Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Monday Morning: Taking a Look at Sunday into Monday

Quick post this morning on the late weekend into early next week situation. As I mentioned last night in my video the upper air pattern looks like it will want to form a storm for this period. However, there are a lot of questions that remain before any snow lovers out there get excited. 

In particular:

Few things to note when looking at the image above. All models have roughly a similar look as this. That means they all are showing a storm Sunday night into Monday. Some areas get a lot of snow with the current projections of this storm if the maps are taken verbatim (no not 3 feet). However, we do not forecast by just looking at the surface output of each model run. Instead we need to focus on the map above and determine if the proper chess pieces are in place for the ideal storm track. So lets do a quick summary of how these look and I will have more detail tonight..

  • You see the high pressure over Greenland on the image above noted by the red colors. This is called a negative NAO and is a good precursor to storms. However notice the high pressure system is on the east side of Greenland.
    • This means there is a chance that a storm that forms could cut to the west of the major cities which would mean a no snow threat.
    • Its not the end all be all however as that negative NAO does enhance the next factor which is
  • The 50/50 Low
    • I talk about this a lot because it is important. This low pressure system in southeastern Canada is key because it locks in high pressure to its west. High pressure supply's cold air to storms
    • This develops as a result of our late week clipper moving out of the area
  • Ridge out west
    • Always a key to a storm as the more amplified it is on the west the stronger the trough is downstream in the east
    • If the ridge axis is too west however it can increase the chances of the trough being too far west which could cause the next issue
  • Do the northern and southern jet streams phase too early due to ridge being too far west.
    • this is a possibility and would result in major cities seeing no snow and instead the snow being confined to interior areas.
    • Since we have that east based -NAO it doesn't help in this circumstance 
Bottom line I am gaining confidence a storm system will effect the region on Sunday night into Monday. More importantly, I need to see how these factors evolve and change over the next few days before getting an idea of who is in the cross hairs for a shot at snow.

Just because the GFS model is currently showing this for a snow printout does not mean I will say ok guys here comes more snow. Let The Weather Channel do that. 

If anything this snow printout is not accurate right now because there would be some ice in areas to the southeast on this image. The European model is showing even more snow. Let's not jump the gun yet here. I am all for making bold predictions, but it still is too early.

Let's wait another 24-36 hours.

More tonight. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tuesday Night Pattern Update: Moving on from the Great Bust of 2015, Action Could be Looming Ahead

Video below discusses pattern evolution over the next 10 days and the prospects for future storms. Winter is just getting started and I think we got at least a good 3 week period ahead of us heading into February.


Tuesday Morning: So What Went Wrong?

Good morning everyone. Well it was sure a big one! A big bust that is. I apologize for the bad call on this one, believe me, I will not forget it for a while.  So before we discuss why this storm busted lets look at what is currently going on.

We have intense snow falling right now with blizzard conditions in eastern CT, Mass and Maine. Snowfall rates of 2-3 inches per hour!  You will see some imporessive snow amounts come out of those areas. Down to the southwest the intensity is only reduced. Long Island looks like they did pretty well with this storm. You will see accumulations of over over a foot there. NYC had a decent accumulation so far, but no where near what was expected. To the west of NYC some snow did accumulate overnight and you can see the snow is still underway but it is not intense. 

Our storm right now is sitting just to the southeast of Cape Cod at 976 millibars and completely bombing out. 

So lets get into what went wrong, because you can see the storm is very impressive on the satellite.

Two parts as to why my forecast busted along with other so badly this time- The meteorological reason and the mental reason. 

The meteorological reason:

The low simply formed too far east compared to what the European model was saying.

Actual low position at 1am..

Europeans projection at the same time..

I know this doesn't look like much, but it had drastic implications on the forecast. This was a very complex storm that depended on the transfer of energy to the coast. That transfer of energy was extremely hard to model and pin point. As good as the European model is, this was a major failure. 

But where there warning signs? Yes!

The GFS, Canadian, North American and British (UKMET) model threw many warning signs as their forecasts began to shift east Sunday. So why where they ignored? I think the reason to that is part two of why this forecast was a failure, physcology. 

Everyone has learned to praise the European model over the last few years. After all it was for good reason. The other models, in particular the GFS, always seemed to be wrong and push storms too far east. Eventually, they always came back in line with what the European was saying.So when the European model showed an epic blizzard on its run Saturday night, Sunday and Sunday night the whole meteorological and amateur weather community jumped on board. All of a sudden a herd mentality developed and it seemed like no matter where you went the totals kept getting higher and higher from everyone. The National Weather Service came out with almost unprecedented snowfall protections and all other outlets followed.  Meanwhile those other models lingered and suggested otherwise. There was no turning back now.

