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Posted at 7:00 PM ET, 02/27/2008

News & Notes: Md. Snow, Va. Ice, D.C. Q&A

By Dan Stillman

Today's News & Notes takes us on a brief tour of Maryland, Virginia and D.C.:

  • Maryland: MarylandWeather.com reminds us here in the D.C.-Baltimore area that snow is so close, yet so far: Parts of Western Maryland "have seen 25 accumulating snowstorms this winter. Keyser's Ridge, in Garrett County has had a total of 75 inches."
  • Virginia: Remember the debacle that was the Virginia Department of Transportation's handling of the Potomac Primary ice storm? Washingtonpost.com's Get There tells us that Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine ripped VDOT on WTOP radio this morning, saying the department "did an abysmal job dealing with that weather on Primary Day."
  • D.C.: DCRTV.com reports that meteorologist Bob Ryan (WRC-4) will field questions Thursday at Nathan's Restaurant in Georgetown, as part of the restaurant's "Q&A Cafe." Maybe someone could ask him what he thinks of that wacky crew over at the Capital Weather Gang?

By Dan Stillman  | February 27, 2008; 7:00 PM ET
Categories:  News & Notes  
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Comments

The 18 Z does not have any new data in it so IMO it is taken with a grain of salt
You have a NAO that is going to neutral to negative....
You have a PNA that is rising that argues for amplification on the east coast
You have a AO that is falling which argues for cold
You have a Polar High in eastern Canada
You have a slow moving storm due to blocking....

The scenario is the best set up all year...
12 Z ECWMF and 12 Z GFS are in the same bed together...
12 Z ECWMF is a little warmer because it has a known warm bias in the medium range...
12 Z ECWMF shows 2-4 inch liquid equivalent precip from the south into MD and PA

So the above spells out a POTENTIAL event IMO

Posted by: JJ | February 27, 2008 7:07 PM | Report abuse

JJ,

What do you think our area will be looking at. Snow/Rain.

Do you agree that the factors "ingredients" will be within reach, but need to come together for a possible 100 year storm as earlier posters hyped up.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 27, 2008 7:20 PM | Report abuse

For the snow/rain I think its a good bet that we'll start as rain. BUt after that, it could quickly change to snow, and due to the blocking stay as heavy snow for a long time. But it could also take a more inland route, and either give us all rain or much less snow. I would say that theres about a 50 percent chance we get at least some snow, on the back end. And about a 25 percent chance that we could get snow accumulating more then an inch or 2. But keep in mind, in the best case scenario it would be a pretty huge snowstorm, but almost surely not a storm of the century.

Posted by: JJ | February 27, 2008 7:28 PM | Report abuse

For the snow/rain I think its a good bet that we'll start as rain. BUt after that, it could quickly change to snow, and due to the blocking stay as heavy snow for a long time. But it could also take a more inland route, and either give us all rain or much less snow. I would say that theres about a 50 percent chance we get at least some snow, on the back end. And about a 25 percent chance that we could get snow accumulating more then an inch or 2. But keep in mind, in the best case scenario it would be a pretty huge snowstorm, but almost surely not a storm of the century.

Posted by: JJ | February 27, 2008 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the double post, also, something to keep in mind about the 18z, was the low tracked up the spine of the appalachians, which the generally dont do. If its coming from the south it either goes west, or east of them.

Posted by: JJ | February 27, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

I agree there has been a lot of hype this winter over the models. Yet, I have a feeling that this storm will be different. JJ mentioned many factors that will help support better snow chances. All is true. Many of us are bummed out now becuse our hopes have gotten shot down all winter with GFS. I am not trying to hype anything at this point. Just let us keep our eyes on next week.

I think if this storm holds on GFS through Friday, we will see LOTS of folks begin posting. Everyone is conservative now which is good. Too early in the week.

I do think we are going to get a storm. I dont know how much, or what falls. We have had some big March snowstorms in the past. I hope mother nature sheds a little light on our hopes this week.

Posted by: StormChaser | February 27, 2008 7:51 PM | Report abuse

What do you mean that the 18z has no new data in it ? That's just not accurate.

Posted by: D | February 27, 2008 8:54 PM | Report abuse

The 18z doesnt actually have any new data fed into it

Posted by: JJ | February 27, 2008 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Although there aren't many balloon launches at 06z and 18z, there are still millions of observations to create a new analysis (else the forecast wouldn't be any different from 12z to 18z!!). There is still plenty of satellite, aircraft, profiler, surface station data.

For example, I just looked at the data used in today's 18z GFS analysis:
50,000 surface pressure obs
130,000 wind obs
51,000 temperature obs
500,000 satellite brightness temperatures
etc.

Posted by: D | February 27, 2008 9:03 PM | Report abuse

it uses the same data (no new inputs), and has slightly different algorithms and a different filter set, which is why things like the NWS discussion dont mention it unless it gets backed by the 0z, or a latter run

Posted by: JJ | February 27, 2008 9:06 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry to correct you, but I actually work on the analysis/data assimilation system at NWS/NCEP. The data used at 18z is a completely different set of observations than those used at 12z. The data cut-off window is set to 6 hour intervals, so for 12z, the data has to be observed between 9z and 15z, and likewise for 18z, it has to fall between 15z and 21z....and so on and so forth.

On average, in the Northern Hemisphere, the 00z model runs perform SLIGHTLY better than the other cycles, mostly because of issues related to the diurnal cycle and the addition of the extra balloon launches.

