A Much Warmer than Average March?

After an extremely challenging forecast and some “not so pleasant comments” from a few folks (who I suspect blindly follow some of the “expert” month to month forecasts from another website) I will remind them that I am well aware that my snow map was a bust across the metro region, but I’m sure that “the love” can be shared equally for a lot of very talented folks in the meteorology business.

  • For example my Weather Channel app went from “8 to 12” to “3 to 5” to “8 to 12” to “1 to 3” back to “5 to 8” and then back down to “1 to 3” in about a 48 hour period, so if you want to blast my snowfall map… go right on ahead. There’s lot’s of “love” to go around.  I love the Weather Channel, their content, their meteorologists, their winter storm experts… don’t get me wrong… I have watched them ever since I was a child… huge fan of them (always will be). The point is that this storm was definitely trending west in track and exactly  how far west that mid-level nose of warmer air would end up (responsible for the heavy sleet) was extremely hard to pin down.
  • What I am not a fan of is people who predict “A much warmer than average March with not much rain or snow ” on February 27th (March is not typically a month of steady temperatures): https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2017/02/27/we-predict-a-much-warmer-than-normal-march-with-not-much-rain-or-snow/?utm_term=.3f05502364d3

Fast Forward to today:

  • 90% of our blossoms may not bloom and up to a foot of snow just fell in parts of Frederick County Maryland with 4 to 8 inches in Loudoun county and 1 to 3″ in DC.

Why did I predict a high chance that OPM would close?

Metro was going to be running on a Saturday schedule with their busses running on a moderate schedule. The District itself was under a Winter Storm Warning for 4 to 6″ of snow with travel not being recommended.  The fact that the roads were absolutely icy I figured OPM would close Federal Offices.  I think it’s safe to say if everyone had commuted in this morning… we would have had gridlock with numerous accidents.

This storm did have a few surprises in areas that were supposed to remain well above freezing (Evaporation cooling allowed temperatures to fall to their wet-bulb temperature/dew point). Saint Mary’s county Maryland had a nasty glaze of ice this morning that was not anticipated.

Latest Snowfall Reports from the National Weather Service:  

Check out the National Weather Service’s awesome interactive, preliminary, snowfall map:

Why we continue to measure snow at DCA (1.7″ in the map above) is beyond me… If we had measured last nights official snowfall accumulation at the White House lawn or Capitol Hill and continued this practice over the past  decade… I’m more than certain we would see a much higher “average seasonal snowfall” for the District. A runway strip in Arlington county Virginia does not represent our Nation’s Capital. (At least Eleanor Holmes Norton agrees with me there). 

So there you have it, after a low-confidence forecast and some nasty comments from a few people… I hope that those of you with children (who behave better than some adults) enjoyed their snow day today and got out there and did some sledding and built a snow man. 

And for those of you CWG fans… enjoy your “Milder than average” March with “Not Much Rain or Snow”. 

(As the cherry blossoms Freeze to death & parts of the region dig out from 6 to 12 inches of snow and sleet) #EYE ROLL 

9 Replies to “A Much Warmer than Average March?”

  1. Hey Tim, You’re doing a great job just reading the “tea leaves” for us mortals. No way to always get it right with the staggering complexity of the atmosphere (add a little Chaos Theory in there for good measure). Vast majority of us appreciate the hard work and the fortitude to not water it down but tell us like you see it! Hope you keep it up.

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  2. Way to stick it to ’em! I thoroughly enjoyed your write-ups, and the context explaining the difficulty in this forecast.

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  3. Excellent tracking you have some of the best analysis that I have seen over the years. Really enjoyed some of your analysis the past couple of days showing various models and complexity of the storm.

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  4. Thank you again for your constant updates. I know for me (and hopefully others) I come to your website for the great education in meteorology and how models are interpreted for forecasting. It’s real treat to read an educated interpretation of various charts and how the dynamics of the atmosphere churn together to create our weather.

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    1. Thank you kind Sir. You’re welcome… it’s exhausting to keep up (I do work full-time as well) but I try to post when I can. Currently taking meteorology classes at PSU… learning a lot and will be very excited to be certified in Weather Forecasting hopefully in the Spring of 2018.

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  5. Please don’t get too down on yourself, you did the very best you could with the technology available. In a way, we are all slaves to the weather models. Even 72 hours out, there was a very good consensus (except for maybe the NAM, hardly a top of the line model) that there was going to be a general 8-12″” snowstorm for the DC area.

    But by the last 24 hours, it got crazy, with unbelievably tight gradients of snowfall, where every ten mile wiggle of the storm track making a huge difference between boom and bust in any given location. I just don’t know how any professional meteorologist could not look silly or even like a mental case under the circumstances. The models give you a false sense of security about their precision, when there often is no precision.

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  6. Long time follower, first time poster. I really enjoy reading your analysis of the weather. You are honest and always explain what makes you predict what you predict. I am educated by what you write. Thank you for your public service.

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  7. Tim, thanks for gathering all of the models into one place so that we can see for ourselves the sources that all of the weather people are drawing from. Thanks also for trying to synthesize and interpret for us mortals. I appreciate all of your efforts. Weather does as it pleases.

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