Complex Midwest Storm for End of Week...
A strong low pressure originating out of the Midwest will continue to track northwest just north of the Buffalo metro region up through central and northern New England. A narrow temperature gradient along the warm frontal boundary will lead to varying precipitation types across the region. As the cold front passes through strong winds at the surface will be accompained by increasing lake effect snow showers. High pressure will begin to move in towards the weekend before more unsettled weather around midweek.
"Afternoon Thoughts" (Updated 2/23)
A cross cultural common factor is food. But this critical phenomenon often goes completely forgotten in its importance in our daily lives. The United States continues to lead global trends in the highest rates of obesity. And in fact many of these trends can directly be related to the present food culture that continues to modify in ever-concerning rates. There are many concepts in life average society values as important, but food often is forgotten. In fact the United States can be classified as being in an overnutrition crisis. Overnutrition meaning excess calories with limited vitamins. While many foods are fortified with additional nutrients and many Americans take a daily vitamin, it is only whole foods and plants that can provide the correct nutrients to not only support short term health, but long term as well. While most people know the dangers of processed foods, fried foods, etc., this does not stop any consumption of such products. So the question is why is this not a larger concern for the general public as a whole? Perhaps it lies in the realm that food can often be a pleasurable and satisfactory experience and therefore this concept is most important. Or maybe the answer lies deeper in cerebral decision making. None the less, the detrimental effects of poor food choices will continue to play a dominant role in the future from rising health care costs to varying life expectancy rates. It is time to investigate not only global hunger, but the overnutrition crisis.
"Current Surface Plot"
(Courtesy of HPC)
(Courtesy of Wunderground)
(Courtesy of NOAA)
"Forecast Discussion"(Updated 2/23)
A complex low pressure will shift out of the Midwest towards the Northeast Thursday night into Friday. The low pressure and associated 850hPa low will track just north of Buffalo east across upstate New York into central New England. As the low begins to weaken, recent high resolution model guidance suggests the formation of a secondary low towards the Gulf of Maine. The NAM and RGEM continue to be the most bullish for this portion of the event.
Thursday night: A 992mb surface low will track north of KBUF overnight with a sharp warm front lifting north across Pennsylvania. An impressive temperature differential boundary will exist along the front with H85s to the south near +10C and to the north sub 0C. The rain/snow line will linger north of the warm front and shift north. An area of impressive frontogenesis as noted on NAM guidance indicates an area of heavy QPF just north of the warm front in the form of a southwest flow event (SWFE). Model QPF ranges from .5-.75in for areas along and north of I-80 to about as far north as I-90. This area will also correspond to impressive UVM lift and will likely be associated with brief heavy snow. Marginal surface conditions at or slightly below 0C will maintain a wet snow variety with ratios only around 10:1, but decent Omega and dendritic growth will allow for some favorable snow development at peak intensity where rates could be near 1-2in/hr. This heavy snow will fall about 50mi north of I-80 up to I-90 and last for a 3-5 hour period for most areas. It will be a rapid burst of accumulating snow during the early morning hours. Dynamic cooling and evaporational cooling will prolong the snow before changing over to rain especially from KBGM up through the Catskills and western Berkshires were 3-7in is possible especially above 1000ft. Elsewhere in this snow area a more widespread 2-5in is likely. Farther east into New England, QPF will be lighter before the H85 0C line approaches and therefore amounts will be at or less than 1-2in of snow. Lows will range from the mild upper 40s across southern Pennsylvania and the rest of the Middle Atlantic to the 20s north of the New York State border ahead of the warm front.
Friday: The 992mb low will begin to shear apart while tracking across New York State and the associated overrunning precipitatio will begin to weaken. By the morning commute the freezing levels will begin to rise as far north as I-90 with any residual precipitation changing to rain, although little QPF is likely and therefore drizzle will prevail across the southern tiers. By mid morning the energy transfer will begin as the coastal low develops near Long Island at around 996mb. Heavy QPF will develop once again along the warm front and associated cold front. A warm nose up through southern New England will limit precipitation to rain in this period. Temperatures will begin to rise into the mid to upper 60s as far north as Washington DC up through extreme southeastern Pennsylvania. It is possible for a few low to mid 70s for some areas if the sun peaks out in the dirty warm sector. A thunderstorm cannot be ruled out in portions of the Middle Atlantic. As the low deepens off the coast the H85 0C line will begin crashing south to the coast. An enhanced UVM lift region will focus across northern New England with heavy snows ongoing from upstate New York through the Greens and Whites. Snow rates will exceed 1in/hr for a period of time. Snow will be of the wet variety plastering the higher peaks with over 12in of snow. A few high resolution models indicate dynamically cooling the precipitation as far south as the Berkshires from rain to snow during this transition with additional snow accumulations, but for now this remains uncertain. By Saturday night the low will deep sub 990mb in the Gulf of Maine with a deformation axis of snow across extreme northern New England.
