Where’s Spring?

Our north-Atlantic blocking high is still at it, causing storms to stall over eastern North America and funneling cold air down into the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.  The chart below shows the temperatures and winds at 850 mb (~5,000 ft up), and while much of the west and south has a warm signal, we remained under winter’s lingering firm grip.  The forecast chart is valid for Tuesday morning; hard freezes are likely Tuesday and Wednesday. Ugh….

The 24-hour forecast chart from the GFS (via Univ of Wisconsin) valid Tuesday morning.  Shaded colrs are temperature, arrows are wind vectors,and the solid lines are best thought of as pressure (although they are actual "height" contours).

The 24-hour forecast chart from the GFS (via Univ of Wisconsin) valid Tuesday morning. Shaded colrs are temperature, arrows are wind vectors,and the solid lines are best thought of as pressure (although they are actual “height” contours).

Baltimore Season-Total Snow

Below is a graph of the Baltimore/BWI season total snow dating back to the late 1800s.  Note the recent extremes, with a “boom or bust” tendency.

This graph depicts the season-total snow for Baltimore.  The official records for Baltimore moved from downtown to the airport in 1950.  The scale is inches, and a trend line is added in purple.

This graph depicts the season-total snow for Baltimore. The official records for Baltimore moved from downtown to the airport in 1950. The scale is inches, and a trend line is added in purple.

PNA vs NAO – Temperature Fcst

Today’s GFS-derived (MOS) temperature departure forecast for Friday illustrates the battle going on between the PNA (Pacific-North American pattern) and the NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation).  The PNA is in a negative phase, which means we have a southward dip in the jet stream over the west and a ridge of high pressure trying to form downstream over the Southeast..  Meanwhile, the NAO is likewise negative, with a blocking high over the northern Atlantic attempting to force a southward dip in the jet stream over the eastern U.S., in opposition to the PNA’s Southeastern high.  The net result is illustrated nicely in the image below, which is the forecast departures from normal for Friday, February 22, 2013.

The GFS' MOS temperature departure for Friday, Feb 22, 2013 is shown here.  The primary weather features from the negative phase of the PNA are denoted in red, with a southward dip in the jet stream over the western U.S. while a ridge of high pressure becomes established downstream over the Southeast.  But the negative phase of the NAO - whose impacts are denoted in blue, feature a southward building high over the Northeast and a cold north-northeasterly flow over the Mid-Atlantic.  Negative phases of the NAO are actually warmer than normal for New England since the trajectory is more onshore - vs from Canada.  You can see the PNA pattern "attempting" to warm up the eastern U.S., while the NAO does its best to keep the East Coast cold.  The result is usually a mixed mess for Maryland.

The GFS’ MOS temperature departure from normal (scale at the bottom, in degrees F) for Friday, Feb 22, 2013 is shown here.  Areas shaded in yellow and orange are expected to be warmer than normal, while the opposite holds true for blues, purples, and white.  The primary weather features from the negative phase of the PNA are denoted by the red arrows (jet stream) and weather features (“H” and “L” for High and Low), with a southward dip in the jet stream over the western U.S. while a ridge of high pressure becomes established downstream over the Southeast. But the negative phase of the NAO – whose impacts are denoted by the blue “H” and arrows – feature a southward building high over the Northeast and a cold north-northeasterly flow over the Mid-Atlantic. Negative phases of the NAO are actually warmer than normal for New England since the trajectory is more onshore – vs the typical trajectory from Canada. You can see the PNA pattern “attempting” to warm up the eastern U.S., while the NAO does its best to keep the East Coast cold. The result is usually a mixed mess for Maryland.

A Blizzard, or Nothing…

Here’s a fun little graphic courtesy of the Penn State E-wall  The chart below is the total liquid-equivalent precipitation for the upcoming weekend from all of the different short-range ensemble forecast models that were run at 15z (10 am, EST).  Each panel represents a different model run, and the color scale – given on the lower right-hand side – is hundredths of inches.  We use these to establish 1) what the envelope of uncertainty is; 2) how much agreement there is amongst the models; and 3) which direction the guidance is leaning.  Well, this latest set of model data has everything from a blizzard… to nothing.  That should help straighten this out!

This image depicts the total precipitation (liquid equivalent) forecast from the latest set of short-range ensembles for the upcoming weekend.  The colors have been modified slightly from their original form.  The scale is in the lower right, and is in hundreds of inches, so: 10 = 0.10" (or ~ 1-2" of snow); 25 = 0.25" (or 2-3" of snow); 100 = 1.00" (or ~ 10" of snow); etc.  This map is courtesy of the PSU E-wall (http://www.meteo.psu.edu/~fxg1/ewall.html)

This image depicts the total precipitation (liquid equivalent) forecast from the latest set of short-range ensembles for the upcoming weekend. The colors have been modified slightly from their original form. The scale is in the lower right, and is in hundreds of inches, so: 10 = 0.10″ (or ~ 1-2″ of snow); 25 = 0.25″ (or 2-3″ of snow); 100 = 1.00″ (or ~ 10″ of snow); etc. This map is courtesy of the PSU E-wall (http://www.meteo.psu.edu/~fxg1/ewall.html)

Could it be?

