was fun! This winter has been very typical for a La Nina winter, so I don't expect much more than what we have seen. Although, heavy snows can still happen. Looking ahead, depending on the overnight temps, there could be some light snow Tuesday morning, and I am watching a system next weekend. Right now it looks to be all rain for us, but there is some indication it could turn to the white stuff. But, way too far out for any certainty. More on that later.
Follow me daily on Twitter (@wxmanmd) and I will keep my Weather Phone updated as needed (443-470-9804)
By: cws6196, 5:30 PM GMT on February 11, 2012
update Sat night
Wind is the major issue to deal with tonight into Sunday, but there is also another shot at snow tonight for those west and north of Baltimore. Another snow squall is possible after 9:00 pm tonight. Accumulation should again be light. After tonight there will not be any more squalls.
The temp has drastically dropped so any water is turning to ice. If you see water on pavement it is most likely ice.
The forecast is still on track based on what I have previously posted. This morning's snow was to be the lighter of the two events, with more snow later this afternoon into the evening. I am sticking with what a posted a couple days ago. Here are the specifics for the rest of today.
TIMING: Scattered snow will occur now throughout the afternoon with the heaviest precip after 3:00pm. Squall lines will form with heavy bands of snow in scattered local areas. This will last into the evening.
ACCUMULATION: I am sticking with what I previously stated, namely 1 - 3 inches for most of Central MD; more than 3 along the MD/PA line; dusting in Southern MD. Since this storm contains squalls some areas may see locally higher accumulation amounts.
WIND: Wind will be a factor moving into the evening. Wind gusts into the 30s mph and higher are probable with sustained winds in the teens.
The Winter Weather Advisory is still in place, and I would not be surprised to see the NWS issue wind products later in the day. Follow me daily on Twitter (@wxmanmd) and my Weather Phone is updated (443-470-9804)
By: cws6196, 3:36 AM GMT on February 10, 2012
update Fri afternoon
Quick update: snow is still in my forecast and thus far still on track timing wise. But the latest trending would place accumulation on the low end of what I am forecasting. I don't want to change anything yet, though, in the event the Low does strengthen. But realistically, as I mentioned yesterday, this event will end up like our other winter events thus far.
Follow me on Twitter (@wxmanmd) and I will keep my Weather Phone updated (443-470-9804)
original Thurs evening
If this were two years ago it would be an easy forecast, but given what has been happening this winter, this forecast is complicated. I do feel we will have the same results as the other day, but this is a different scenario, for as I mentioned the other day, this is forming as a coastal storm. It is the coastal storms which bring us large snow amounts, but given the situation of this winter, I am not as hopeful for a large storm.
TIMING: The first snow should start to fall after midnight Friday into Saturday. Early Saturday morning we could see the snow tapering off, only to return after 2:00pm Saturday into the early evening.
ACCUMULATION: Most of Central MD could see about 3 inches of accumulation by the end of Saturday, while those along the MD/PA line could see a few inches more. Southern MD may get a dusting, but more realistically just rain.
CONCERNS: 1. Surface temps will be around freezing, so some mixed precip could occur. 2. The Bay water temp should not be an issue this time as the winds will be from the north where the Canadian temps are quite cold, thus potential for more snow. 3. If the coastal low strengthens or shifts, we will be experiencing much higher snow accumulations, although I don't foresee that happening.
Keep in mind that this is still early, and the latest model data is inconsistent, so there could be some changes, although I don't foresee any surprises. I will have another update as needed. Follow me daily on Twitter (@wxmanmd) and my Weather Phone is updated (443-470-9804)
By: cws6196, 4:55 AM GMT on February 08, 2012
update Wed evening
Those north of Baltimore received at least a dusting of snow, but my forecast high end of 3" was not seen, and Southern MD only experienced rain. Typical for this winter, the models did not handle this event well. Also typical for this winter is snow falling west and north of Baltimore. So, what went wrong? The system was a bit further north and west then indicated by the forecast models, and the east wind brought warm air into the atmosphere. As the wind passed over the warm Bay it added just enough warmth to stifle the snow. I saw the wind issue when I planned my forecast, but did not foresee the impact of a slightly warmer Bay for this time of year would have on the overall climate of the region. But, I had a dusting and enjoyed the ambiance!! I will take what I can get.
I am still watching the possibility of snow Saturday. "IF" it happens it will resemble our previous snow, and I don't see us getting much more than a couple inches (if we are lucky). But, I will be watching this as one scenario forms a coastal low. These typically bring us heavy amounts of snow, but given the overall patterns this year, I am doubtful that coastal low will form.
