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Posted at 1:15 PM ET, 12/22/2010

Sunday storm could be big hit or big miss

By Wes Junker and Jason Samenow

White Christmas dreams evaporating

updated at 2:05 p.m. to reflect the latest information

Remarkably, the images of snow that seemed to be emanating from the Snow Lover's Crystal Ball are not as clear as they looked this time on Monday, even though we are now creeping up on the weekend.

For a lot of people trying to plan holiday travel, let us preface this by saying we fully recognize that our forecast - which leaves open possibilities ranging from a dusting to a blizzard -- may be frustrating. We're frustrated too.

Next accumulating snow chance: Sunday into Monday
Probability of accumulating snow (1" or more): 50-60%
Probability of more than 4": 20-30%

The reality is that this forecast is very complicated because we're right on the edge of a huge storm, nothing, or something in between. It is a very fine line and we're trying to be honest. But this post should serve as a "heads-up" that there is a possibility of a significant winter storm Sunday into Monday

In addition, we can say the following:

* The odds of snow on Christmas itself have fallen dramatically - and there is little chance of a white Christmas this year.

* If a big storm materializes, it would most likely impact the region Sunday into Monday

* If you live closer to the ocean (e.g. the eastern shore of Md/De/Va.) or your travels include southern New England, your odds of experiencing a big storm are higher. But the risk is appreciably less as you head west toward the mountains.

Keep reading for technical discussion...

TECHNICAL DISCUSSION

The computer model war (illustrated in Jason's post yesterday) between the European model and the National Weather Service's GFS model continues. The contrast between the models remains striking although there is some indication that the dry, out-to-sea GFS is trending toward the stormier, closer-to-the coast European (Euro) model. But is it enough to bring significant snow to the D.C. area?

Making the forecast even tougher is the fact that both models have been pretty consistent in their forecasts over the past four or five runs, even as the GFS has gradually slowed the progression of the southern stream wave and shifted its track slightly to the south - somewhat more in line with the Euro. But the latest GFS run still does not turn the wave up the coast as much as the Euro - which is critical if the D.C. metro region is to see appreciable snow.

Let's take a look at how the models have evolved...

First we'll look at the Euro and GFS models from last night (below). To begin, note the differences in the orientation of the troughs (dips in the northern and southern branches of the jet stream) at 500 mb (about 18,000 ft). The GFS almost loses the southern most one. Because that feature is so much weaker, its surface low is a little weaker and faster than the Euro, which makes it a little tougher to phase (combine) with the northern stream and get a big storm. More importantly, notice the differences over the Great Lakes region and how the trough on the Euro extends farther to the west. That feature with the strong upper level jet on its west side (thick black arrows) digs much farther west than on the GFS or on any other models.

wes-1222-1.gif
Forecast maps from last night's operational runs of the Euro (top) and GFS (bottom) verifying at 7 p.m. Saturday (left) and 7 p.m. Sunday (right). Surface pressure pattern shown with white lines; 500 mb heights (black lines and shading); dashed lines indicate troughs.

Therefore, by Sunday morning, the Euro has a monster storm right along the coast that would produce more than a foot of snow over Washington. By contrast, the GFS, with less of a Great Lakes westward extension to the trough, ends up with the low developing well off the coast and gives DC no snow at all. The Canadian and UKMET models have more phasing and development than the GFS but they also were a little too far east for D.C. to cash in and certainly do not support the operational European model.

One way to judge how likely a model solution might be is to compare it to various ensemble runs from the various meteorological centers around the world. Remember that, essentially, ensemble members are generated by either tweaking the model's initial conditions and/or some of the ways physical process are represented in the model - all in the hopes of getting a feel for how much confidence can be placed in the model's forecast. Below are representations of the ensemble mean forecasts (the average of all the ensemble members) from the European center and NWS GFS model.

The ensemble mean forecasts from the European model (top image) and GFS are shown below. The European ensemble mean is 100 to 150 miles east of the operational European model that was shown earlier in the discussion. It suggests that, as of last night, the operational European model was an outlier on the western side of the envelope describing all the various forecasts, a possible solution but not a likely one. The more likely alternative, based on last night's information, would be closer to the euro ensemble mean. That's essentially the solution of the latest GFS though the latter is quite a bit deeper.

wes-1222-2.gif
Forecast maps from last night's run of the ensemble mean of the Euro (top) and GFS (bottom) models verifying at 7 p.m. Saturday (left) and 7 p.m. Sunday (right). Surface pressure pattern shown with white lines; 500 mb heights (black lines and shading); dashed lines indicate troughs.

wes-1222-3.gif
Storm tracks from GFS ensemble members from last night's runs.

The GFS and its ensemble members were remarkably similar last night with regard to snowfall potential for DC. To the right are the tracks of all the lows from the GFS ensemble members from last night's run based on data from 7 p.m. The run from 1 a.m. last night was just as emphatic. Only one member gave D.C. more than an inch of snow. The rest were a dusting at most. They are in contrast with what is suggested by last night's Euro ensemble mean and now the latest operational GFS, which both would give DC light snow. Again, uncertainty abounds.

wes-1222-4.gif
Surface map simulation from latest (this morning's) GFS model for late Sunday night.

If I hadn't seen the latest GFS, I would have lowered the probabilities for snow. However, now the GFS model run this morning has shifted dramatically west (as shown to the right) and has almost the same phasing as the Euro ensemble mean. The track is still too far east for D.C. for big snow. Still this is a big enough shift to create additional uncertainty. Notice how much closer to the coast it is compared to last night's run. Its 500 mb pattern looks pretty ominous (for a snowstorm) so I'm not willing to say that it couldn't shift even farther west on a subsequent run.

The latest (from this morning) GFS ensemble members are indicating there is a 20% chance of getting over 0.50" inches liquid equivalent (5 or 6 inches of snow). And the latest European model (just in) continues to show a big East Coast storm - for the fourth or fifth consecutive run - showing strong consistency.

Stay tuned...as sometimes you can draw a flush in poker and sometimes the outlier will verify.

