Update on Weekend Forecast

Sunday’s system is just not coming together with most of the forecast models bringing some light snow flurries or scattered snow showers. The weekend will be cold enough for snow, but the problem lies in that the coastal system that does form will occur well out to sea as the upper level pattern is not conducive for phasing of the northern and southern branches of the jet stream. However before we snow lovers pull our hair out and wring our fists in the air, some patience may pay off during the middle portion of February as the upper level pattern may actually become favorable for east coast Nor’easters.

Here’s the latest European and GFS models for Super Bowl Sunday:

European Model (ECMWF):

  • Coastal storm tries to form southeast of the North Carolina outer banks but the upper level trough swinging through is not phasing with the system meaning as of now confidence is medium that we will have some light flurries or snow showers around on Sunday as any coastal storm that forms will likely slip well out to sea.

ecmwf_slp_precip_ma_20

European Snowfall Forecast for Sunday:  

  • As of this morning, the odds of anything more than a scattered dusting is pretty low.

eps_snow_m_ma_21

GFS Ensembles agree:

  • Unless “e18” (ensemble 18) becomes the majority in the image below, the best we will be able to do is some scattered flurries or snow showers.

gefs_ptype_ens_ma_21

GFS Ensembles for Snowfall on through Sunday (images courtesy WxBell):

gefs_snow_ens_washdc_21

The upper level pattern that creates east coast storms is currently trending in the right direction for mid-February:

  • The progressive Pacific jet stream has been killing our prospects for snow all winter with a positive NAO.  Both the latest European and GFS are currently predicting a significant drop in the NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation) index as we head toward February 9th through the 15th… and possibly right into President’s Day Weekend (hint hint: “the weekend of historic snow storms around our area”)

 

  • In the two graphs below the black squares show the latest ensemble control run (these update every few hours) and the green squares represent the mean or average of the ensembles.  The blue lines represent the variation among each individual ensemble or uncertainty (some showing a positive NAO and others showing a negative NAO.  Bottom line, focus on the mean (green squares) which currently are trending negative.

 

  • This is the first time this Winter that I have seen the NAO index forecast to take a dip (which means that we may see a blocking high pressure system finally take root which tends to allow the westerlies (jet stream) to amplify or deepen and this favors slow moving east coast storms. 

eps_nao_12 gefs_nao_18

Here is a message of hope to those of you who want snow:

I will end this post by saying that we had an endless Summer that turned into an endless Fall.  My gut suspicion is that this year may feature a winter that felt like it never really got going until the second half (February and March) and if you’re a trend follower… we therefore might expect a winter that decides it wants to make up for lost time when the snow-haters are ready for cherry blossoms and warmer weather.  

We shall see. I am very impatient when it comes to snow but I won’t give up hope for at least one good snowfall until the “ides of March” have passed. Happy February 1st! Welcome to our snowiest month “on average”. It will be interesting to watch the pattern unfold over the next 8 to 10 weeks.  In March of 1993 “the storm of the century” dropped 16″ in Atlanta Georgia, 6″ in Pensacola, Florida and crippled the entire 95 corridor with feet of snow.  Winter isn’t over until it’s over!  

 

One thought on “Update on Weekend Forecast

  1. Brendan

    Totally agree with everything you said. With the way this year has gone winter may not end until mid April or later! I’d like a little snow but with the way this winter has gone (and I say this as a snow lover), we may not see any. It’s disappointing!

    Like

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