Posts Tagged ‘Snow’

 

I Agree. The Weather Is Nuts

Monday, February 17th, 2014

wtnh pkng lot snow

Bill Koczocik posted the photo above to Facebook. He didn’t say where, but I recognize the Channel 8 parking lot. Not much in that scene has changed over the last thirty years. Well, except that damn snow.

For those counting at home, Connecticut DOT’s plows have been on the road 19 separate times this season!

Over 29″ of snow at Bridgeport in February alone! Hartford’s at 23″.

Everything’s topsy turvy this season. The polar vortex event. Heavy snow this week in Northern Japan. Historic floods on the Thames and along the coast in Britain.

I look back and wonder how I operated in that? After all, before Connecticut I lived in Buffalo!

But you do.

You play the hand you’re dealt. Is there really a choice?

Like Paul Blart, Mall Cop

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

NEsf.fronts.20140214.07

At 11:15 PM PST/2:15 AM EST

Observe and report. Like Paul Blart, Mall Cop, I’m observing and reporting.

First stop, radar. It’s active. Snow, identifiable by radar only recently, is the only precipitation being seen at the moment. It’s moving west-to-east.

Meteorologists call the radar’s targets, hydrometeors. Cool name.

We can detect rain, snow, hail, sleet, whatever. If a radar beam can bounce off it, it’s tracked.

Most times the radar is amazing. Not always. I’ve seen storms develop in an unusually bright patch of ground clutter. Surprise! Where did that come from? A once every few year event.

All my observing tonight is on the College of DuPage weather website. They carry nearly every product with well chosen color tables. Highly recommended.

The surface map shows the low pulling east, leaving New England. There’s more moisture following and colder temperatures. The snow isn’t quite finished.

Before ending this morning that additional snow will cover the slushy wet mess already on-the-ground. Up to a half foot more will fall in scattered sections of the Litchfield Hills all the way to the UCONN campus. Most areas a few inches less. Even less on the shoreline and near 395.

But still, look what it’s covering!

Oh–and windy and much colder.

The amount of forecast and observational data available is immense. New tools arrive all the time. For nerds like me, this is heaven. Forecasting in pajamas!

I Feel Your Pain — Still

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

IMG_5154

“I love the four seasons,” said no one in the Northeast today. The weather sucks!

There’s already six inches to a foot on-the-ground in Connecticut.

With rain/sleet/freezing rain and then a turn back to snow, the pack will be wet, heavy and tough to clear.

I just traded texts with my niece Melissa in Milwaukee. She and husband Mark are supposed to fly Southwest to New York City tomorrow. Good luck.

New York City’s new mayor is in snow denial mode. Another attempt to blame the weatherman. It’s bipartisan. Everybody does it!

The mayor and Al Roker battled it out on Twitter this morning. Winter will do that to you. Everyone gets testy.

Southwest hasn’t cancelled flights for tomorrow yet. They will!

Will Melissa’s plane even make it to Milwaukee tonight so it’s available for a 6:05 AM departure? Will the crew have enough rest hours? How crazy will our nation’s air traffic system be?

I’m not sure what to do on a day like today? It’s 75° and partly cloudy at John Wayne Airport. Out my window, totally blue skies. Should I just keep my mouth shut and hide?

I totally understand what folks in the Northeast are going through. It might seem like I’m rubbing it in. I’m not. My dues are paid-in-full.

Usually by mid-February, winter had gotten the best of me. And yet I knew there was more snow to come. There was nothing to do but grin and bear it and plan my escape.

More snow Saturday. Post photos. That’s as close as I’m getting.

When In Doubt, Blame The Weatherman… Again

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

georgia snow

When in doubt, blame the weatherman! Maybe there was a time that worked. It doesn’t anymore. The governor of Georgia, Nathan Deal, understands that better today than yesterday.

Tuesday at 10:00 AM, as a crippling snow and ice storm was moving through the south, Governor Deal said,

“At that time it was still, in most of the forecasts, anticipated that the city of Atlanta would only have a mild dusting or a very small accumulation if any, and that the majority of the effects of the storm would be south of here. Preparations were made for those predictions.”

Except those weren’t the predictions.