Another factor in this event will be very strong winds associated with an impressive right front entrance region of the low level jet especially across central Pennsylvania. Current boundary layer winds may actually exceed 60mph in some areas and therefore high wind warning criteria may verify for parts of northern Maryland up through central Pennsylvania. It still remains how much force mixes to the surface. Elsewhere advisory criteria winds are likely all the way up through southern New England. This is an extremely tight pressure gradient. Temperatures will not fall very much behind the front.
Saturday- Colder air will filtrate across the region under a northwest cyclonic flow. Cold air advection and associated H85 thermals sub -10C will promote a 305-325 degree wind trajectory and therefore lake effect snow. The wind trajectory setup is relatively similar to that from a week or two ago favoring the Rochestor-Cortland, NY corridor. Lake effect accumulations will approach 6-10in in the favored snow belts. See more on this below. Temperatures will be much colder for the Middle Atlantic compared to Friday but still above normal for climatological means. Temperatures will range from near 40F from Washington DC to the mid 20s in northern New England. In general not an impressive air mass.
Sunday- By Sunday warm air advection will end the lake effect snow machine with any additional accumulations limited to the Tug Hill plateau and generally less than 2in. Temperatures will be slighty above climatological norms with sunshine especially east of the Appalachians courtesy of downsloping.
Monday-Tuesday- A southwest flow and upper level ridging will once again allow high temperatures to rise well above normal and into the 50s as far north as the I-80 corridor and up through I-95. Sunshine will prevail for the entire Northeast. Snow melt will likely be ongoing for New England during this period. It may be worth mentioning a weak shortwave passing through extreme northern New England on Tuesday with some clouds, but QPF will be less than .1in and a mix of rain and snow showers. No accumulation is likely outside the highest elevations above 3000ft.
Wednesday-Thursday- A major low pressure will be gathering strength across the Midwest and will likely track up through the Great Lakes. Therefore this puts much of the Northeast in the warm sector again. Extremely high temperatures are possible once again for the Middle Atlantic in the warm sector. Any overrunning snow potential will be limited to northern Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Rain will be the dominate precipitation type for most areas.
***Note that this snow map may look unusual do to the combination of snows from both the synoptic event and following lake effect snow regime. Elevation has also been taken into account in several locations. These are snowfall totals expected through Sunday evening in all locations.
(Courtesy of Penn State Meteo.)
"Current Water Vapor Loop"
(Courtesy of Penn State Meteo.)
"Lake Effect Snow Conditions" (Updated 2/23)
A rather potent lake effect snow outbreak is likely for Friday night through Saturday night, but potent being compared to the meager events so far this winter. In fact the wind trajectory and parameters are quite similar to the event a week or so ago. As the double barrel low system pulls to the northeast across the Canadian maritimes a tight tight pressure gradient and cyclonic flow will promote winds in the 310-320 degree range. Temperatures thermals will be a putrid H85 -12C or so and therefore not ideal for February standards. High RH values across the region will add additional moisture for the lake enhancement. Current high resolution guidance favors a few Huron-Erie streamers to form as far south as western Maryland where even the upslope regions across the Laurel Highlands may see 3-6in. Given the history of snow bands across western Pennsylvania, even Pittsburgh may see 2-4in of snow in some parts of the metro region. The coldest air will remains north towards Lake Ontario along with where the greatest water/air temperature differential will be located. This setup favors the Rochestor metro especially with possible 6-12in amounts that cannot be ruled out. Bands from Ontario will likely stretch southeast across the northern Finger Lakes through Cortland and Dryden before downsloping by Binghamton. This primary band will produce advisory 3-7in amounts in its path and generally waffle only slightly north and south. The band will likely stay south of Syracuse for the majority of the event. Upslope enhancement will also allow advisory criteria snows for the Chatauqua Ridge region in western New York also. By Saturday evening warm air advection will begin to cutoff lake effect snows for most areas with only light snow showers across the Tug Hill Plateau with 1-3in. This wind trajectory will not be favorable for Oswego east to Redfield and therefore accumulations will remain less. The highest threat of reaching warning thresholds for snowfall will be in the Rochestor area.
"Current Great Lakes Water Temperatures"
(Courtesy of NOAA)
"Current River Ice Reports and Ski Conditions" (Updated 2/23)
Once again lousy conditions for icy formation continue to be a problem for most waterways across the Northeast with little to no ice formation on most all main stem rivers. Even major lakes remain generally ice free up as far north as central New England. In any water locations that have ice formation, extra precautions should be taken to ensure safety given the record antecedent milder weather. The ice fishing industry certainly has taken a hit this winter. Another industry suffering are the ski resorts which have had to primarily rely on man-made snow to keep in operation. Even for areas that received some natural snow, it has generally melted within a few days. This is especially true for the lake effect snow belts during this past week. Fortunately for the northern resorts and snow belt resorts some snow is coming during the next 48-60 hours, but more mild weather looms towards next week with midweek rainfall. In any case enjoy the conditions while the last as it is likely the Greens in Vermont will get plastered with 12-15in of snow by Saturday evening above 3000ft. Even the Adirondacks will see nearly a foot with the lake effect snow belts more or less at 4-8in. Resorts as far south as the snow belts in Garret County, Maryland will likely see 3-4in of natural snow before the warm up on Monday.