I think the reason that the NWS forecast discussions refer mostly to 00z and 12z model runs has to do with the timing they get put out (i.e. about 3 p.m. and a.m. respectively). When they prepare these discussions, the 00z and 12z model runs are the most recent.

just my two cents.

As an aside, i tend to agree with the fact that a major storm running right up the spine of the Appalachians seems unlikely.

Posted by: D | February 27, 2008 9:13 PM | Report abuse

That all makes sense, and I'm sure your right. I just got the sense, from the NWS discussions and listning to different mets, and being on weather forums that there was not any new information added. Thanks for politely correcting me!

Posted by: JJ | February 27, 2008 9:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad to share my two cents. It's actually quite exciting that people have such a thirst to learn about weather, how it works, how the forecasting process goes down, how weather models operate etc. So, keep posting questions and comments, the discussion is often quite good!

Onto the more important topic....I wouldn't get too excited about any individual model run just yet, but something is definitely brewing for next week. I really wonder just how much of this cold air is really going to get forced far enough south.

Posted by: D | February 27, 2008 9:27 PM | Report abuse

"I've been going over all the data for the Monday through Thursday and can say with out a doubt that major to historic winter storm will impact the forecast area. What type of precipitation falls is, of course, still very much in question. However, I am confident in the theory that all the pieces for a significant storm threat is real. All model guidance supports a transitional negative NAO blocking mechanism, which allows the southern branch disturbance to slow down. The Polar Vortex on all model guidance suggest that arctic air will dive towards the forecast area. In fact, the high pressure system that moves into the Great Lakes by Monday/Tuesday is originally from eastern Siberia/northwestern Alaska. This high pressure will bring a very deep and strong cold air mass. An air mass that I frankly doubt the models at this point have a strong handle on at this point. Also, the southern branch with each model run is showing more and more energy with this disturbance. This disturbance will have the capability to entrain tropical Pacific moisture, Gulf of Mexico moisture, and Atlantic moisture (especially tropical). In short, we are looking at some a significant clash of tropical air versus arctic air, and when those air masses mix trouble is the result. I do warn those that each model run will likely have a different handle on the exact position, speed, and strength of the surface features, and one should not dive into the details at this point like rain/snow lines. I plan on doing a video tomorrow to cover this storm extensively."
From a pro met at PA/NJweather not exactly this area but still sorta encouraging for anyone looking for a storm

Posted by: Anonymous | February 27, 2008 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Why does every forecast I see for next Tuesday show rain and high's in the mid 50's? Am I missing something here?

Posted by: Ivan | February 27, 2008 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Because right now, the forecast is a struggle between heavy rain and heavy snow, and when they dont know, they're not going to go out on the line a week in advance and say a big snowstorm

Posted by: To Ivan | February 27, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, back at the ranch: We are having a lovely little snowfall out here in Fauquier. Very very dry, light but fluffy flakes have begun to coat everything. The wind though is periodically puffing it away.

Posted by: weathergrrl | February 27, 2008 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Now That's What I Am Talking About.

Posted by: Period | February 27, 2008 10:45 PM | Report abuse

I think this blog in particular has been the most uplifting blog this winter. especially the blog from pro met.

Guys, we could really be in for something big. Seems like a similar setup to 96'. Maybe mother nature has been holding out all winter for this one big slammer storm....:)

.....18z models suggest snow near Florida and a foot near Atlanta

Posted by: StormChaser | February 27, 2008 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Their is not going 2 b a big snow storm here next week. I'm sorry, but their will not b enough cold in place 2 support any type of winter prec. Hopefully we will at least get a good amount of rain. Hoping & wishcasting just won't get it done. I'll eat all the crow in the world if we get a big snow in the next 10 days. I hate being the snow scrooge, but facts r facts.

Posted by: VaTechBob. | February 27, 2008 11:14 PM | Report abuse

00z is loading now...Storm is not quite loaded for when it hits us, but it looks like its turning into a monster with places like southern Mississippi getting a foot

Posted by: Anonymous | February 27, 2008 11:19 PM | Report abuse

I agree with VATechBob that next weeks event will start out as rain. But judging the latest 00z. A changeover to snow looks to occur during the middle of the storm. This is what the latest model "suggest" at this point....I think we will see some snow if we get this storm. There is a powerful shot of cold air plowing south to areas not use to seeing below freezing temps. Models are already showing an impressive comma shape storm this far out. Pretty impressive. I dont think models have a read quite yet on the storm, but they are beggining to show what pro met is speaking of in post above

Posted by: stormchaser | February 27, 2008 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Pro Met, I want to see your video clip!!! If you read this post again. Please fill me in on how or where. Thanks.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 27, 2008 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Come on VATechBob, Jump on the bandwagon of hope!!!.....:)

Just kidding. I'm glad that there people that take emotion out of the equation. However, I do think we will see some snow. Did you look at how far the 850 line is dropping south next week. Pro Met says models might not have a grip on the cold yet.

Posted by: StormChaser | February 27, 2008 11:41 PM | Report abuse

One can only hope. Stranger things have happened.

Posted by: VaTechBob. | February 27, 2008 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Whatever happens with that system Tuesday (heavy rain/heavy snow) the timing is nothing short of ABYSMAL--just in time for the Clarendon Ballroom Swing Dance! Boy, am I ever starting to get FED UP with these rain events, cold spells, and damp interludes, just in time for dance night!!! Let's get with some serious METEOROLOGICAL SPRING for a change!

(Perhaps the Clarendon Ballroom would be well advised to just "yank" this dance for a "private event" next Tuesday!)

Posted by: El Bombo | February 28, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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