Wednesday, November 26, 2014

East Coast Thanksgiving Snow Update

East coast storm continues to churn northeast up the coast. Current radar loop below.

Central Great Lakes sector loop

I'm sticking with National Weather Service snowfall forecasts at this stage of the game. Heavy snow should stay inland away from major cities like New York City and Boston. Philadelphia will see the most accumulation.






Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Major East Coast Snow For Thanksgiving

Significant east coast storm will impact travel tomorrow and Thanksgiving. Expect significant flight delays out of all major hubs tomorrow and early Thursday.

Central Great Lakes sector loop

Probability of at least 6 inches of snow is greatest from Allentown, PA northeast into southern New Hampshire.

The newest projections are bringing the heaviest snowfall further west.


National Weather Service snowfall forecasts.

CLICK THE LINKS BELOW FOR SNOWFALL FORECAST UPDATES

NWS Philadelphia
NWS State College, PA
NWS New York City
NWS Binghamton
NWS Boston


Washington, DC area

Philadelphia
Central PA
Central New York

New York City Metro

Boston, Connecticut, Rhode Island

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Buffalo Lake Effect Events: Oct 12-13, 2006 vs Current Event

I remember the October 2006 lake effect snow event well. I was sitting in the WJW FOX 8 weather center watching a band of snow moving parallel to the Lake Erie shoreline about 15-20 miles offshore near Ashtabula, Ohio.  The leading edge of the snow barreled through Buffalo, New York.



This is the only lake effect event comparable--when looking at the temperature parameters--to the current Buffalo event I can remember. It started on October 12, 2006 and finished the next day.




The Lake Erie water temperature was 62 degrees. The air aloft (5000 feet)--the key level for determining lake effect--was -8 celsius (or 17 degrees F).


The temperature difference: 45 degrees from the surface to 5000 feet.


Here were the 2 day totals:


In the current (November 18-19, 2014) event, the lake water temperature in the eastern basin of Lake Erie is between 50 and 54 degrees. The air aloft (5000 feet) was -18 celsius (or zero degrees F)! 



The temperature difference: 54 degrees from the surface to 5000 feet!


This eastern basin warm pocket fueled the snow development as the wind paralleled the shoreline before it made landfall south of Buffalo. The key has been the wind direction. The SW wind (now WSW) carried the arctic air directly over the ENTIRE warm pool of water. The fetch over the warm pocket was more than 100 miles! Normally in northern Ohio, the fetch is between 50 and 60 miles from Canada to Cleveland.

Notice the intensity and uniformity of the lake effect snow band compared to the "edgier, disjointed-looking" radar loop from the October 2006 snow event

November 18, 2014 Event


October 12-13, 2006 event
This type of cold in November (850mB temps at -18) has occurred a dozen times in Buffalo (upper air soundings) since 1950, the most recent was last year.
 
Snow forecast map from the National Weather Service office in Buffalo.


Snow totals as of mid evening Tuesday 11/18. Final snow totals coming later in the week.




Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Unbelievable November Cold, Lake Effect Snow!

Lake Effect Clouds Along Cleveland Shoreline Heading to Buffalo, New York

More than 80% of the US was below freezing Tuesday morning; 50%+ under 20 degrees.

It was the coldest average Continental US November temperature since 1976.

Stats below courtesy: Ryan Maue.

Average US temperature at 6AM Tuesday 11/18: 19.8 degrees!

Ohio's statewide average temperature was more than 12 DEGREES COLDER than the statewide Alaska average temperature this morning.

Buffalo, New York will end up with more than 45 inches of snow by Wednesday morning. 850 temperatures between -18 and -21 over eastern basin of Lake Erie. This would mark only the 6th TIME Buffalo, NY had 850 mB temperatures below -20 since 1950!  The other years (1955, 58, 59 and 1987) Date here



Snow band. Photo courtesy; WGRZ, Twitter


Lake effect parameters are off the charts!






A break comes later this week with a run at 50 by Sunday and Monday.

Another cold blast could drop late in Thanksgiving week. More of the same: Eastern trough/below normal temperatures continue to dominate.

