Friday, January 30, 2015

Significant Snow for Ohio Valley Late Superbowl Sunday

Earlier this week after the Blizzard of 2015 shifted to the east focusing the major snow away from New York City, many meteorologists took to Twitter talking about how too much forecast uncertainty in message breeds inaction. I agree. This is why you will never see me post a snowfall forecast for a potential snow event more than 3 days out.  I might broad-brush the overall setup with generalities but an official snowfall forecast won't happen until we are inside 48 hours. The public wants a concrete forecast. Their risk is personal.  In order to give the best possible snowfall forecast with the least amount of uncertainty, I wait. 

This takes us to the Sunday-Monday event.  I posted on Facebook how the the model projections are all over the place. I won't post that image here.  You can see it on my FANPAGE if you are inclined.

As of this writing--shortly before the noon show Friday, and just inside 48 hours of the beginning of the event--here is my first official snowfall forecast for the second half of Superbowl Sunday through early Monday.  Current radar loops are below.

Central Great Lakes sector loop


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Post New England Blizzard Thoughts

I will admit that I bounced back and forth on a final NYC snowfall forecast late Sunday/early Monday as the new data was coming in showing the nor'easter farther east.  In the end, the storm developed farther east.  I reluctantly went with higher amounts for NJ and NYC. It didn't pan out although Long Island got hit hard. Was it a bust? Hardly. Were the amounts way off for many locations? Absolutely.  Were the amounts accurate for other locations? Yes.

 



Should snowfall forecasts have been altered?  Probably.  Then again, when you warn 50+ million people, it's very hard to retract a Blizzard Warning that stretches along hundreds of miles of coast line. You live by the sword and die by the sword in the court of public opinion (now social media).

I participated in several twitter discussion with other meteorologists and broadcasters about what we as meteorologists/broadcasters still need to do better in communicating the essential aspects of extreme storms.  The responses were very enlightening.  I know I will take all of this and apply it to my own weather world here in northern Ohio in future weather events. 

Here are several key points, questions and comments from these Twitter conversations. I paraphrased some the statements:

* I have a very difficult time (as a meteorologist) blaming people for focusing on their situation in their town.

*  The science of Meteorology & forecasting are getting so much better but our communication of that information is getting worse & worse IMO.

*   Lets not forget this was like the 1st hurricane of the season, it always gets out of control coverage. No one covers storm ten like storm one.

*   This storm is an excellent case where choice of words in conveying severity is of the utmost importance.

*   People just hear the big numbers and worry just about that!

*   Risk is personal. Mass media is for the masses. Have to find the middle.

*   (response) Here lies the conundrum: Risk is personal. Yet people want personal forecasts


*  Too much emphasis on uncertainty can breed inaction.


*  We need a delicate balance between voicing uncertainty and a declarative forecast for general public

*  "Our NYC forecast, while hardly perfect, was useful"

*  Why no uncertainty cones with these types of systems ?

*   Public can't grasp reality outside of our own weather window

*   Yes but there is so much message competition now and some/a lot operate outside of the Weather/EMA/Gov enterprise...message competition plays a huge role, I think. Even decision makers who we work closely with fall victim to confusion.

*  Some in my business (media) don't care about public good, credibility or long term gain. They get judged on clicks, shares, ratings

*  "There is more risk and nuance in weather forecasts than the public is interested in consuming so it is a challenge to craft a message that gets attention, is not "hype", yet has actionable information.'

If you have anything else to add, let me know.  Comments below.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Major Snow/Blizzard Conditions For New York, Boston Expected



East coast storm continues to develop in Ohio Valley. Current Ohio Valley radar loop

Central Great Lakes sector loop

Northeast radar composite

Central Great Lakes sector loop

Winter Storm Warnings and Blizzard Warnings are in effect for New York City, Boston and all east coast areas from southern New Jersey to Maine.

The classification of a blizzard has nothing to do snowfall. It has everything to do with WIND and VISIBILITY.

BLIZZARD DEFINITION:

* Sustained wind or frequent gusts to 35 mph or greater for a period of 3 hours or longer
* Falling or blowing snow reducing visibility to less than 1/4 mile.

The exact words from the NWS Office in New York City:





See how the Clipper Snow moving through Ohio and Pennsylvania "bombs" into this major Nor'Easter.

Late Monday surface map
Tuesday Midday
New York City Snowfall forecast per the NWS - LINK HERE


Boston Snowfall Forecast - LINK HERE


New Jersey snowfall forecast - LINK HERE




Friday, January 23, 2015

Widespread Snow Sunday

Abnormaly strong clipper system moves across northern Ohio Sunday. Here are the real-time radar loops showing the snow moving in.



