Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Latest Snow Depth Reports - NORTHERN OHIO

Here are the latest NWS snow depth reports as of Wednesday morning at 10AM. Although the map doesn't show it, almost 18 inches in spots in the heart of the snow belt according to one report.



***********************SNOW ON GROUND***********************

LOCATION                 SNOW     TIME/DATE   COMMENTS
                     ON GROUND           OF
                     /INCHES/   MEASUREMENT

OHIO

...ASHTABULA COUNTY...
   PIERPONT 2SE          10.0   815 AM  1/23  TRAINED SPOTTER
   ASHTABULA              9.0   645 AM  1/23  TRAINED SPOTTER
   ASHTABULA 1SW          6.0   800 AM  1/23  TRAINED SPOTTER

...CRAWFORD COUNTY...
   NEW WASHINGTON 5S        T   817 AM  1/23  TRAINED SPOTTER
   1 NW BUCYRUS             T   700 AM  1/23  COCORAHS

...CUYAHOGA COUNTY...
   EUCLID                 6.0   819 AM  1/23  TRAINED SPOTTER
   CLEVELAND-EDGEWATER    2.0   829 AM  1/23  TRAINED SPOTTER
   GARFIELD HTS           1.0   748 AM  1/23  TRAINED SPOTTER
   CLEVELAND HOPKINS AI   1.0   700 AM  1/23  ASOS
   SOLON                  1.0   730 AM  1/23  TRAINED SPOTTER
   2 SE BRECKSVILLE       0.5   620 AM  1/23  COCORAHS

...GEAUGA COUNTY...
   1 SSE MONTVILLE       13.5   600 AM  1/23  COCORAHS
   THOMPSON 5SW          13.0   700 AM  1/23  TRAINED SPOTTER
   MONTVILLE             12.0   609 AM  1/23  TRAINED SPOTTER
   CHARDON               12.0   610 AM  1/23  TRAINED SPOTTER
   SOUTH MADSION         10.0   739 AM  1/23  TRAINED SPOTTER
   CLARIDON TWP           9.0   807 AM  1/23  TRAINED SPOTTER
   1 NE MIDDLEFIELD       7.5   800 AM  1/23  COCORAHS
   BURTON                 5.0   800 AM  1/23  TRAINED SPOTTER

...HURON COUNTY...
   NEW LONDON 3NW           T   838 AM  1/23  TRAINED SPOTTER

...LAKE COUNTY...
   1 SW KIRTLAND         14.5   700 AM  1/23  COCORAHS
   MADISON VILLAGE        7.0   702 AM  1/23  TRAINED SPOTTER
   MENTOR                 5.0   730 AM  1/23  TRAINED SPOTTER
   PERRY TOWNSHIP         5.0   655 AM  1/23  TRAINED SPOTTER
   WILLOUGHBY             4.0   904 AM  1/23  TRAINED SPOTTER
   MADISON-ON-THE-LAKE    3.0   752 AM  1/23  TRAINED SPOTTER

...LORAIN COUNTY...
   SE ELYRIA              1.5   810 AM  1/23  COCORAHS
   SHEFFIELD LAKE         1.0   837 AM  1/23  TRAINED SPOTTER
   1 E SHEFFIELD LAKE     0.5   830 AM  1/23  COCORAHS
   AVON                     T   855 AM  1/23  TRAINED SPOTTER

...LUCAS COUNTY...
   2 ENE TOLEDO             T   700 AM  1/23  COCORAHS
   TOLEDO EXPRESS AIRPO     T   700 AM  1/23  ASOS

...MEDINA COUNTY...
   BRUNSWICK              1.0   732 AM  1/23  TRAINED SPOTTER
   1 NE BRUNSWICK         0.5   700 AM  1/23  COCORAHS

...PORTAGE COUNTY...
   HIRAM                  1.0   849 AM  1/23  TRAINED SPOTTER
   N HIRAM                0.8   800 AM  1/23  COCORAHS
   2 SSW STREETSBORO      0.7   700 AM  1/23  COCORAHS