FIRST LAKE EFFECT EVENT
ARCTIC COLD TUESDAY ACROSS CONUS - BUFFALO SNOW EVENT



 THANKSGIVING WEEK COLD/SNOW? MORE TO COME LATER THIS WEEK/WEEKEND

Thursday, November 13, 2014

First Lake Effect Snow Event Underway

We knew this was coming:  LAKE EFFECT SNOW 

I90 and I271  (click image for update image)


Last week, I mentioned a lake effect event similar to this one on November 17, 2005. The 850mB temperature during that event was -12. Lake Erie water temp: 52 degrees. Winds were westerly then west-north-westerly. That event dropped 9+" in Lake/Ashtabula/northern Geauga Counties. 

Today, 850mB temperatures will fall to between -10 and -13.  Lake Erie water temperature just fell to 51 degrees. Winds are westerly with an expected shift to the northwest tonight/Friday. Below are the Bufkit numbers for today at noon and today at 10pm.  The rectangles areas from west to east are:  850mB temperatures, relative humidity and wind direction. The Bufkit numbers support the drop in 850 mB temperature, increase in low level moisture and a veering wind to the WNW later this evening.



The amounts by Saturday morning will be close to the November 2005 event mentioned above. 

LAKE EFFECT SNOW ADVISORY IN EFFECT FOR LAKE, GEAUGA AND ASHTABULA COUNTIES THROUGH SATURDAY MORNING

Remember that during snow events (big or small) we are not able to mention every town and municipality's snow forecast. The best way to do this is to check our snowfall map and estimate based on the snow contours. We usually mention the larger cities so that people can use that information in their estimating based on where they live.

Here is the snowfall forecast from early Thursday morning through Friday morning. THIS DOES NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT ADDITIONAL SNOWFALL FRIDAY AFTERNOON AND NIGHT.  Total accumulations will reach 8-10" in classic snowbelt areas by Saturday morning.




The first snowfall of the season try the patience of everyone. I've written extensively about the frustration people have about the weather, weather forecasts and extreme weather events here on my weather blog. I try to take the psychology of the weather into account when I formulate the initial snowfall forecast and subsequent updates. As much as we try to please everyone all of the time as broadcast meteorologists, it rarely works out. Remember that our approach has always been not to exaggerate the weather. We call it like it is. We don't sugar coat it. It might be hard to take especially this time of year when the first snow is around the corner. We highlight the overall pattern, present general forecast ideas then give you the specific numbers/amounts the closer we get to the day of the event. Please share this with others here and on Facebook. Remember our weather approach when the next snow falls this winter.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Typhoon Rule: 1976 vs 2014 Mid- November Cold

I've been doing some checking on the Typhoon Rule and compared it to events of the past.  So I checked to see if there was a recurving Typhoon in early November in 1976 since this was one of our analog years for this winter.  Sure enough, there was one:  Typhoon Louise.

So I plotted the surface temps and 500mB anomalies for Nov 1976 period.


The temperatures over the 12 days from Nov 12th to 22nd show the strongest cold air from the 21st to the 24th including three straight days below freezing with some accumulating snow!



The following map is the current setup for the current Typhoon and the temps for mid week next week only 6 days after the Typhoon starts to recurve.  They look similar to 1976! 

I want to reiterate that it's not the Typhoon that causes the cold air/eastern trough.  It's the overall pattern that I'm watching. The typhoon is just one element of it. Let's see if the cold air pans out next week.  Will we see our first lake effect snow of the season?



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Was Last Winter Really The Worst In Years?


 ...It depends how you define "worst winter in years."

Most of us define past winters using four metrics:  Average Winter Temperature (Dec through February), Seasonal snowfall, Number of nights at or below zero and the number of days with snow on the ground greater than one inch (how often does the snow cover the grass).

I revisit this topic because we will air our Winter Weather Outlook Thursday, October 30th at 10PM. Invariably, everyone is comparing this upcoming winter to last year's rough winter.  If we only had longer weather memories, we'd soon realize that last winter was comparable with winters in the early 2000s both in snowfall and in temperature. 

* Was last winter a rough one?  Certainly. 

* Were the temperatures extreme?  Only the night time lows (6 nights below zero in January, 4 in February--3 were records). 

* Did we break snowfall records?  Nope. Not even close. More snow fell in the winters of 2002, 2003 and 2004.


The graphics below tell the story perfectly.


AVERAGE WINTER TEMPERATURE (DECEMBER THROUGH FEBRUARY)


SEASONAL SNOWFALL - TOP 10 WINTERS


NUMBER OF NIGHTS AT OR BELOW ZERO


DAYS WITH SNOW ON THE GROUND AT OR GREATER THAN ONE INCH