Wednesday Evening Video Forecast Update

You liked it yesterday, so I’ve returned today with a forecast update and a brief appearance by Doppler, founder of DopplerDesign.com (shameless plug).

My On-Camera Forecast

With snow on the way, I thought I’d go to the maps and show you a little of what’s going to happen.

No Business Like Snow Business

Here’s the problem. The atmosphere is infinitely complex. Anything anywhere affects everything else. Our models can only hope to approximate.

Over the years meteorologists have decided the best way to forecast changes in the atmosphere is to treat it as the physics problem it is. That means computer models full of math. Weather modelling is among the most complex tasks run through supercomputers.

Here’s the problem. The atmosphere is infinitely complex. Any change (or observational error) anywhere affects everything else. Our models can only hope to approximate the actual truth.

They get pretty close, but on a night like tonight where the difference of a few degrees (temperature or latitude, take your pick) can make a difference the computers fall short!

Right now the 18Z NAM is calling for half a foot of snow at Hartford before an icy mix glazes everything and puts a cap on accumulations. The 18Z GFS says under a half inch of snow followed by sleet then rain.

The forecast is easier near the shore where the turnover to rain will happen sooner (if there’s any snow at all).

It’s not that these models are so different. It’s just a tiny difference decides snow versus rain. Think on/off switch versus volume knob.

Both solutions are tough to buy into! My gut feeling is to take a compromise. That’s what I’ll be doing on the news tonight.

More than likely the final call will be 2-5″ inland before the changeover with mostly slush then rain on the shore.

Is this guaranteed? Hello?

What does look reasonably certain is the onset of precipitation after noon. That means Wednesday morning is good, but Wednesday night isn’t.

I’ll be up most of the night checking, rechecking then rechecking again. I never sleep easy before it snows.

Back To Work–Back To Weather

We’re under high pressure Sunday. The air will be exceptionally dry. Sunday will be a big static electricity day!

Vacation for me the last week. A little Florida. A little Hamden. I’m back on FoxCT tonight. I have to get back into the rhythm of the atmosphere. Forecasts are made every day. You’re prepped for what you’ll see by what you have seen.

Right now I’m doing some early recon.

It’s been a crazy winter. Late October crushed snow records. Actually, it just pretty much crushed the state. After that, silence.

Of course I keep looking. There’s just little to report.

We’re under high pressure Sunday. The air will be exceptionally dry. Sunday will be a big static electricity day!

It’s possible there’ll be snow showers Monday evening. The GFS has .2″ of snow in Hartford. That’s tiny… and that’s it for the week!

There’s still plenty of time. We’re bound to get a few storms this season even if they’re clustered (as they were last year).

Of course I’ll keep looking.

Meteorological Winter

There’s no need to hype. You will watch if we predict flurries or a blizzard.

Yesterday, December 1, is considered the beginning of meteorological winter. Astronomical winter isn’t for another three weeks or so. It doesn’t matter. Historically, this is when the weather weather season starts.

So, here I am on a new station and some time in the next few weeks I’m going to lay out my philosophy for winter weather forecasting.

Though I hate winter that won’t temper my what I say. I don’t deal in wishcasting.

I will not consistently get the accumulation right. It’s not because I won’t try. There is only so much science has figured out. The good news is exact accumulations only matter a little.

Anything from a flurry to a few inches has the same effect. School is cancelled. Traffic slows. Mostly people get by.

Two to about eight inches most people work, but many appointments and optional trips are cancelled. No one’s travelling that really doesn’t have to.

Above eight inches the state stops. Essential services continue slowly. Weatherman driving Premier Subaru’s&#185 find a way to get to work but most people don’t bother. Lt. Paul Vance appears on all television stations.

There’s no need to hype. You will watch if we predict flurries or a blizzard.

We’re pretty good on storm timing and whether it actually will snow. I can’t remember the last time snow was a surprise. Long time.

I use “we” because most meteorologists come to similar conclusions with the daily forecast. That’s why the most important criteria in where you get the forecast is who does the best job explaining. Do you actually understand the incoming storm? That’s much more than numbers.

I hope I’m that person for you. You should listen to whomever you’re comfortable with.

There is more pressure on the weather staff when snow is in the forecast. Tensions are high.

Rachel Frank told me she’s tightly wound when storms come. Me too. Someone pack the Maalox.

Missing a winter storm forecast upsets me greatly. They are my lowest moments.

&#185 – I am the spokesman for Premier Subaru, do their commercials and happily drive the car.

The Kind Of Weather That Tries Men’s Souls

Computer guidance should help my forecast prep. In reality it often makes things worse!

Now I remember why I hate winter so much. It’s the angst before the storms. Two are currently in the offing. I wish I was more confident about my solutions.

Computer guidance should help my forecast prep. In reality it often makes things worse! Tonight each model has a somewhat different answer to the question of snow. Some show a few inches in Northern Connecticut. That’s a reasonable amount, especially if all you are counting was what will fall.

If it were only that simple!

Most of tonight’s flakes will melt on contact. What percentage? Who knows. Significant numbers, sure. It’s tough to accurately quantify. With a few higher elevation exceptions tonight will be a minor nuisance and not much more.

Saturday is a different story entirely. The NAM, which has been the snow monger for tonight’s system is stingy Saturday. In fact it puts no snow over Connecticut!

The European, remarkably accurate during much of the hurricane season, the UKMET and GFS all bring a major Nor’easter through on Saturday. We’re talking plowable snow and a howling wind.

The problem is Connecticut’s trees are full of leaves. A storm like this has the potential to cause nearly as much limb and power trouble as Irene… with snow on top!

I’m not yet saying it’s going to happen–just that it might. There’s a significant chance. I’ll have to work that into the forecast.

Contradictory solutions from the computer models gives me pause. They’re suppose to clear things up, not muddy my view of the future.

These problems can probably be traced to Hurricane Rina, Saturday’s moisture source. Hurricanes are notoriously difficult to forecast.

I’ll be writing about this again later. Right now I’m not a happy camper.