Current OHIO temperatures



Current Ohio Valley radar loop

Central Great Lakes sector loop


Initial, broad-brush snowfall forecast. NUMBERS WILL NEED TO BE ADJUSTED AS WE GET CLOSER TO THE SNOW EVENT! 

New computer projections are shifting the heavier snow across southern counties...more later

Thursday, January 15, 2015

My 15 Favorite Movies of 2014 (in alphabetical order)


OSCAR NOMINATIONS SITE

Begin Again
Birdman
Blue Ruin
Calvary
Chef
Grand Budapest  Hotel
Guardians of the Galaxy
Ida
Interstellar
Lego Movie
Locke
Predestination
Snowpiercer
Theory of Everything
Whiplash

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Arctic Overnight Lows Wednesday Morning

Lake Erie ice from 3 miles offshore
Three ingredients promote huge temperature drops in winter: Clear skies, calm winds and snow cover. We had all three Wednesday morning.  Here are the official web weather spy reports on our blog!

Temperatures as of 8am:






Coldest region was as area between Lorain, New London and Medina.


I was originally cautions on this temperature reading of -18 reported from the Kipton, Ohio automated station in southern Lorain county. Given the other temperatures surrounding it, it's definitely possible.

Here are some reports/temperature photos from viewers.

Elyria

Grafton, Twsp

Huron

Portage Lakes

Plymouth

Rome

Sandusky

Bath







Saturday, January 03, 2015

Current Radar Loops - Freezing Rain, Steady Rain, Arctic Air

Spotty freezing (rain that hits the ground and freezes on untreated surfaces) will be mixed in with general rain this morning. The transition to all rain will continue by late morning as temperatures climb into the upper 30s, lower 40s by mid afternoon.

Rainfall amounts will be significant. See graphic below.




Current OHIO temperatures


Current Ohio Valley radar loop
Central Great Lakes sector loop



Temps will climb into the 50s tonight and early Sunday then drop by late afternoon.




Arctic air returns next week with lake effect on Monday, General "Clipper Snow" Tuesday for all of northern Ohio (several inches very possible) then more lake effect Wednesday and early Thursday. Its not only Cleveland and northern Ohio. Much of the eastern 2/3rds of the US will experience temperatures similar to last January.


Lake Erie water temperature is 37. Typically we need an approximately 23 degree temperature difference (Fahrenheit scale) between the lake water and the air aloft (5000 foot level) for lake effect to develop. That puts the threshold at 14 degrees Fahrenheit at 5000 feet. By Wednesday of next week, the temperature will drop to -9!  Again, this is all in Fahrenheit.  (-22 to -25 for meteorological purposes in northern Ohio). For comparison, the "Polar Vortex" event last January had a 5000 foot temperature (850 mB) of -23.

Daytime highs might stay in the single digits Thursday according to one projection.


I hesitate to give snowfall projections this far out. But considering that the extended models have been very consistent with this arctic air or late (some too warm; some too far west with the cold), posting a preliminary snow forecast seem reasonable. TUESDAY'S CLIPPER could drop between 2-4"+ across northern Ohio.

By the end of next week, significant snow cover will blanket much of the snowbelt.  Get ready.  Winter is back!




Friday, January 02, 2015

My 2014 Movie List


About 10 years, I began a huge project of creating a list of movies that I hadn't seen.  The rules were simple.  Any movie can make the list--documentary, comedy, drama, it didn't matter.  Little did I know that the list would continue to grow. One movie would lead to a list of movies by the same director or main actor or actress. Pretty soon, I was scouring the AFI top 100 movie list for more additions.  The project snowballed and at the end, the list was almost 500 movies long!


My fanatic movie watching lists since 2009:

2009 MOVIE LIST  100 total
2010 MOVIE LIST  120 total
2011 MOVIE LIST  150 total
2012 MOVIE LIST  110 total
2013 MOVIE LIST    90 total

Here is the 2014 movie list (94) in no particular order:

MY 2014 MOVIES LIST IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER. My favorites in RED. What movies did you see this year? Comment below.

INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS
AMERICAN HUSTLE
DON JON
LONE SURVIVOR
WEST SIDE STORY
ROPE
DEER HUNTER
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS
ALL IS LOST
AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY

NEBRASKA
HER
BLUE JASMINE
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET
ENOUGH SAID
MEAN STREETS
PHILOMENA
THE FIFTH ESTATE
FROZEN
CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2

JAWS 2
NOBODY'S FOOL
THE CANDIDATE
MUPPET MOVIE
ANCHORMAN 2
OUT OF THE FURNACE
A FEW DOLLARS MORE
THE APARTMENT
DOUBLE INDEMNITY

SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY
THE RESCUERS
LAURA
LIFE AND TIMES OF JUDGE ROY BEAN
CAPTAIN AMERICA
PITCH PERFECT
THE BIG SLEEP
TO CATCH A THIEF
AMERICAN TALE
THE GOONIES

THE BICYCLE THIEF
CAPE FEAR
THE LEGO MOVIE
BEYOND TOMORROW
FRACKNATION
BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI
GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
THE GRADUATE
THE NEWTON BOYS
TAPE

BAD WORDS
THE SEARCHERS
THE NORTH FACE
BLUE RUIN
SLACKER
SNOWPIERCER
CHEF
LOCKE

BRICK
THE SWITCH

LAWNMOWER MAN
IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO LEARN TO PLOW BY READING BOOKS
SUNSET BLVD
EXTRACT
PEABODY AND SHERMAN
DRAFT DAY
EXPENDABLES 3
ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST
CITY LIGHTS
TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE

BOYHOOD
WHIPLASH
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY

NONSTOP
TMNT
BIG HERO 6
22 JUMP STREET
TRANSFORMERS 3
INTERSTELLAR
THEORY OF EVERYTHING

HIGH NOON
BEGIN AGAIN
ST. VINCENT
STILL ALICE
COLD IN JULY

UNDER THE SKIN
GONE GIRL
ANNIE HALL
CALVARY
NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM 2

NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM 3
PREDESTINATION
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON
IDA


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Different Faces of Central Pacific El Ninos

A few weeks back, I had an email conversation with Professor Jin-Yi Yu of University of California Irvine.  I ran across his website and 2009 El Nino paper on Central Pacific El Ninos and was looking for some additional information on what the difference is between a Central Based El Nino and a "Modoki" El Nino according to his work. If you remember, the current Central Pacific El Nino was and still is a significant variable in our winter weather outlook. This is what he had to say after I emailed him the sea surface temperature analog composite for January asking him if this was a Modoki pattern we've heard so much about in the media:



"...this SST anomaly pattern is a Central Pacific El Nino pattern,
not a Modoki El Nino pattern. The Modoki pattern requires the warming in
the central Pacific to be flanked by cooling in the eastern Pacific and
western pacific
".
This graphic illustrates the differences between both El Ninos. El Nino Modoki on top, Eastern El Nino (typical El Nino) on bottom. Notice the cooler water flanking the relative warmth in the middle of the Pacific near the dateline.


Dr. Yu's 2012 paper summarizes each of the 21 El Nino events since the early 1950s using three El Nino Indices. The El Nino Modoki Index (EMI Method), the basic Nino method using the Nino3/4 sea surface temperature readings and the EP-CP Index derived by Dr. Yu and his colleagues published in his 2012 paper. I highlighted the seven consensus Central Pacific El Nino events across all three indices.

7 Consensus Central Pacific El Ninos (The paper above describes what thresholds are used in identifying EP or CP El Ninos.)
While the list above doesn't identify specific Modoki El Ninos among the Central Pacific El Ninos, checking the average sea surface temperatures starting in September and overlapping each month through February/March, "Modoki type" temperature signatures (cold pockets flanking warmth near dateline) can be seen.  Below are the seven consensus Central Pacific El Ninos in chronological order. Each evolved differently. Each one has central warmth (2009-10 was the warmest). Only 1958-59, 1963-64 and 1977-78 seem to have the strongest "Modoki" signature (cool pockets east and west) by visual inspection.

One other note, notice the warmth along the west coast of North America in 1958-59, 1963-64, 77-78 and partially in 2009-10. Professor Yu shows in this paper that this warmth is connected to the development of the Central Pacific El Nino. The coastal warmth is associated with the North Pacific Oscillation teleconnection.

MODOKI signature present
Weaker MODOKI Signature. Not as strong as 1958-59

Weaker MODOKI Signature
Strong Modoki Signature
Weak MODOKI Signature
Weak MODOKI Signature

Weak MODOKI Signature
What can we say about these seven events?  The central warmth seems to mature in January. The cool pools east and west were firmly established by October in the first four events (1950s through the late 1970s).

What about our current event?

The central warmth us weaker than 2009-10. The coastal warmth is off the charts due to the North Pacific Oscillation index rising to the highest levels ever for November going back 60 years! The cold pools east and west are showing some signs of developing.  As of mid December, the Modoki signature comparing all three sea surface temperature regions to the other seven events is weak.

The next 6 weeks will be critical in determining whether this Central Pacific El Nino will continue to mature into a formidable driver of the early 2015 winter pattern. Based on past analogs, it should.