Friday, February 28, 2014

March Temperatures after COLD WINTER

Since January 1st, our average temperature (highs AND lows) is now ranked 7TH COLDEST over the last 100 years! Normal I would include December. However, since most of our winter occurs after the first of the year, I felt this was a better representation of the winter as a whole.

Lake Erie ice cover is still around 95% after a 10% loss last weekend which we regained this week. Notice that their are a handful of years in the past with at least 90% ice cover this late in the season.

By early March, the ice cover historically begins to melt. 6 years still had at least 905 ice cover. 1977, 1979, 1982, 2003, 2007 & 2008.

The big question: what were the March temperatures like in the winters that were COLDER (see list above) than this year?

I created a table that shows all of the high temperatures for March for EACH year in the list above. The years are: 1918, 1920, 1936, 1963, 1977, 1978, 1979 and 1982. I circled the days at or BELOW FREEZING in BLUE and the days ABOVE 60 in RED to show the frequency of the extremes. You can see that its not all that uncommon to have a few days in the 20s and 30s early in March after bitterly cold winters. Yet when the pattern shows spring tendencies (days in the 60s or better), those warmer days typically occur in bunches.

Fear not. There is probably one or two more bursts of winter cold left during the first half of March before our chances of seeing a 60 degree day become increasingly better!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Tricky Forecast: Flooding Update, Heavy Rain, Storms

Forecast is very tricky with lots of small details over the next 18 hours.  Temperatures remain in the mid 30s with rain/sleet and reports of freezing rain as of 11AM.. Rain is moving northeast.

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Breaks in the rain during the afternoon as temperatures start to climb into the 40s. Winds will increase especially into the evening. The highest temperatures will not occur until after sundown where lower 50s are definitely possible.

The main line of rain and storms moves through mid to late evening. Winds could gust to 40-50 mph with a slight chance for strong storms.

Rainfall will be close to 1/2" or more in spots over the next 24 hours!
Snow water content is greater than 3 inches in many areas.

River levels will start to climb fast overnight tonight and early Friday. Here are the early Thursday morning river level forecasts. ALL will be well above flood stage by midday Friday!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Flooding Potential Increasing for Northern Ohio

Fresh 3-8 inches of snow Tuesday the 18th have increased the overall snow cover to well over 15 inches across a good portion of northern Ohio

Later in February and early march, the influence of the sub-tropical jet stream driving short bursts of "warmth" becomes stronger. The Polar jet which drives the winter pattern often bounces back and forth as the southern branch shows flashes of dominance. Both jet streams can blend together as troughs become deeper in the middle of the continent.  Waves travel along the jet stream which develop into deep circulations at the surface and aloft inside the large scale trough. These waves can deepen rapidly causing rapidly rising temperatures and heavy rainfall.

Four components are coming together for a potential big flooding event because of this active jet stream:

1) Rising temperatures: Temperatures will make a run at 50
2) Heavy snow cover: Only 7 other winters since the late 1930s have had at least 13" of snow cover this late in the winter: 2008 (15"), 2007 (17"), 1993 (21"), 1987 (13"), 1984 (13"), 1960 (13") and 1954 (13")
3) Strong winds
4) Steady rainfall of at least 1/2" over 13" of snow cover

Snow water equivalent is greater than 3" in many locations:


How often has all FOUR of these components come together this late in the winter?


River levels will need to be monitored Friday and Saturday especially the Huron, Chagrin, Black and Grand Rivers. All should be well above flood stage Friday.

River Flooding Level website here for updated information 

Milan could see the worst flooding according to Wednesday morning river forecasts:

Monday, February 17, 2014

Winter 2013-14 In Some Pretty Exclusive Company

It's the winter that won't end.

Continuous cold, frequent snows, perpetual snow cover and extremely cold nights have, at the very least, made our dispositions a little testy. We are all short fused. Lake Erie has frozen over with ice cover at levels not seen since the late 1970s for the 3rd week of February. We're infected with cabin fever with only small glimmers of spring-like temperatures on the 8day forecast.