By Wes Junker and Jason Samenow  | December 22, 2010; 1:15 PM ET
Categories:  Latest, Snow Lover's Crystal Ball, Winter Storms  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Year in pictures: Submit your 2010 weather photos
Next: PM Update: Winds set to whip up

Comments

I like that 20%.

And keep up the good work -- good to see you're not committing to either a monster or a duster.

Posted by: ennepe68 | December 22, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

So what is the worse case scenario if the Euro comes true? 12 inches? 24 inches?

Posted by: hereandnow1 | December 22, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

The latest 12Z Euro makes my heart jump a thousand times over. Just one look at it will make any snow lover instantaneously faint.

Posted by: Yellowboy | December 22, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

The latest 12Z Euro makes my heart jump a thousand times over. Just one look at it will make any snow lover instantaneously faint.

Posted by: Yellowboy | December 22, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Loving the new EURO run...this thing is a monster right off the coast of Norfolk by Monday.

Posted by: APU2100 | December 22, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Weather model pron for sure.

Posted by: ennepe68 | December 22, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

That was a great read on things. We know where we clearly stand. Now what will the 18Z GFS bring for us? Anxious to see...

Also - after the 18Z GFS is released each day, are there any other forecast models of importance that update later on?

Posted by: HurricaneSpud | December 22, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the double post! Heart attack...

Posted by: Yellowboy | December 22, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

@hereandnow1: Yes, if the 12z Euro were to verify, 1 foot of snow would be well within reach, 2 feet would possibly be within reach.

Posted by: Registration1982 | December 22, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Big storm favored...per ECMWF bias

Bombo snow threat increases to .6 or .7 for next seven days.

Tom Skilling's RPM model has widespread snow in Tennessee Valley by late Saturday. This could overspread the local area during the day Sunday, then intense ECMWF storm could lead to HUGE BLIZZARD WITH STRONG NORTHERLY WINDS Sunday night into Monday.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | December 22, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

We have nearly 10,000 years of accumulated knowledge, weather stations in every nook and cranny on the globe, hundreds of PhDs armed with dozens of dedicated computers running worldwide – and we still don’t know what’s going to happen a few days from now.

I don’t know whether I should be amazed at nature’s ability to be unpredictable or dismayed at man’s ability to predict it.

In any event - good, thoughtful and honest post. I'll take a quiet holiday weekend. As nice as a white Christmas might be, its more important for people to be with their loved ones.

Posted by: Vingold | December 22, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Wes for another insightful analysis.

Posted by: JTF- | December 22, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

thanks again CWG for all of the great detail and analysis! This one is really keeping us on the edge of our seats!

Posted by: bachaney | December 22, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Folks who root for snow are inconsiderate juveniles. They probably also root for Darth Vader and Wil E. Coyote as well.

Posted by: lingering_lead | December 22, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

I'm really digging this style of forecasting with half normal discussion and then in depth technical analysis. Is there any way CWG could put up a glossary of terms for all of us weather forecasting novices.

Posted by: mkbf26 | December 22, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

"So what is the worse case scenario if the Euro comes true? 12 inches? 24 inches?

Posted by: hereandnow1
- - - -

Latest EURO model projects more than 1.5 inches of QPF (moisture), and given the cold temps, we're probably talking at least 15 inches of snow for every inch of QPF. So, do the math there and we're over 20 inches easily. And if the ratios come in at 18:1 like some expect, we're looking at well over 2 feet of snow. Every bit as big as the the February 6 storm, but with WAY more wind and drifting. Extremely dangerous storm.

Posted by: jpeyster | December 22, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Hi CWG! I am still in love with you guys. Can you give me an update for Raleigh?

Love,
Me

Posted by: aPostReader1 | December 22, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Look - I am not looking forward to a blizzard on Sunday into Monday as a good number of people I care about are planning on driving that day (and I also don't want to be stuck with them all week either). But can we please not name call/point fingers/turn into jerks?

If it comes, it comes and we deal. If it doesn't, then I won't turn into a raging lunatic which is best for everyone. But honestly? If I didn't have the all or nothing with relatives and friends, I'd be okay with a foot (and only foot - none of that bakers dozen of inches) of snow as I could use a few days off to nap and clean.

Posted by: hereandnow1 | December 22, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Where are qpf results for the European model? The site I use only gives wind/pressure.

Posted by: JTF- | December 22, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

@lingering_lead

Maybe you want to discuss your feelings for snow loving adults with ophelialit?

Posted by: bouncinggorilla | December 22, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

I've been reading this blog (and others) all morning with popcorn. This is good stuff...

Posted by: Rcmorgan | December 22, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

@lingering_lead

I root for the Tazmanian Devil. He'd be even cooler in snow.

Posted by: khopps | December 22, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

@lingering_lead: I am most certainly not juvenile. Inconsiderate, absolutely, but there's nothing juvenile about enjoying storms. I used to root for hurricane hits when I lived in Miami -- there's something awe-inspiring about the power of a massive storm.

P.S. Wasn't Darth Vader and the Empire basically the establishment, while the "rebels" were causing chaos around the edges? Call me nitpicky, but I think Darth Vader would not have liked snowstorms as much as a Wookie or Ewok. ;-P

Posted by: wappledoo | December 22, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Wes,

Great post and analysis! Look forward to these every day!

Can you please direct us to some of the websites that you are pulling the data from? I've been trying to find a site that shows the storm track forecasts along with EURO QPFs but have been unable to locate them.

Posted by: snowfan23 | December 22, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

"@lingering_lead: I am most certainly not juvenile. Inconsiderate, absolutely, but there's nothing juvenile about enjoying storms."
******************************************
@wappledoo,

I love it when people take ownership. I love a big storm too.

I find it interesting, however, how people who can't stand the "big ones" come to a weather blog to vent against those of us who do.

Posted by: Rcmorgan | December 22, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

@Vingold- You put that really well. Personally I'm going with being amazed at nature's ability to be unpredictable.