Follow me daily on Twitter (@wxmanmd) and I will update my Weather Phone as needed (443-470-9804)
Snow is coming! Wednesday those in Central, Northern and Southern MD will all see snow.
TIMING: For most of MD the snow should start falling close to Noon and last until about 6:00pm or so. The heaviest snow should be around 4:00 - 5:00pm.
ACCUMULATION: North of Baltimore we could see 1 - 3 inches, Baltimore 1 - 2 and Southern MD maybe an inch.
CONCERNS: 1. The heaviest snowfall should happen around the evening rush hour. 2. There is some indication that this storm could become stronger than I am seeing now. "IF" that happens we could see 4+ inches from Baltimore northward.
I will provide an update Wednesday morning, but I would not be surprised to see the NWS issue winter weather advisories or watches. I am still watching the chance for snow this weekend. Follow me daily on Twitter (@wxmanmd) and my Weather Phone is updated (443-470-9804)
By: cws6196, 6:25 PM GMT on February 06, 2012
Wednesday there is a good chance for snow, but no grocery store stops for supplies will be needed. As of now it appears to be a light snow with probably only a dusting to an inch or so for those along the border into PA. The snow will most likely mix with rain before turning to all rain, so there will be no need to shovel. I am still unsure on the timing as the data is all over the place, but I would say overnight Tuesday into Wednesday for snow, changing to rain as Wednesday progresses. There is a chance though that along the MD/PA line it will stay all snow. If so, it will resemble Saturday's snow.
There is still a chance (small) for snow later this weekend, but I am not yet getting my hopes up. Follow me daily on Twitter (@wxmanmd) and my Weather Phone will be updated as needed (443-470-9804).
By: cws6196, 3:07 PM GMT on February 05, 2012
Those along the MD/PA should still be seeing some flakes, but basically this storm is over. A nice ambiance snow. Onward! I am watching the possibility of snow for us mid week and next weekend. Don't get too excited though as it may turn to nothing or be like what we just saw. But worth watching of course.
Today is National Weatherpersons Day!! In honor of those who forecast, I wish to share this video: http://youtu.be/tN8xOv16X_s
Here is the write up from the NWS: "February 5 is National Weatherperson's Day, commemorating the birth of John Jeffries in 1744. Jeffries, one of America's first weather observers, began taking daily weather observations in Boston in 1774 and he took the first balloon observation in 1784. This is a day to recognize the men and women who collectively provide Americans with the best weather, water, and climate forecasts and warning services of any nation. Many of us take weather information for granted. Turn on a light switch, you get light. Turn on your television or radio, or check a web site or app, and you get the weather forecast. It’s easy to forget that around the clock, dedicated meteorologists and weathercasters are vigilantly creating forecasts to help you plan your day, and issuing warnings to help keep you safe."
By: cws6196, 1:30 AM GMT on February 04, 2012
update Saturday night
True to the models this Winter, they did not predict this well, especially the timing. The precip is over for now, but more is possible after Midnight. If there is more snow it will be similar to earlier, so nothing major.
update Saturday afternoon
Snow has already begun falling in PA ahead of schedule. Even though it is falling sooner I am sticking with my forcasted accumulation amounts.
Feel free to send me your conditions and snow amounts. Comment here or leave a message on my Weather Phone (443-470-9804).
Well, as I have been saying since Tuesday, snow is looking likely for us Sunday.
I am looking at rain turning to snow after midnight into Sunday morning. Those west of Baltimore and along the MD/PA line could see about 4 inches; while the rest of Central MD should see 2 inches or less. Southern MD should stay all rain.
The issue with this storm is the placement of the Low and the timing of it's interaction with the trough from the Great Lakes. Originally, when I was leaning more toward this as a rain event, the trough was further east and the low further south. Now there is more data agreement with the trough more to the west and the low more to the north. The counterclockwise spin of the low will draw down the cold air from the north, mixing in with the precip from the low coming from the south.
If the trough stays further west and the low moves further north, we could see higher snow accumulations. If that happens we could see 4+ inches in Central MD. For now I am sticking with the 2 inches, but just know that could change.
I would not be surprised to see the NWS issue winter weather advisories on Saturday for Sunday. I will have another update sometime Saturday when I see more of the data. Follow me on Twitter (@wxmanmd) for frequent updates, and I will have my Weather Phone updated as needed (443-470-9804)
The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.