We all--most of us--want this to end NOW!

How exclusive a winter has this been through February 17th?  First, we need to categorize the winter elements and see where this winter ranks. I use these four as an overall measure of winter's severity: TOTAL SNOWFALL, DAYS WITH SNOW ON THE GROUND, AVERAGE TEMPERATURE & NIGHTS BELOW 10 DEGREES

1. Total Snowfall for 2013-14 now ranks 10th

2. Days with Snow Cover at or more than 1 inch ranks 7th

3. Overall Average Temperature since December 1st ranks 29th

4. Number of night below 10 degrees ranks 16th

The winter is ranked ery high in some categories and not so high in others. So I looked for the winters that are ranked HIGHER than this winter in EACH of these FOUR categories. What did I find? 

ONLY FOUR WINTERS ranked higher in 3 categories...

1917-18, 1976-77, 1962-63 & 1969-70


The winter of 1977-78!

When did we see our first string of "milder" temperatures
(5 days at or about 50 degrees) in these years?  Was spring warmer or colder than normal? That answer later this week...

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Thursday Morning East Coast Snow Update

Heavy snow continues to fall from Washington, DC to Boston

Updated Flight cancellations HERE

Snowfall amounts by early Friday morning will be extremely heavy.

Pennsylvania Avenue traffic cam. Click on the image for the most recent image.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Update on Southern Ice Storm; East Coast Snow

This is just beginning...Current southeast radar image. LOOP HERE

All National Weather Service offices have special statements and graphics regarding the ice accumulation and heavy snow from Atlanta to Boston. NWS amounts below:


Snowfall for the Carolinas

Snowfall for Baltimore/Washington, DC

Snowfall for New Jersey/Philadelphia:

Snowfall for New York City Metro Area

Snowfall for New England

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Historic Ice Storm For Deep South, Heavy Snow for East Coast

Southern storm tracks are becoming more common over the last several weeks. This means gulf moisture interacts with very active storms which develop over Texas and trek east dragging cold air into areas that are not accustomed to seeing ice and snow accumulations like what will soon fall over the next 48 hours.

Current southeast radar image. LOOP HERE

The NWS in Atlanta issued this statement and graphic on the ice storm:

Snowfall totals will be significant across the Carolinas and Mid Atlantic through early Thursday.

Same goes for the northeast through Friday early afternoon.

NWS Boston statement and snowfall graphic:

Thursday, February 06, 2014

This Week's Snow Totals vs Various Model Outputs

How many people continue to believe Facebook and Twitter posts showing model output images of snow storm amounts more than 5 days before it happens? Too many. 

Last week, I wrote why this a BIG mistake. Computer model outputs are to be used as guidance NOT Gospel.  The general public see these posts and treat these maps as actual forecasts by Meteorologists.  They spread like wildfire on social networks causing hype and in some cases paranoia! I lost track how many times I was asked directly "When is this huge snow storm coming? 20 inches in one day?" It wasn't IF the snow was coming but WHEN.

I saved several different model depictions of this "potential snow storm 6 and 7 days BEFOREHAND. Notice how dramatically the snow amounts changed from one day to another.

Even the short term, higher resolution model within 24 hours of the event showed HUGE variation.

The FINAL totals...

Once again, trust the HUMAN not the COMPUTER OUTPUT!

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Tuesday Morning: Heavy Snow UPDATE

Widespread snow event is still on track.

Snow spreading into Missouri as of early Tuesday morning.


Scattered light snow later this afternoon won't affect the evening commute much. The bulk of the snow arrives this evening.
The storm looks to take a more southerly track which would keep temperatures below freezing limiting the transition to sleet and keeping the precipitation mainly snow.

 Ohio temperatures stay below freezing all night.

Updated snowfall forecast is as follows: Most areas will receive between 6 and 10 inches of snow by noon Wednesday.