Posted by: WickedRose | December 22, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Take a look at the second frame down of this link. That is almost frightening. Is that even possible for a storm to be that big? Have other storms modeled - regardless of whether they actually happened or not -- looked like that?

http://www.meteo.psu.edu/~gadomski/ECMWF0.5_12z/f120.gif

Posted by: realclear | December 22, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Sunday into Monday storm, call it "CherSNOWbyl"

Posted by: snowedin85 | December 22, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

As important as it is for people to be with their loved ones, it's equally important for said loved ones to leave town (safely) when they're scheduled to do so. As in, on Monday morning, first thing. Houseguests are like fish; after a few days...

All kidding aside, I hope everyone has a very safe and merry holiday.

Posted by: dcgirl723 | December 22, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

CWG -- what was the 2:05 PM update? I'm not seeing anything new on the post except perhaps for the 4" probability going from 20% to 20-30%. Was there some new info?

Posted by: lmf-DC | December 22, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Sunday into Monday storm, call it "CherSNOWbyl"

Posted by: snowedin85 | December 22, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

This juvenile stands ready with a brand new & ridiculously large snow shovel.
There's not a scratch on this baby, give me something cold, white & powdery to break it in.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | December 22, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Sarcasm folks!!!! Let it rain, snow, sleet and wind. This is why I live here and not in San Diego. God made four seasons for a reason.

Love the Tasmanian Devil reference. Taz would be all over a blizzard. Hell, Wil E. Coyote might actually catch the Road Runner and beat the almight Ajax if a blizzard were to hit.

I also think Darth Vader would've let his inner rebel take over and he would love a blizzard.

Now, off to my therapy session with Ophelia....

Posted by: lingering_lead | December 22, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

As important as it is for people to be with their loved ones, it's equally important for said loved ones to leave town (safely) when they're scheduled to do so. As in, on Monday morning, first thing. Houseguests are like fish; after a few days...

All kidding aside, I hope everyone has a very safe and merry holiday.

Posted by: dcgirl723 | December 22, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

I'm a huge fan and really appreciate the weather education I have received from you guys over the past two winters. I just noticed the update at 2:05, which I believe reflects slightly higher likelihoods of 1+ or 4+. Is this due to the GFS shift? Due to any additional information or observations?

Posted by: Rkvinthehizzy | December 22, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Lingering -

Was I the only one to catch your sarcasm initially? Saw that a mile away.

Posted by: ThinkSpring | December 22, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Can you discuss the track of the storm up the coast. Even if it gives us only a dusting, would it hit New York, Boston, and if so, how much is likely?

Posted by: stmakr | December 22, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Here are some websites. You can look at the european model and ensemble mean forecasts here.

http://raleighwx.americanwx.com/models.html

The probabilities for various precip amounts from the ensembles here.

GFS model forecasts here, http://www.nco.ncep.noaa.gov/pmb/nwprod/analysis/ or here http://www.meteo.psu.edu/~gadomski/ewall.html

if you look at towards the top left side of the latter site you will find the european model forecasts.

The european model gives dca around 1.50 or maybe slightly more inches of liquid equivalent. At these time ranges, it's still a fantasy forecast.


Posted by: wjunker | December 22, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Can you discuss the track of the storm up the coast even if we get only a dusting. What might be the impact on New York, Boston?

Posted by: stmakr | December 22, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

re: the 2:05 p.m. update

It was just to up probabilities a tiny bit based on latest Euro run. The 1:15 p.m. probabilities did not factor that in nor the latest GFS ensembles even though we wrote about them at the end briefly.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | December 22, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

note, the probabilities near the top of the post for accumulating snow (more than 1") and for more than 4" were bumped up ever-so-slightly (from 50% to 50-60%, and from 20% to 20-30%, respectively) to reflect the latest info (i.e., the euro staying consistent with a big East Coast storm).

Posted by: Dan-CapitalWeatherGang | December 22, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Given Sunday is Boxing Day, I vote we dub this storm, IF it happens...

Mike Tyson's Punchout

Posted by: HurricaneSpud | December 22, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

So, what kind of timetable are we thinking this will start on Sunday? I've got a late morning flight from Boston to DC on Sunday.

Posted by: THE_CHIEFS_PUT_THE_HAMMER_DOWN | December 22, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

@stmakr

There is a scenario where DC would largely get passed over but southern New England gets slammed (from say Long Island to Boston) late Sunday night into Monday. That's kind of what the latest GFS is showing. Basically, the further you are to the east, the better chance you have of getting nailed by this storm with wind and snow. The only caveat is that if the storm trended west very close to the coast, easterly flow off the ocean could cause the snow to mix with sleet or rain for the coastal areas.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | December 22, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Getting harder to say the Euro might be whacked in my opinion. Last three runs are very consistent with precipitation placement across this area. I'm contemplating how to ensure I'm back from Christmas in CT at this point.. would be sad to miss a big one here!

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | December 22, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

@Lingering and ThinkSpring --

Yes, the sarcasm was dripping, not sure why other people didn't catch it :) I think everyone's a little defensive after yesterday!

Posted by: kolya02 | December 22, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

If the worst/best case scenario plays out (depending on one's perspective) how long would you think it would take for DCA to get dug out to resume operations?

Posted by: kallieh | December 22, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

@mkbf26

Thanks for the feedback. We're doing our best to make material accessible to a range of audiences. Good suggestion for a glossary of terms for our technical write-ups. We'll try to get something like that put together.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | December 22, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Come on, Euro. Blink. You got 3 more days. :)

Posted by: ThinkSpring | December 22, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

SnowPhoon.

Posted by: massexile | December 22, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Right there with you, ThinkSpring. Have somewhere to be on Monday for family holiday plans.

(Note: if the snow comes, I'll deal with it, reschedule and shovel out. I'd just rather only be shoveling about 4-8 inches!)

Posted by: argear | December 22, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Will I have time Sunday morning to get some Chinese carryout?

Posted by: blackforestcherry | December 22, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

"If the worst/best case scenario plays out (depending on one's perspective) how long would you think it would take for DCA to get dug out to resume operations?"
*********************************************
@kallieh,

I'm betting on New Year's Day.