-Link to official reports page from NWS... Link.
-Link to local ski resort snow conditions... Link.
"Current Northeast Snow Depth and Northeast Wind chills"
(Courtesy of Wunderground)
"Long Term Outlook" (Updated 2/23)
To date the monthly outlook for February has verified quite nicely with well below normal snowfall for most areas and well above average temperatures. For many southern New England stations, snowfall is at a trace for the entire month of February and is in potential record territory for low monthly snow totals. Teleconnections continue to become even more unfavorable for this final week period of February into early March with an anomalously positive AO strong arguing against any east coast snowstorm development. In fact going off historical climatological odds, the chances are near nill for a major synoptic snow event. SWFE's will be the primary possibility for any snowfall and these will likely focus only for northern New England. Therefore any widespread snow outside New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine will have limited opportunities in the coming two weeks outside a fluke event or two. Temperatures will continue to be well above normal for several 'torch' periods possible especially for this Friday and midweek next week. Looking ahead to March most all teleconnections look unfavorable and therefore a continued mild forecast looks like a safe bet. I will be posting my March outlook in about a week, but it does not look pretty at all.
"Current NAO and PNA Predictions"
(Courtesy of NOAA)
"Anchorage, Alaska Tower Cam"
*Back due to popular demand!
"Monthly Temperature/Precipitation Outlook"(February)(Updated 2/2)
Using the MJO teleconnection and I rollover technique, my February forecast will be a continuation of the mild theme of the past nearly 12 months. Current ECMWF ensemble and GEFS guidance suggests the monsoonal patterns in the Indian Ocean will maintain MJO phases 5-8. Looking at quick composites of these phases and their associated global surface temperature anomalies, there is a clear indication of positive numbers over much of North America, particularily across the United States. While many forecasters have pointed at other indices including the -AO, the general Pacific and Atlantic regimes continue to lock up the cold on the other portions of the globe. This will likely continue through much of February. As we enter the end of the month, the MJO phase composites become a bit more favorable towards phases 1+. This may allow a bit of colder air to bleed south out of Canada. Current CFS and ECMWF weeklies indicate anomalous warmth across much of the eastern United States. This is also supported by several operational model runs. Given the La Nina-lag effects, February will likely be a very mild month for many climatological reporting stations.
Temperatures- Given the La Nina rollover effects, mild Pacific air will continue to flood much of the lower 48. I am predicting anomalies of (+)3.0-(+)3.5F for most all climatological reporting stations. This fits the regime of the past several winter months also.
Precipitation- The general zonal flow will inhibit most strong cyclogenesis and middle latitude cyclone development for at least the first half of the month. Precipitation looks to average at or below normal for most all climatological reporting stations. Snowfall is a difficult variable to predict given any possible outlier that can easily skew totals. None the less I will use probabilities for this forecast... higher likelihood of below normal snowfall.
"Temperature and Precipitation Outlooks from Climate Prediction Center for next 30 days"
(Courtesy of NOAA)
"Lower Susquehanna Valley Doppler"
(Courtesy of WGAL)
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"10mi northeast of Harrisburg 2011-2012 winter statistics"
Monthly Total (October)- 5.5in
Monthly Total (November)- 0.0in
Monthly Total (December)- 0.4in
Monthly Total- (January)- 5.2in
Monthly Total- (February)- 5.3in
Seasonal Total- 16.4in
Winter Weather Advisories- 2
Winter Storm Warnings- 1
Ice Storm Warnings- 0
Blizzard Warnings- 0
Freezing Rain Advisories- 1
Winter Storm Watches- 1
Lowest High Temperature- 29F
Lowest Low Temperature- 10F
Wind Chill Advisories- 0
Wind Chill Warnings- 0
(Snow Storms Stats)
Historic October Nor'easter - October 29 - 5.5in of wet snow
322 Lake Effect Snow Band - December 17 - 0.3in of wet snow
Weak Clipper - December 29 - 0.1in of snow
322 Lake Effect Snow Band - January 18 - 0.2in of snow
Southwest Flow Event - January 21 - 5.0in of dry snow
Weak Shortwave - February 8 - 2.3in of wet snow
Weak Coastal Storm - February 10 - 1.0in of wet snow
Mid Level Shortwave - February 11 - 2.0in of dry/blowing snow