...RICHLAND COUNTY...
   MANSFIELD LAHM AIRPO   1.0   700 AM  1/23  ASOS

...SANDUSKY COUNTY...
   E LINDSEY              0.5   500 AM  1/23  COCORAHS

...SUMMIT COUNTY...
   CAK AIRPORT            1.0   700 AM  1/23  ASOS
   STOW                   1.0   913 AM  1/23  TRAINED SPOTTER
   TWINSBURG                T   700 AM  1/23  TRAINED SPOTTER

...TRUMBULL COUNTY...
   MESOPOTAMIA            3.0   954 AM  1/23  TRAINED SPOTTER
   YOUNGSTOWN WARREN AI   2.0   700 AM  1/23  ASOS

...WAYNE COUNTY...
   1 N KIDRON               T   700 AM  1/23  COCORAHS

Lake effect continues out east.....HERE IS THE NWS CURRENT RADAR LOOP LINK



Monday, January 21, 2013

How Much Lake Effect Next 2 Days?


Snow in Geneva - Rt 20
Science is harder to understand than buying into conspiracy theories or old wives' tales.
People like a good narrative versus unbiased science or weather explanations on why forecasts are difficult. Stories are easier to digest. Science is not. People feel conflicted with science so they grasp unsubstantiated theories or stories to make them feel at ease. That's my psychology 101 lesson of the day. :) Quiz tomorrow...

Such is the case with Lake Effect Snow. The science of lake effect is well documented. Yet the official forecasts are riddled with ranges like 8-12" or 7-14". These type of ranges are not what the public wants. They want certainty. They want something cut-and-dry. They want exact numbers for their town. Most times, its not possible. Lake Effect Forecasts are a mix of science w/ alot of uncertainty; randomness and a dash of art! Or as a colleague of mine once said: "Its like nailing Jello to a wall." 

                                 ---------------------------------------------------------

We already looked at the different variables that go into lake effect snow prediction in my previous post. The one element that really stands out Tuesday is the difference between the 5000 foot level and the lake water temperature. Once the difference gets above 13 degrees (in celsius), the amount of lift/evaporation becomes significant enough to create lake effect snow  Tomorrow, the difference hits 28!  Back in January of 2009, we had a similar situation regarding the cold air aloft.

What was the high that day? How about 6



Light snow in Carollton, Ohio Monday morning
The heaviest and more widespread lake effect snow will develop this evening, tonight and tomorrow as the coldest air in 4 years moves across the area! Here are the headlines:


* Expect to hear some thunder tomorrow *
* Wind Chill will drop to 10 below! *

The winds will shift from the WSW to the WNW tonight and tomorrow which will shift any lake effect snow south. Some areas that need to be watched are LORAIN, WESTLAKE and southern CUYAHOGA COUNTY. The second map shows the TOTAL accumulations from today through early Wednesday. Most of this will fall late tonight and TUESDAY.



Pockets of lake effect mainly east today as winds are out of the west and WSW. Not much accumulation south of Cleveland...an inch or two. Temps stay around 20 with wind chills in the single digits. Here are accumulations for TODAY ONLY


More updates as needed!



Friday, January 18, 2013

The Different "Flavors" of Lake Erie Lake Effect Snow

Totally Ice Covered Lake Erie in Cleveland in early 2011

A survey was done a few years ago about what weather words people latch onto when they heard them on television. The first was the word FORECAST, close to the top were the words LAKE EFFECT.  Yet lake effect isn't a "one-size-fits-all" type of meteorological phenomena.

I wrote about some actual lake effect examples from the 1960s and 1970s in a post from late 2011.

First the variables that go into a lake effect event:

1. Temperature difference between the lake and the air aloft (5000 feet) has to be at least 13 degrees celsius. The more, the better.
2. Abundant atmospheric moisture independent of the lake
3. Wind speed
4. Wind direction
5. Fetch Length (How far does the wind blow over the lake)
5. Instability and instability depth (Usually driven by a cold front/trough and/or the lake temperature difference) Deeper the instability, the deeper the snow growth
6.Orographic lift (elevation different between Cleveland and the snowbelt)

Even if #1, 3, 4, 5 and 6 are present (the most common variables), subtract any one of these variables especially 2 and 5 and snowfall forecasts can turn out much different than anticipated.

What are the different "flavors" of lake effect here in northern Ohio? Why does the secondary snowbelt vary so much?  How can some areas like Akron get significant lake effect while the traditional snowbelt receives minimal amount? The differences lie in the wind direction.