Posted by: Rcmorgan | December 22, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

If we really get the 2+ feet suggested by the euro... words will not be able to describe the epicness. like adfadsfdas it would be amazing

Posted by: samd95 | December 22, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Since the grocery stores won't be open Saturday, do forecasters feel more pressure to let people know, say tomorrow before XMAS Eve about what MAY occur. With all this model chaos, and the potential High-impact associated with XMAS travel, I feel for all of you at Cap. Weather in having to make this call

Posted by: realclear | December 22, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Sarcasm detection is a must in the internet age. Part of me wonders if Opheliat was really just joshing around yesterday. It was a fun show, for sure.

Posted by: lingering_lead | December 22, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Take that back...The airport, probably not so long, the rest of the Washington Metro area....yeah, New Year's Day.

Posted by: Rcmorgan | December 22, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

On the bright side, (for me at least), tomorrow will have 4 more secs of daylight than today. Spring here we come!

Posted by: ThinkSpring | December 22, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

snowphoney.

Posted by: mikeyva44 | December 22, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

"I'm betting on New Year's Day."

Haha, I was thinking similarly pessimistic. I couldn't remember how long it took for the storms last year, we weren't traveling then so I didn't pay attention.

We are on an early Wed morning flight out to Texas, so while one would think the snow impact should be cleared, I'm not terribly optimistic in thinking that DCA is that efficient.

Posted by: kallieh | December 22, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

CWG,
How will the chem trails from Santa's sleigh effect the timing/path of the storm?

Posted by: JDK4 | December 22, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

@aPostReader1

Chance of snow in Raleigh late Christmas day, better chance into morning of 12/26. Decent chance of some accumulation.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | December 22, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to say it will miss and santa could ride his bicycle if hre wants too.

Posted by: mikeyva44 | December 22, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

DOes anybody actually think we're going to get 2 feet of snow?

Posted by: br1963 | December 22, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

DOes anybody actually think we're going to get 2 feet of snow?

Posted by: br1963 | December 22, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

As a former researcher in the development and maintenance of extra-tropical cyclones,I have reason to believe that the latest GFS - and possibly the ECMWF - are unreliable versions of actual possibilities.

The reasons are rather wonkish. Suffice it say here that the initiation of rapid development along the southeast coast in the models is related to an outbreak of heavy (convective) rainfall and associated release of heat energy from condensation.

Thereafter, the increasingly heavy precipitation remains coincident with he low center, directly forcing further development and with the tendency to create a warm core, (tropical storm-like) system. But, that's not what happens in diagnoses of actual storms such as this!

The implication, not too surprisingly from previous experience, is that the models are improperly simulating precipitation processes (amount, horizontal and vertical distribution of heating) and consequent feedback to intensification. This happens in response to the models by chance hitting on an extreme sensitivity to the vertical stability. A majority of runs and ensemble members apparently avoid triggering the problem.

The above is just what I'd expect: runs that trigger the sensitive 3-D model parameter space deepen rapidly and stay closer to the coast than those which do not.

Of course I may be totally wrong. If so and the storm actually develops as in the ECMWF, it will be a case of getting the right answer for the wrong reasons - not all that uncommon.

For those foolish enough (just joking) to want to go into this further, get in touch with me offline

Posted by: SteveT-CapitalWeatherGang | December 22, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Um...can someone translate Steve's post into 6th grade english please? :)

Posted by: hereandnow1 | December 22, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

@Snowedin85

LOL "CherSNOWbyl"

Loves it.

Posted by: casa_wasabi | December 22, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

@steve, can you put that in laymans terms and state how it affects the forecast and snow probability? thanks

Posted by: samd95 | December 22, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I think Steve is saying that there's a chance the models are - incorrectly - picking up very sensitive fluctuations that make or break this storm.

I'm in the "make" it camp, since I'll spend the holiday in my cozy home, but feel for those who will be traveling - or without a cozy home...

Posted by: RASinDC | December 22, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

@hereandnow1 and samd95

Steve is basically saying the models (especially the Euro) may be overdoing the intensification of the storm -- which brings it closer to the coast than realistic. In other words, he is not "sold" by the blizzard being advertised by the Euro model and thinks there's a good possibility this is a miss.

We've taken such considerations into account in the probabilities we give above (20-30% chance of more than 4 inches).

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | December 22, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

I think what Steve is saying is that you can return those 75 rolls of t-paper back to the store.

Posted by: blackforestcherry | December 22, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Thank you. I may now name my first born child or next dog (more likely) after Steve.

Posted by: hereandnow1 | December 22, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

What Steve is saying is that the models are senstive to the latent heating that occurs when the convective schemes in the models kick in. The scale of convection is too small to be handled by the models with the grid spacing they have. Instead of the latent heat occurring on the smaller scale that convection actually occurs on, the latest heating occurs at the scale of the grid box which is too large of a scale. You end up getting too much heating and since warm air weighs less the colder air. you get lower pressures. It also has to do with the placement of the convection and where it will kick in the self developmental process. It changes the orientation of the trough and ridges which increases the upper level divergence lifting which cause condensation which produces more latent heat release

While That is a common failing of the models, many of the differences between the models start showing up early and the 500 low on the euro closes off well west of us initially which would support its more westerly solution event without the latent heat being such a player. At least that's my opinion, I'm not saying the Euro is right, I have no idea but I think there are other things going on as well.

Posted by: wjunker | December 22, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

If I understand this correctly, the Euro has been consistent for several runs now. Is this common for a storm of major proportions this far out?
In addition, the GFS seems to be slowly trending towards what the Euro has been saying for those several runs.
Following these storms as they develop can be highly addictive. Looking forward to the next runs...

Posted by: bodyiq | December 22, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Hello everyone! I assume that I've been missed, yes? Someone suggested that I was dealing in sarcasm for sport yesterday...was I? Hmmmm....perhaps that wasn't my original intention, but I can't deny that a little button-pushing seemed in order for the hysterics out there. It was quite easy to push them into name-calling, twitching and general angst...questioning my credentials, my humanity, my DNA...whatever.