Here’s a segment of the NWS Area Forecast Discussion from Tuesday at 4:11 AM:

IN MAIN BAND FOR THE AFTERNOON AND TONIGHT…HAVE SNOW/SLEET AMOUNTS OF 1-3 INCLUDING ATL METRO. GREATEST AMOUNT ALONG A BROAD LINE FROM LA GRANGE TO THOMASTON TO LOUISVILLE. BUT SOUTH OF LUMPKIN TO MACON TO SWAINSBORO LINE…ACCUM WILL BE 0.1-0.3 INCH MIX OF SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN WITH UP TO AN INCH OF LIGHT SNOW ON TOP. ALL THESE ACCUMULATION… OTHER THAN THE NW GA LIGHT BAND…WILL MEET WARNING CRITERIA SO HAVE CONTINUED WARNING AND EXPANDED THIS TO ANOTHER TIER OF COUNTIES INCLUDING ATL METRO AREA.

FINAL NOTE…WE REMAIN CONCERNED ABOUT IMPACT WITH ONSET OF PRECIP AROUND RUSH HOUR AND SCHOOL RELEASE.

The governor has now been taken to task by pretty much everyone who knows the definition of the isobar!

Marshall Shepherd, a meteorologist with the University of Georgia and president of the American Meteorological Society, said neither meteorologists nor the forecast for the Atlanta area was to blame.

“The buses had a tough time getting kids home, but meteorologists should not be thrown under the bus,” he said.

At 3:39 a.m. Tuesday, Marshall said the weather service issued a winter storm warning for the entire Atlanta metro area, expecting 1-2 inches of snow. “Overall, the Atlanta event was a well-forecasted and well-warned event,” he said. – USAToday

This reminds me of Connecticut’s Halloween snowstorm of 2011. You remember Jeff Butler, the president of CL&P.

“But I will assure you, when we had the weather forecast and everything we looked at in preparation for this storm, the amount of snow, which ended up being the problem, was far more significant than what had been forecast,” he said.”This event as it came in Saturday started earlier and lasted longer, with more snow accumulation–and remember, all the trees still had their foliage on them.” Butler’s comments stood in stark contrast to the dire warnings issued by local television meteorologists and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Friday, more than 24 hours before the first flakes fell. “If we get the amount of snow that’s being forecast, a lot of people are going to lose power, and power is going to be out for an extended period of time,” Malloy told reporters at a news conference at the Legislative Office Building late Friday morning. – Hartford Courant

I don’t think so. Here’s what I wrote in my blog a few days before that storm hit.

Whatever falls will be heavier inch-for-inch than a typical storm. The snow to water ratio will be low. It’s the kind of snow that’s good for snowballs and extra slippery for drivers!

There’s one more element of this storm which is worrisome. Sustained 20-30 mph northeasterly wind with higher gusts is likely. If this wet snow clings to trees and leaves we’ll have enough wind to bring down limbs and power lines. – My Permanent Record

I wasn’t alone. NBC30′s Ryan Hanrahan’s early take:

“One of the reasons I’m unusually concerned about this storm is that the amount of leaves on the trees make them particularly vulnerable to damage. If the snow is of the heavy and wet variety we could have major and widespread power outages. We’re in uncharted territory here in terms of this type of storm this early in the season.” – Ryan Hanrahan

This same excuse was trotted out after Hurricane Sandy left Long Island powerless! Are we that easy a target?

What happened in Georgia is truly a tragedy. It would have been nice to get a really long lead on this forecast, but sometimes science doesn’t cooperate. However, once the forecast is there you can’t stick your head in the sand and you can’t blame the weatherman.

Well, you can, but we’ll call you on it in a hurry.

If I Complained About Our Weather Would You Listen?

Friday, January 10th, 2014

sunset-in-irvine

california-drought-mapFrom a human being day-to-day standpoint, it would seem we moved to an idyllic meteorological utopia. The sun shines nearly every day. It’s hardly ever humid, nor hot, nor cold. Since we arrived in late June it’s been totally dry every day but six!

We really need rain. More importantly, the Sierras need snow! We’re already in a drought with no sign it’s abating.

Most of Southern California uses water from the Sierra Mountains. How it gets here is an engineering marvel just over 100 years old. The water takes a 230 mile gravity powered trip to the LA area.

First_Los_Angeles_Aqueduct_Cascades,_SylmarRight now the Northern Sierras have 7% of their expected snowpack. The rest of the mountains range from 15 to 25% of normal. That’s exceptionally dry.