Now when I make a forecast I always favor the European. However, how many times have you heard me say " the European looks the best here but you need to blend in the GFS and adjust east a little. I would say take a blend of 65% Euro 35% GFS." Also how many times have you heard me praise the UKMET model as being very accurate. Why did I break form this time and go against what has worked so well in the past? Well, part of it might be what I just listed above but the other part was that I did not want to believe in this extreme case that the European model would be wrong. In other words, I let my snow bias effect the clarity of this forecast. I was waiting years for a storm this big to hit the area again. Well, it resulted in me getting burned. Hopefully as we move throughout the rest of the winter I learn from this failure and the accuracy of my forecasts are a beneficiary of that.

We have a great stretch of winter ahead of us over the next several weeks. The snow that has fallen will not melt quickly and temps will get very cold. There is the chance at light snow later in the week and the pattern is ripe for storm development. If we take a step back for a second, we just had two moderate snow events in a few days so no one can argue that winter is not here. 

I will get back to work and try to keep everyone ahead of the weather as it unfolds. Let's hope next time I am faced with more success and I am confident I will be.

Thanks for all the new followers it makes this passion of mine worth it.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Final Verdict. It Will Snow Tonight, But Western Counties Bust

My forecast snow amounts are clearly too high for all areas west in NJ and maybe NYC. Up north and east it might do ok. It will snow tonight in NJ and we might actually get a surprise and get some decent accumulation but no where near the amounts I have. This storm is very large so when it stalls out we will get some of its moisture. I'm watching all forecasters wiggle out of their predictions by slowly tweaking the amounts down. I am not going to do that and just say it how it is. The comment section is open for anyone who wants to blow off steam and use a few choice words about my forecast.

Many models hinted at this but the European model and its ensembles did not and stayed remarkably consistent. This time they look to be wrong. Of course anything is possible but I am pulling the plug on significant accumulations on all areas basically to the west of I-287. 

I will be watching this evolve and there will be more updates to come.

Here is what is going on...

Latest model guidance is conflicting. However there are signs of errors in it. Regardless, in the interest of providing you guys with the most accurate information I need to wait for observations. My goal is to be up front with everyone and let you know if I think this will be a busted forecast for some areas. That is a risk but it is impossible to know for sure until I evaluate these snow bands moving in off the ocean now..

Bottom line these bands will spread into NJ or just skim the coast and head northeastward. The latest model guidance is not buying the fact they will move all the way into NJ. However the storm is still following what the afternoon European model projected. The European had these bands coming on shore. The whole fate of this storm lies in the next two hours.

If this ends up being a major bust, I will be the first to admit it and take it on the chin. There is no room for pretending this was part of my forecast on this blog. 

Stay tuned, I will make the final call as soon as I can. Thanks for being patient. 

4pm Update: A Blizzard Has Been Born

More footage to come as the evening and night go on. I share my excitement behind the meteorology in this video but its important to note that this will be a dangerous storm so be careful!

As an accessory to the video check out these projected wind gusts in knots very early tomorrow morning. I will try to get into the thick of that.

Blizzard of 2015 Morning Update

Good morning lets dive right now to it. I made a few small tweaks to the snow map after last nights model runs..

Notice I have 14-20 where I had 18-24. Not a huge change but I thought it was necessary based on the latest data that did shift things a little east. I also want to note that on the western fringes of the red zone should be a max of around 24" I do not expect 30 there. Otherwise, forecast looks to be on track. 

The storm is not developed yet as seen on radar.

The snow that is falling now is from the clipper that is sitting to our west. This will redevelop off the coast tonight and that is when the real fun begins. Expect light snow all day with some accumulations but nothing major. I will say again this is just an appetizer and is not the main storm today. 

Look how cold the air mass is right now. All due to that arctic high pressure system that is sitting to the north. This will keep the snow ratios high meaning an inch of liquid could produce 15 or 20 inches of snow instead of the standard 10. 

Tonight into Tuesday is when the storm starts cranking as that low pressure system redevelops and explodes off the coast. A simulated radar is seen below. This is when everyone needs to be on alert. 

Notice the sharp cut off in snow to the west. We need to keep an eye on this and I fully expect it. That means someone towards the west can get ripped off. It is all going to depend on where the heavy snow bands set up. I will be analyzing that in real time tonight and tomorrow. 

Below are the sustained wind speeds in knots tonight and tomorrow morning. You can see why there are blizzard warnings near the coast.

Need to get to work now, but expect a big update coming sometime closer to the evening hours. My goal is to keep everyone ahead of the storm. In the meantime you can find a few comments on twitter. 

Stay tuned for live coverage tonight! As crazy as you all know I am by now you bet I will have footage.