In other news, I'm still hoping for a complete miss so we can put the dark days of winter behind us and careen into spring. If it IS a hit, though, I shall be well-stocked in mint Oreos and Bailey's as that is the only civilized way to deal with these things. Besides, didn't someone suggest I needed a drink yesterday?

Posted by: ophelialit | December 22, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Ophelia-
Don't you have a patient to drive beyond the edge?

Posted by: mason08 | December 22, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

What has enabled that New England storm to stick around for so long? It seems very slow to depart out to sea.
Any idea as to how much the Boston area has received from this?

Posted by: bodyiq | December 22, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

The 12Z european ensemble mean has trended west of where ti was last night. It's considerably weaker than the operational which you'd expect with a mean. At any rate, it looks like there may be more supportive members of some euro like track from it than last night's run. I ahven't seen the spread but assume there is quite a bit of it.

Posted by: wjunker | December 22, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

mason08, don't entertain Ophelia ... you'll turn to stone.

Posted by: blackforestcherry | December 22, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Wes, translation please? Thank you as always for your insight.

Posted by: kathyb39 | December 22, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

I love following these discussions, even though I am two hours south. How is the Richmond (and slightly south, say, Petersburg) area looking for Sunday? Will a miss for DC equate a miss for us also? If there are any sites that focus on that area, could someone point them out? Thanks, you guys are awesome.

Posted by: bnwade | December 22, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Ophelia -

Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter. :)

Posted by: ThinkSpring | December 22, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

The tiresome and errant weather gang needs to take its attempts at cutesy elsewhere.

Posted by: slipuvalad | December 22, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

I am clinging desperately to still viable possibility of NO SNOW. I will say a fervent prayer that the next EURO is out to sea. East Baby East!!!!!

Posted by: pbj1 | December 22, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like we've seen nothing yet to distract us from our dreams of mass chaos in the Nation's Capital on Sunday and into Monday. At least that's what I seem to be gleaning from all this science speak.

Posted by: lingering_lead | December 22, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Unless my math is wrong, shouldn't the 18z GFS be coming out soon? Here's to hoping pbj1's prayers are NOT answered ;-).

Posted by: wappledoo | December 22, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Yes Slipuvalad, let's kick the weather gang out of their own house. Or perhaps we could simply go elsewhere.

Posted by: lingering_lead | December 22, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

The name Steve is good. Mint Oreos and Baileys are good. Cute is fine by me.

Snow on the 26th will be problematic for travelers (I'll be in that category) but I'll take it as it comes and be happy.

What's really great is all the technical explanations on this blog. I have learned so much here.

Thank you CWG for your wonderful write ups!

Posted by: Snowlover2 | December 22, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I haven't been able to follow the blog too closely the last couple of days but I have been reading when I can.
Ophelia, as much as I like snow and wish for it, etc. it has been a treat following your exchanges with the rest of the community. Enjoy your Baileys and push buttons as you wish!
kathyb39, Wes is saying - in a nutshell- that the Euro (operational model) now seems to have a bit more support from its ensemble members. "Essentially, ensemble members are generated by either tweaking the model's initial conditions and/or some of the ways physical process are represented in the model - all in the hopes of getting a feel for how much confidence can be placed in the model's forecast". The Euro has been pretty much on it's own the last couple of days in calling for a major east coast storm. Now the average (mean) of those ensembles has moved the track of the storm a little more in line with the operational Euro.

Posted by: pjdunn1 | December 22, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Ophelia,
Like snow, your reappearance gets me so jazzed and renews my hope for life.

Posted by: JDK4 | December 22, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Ophelia,
Like snow, your reappearance gets me so jazzed and renews my hope for life.

Posted by: JDK4 | December 22, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I believe we could indeed start our own coalition of bizarre and confounding behavior....we shall meet in dark bars to hide our shame, and we shall puff up our chests and say things like "I certainly hope we have a rain of toads soon because THAT would be interesting weather!"... :-)

Posted by: ophelialit | December 22, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

ophelia: I appreciate your viewpoint and sense of humor. I just cannot fathom the snow lust thing.

Posted by: pbj1 | December 22, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I hope the GFS keeps trending west and the Euro is exactly correct!! Honestly, I would like to start seeing forecasts in the 24-36" range :) You "feel me" Ophelia?

Posted by: snowlover | December 22, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I always enjoy my visits to CWG for information, even though my view is the only good snow is one that falls a long way from me. I'm still parking on a thick sheet of ice from the first invasion. I have no sick leave so if I fall and break my 60 year-old bones, I have no income. If this does happen (and may it go far out to sea, please) I suppose I hope it is big enough for my boss to close our office on Monday. At least that way I could get a paid holiday around Christmas. Otherwise .... this really sucks.

Posted by: GreybirdK1 | December 22, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

I agree with snowlover. also CherSNOWbyl sounds like a good nickname. a good tagline- "2012 came 2 years early"

Posted by: samd95 | December 22, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

"F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function."

Let's follow the lead of this quote and transform to something relevant here:

The test of a first-rate weather forecaster (like Wes) is the ability to interpret many differing model solutions at the same time, and still retain the ability (sanity?) to keep going, and going, and going ....

Posted by: SteveT-CapitalWeatherGang | December 22, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

I came in on the tail end of last winter and this is just FASCINATING. I can't believe how much I have learned in the last few weeks. I must confess rather shamefully that the graphs/pictues/satellite views mean nothing to me. I "long" to look at the GFS and say "be still my heart." But I am able to follow somewhat the verbage above from Steve and Wes -- guess I'm not a visual person.

Anyway, CWG, keep it up! You absolutely ROCK!

I must say I won't be disappointed if this doesn't pan out because it means our Christmas travel plans can go on as scheduled. P.S.: thanks a lot to all of you who have just come flat out and stated that guests need to get to steppin at the appointed time. Wonder if my in-laws feel that way too? LOL!

Posted by: luvhh | December 22, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

"I certainly hope we have a rain of toads soon because THAT would be interesting weather!"
===

You should try the midwest. I hear that happens there after tornadoes.