Snowpack is a great water source. It’s released slowly as temperatures rise. Less wasted runoff. It is mainly dependable, but as this year shows, not totally.

Not only does LA and much of SoCal depend on this distant source¹, so does California’s Central Valley. That affects us all, even outside the West.

Virtually all non-tropical crops are grown in the Central Valley, which is the primary source for a number of food products throughout the United States, including tomatoes, almonds, grapes, cotton, apricots, and asparagus. – Wikipedia

There’s also the enhanced fire danger when it’s this dry. Fire season should be over in January, but Red Flag Warnings will likely go up late this weekend as the wind blows from the east–Santa Ana winds.

I relish these beautifully salubrious winter days, but I hope we get some rain soon and the Sierras get blanketed in snow. It’s really needed.

There will be little sympathy from those reading this while shivering.

¹ – We use mountain water too, but Irvine has local sources for the vast majority of our needs. Shhh. Don’t tell.

The Snow I Won’t Miss

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

New Year’s Night. 8:47 PM PST.

COD Meteorology    Numerical Model Data

There’s a storm on the way to New England. There are one or two major storms there during any snow season. This will be one.

I’ve been working the numbers. It’s fun to forecast. I like maps, graphs and numbers. I can do it sitting in my chair here in Orange County.

I don’t miss the anxiety of forecasting. I know my fellow meteorologists sweat these out too. No one wants to be wrong.

At this hour radar from the Northeast is showing snow over Connecticut. Bradley’s been reporting light snow for over an hour. Most of the state is still quiet. The center of the upcoming storm is over Arkansas!

Here’s the setup: The low moves from Arkansas to the Northeast. A Canadian high will block the low’s northerly progress, but also provide an ample supply of cold air.

New England’s geography takes over.

As the low moves over the relatively mild (compared to land) ocean it will explode! A low’s strength is measure by its central pressure. The pressure will drop like a rock!

The prediction shows a rapid fall from ~1016mb to ~985mb. That will enhance both precipitation and wind! More of each.

Don’t be fooled. This isn’t a linear storm. There will be a long period of light snow, then the main course.

Thursday will be cloudy with snow showers and flurries. A few inches will accumulate during the day. If you have to drive you probably will, though you shouldn’t. The wind will being picking up.

After dark, windblown snow becoming heavy at times. Strong northeasterly winds. You’ll want to be safely home before this bad boy gets going.

Some areas might see a foot. 5-8″ will probably be the average.

The snow ends Friday morning. It will be replaced by bitterly cold air with many spots dipping below zero Saturday morning.

You don’t want to know what it will be like here in SoCal tomorrow.

Trying To Keep A Low Profile In This Weather

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

NWS-EDD

It came via Twitter early today.

@JRRN27 @geofffox Hey Geoff, bet you don’t miss this snow!!!! –

It’s true. I don’t.

And there lies the rub.

Will I piss off old friends if I talk about the weather too much?

Roll down the window put down the top
Crank up the Beach Boys baby
Don’t let the music stop
We’re gonna ride it till we just can’t ride it no more

>From the South Bay to the Valley
>From the West Side to the East Side
Everybody’s very happy
‘Cause the sun is shining all the time
Looks like another perfect day
- “I Love LA” Randy Newman

We were in the eighties today. Even now, at 7:30 pm it’s 64°. Three of the next seven days are forecast over 70°. Six of seven will beat 60°.

Like most people who’ve moved, Helaine and I keep track of what’s going on elsewhere. The Internet makes that easy. I’ve been watching the cold and snow where my sister and folks live near Milwaukee and this weekend’s weather in Connecticut.

Snow is not a singular event. It takes different skills to navigate it at different stages.

TEMPERATURES ACROSS THE REGION WERE IN THE LOWER TO MID 30S…AND WILL FALL TO BELOW FREEZING THIS EVENING. ANY STANDING WATER ON AREA ROADWAYS WILL BEGIN TO FREEZE AS THE TEMPERATURE FALLS. PATCHY BLACK ICE WILL BE LIKELY…ESPECIALLY ON SECONDARY AND UNTREATED ROADS…WITH SLIPPERY CONDITIONS.

USE CAUTION IF DRIVING THIS EVENING AND OVERNIGHT. BE ALERT FOR AREAS OF ICE. – NWS Forecast Office Upton, NY

Better forecasting has changed how people deal with snow. Years ago snow was often a surprise. The exact accumulation might be off, but a forecast of snow today is nearly always followed by actual snow!