The National Weather Service’s Hydrometeorological Prediction Service (HPC) overview forecast for Wednesday, Feb 13th is interesting indeed.  Could it be?!  This will likely change, but for now, there is hope.

The forecast overview issued early in the morning Monday for this upcoming Weds (2/13) offers some hope for snow... finally.  Something to watch.

The forecast overview issued early in the morning Monday for this upcoming Weds (2/13) offers some hope for snow… finally. Something to watch.

Jiggy Analogs, but Models Not so Much

A very nice winter-storm analog page put together by the Cooperative Institute for Precipitation Systems · Saint Louis University provides some food for thought for this upcoming storm.  While the models are more or less insisting this storm bypasses us, the analogs, based on the 12z (7 am EST) run of the NAM from Thursday, are certainly interesting.

The mean snowfall for the Top 15 analogs, shown below, certainly is tilted toward a snowy event.

This map depicts the mean snowfall of the top 15 analogs to the current storm unfolding across the eastern U.S.  The heavier snow amounts are a function of some big hitters, with the individual storms shown in the next image.  This map is courtesy of Cooperative Institute for Precipitation Systems · Saint Louis University.

This map depicts the mean snowfall of the top 15 analogs to the current storm unfolding across the eastern U.S. The heavier snow amounts are a function of some big hitters, with the individual storms shown in the next image. This map is courtesy of Cooperative Institute for Precipitation Systems · Saint Louis University.

I’ve also included a snapshot of all the top analogs below; the date is at the top.  The scale can be found on the preceding “mean snowfall” map.

This composite of all the top analogs, rated from the best (top left) to least (lower right) offers some hope for the pending winter storm.  Map courtesy of Cooperative Institute for Precipitation Systems · Saint Louis University.

This composite of all the top analogs, rated from the best (top left) to least (lower right) offers some hope for the pending winter storm. Map courtesy of Cooperative Institute for Precipitation Systems · Saint Louis University.

GFS vs Canadian

Below is a forecast comparison from Friday’s model runs for next Wednesday morning for the Canadian (Top) and GFS (Bottom).  The Canadian has a developing East Coast storm, while the GFS has nothing.  Hmmmmm….

This fcst chart depicts the Canadian (top) and US GFS (bottom) for Wednesday morning, January 16. The Canadian model features a developing East Coast storm, while the GFS has nothing. Image comes from internet website UQAM-Montreal Weather Centre.

This fcst chart depicts the Canadian (top) and US GFS (bottom) for Wednesday morning, January 16. The Canadian model features a developing East Coast storm, while the GFS has nothing. Image comes from internet website UQAM-Montreal Weather Centre.

 

Jan 5 – Light Snow for Tonight

A look at the latest Short-Range Ensemble Fcst (SREF) suggests a pretty good shot at an inch of snow tonight.  Something to watch for!

Latest Short-Range Ensemble Fcst (SREF) show a good chance at an inch or more (2nd shade of blue) across central MD tonight.  Light blue is less than an inch, medium blue is 1-2", anddark blue is 2-4". Each panel represents a different model fcst.

Latest Short-Range Ensemble Fcst (SREF) show a good chance at an inch or more (2nd shade of blue) across central MD tonight. Light blue is less than an inch, medium blue is 1-2″, and dark blue is 2-4″ (assuming 10::1). Each panel represents a different model fcst.  Image is courtesy of the PSU Ewall, with modification to the color scheme.

Blast from the Past!

Picture courtesy of the Baltimore Sun... shows the Oregon Ridge chairlift back in its heyday.

Picture courtesy of the Baltimore Sun.

Anyone recognize the location of the attached picture (lifted from the Baltimore Sun archives)?

I have this borderline obsession of what this place was like back when it was open… and am wondering if any folks ever got to ski here.  I really wish it was still open.  But as I understand it, the regional weather and warmer climate did not help matters, and it shut down in the early 70s (I think).  They used to make snow too (I have a cool picture of that as well).

Hint 1:  It’s close. Many have probably driven by it hundreds of times.
Hint 2: The tow rope is still there, but is not operating.  You can still see the old Chairlift supports
Hint 3:  I wouldn’t sit on that right-hand side if you want to see the Fireworks when you’re there.

Oh, the Answer:  It’s Oregon Ridge.

E