Posted by: mason08 | December 22, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

The 18Z GFS pretty much follows the 12Z giving us a little snow. It still shows a monster storm off the coast threatening eastern new england. It's a really interesting storm and as steve noted with the sunday non storm. We may have to wait until inside of 72 hrs to really know whats going to happen. This pattern is one that really is favorable for a storm to develop. The question is how close will it be to the coast

Posted by: wjunker | December 22, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

18Z GFS moves west ever so slightly.

Posted by: bdeco | December 22, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

wjunker- if the GFS trend continues, it will be a nice hit for dc and the big cities north.....

Posted by: snowlover | December 22, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Wes and pjdunn1 - thanks! I am hoping for some snow. Baileys and mint oreos sound great!

Posted by: kathyb39 | December 22, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Greybird:

1) Wear boots.
2) Stop your nearest hardware store.
3) Buy salt.
4) Apply salt to sheet of ice.

Posted by: mason08 | December 22, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

i have my honeymoon planned leaving on Dec 26 at 4pm headed west. Pleeeeeease let me be able to leave. Worse case scenario, what time could the snow start n Sunday?

Posted by: pomata24 | December 22, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Wes,

At this point with the Euro being a direct hit and the GFS trending towards the Euro solution, is there really a chance that at this point that things could change that drastically to give us no snow?...

Within 72hrs would understandably tell us how much we may get, but do we really need to be within 72hrs to know we are getting at least some snow. Is it safe to say with the way both models are trending snow is a guarantee at this point?...

Also, what about the Canadian and Navy model?.... Where do they stand and do they hold any credibility at this point in time?

Posted by: KRUZ | December 22, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Last night Bob Ryan thought we would get very little snow out of this system,. If I remember, he also down played the Dec 19 storm last yr, & the 1st 1 in Feb. when they were 4-5 days out. Not the 1st time hes done that over the yrs on big storms.I know hes been in this area a long time, but it seems when he down plays a storm 4-5 days out, the opposite happens.

Posted by: VaTechBob | December 22, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Amongst the devil in the details is the errors all models are showing over the eastern Pacific, which can have significant influence on downstream developments over the eastern U.S. I would not expect convergence of models until the short wave (vorticity max/upper-level energy) that ultimately becomes tied to surface low development moves inland (better initial data) - about 72 hours before east coast storm.

I'll try to show charts to illustrate this tomorrow.

Posted by: SteveT-CapitalWeatherGang | December 22, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

@Kruz,

May I try to answer your question? You asked "is there really a chance that at this point that things could change that drastically to give us no snow?...". Let's place your question into two camps, the no snow camp (GFS, etc.) and the snow camp (Euro). First the GFS and friends... there would need to be no change at all to give us no snow or at the best a few light showers. It already has us in that range. The second would be the Euro.. if you solely go by it the change would indeed be drastic. The bottom line is that a good deal of the model guidance is not a big hit for the east coast and thus a drastic change would not have to happen for us to get no snow. Only in a small (but influential) set of model guidance would there need to be a drastic change. And as Steve has so pointed out, the models don't yet a have a great grasp on the energy coming onto the west coast which will eventually become the storm in the eastern USA. That may be the biggest change to the models downstream.

Posted by: pjdunn1 | December 22, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Another computer model website I enjoyed playing with (not that I understand what I'm looking at):

http://www.dejongonline.com/weather/weathermodel.htm

You can swipe your mouse back and forth across the top of a "loop" to sort of animate it.

Posted by: Groff | December 22, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

There is uncerrtainty on when any snow would start. It's way too early to give a detailed forecast. the place that has the best chance of missing snow is on the weest side of the city. The 18Z GFS only gets the snow to around or just barely west of the district. It's better snow is southeast of the district and then probably from St Mary's south and east. However, I would get caught yet in that as the euro has it much farther west.

Kruz, The Euro had a major snowstorm in a 72 hr forecast valid last sunday. While the 12Z did jump west, it still is on the same page as the GGEM wich actually went east a tad and the ukmet. Admittedly, the euro ensemble mean did trend west but it is still east of the euro. As Steve has noted, this system has lots of uncertainty as we still don't have the southern stream system inland and often the northern stream coming out of canada is poorly resolved by models in the long range.

Posted by: wjunker | December 22, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Just saw Veronica Johnson's forecast on NBC4.
She's going with a 70% likelihood of a very light snowfall. The northern extent of accumulating snow on that map appears to be from northern Delaware to DC to Culpeper. She puts the chance of a major snowstorm at 30%.

Posted by: BH99 | December 22, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Well it's been an interesting read. Just wanted to go on record that I broke down and bought a snow thrower this year assuming that in doing so, that it was then a lock that we'd not get enough snow to use it. Guess we'll see.

Flying back in from Indy on Monday night into BWI. Taking the SUV and parking in the daily garage (covered parking). I'm assuming that if we worst case scenario the drive back Monday night will be awful.

When I check the NWS discussion, it usually updates 5am, 11am, 3pm and again around 9pm, so I'm assuming the next model run is around 8:30pm?

Posted by: Flyover_Country | December 22, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Don't both Greybird.

Many people here have no regard for your personal safety, livelihood, or comfort. They just wanna go sleddin' and making snow angels. To hell with the rest of us!

Posted by: pbj1 | December 22, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Just looked at the NWS update for Reston and they downgraded the snow probability to 40%. Also pushed it to Sun night into Monday. I'd put money on nothing but clouds, most likely, with the possibility of trace-2" (20-30%)if this thing really moves enough west. It's disappointing for me but there seems to be a consistent trend here of storms forming out to sea this winter. Oh well, long live the 2009/2010 winter!

Posted by: parksndc | December 22, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

OK..I love snow but I'm driving back from Ohio on Monday. Am I going to be driving into a mess?

Posted by: SPS1 | December 22, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

OK..I love snow but I'm driving back from Ohio on Monday. Am I going to be driving into a mess?

Posted by: SPS1
___________________________________
Economic, political, and/or social mess, yes.