If you’re scared of driving in snow, you no longer have to! You can plan ahead. That’s taken a lot of people off the road in storms.

More snow is likely early Tuesday in Connecticut. It will be light, but of a long duration. That means additional inches turning dirtying snow back-to-white!

SoCal residents have little tolerance for any deviation from sunny and 70°s. It’s funny to see people in winter coats when it’s in the fifties. Scarves too.

My daughter confessed she enjoyed the last rainy day. It was a change from the monotony of blue skies.

I will resist, but I can see how that happens. It’s only rained parts of five days since we arrived in late June.

I Miss A Lot. I Don’t Miss Winter.

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

Lesean McCoy in the snow

Before we moved Helaine and I talked about this day. We discussed sitting at home, seeing winter on TV. Boy did we see it today!

Detroit was playing the Eagles at in Philly. Light snow was forecast. Nearly all of it would begin after two.

In reality heavy snow fell and started hours early. The game started with the field covered and Fox cameras unable to see much detail on-the-field. Offically at PHL it was heavy snow, ¼ mile visibility and a temperature of 27° (19° wind chill).

Let’s pause while I tell the Philadelphia meteorologists, I feel your pain. I’ve been on the wrong end of a bad forecast. It’s a horrendous feeling.

At first I thought it was really cool to see football played in a near blizzard. Then I realized it had removed most skill from the game! Kicks didn’t roll. Passes didn’t carry. Runners couldn’t make cuts.

Detroit’s first touchdown was followed by a two point conversion. No way a kicker would try the point after.

There was some satisfaction sitting here in SoCal. I won’t lie. My apologies. I feel your pain too.

The weather here wasn’t perfect, or even good. We were in the mid-50°s all day with mainly cloudy skies.

WPC Probabilistic Winter Precipitation GuidanceWe’ll get to 70° before this week is out with no precipitation in the forecast. That makes it easier to take.

Back in Hamden the next twenty four hours will be an unavoidable pain in-the-ass. Snow, sleet, freezing rain. I don’t miss that.

I miss lots about Connecticut. I don’t miss winter.

Mention Snow, People Go Nuts!

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Doppler Versus SnowA few folks wrote to me because one of yesterday’s runs of the GFS computer model predicted snow over Connecticut for midweek next week. Mention snow and people go nuts!

Get a grip. Forecast models project that far out because they can, not because they’re good at it!

As it turns out, this morning’s GFS says, “Snow? What snow?.”

When I look at the models, especially when I see something unusual, I try and remember there’s a reason some events seldom happen–like Connecticut snow before Halloween. Climatology enters into the mix.

Of course unusual things (Halloween snow, Hurricane Sandy) do happen. Unfortunately the computer guidance promises a lot more often than it delivers.

There’s a joke among meteorologists about one overpredicting weather company that’s forecast a hundred of the last ten inches of snow!

Even here in SoCal I’ve got to be careful about the unusual happening. There was a story in this morning’s Irvine World News about the two inches of snow that fell here in 1949! It was also noted in an earlier Coast Magazine article.

Operations at Marine Air Station El Toro¹ stopped. No equipment to deal with winter!

There probably won’t be snow in Connecticut next week, nor snow here in Irvine this winter. Probably, not definitely.

¹ – El Toro was closed in 1999. It’s now the Orange County Great Park, under a mile from my house.

The Correct Way To Be Excited About Snow SoCal Style

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

The weather forecasting computer models move a low pressure system south from Nevada, tapping into some offshore moisture and bringing SoCal a decent chance of precipitation late tonight and Wednesday.

No big deal. Albert Hammond lied. It does rain in Southern California… just not often.

Here’s the exciting part. The atmosphere will be cold enough to see snowfall on some mountains higher than 5,600 feet Wednesday evening! We’ve got one of those visible from my bedroom window, Santiago Peak at 5,689 ft. It’s 12.5 miles away.

It’s possible the snow will be mixed with rain up there, or the rain/snow line might drift higher for this storm. You know how elusive good snow predictions are. Beyond that, the ground is still very warm. Snow sticking on Santiago is no certainty.

However, this was a pre-California fantasy for Helaine and me–snow visible from the house while we walk around in shirtsleeves. We are hopeful.

Bring it!