The first example is what I like to call: CLASSIC LAKE EFFECT EFFECT SNOW.

Winds are primarily out of the northwest, usually behind an Alberta Clipper type cold front. The higher elevations east of Cleveland (Geauga, Lake and Ashtabula counties) AND SOUTHWEST OF CLEVELAND enhance the snowfall due to the lifting of the moist air. The secondary snowbelt in this example would include northern Medina, Summit and Portage counties. This lake effect snowfall map is the one that you're probably the most familiar.

CLASSIC Lake Effect Snowfall Map
The second example is LAKE EFFECT with a WEST WIND

Band or pockets of lake effect snow in this example usually hug the shoreline and are partially enhanced by the elevation. The fetch off of the lake is more significant for eastern areas.  The secondary snowbelt usually doesn't push as far south.

NORTHWEST WIND: Lake Effect Snow Map
The third example is LAKE EFFECT with a NORTH WIND

This example can be very tricky because not only are you forecasting snowfall from the moisture in Lake Erie, north winds will carry moisture from LAKE HURON too! The Lake Huron component isn't as large as Lake Erie but it can be significant. The fetch isn't as far (distance from Canadian shoreline is ~50 miles) Yet with some instability created by BOTH lakes due to the cold air/milder lake, snow bands/pockets can stretch into Akron, Canton and even northern Tuscarawas county.

This example seems like a bit of a stretch as there are many components necessary for this to happen. Back in the winter of 2009-2010, we had several lake events that mirrored this example exactly.


Its easy to see how lake effect can and does change on a moments notice as the winds shift. A good understanding of the wind component is essential in forecasting lake effect. Yet even the most comprehensive high resolution data from the surface and aloft plugged into a very high resolution computer model projection will never be exact.

No wonder we can have one location with 2 inches of snow and a few miles down the road, the amounts can reach 15"! That's why we use snowfall ranges.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Why I Enjoy Broadcast Meteorology

I take pride in several things during an on air weather cast. The first is explaining the forecast in easy-to-understand points.  The second is explaining why the weather is happening in basic scientific terms when applicable.  Yet most viewers view the current state of the weather (whether its winter or summer, etc) here in northern Ohio as a chaotic, random system incapable of being projected more than 6 hours ahead of time. Many times, this is not far from the truth.  Yet by throwing in some local historic weather events as a good reference frame with the science and a narrative cocktail can be created which most people can drink without too many problems. Next week might be one of those instances where understanding the weather along with some history might make the colder weather a bit easier to mentally digest when it arrives. Note I said mentally.  I can only hope :)



Now the situation at hand: One of the main factors in predicting LAKE EFFECT SNOW is how cold the air is (5000 feet) above the lake. More importantly, its the temperature DIFFERENCE between the lake and the 5000ft level. As long as the difference is greater than 13 degree Celsius, lake effect has a very good chance of developing (among other factors too). Greater the difference, the greater the potential for snow development.  Usually the 5000ft temp has to be at least -5 to -7 in NOV for snow to get going (given the mild lake). -10 to -15 is ideal this time of year given the water temps at 39 degrees F(4 degrees Celsius). Sometimes, we get temperatures at -20 or colder at 5000ft which is super cold! Curiosity got the better of me over the last few days so I checked the 5000 ft temperatures each day over the last 4 winters including this one here in northern Ohio. There was only one time in the last 4 winter when we had a 5000ft temp at -20. That was JANUARY 29, 2009.

Guess what the long range projections have been saying since the weekend about how cold the 5000ft level would drop to next week? You guessed it. -20!  This could mean some LAKE EFFECT SNOW and daytime highs in the teens.




Monday, January 14, 2013

What Does Lake Erie Look Like From Space?

The top image is a high resolution satellite photo of Lake Erie last week as the snow began to melt and temperatures started to climb. The lower photo is a satellite photo take in Feb 2010 showing the heavy ice cover in the lake effect areas north of Cleveland. Notice the cracks in the ice and the open water near New York. The detail on both is amazing.The red dots represent the cities of Cleveland, Lorain and Conneaut

The next two weeks will be critical in determining whether or not conditions will be cold enough for ice to form on Lake Erie. We really need about a solid week to ten days of below normal temperature to get the process started. The front coming through Sunday might set the stage for this but there is no guarantee that it will be long enough for ice to form; maybe some partial ice in the western basin.