Posted by: rpcv84 | December 22, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

PJB-
If you haven't applied snowmelt to a patch of ice that's giving you trouble SIX DAYS after a two inch snowstorm, I can only assume it's because you didn't know salt melts ice, or that you can pick it up at the Home Depot. Thus, I made my suggestion. Hopefully, it helps Greybird out.

As for the larger question of safety in inclimate weather: Your personal safety is your personal responsibility. I can understand not LIKING snow, cold, or winter. Every man has his own preference. I can even see being annoyed at the inconvenience, even though I consider such annoyance akin to standing on the beach at sunset and cursing the sun for hiding itself behind the waves. I cannot, however, understand not being able to cope with the weather. Not around here, and definitely not in this day and age (Internet). Frankly, if you are not prepared to deal with the weather, you deserve whatever ill fate befalls you.* That includes slipping on ice that you should have applied snow-melt salt to last week.

To the refrain of, "We weren't prepared," I respond only, "Learn from your experience and do so next time. All this has happened before, and it will all happen again."

*Into her 80s, my grandmother kept a five-day grab-and-go kit in home in LA county - just in case The Big One came. Cold, of course, presents a unique challenge, to solitary old folks who lose their heat, but supplies should never be a problem, for anyone.

Posted by: mason08 | December 22, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Can we expect an update on the snow chances tonight(~10pm)? Or will we have to wait till morning?

Posted by: samd95 | December 22, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

To the refrain of, "We weren't prepared," I respond only, "Learn from your experience and do so next time. All this has happened before, and it will all happen again."

*Into her 80s, my grandmother kept a five-day grab-and-go kit in home in LA county - just in case The Big One came. Cold, of course, presents a unique challenge, to solitary old folks who lose their heat, but supplies should never be a problem, for anyone.

Posted by: mason08 | December 22, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse
________________________________
mason08, you're quite a sage. Where would I be w/o your pearls of wisdom?

Posted by: rpcv84 | December 22, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

@samd95

I may try do a quick update tonight after GFS comes in - maybe around 11 p.m. Or look for comments in this thread.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | December 22, 2010 7:51 PM | Report abuse

@samd95

And, if he doesn't provide an update just take a Lunesta and you'll be able to sleep anyway!!

Posted by: rpcv84 | December 22, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

OK, thanks for the prompt response!

Posted by: samd95 | December 22, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Mason08: yes, if only ice were so localized! Typically, when snow begins its long melt-freeze-melt-freeze cycle, there is ice everywhere. I have to do alot of walking and there is no telling where the black ice is. I guess I can wear a bag of snow melt and strew it in front of me like a flower girl throwing petals... Yes, yes, yes precautions and measures can be taken and personal responsibility is key. Same with, say, a possible nuclear accident. I will still complain about that possibility as well. Face it: many people are not happy with snow. We don't have to be to please you.

Posted by: pbj1 | December 22, 2010 8:15 PM | Report abuse

@flyover_country - I'd worry more that your flight would be delayed/cancelled than about driving home from the airport on Monday.

Posted by: jjtwo | December 22, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

@flyover_country - I'd worry more that your flight would be delayed/cancelled than about driving home from the airport on Monday.

Posted by: jjtwo | December 22, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse
___________________________
Hey jjtwo, maybe flyover_country should be more concerned about knowing his/her body is being shown on the full body scanner at the airport for all to see!!

Posted by: rpcv84 | December 22, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

@mason08
There's only so much personal responsibility a pedestrian can take when neighbors don't shovel their sidewalks; streets are barely plowed so two cars can barely pass safely, let alone a person walking on the verge; cars still play the "let me beat that pedestrian to the corner" roulette despite the snow or ice on the pavement. I love snow but trying to make your way through it in this area on foot is a nightmare. I grew up in upstate New York and didn't have anywhere near the problems I have here because people actually understood what a shovel is for and road crews knew how to plow an entire road, not just two lanes.

Posted by: casaeva | December 22, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

I find it amusing when snow haters try to argue with folks on a blog frequented by bona fide snow freaks. Must you really try to tamper their enthusiasm and engage them in argument? Why not just keep your thoughts to yourselves? Christmas time can be especially painful for folks that have lost loved ones recently... Shall we start berating folks in Santa hats or start flipping off folks with wreaths on their cars?

Posted by: lingering_lead | December 22, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

You know it is possible to love snow and still get annoyed at people who don't shovel their sidewalks. Snow is gorgeous and fun, but in this area as a pedestrian you have weeks of treacherous walking to look forward to. Doesn't mean I don't want the snow to come, but I'm not going to keep my thoughts to myself either.

Posted by: casaeva | December 22, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

I'll be doing a radio show at americanwx talking as the GFS come in

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/americanwx/2010/12/23/radio-show-6

Posted by: wjunker | December 22, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

┌─┐
┴─┴
ಠ_ರೃ

Posted by: samd95 | December 22, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

┌─┐
┴─┴
ಠ_ರೃ

Posted by: samd95 | December 22, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse
--------------------------------------
samd95, that is soooo incredibly cute. How did you do that?

Posted by: rpcv84 | December 22, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

To the person several hours ago asking about how much snow was in Boston: not that much. Maybe 2 inches, max. Further southeast towards Cape Cod got about a foot from the storm Monday but mostly rain today.

This is your weathergirl, CuseFan07 reporting live from MA.

Unfortunately, the weather folks up here aren't saying a single word about a big storm yet. My mouth is watering thinking of a big storm... what do you think, CWG? How many inches up here!

Posted by: CuseFan07 | December 22, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

This is your weathergirl, CuseFan07 reporting live from MA.

Posted by: CuseFan07 | December 22, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse
-------------------------------------
CuseFan07, like duh!! You wrote you're reporting live from MA. Not too many people would think you're reporting dead from MA. Just a thought...

Posted by: rpcv84 | December 22, 2010 9:31 PM | Report abuse

@rpcv84 Was just trying to make it sound authentic...

Posted by: CuseFan07 | December 22, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Rough crowd in here tonight.