 Will this arctic air now in eastern Canada slide further south next week?



Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Lake Erie Ice Cover: This Year vs 2012 vs 2011

Even with the cold snap which started late December through earlier this week, the amount of ice cover on Lake Erie is still very scant. How does this year's ice cover compare to last year and two years ago? Here are the charts from the Canadian Ice Service from this year back to 2011. Notice the ice free year last year compared to the almost frozen Lake Erie in 2011/

January 7, 2013
January 9, 2012
January 17, 2011

Monday, January 07, 2013

January Thaw Begins...When Will Winter Return?


So far,  a nice "January Thaw" pattern shaping up for this week. The typicaly signature is a ridge in the east with a trough in the west which drives above normal temperatures here in Ohio and surrounding areas with below normal temperatures out west.




First, what will this mean for us:

1. The snow cover will melt completely by the end of the week

2. The ground will become saturates so the rain system on Thursday/Friday could cause some high water in low lying areas


The high is deflecting many of the weather systems back into Canada. When a system makes it through the ridge, it produces rain not snow



Second question: When will the winter pattern flip back to winter?

Looking at the long range blend of several computer projections, there are strong indications that the trough out west will migrate back east by the end of the week.



Colder temperatures seem a good bet by the 20th.

SO GET READY FOR MORE SNOW AND COLD BEFORE THE MONTH ENDS!






Friday, January 04, 2013

Satellite Data Confirms Record Setting Warmth in 2012




There are several data sets that we use to determine US and global temperatures. Some data sets are derived from measurements taken at the surface. Others are taken from satellites which sample the atmosphere from the surface to about 8 kilometers above the surface. These measurements began in the late 1970s.

Anyway you slice it, this year was a very warm year across northern Ohio, the US and globally. December started our very warm but flipped to below normal highs by Christmas. This trend has continued into early January.



The super-warm March really tipped the scales across the US.  Satellite data analysis is complete for 2012. The University of Alabama-Huntsville report is as follows. I broke up each sentence to make it easier to digest.


"Globally, 2012 was the ninth warmest year among the past 34, with an annual global average temperature that was about 0.29 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the 30-year baseline average, according to Dr. John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville.”

“…2012 was about three one-hundredths of a degree C warmer than 2011, but was 0.23 C cooler than 2010.”

“…Eleven of the 12 warmest years in the satellite temperature record have been been since 2001. From 2001 to the present only 2008 was cooler than the long-term norm for the globe."

"While 2012 was only the ninth warmest year globally, it was the warmest year on record for both the contiguous 48 U.S. states and for the continental U.S., including Alaska.”

“…For the U.S., 2012 started with one of the three warmest Januaries in the 34-year record, saw a record-setting March heat wave, and stayed warm enough for the rest of the year to set a record.

“….Compared to seasonal norms, March 2012 was the warmest month on record in the 48 contiguous U.S. states…The annual average temperature over the conterminous 48 states in 2012 was about 0.99 degrees F warmer than seasonal norms."

“…From 2001 to the present only 2008 was cooler than the long-term norm for the globe. Despite that string of warmer-than-normal years, there has been no measurable warming trend since about 1998. The long-term warming trend reported in the satellite data is calculated using data beginning on Nov. 16, 1978”

Again, these conclusions are derived from satellite data from University Alabama-Huntsville. Here is the top ten WARMEST YEARS GLOBALLY since 1979?  Graph of each year globally follows. Notice the warmer temps since the late 1990s versus the colder temps in the 1980s.


1979 through 2012
Warmest to coolest

  1. 1998  0.419
  2. 2010  0.394
  3. 2005  0.260
  4. 2002  0.218
  5. 2009  0.218
  6. 2007  0.202
  7. 2003  0.187
  8. 2006  0.186
  9. 2012  0.161
10. 2011  0.130


Will this trend continue in 2013 for northern Ohio and surrounding areas? I'll have thoughts on this later this month

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Frigid Morning Lows - Coldest Temps Last 10 Winters


This morning's lows are the coldest since last January 20th.  That morning we dropped to 6 above.  That was the only time last winter we dropped into the single digits. Our heavy snow cover since the 26th of December and abundant clear skies are great conditions for frigid morning temperatures. Here is a list of the morning lows on the 3rd of January 2013.

What are the coldest temperatures in each of the last 10 winters? Here is the list courtesy of Andre Bernier. Notice the 1998 El Nino winter. Coldest temperature was 12. Back in early 2009, we dropped to -13.


Where did last year's mild winter rank with snowfall? Coming up tomorrow, I'll post the snowfall history ranked from most to least since 1909. 

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

My 2012 Watched Movie List


As many of you know, I started a list of movies I needed to watch some years ago. It started out as roughly one hundred movies assembled from top ten lists of national and international movie reviewers, website lists, the AFI list and a host of others. The list grew over time as new movies came out. If I liked the director, I made a list of that director's films. You can see how a list like this can grow exponentially. For every 3 or 4 movies you cross off of the list, seven more are added. Needless to say, the list continues to grow though not at the rate of a couple of years ago. Now that the New Year is here, I wait for about a dozen or so movies to make it to DVD in January and February.


At the end of each year, I compile my watched movie list and narrow it down to my favorite TEN.

My 2009 List  (100 total)
My 2010 List  (120 total)
My 2011 List  (150 total - list on Facebook)

Here is the complete 2012 list in no particular order (110 total) with my TOP 15 in RED/BOLD:


THESE AMAZING SHADOWS
THE LAST TRAIN HOME
CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS
THE CHANGE UP
THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL
THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE
TINKER TAYLOR SOLDIER SPY
50/50
MIDNIGHT IN PARIS
THE ARTIST

UP THE YANGTZE
GIRL WHO SHOOK THE HORNETS NEST
BONNIE & CLYDE
THE DECENDENTS
MELANCHOLIA
THE THIRD MAN
COOL HAND LUKE
CRIMES & MISDEMEANORS
THE SKIN I LIVE IN
ANOTHER EARTH

HUGO
CITY OF LIFE AND DEATH
A DANGEROUS METHOD
ARTHUR CHRISTMAS
TAKE SHELTER
BILL CUNNINGHAM NY
THE IRON LADY
A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE
TOWER HEIST
THE INTERRUPTERS

INLAND EMPIRE
GOON
MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE
THE WHISTLEBLOWER
TERRI
HELL AND BACK AGAIN
ADVENTURES OF TIN TIN
J. EDGAR
LOST HIGHWAY
MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 4

3 MONKEYS
CARNAGE
ATTACK THE BLOCK
THE BEAVER
THE MAN NOBODY KNEW
THE AVENGERS
MY WEEK WITH MARILYN
SHERLOCK HOLMES 2
GARBO THE SPY
HANNA

CERTIFIED COPY
CONTRABAND
CHRONICLE
IN COLD BLOOD
A BETTER TOMORROW
THE ARBOR
URBANIZED
MAN ON A LEDGE
CASABLANCA
INTO THE ABYSS

WARRIOR
MY PERISTROIKA
NOSTALGIA FOR THE LIGHT
THE DICTATOR
LOVE CRIME
JEFF WHO LIVES AT HOME
ELITE SQUAD 2
NEVER LET ME GO
METROPOLIS
PARIAH

THE PIRATE BAND OF MISFITS
NOWHERE IN AFRICA
2012
EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE
A SEPARATION
PROMETHEUS
MIB 3
THE HUNGER GAMES
THE 3 STOOGES
RETREAT

THE CABIN IN THE WOODS
DOGTOOTH
WANDERLUST
MOONRISE KINGDOM
CODE UNKNOWN
COSMOPOLIS
BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL
VERTIGO
THE CAMPAIGN
SPIDERMAN

THE ENGLISH PATIENT
MAGIC MIKE
ON THE WATERFRONT
DARK KNIGHT RISES
FIRST POSITION
PARANORMAN
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU'RE EXPECTING
TED
EXPENDABLES 2
BERNIE

LOOPER
JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI
LINCOLN
BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD
LAWLESS
BAD SANTA
SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED
ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA
ARGO
BOURNE LEGACY