Posted by: lingering_lead | December 22, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Mason08: yes, if only ice were so localized! Typically, when snow begins its long melt-freeze-melt-freeze cycle, there is ice everywhere. I have to do alot of walking and there is no telling where the black ice is.
===

Your exact quote was, "I'm still parking on a thick sheet of ice from the first invasion." Assuming you park in the same place every day, that is the definition of localized. Furthermore, black ice?? Really? Buck up, shorten your stride, and look at your foot placement.

Your inability to cope isn't a virtue.

Posted by: mason08 | December 22, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Rough crowd indeed...

Posted by: natsncats | December 22, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

00Z NAM MUCH quicker and further north with the southern stream- reintroducing the idea from a week ago of a weaker, more progressive southern stream storm with a couple inches of snow for us and less of a chance of a bomb along the coast. What a ride these models are, huh?

With this scenario back on the table, it will be exciting to see what the wizard behind the curtain paints on the 00Z GFS.

Posted by: 4seams | December 22, 2010 9:49 PM | Report abuse

I grew up in upstate New York and didn't have anywhere near the problems I have here because people actually understood what a shovel is for and road crews knew how to plow an entire road, not just two lanes.
=====
casaeva-

That's my point, though. Most of these people here are on both sides of the proverbial "sidewalk-clearing" debate. They will both fail to clear their own side walks, and then complain about others not clearing theirs. They'll leave on their commutes at the exact same time, knowing the roads are compromised, and then be mystified they arrived late. Statistically speaking, this is the most educated area of the country, yet every winter I'm dumbfounded by the inability of people and governments here to deal with a common weather event. That the techniques to deal with it are common knowledge to people and governments in other portions of the country only redoubles my frustration.

Posted by: mason08 | December 22, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the link, Wes!

Posted by: Rcmorgan | December 22, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

I love this blog. It's got me trying to read all the models and really understand how all the weather factors interact. Great stuff.

Re: clearing snow. I think part of the problem is in this area we try to melt all the snow down to pavement. In other areas they throw a mixture of chemicals and traction agents (grit, cinder, etc). As a pedestrian it makes a HUGE difference and far fewer sheets of ice. Western Maryland uses traction agents and the roads / walks are never completely clear but walkable. I always figured the DC / Baltimore area didn't want to clean up the grit so that's why we just use chemicals making driving and walking much harder.

Posted by: biketraveller22 | December 22, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Re: clearing snow. I think part of the problem is in this area we try to melt all the snow down to pavement. In other areas they throw a mixture of chemicals and traction agents (grit, cinder, etc). As a pedestrian it makes a HUGE difference and far fewer sheets of ice. Western Maryland uses traction agents and the roads / walks are never completely clear but walkable. I always figured the DC / Baltimore area didn't want to clean up the grit so that's why we just use chemicals making driving and walking much harder.

Posted by: biketraveller22
------------------------
Profound, indeed. I think you've lurched uncontrollably into the truth.

Posted by: rpcv84 | December 22, 2010 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Thank you guys, very much for the guidance. That is a boatload of energy coming, someone is going to get crushed by it. It just might be us, if it shakes the right way.

Posted by: Gooddogs | December 22, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

What I find fascinating is the spread between the models as to where the low forms. Here's a pretty picture from 1993 that has a postion of a low somewhat in the middle. Q to the guys in charge, is there enough energy in CA, forward and cold air to make something like this happen again. I'm just entranced by the amount of energy out west.

http://ww2010.atmos.uiuc.edu/(Gh)/arch/cases/930312/sfc/gifs/us/93031313.gif

Posted by: Gooddogs | December 22, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Mason08: I'm not the one who made the original comment about ice. I was further commenting on the danger of ice and its ubiquitousness. Read more carefully.

Posted by: pbj1 | December 22, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Mason08: I'm not the one who made the original comment about ice. I was further commenting on the danger of ice and its ubiquitousness. Read more carefully.

Posted by: pbj1 | December 22, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

@pbj1: Be nice, PLEEZE. These people are sensitive, obsessing about ice, and you might be hurting their feelings. I don't believe you have an ice-filled heart so try to be warm and fuzzy.

Posted by: rpcv84 | December 22, 2010 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Hey, I am the ice-obsessive. Hate the stuff. The preparedness expert falsely reported that I made the post about ice around my car. I didn't.

Posted by: pbj1 | December 22, 2010 11:30 PM | Report abuse

Gooddogs, this very different than that case, it came across in the el nino year and had much more jet energy involved and was amuch strong shortwave as it moved eastward, so strong that the surface low bombed over the gulf and probably had the lowest pressure I can remember over the Gulf of Mexico that was not related to a tropical system. Then that strong southern stream phased with a strong northern stream.

Posted by: wjunker | December 22, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

According to a study by Wes DC has never gotten more than 17" of snow for an entire winter when we are in a moderate to strong La Nina (Not El Nino like last winter). I believe this is because the southern stream is relatively weak and the heavy snow only gets cranking north and east of us. If we got 2 feet of snow here it would be unprecedented for a strong La Nina. Of course there's always a first time!

Posted by: buzzburek | December 23, 2010 2:07 AM | Report abuse

According to a study by Wes DC has never gotten more than 17" of snow for an entire winter when we are in a moderate to strong La Nina (Not El Nino like last winter). I believe this is because the southern stream is relatively weak and the heavy snow only gets cranking north and east of us. If we got 2 feet of snow here it would be unprecedented for a strong La Nina. Of course there's always a first time!

Posted by: buzzburek | December 23, 2010 2:08 AM | Report abuse

The 00z Euro last night jumped east into the slot with the GFS. Congrats to Steve Tracton for a good call. The GFS ensembles from both 00Z and 06Z, the two runs last night, both give a 50% chance of us getting 1" or more of snow. The odds of a major snowstorm seems to be diminishing but we'll wait until this morning's runs before making any changes.

Posted by: wjunker | December 23, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

If I reported to my boss like people report to the public I would be fired. "Hey boss, either we are going to have record profits this year or the company will be completely bankrupt by week's end. I just can't call it until one OR the other actually happens." Ummm yeah, you're fired."

Posted by: stuckintraffictoo | December 23, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

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