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BuffaloWeather

Upstate/Eastern New York

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NYSEG shows about 10000 customers without power in Cheektowaga, Depew, Lancaster, and West Seneca. National Grid has negligible outages so far.

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National Grid showing a couple thousand outages south of the city (Lackawanna, West Seneca). No precip at all up here, and no power issues from our ZR/pinger mix earlier. Our little baby is hooked up to her O2 concentrator and monitor and sleeping soundly (of course I’m up worrying).

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NOW we've got full blown freezing rain!  Quite a bit of buildup already will be interesting to see how long that sub freezing layer can hold on with the sun coming up.  If that shot last night came in freezing rain instead of sleet this would have lived up to the expectation.  

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Well, that’s about that. Temp is flirting with 32 here. This thing underperformed big time. I’m guessing we got .05”-.1” of glaze. Winds were mostly non existent overnight. 

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4 minutes ago, DeltaT13 said:

Well, that’s about that. Temp is flirting with 32 here. This thing underperformed big time. I’m guessing we got .05”-.1” of glaze. Winds were mostly non existent overnight. 

Temps may flirt with 32 for many hours. 

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1 minute ago, vortmax said:

Temps may flirt with 32 for many hours. 

This is where sun angle finally comes into play though.  

In the words of Yoda, Marginal temps and April sun does not an ice storm make. 

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Just now, DeltaT13 said:

This is where sun angle finally comes into play though.  

In the words of Yoda, Marginal temps and April sun does not an ice storm make. 

Agreed. Only a couple hrs before that sun angle kills accretion. 

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If it wasn’t for that sleet that mixed in most of last night we probably would have had 1/2” of ice. About .2-.25” of ice accretion here with about 1/2”-1” of sleet. Still freezing rain at 31 and steadily coming down. It’s still accreting here too because I just went out and there’s definitely more ice than there was an hour ago...

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Just inched back up to 33 here after an overnight low of 32.  I’ve got a light glaze of ice on my deck but otherwise impacts are minimal. 

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Anyone know of papers discussing the overmodeling of qpf in zr events?  I believe it's a thing and I've heard it discussed around here before.  It definitely has manifested itself in this event so far in upstate NY and Ontario.  

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We've got about 1/4 inch of accretion. Still a steady light rain and 31. Last two hours really iced things up. Trees making that classic crunch sound when wind blows. 

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17 minutes ago, vortmax said:

We've got about 1/4 inch of accretion. Still a steady light rain and 31. Last two hours really iced things up. Trees making that classic crunch sound when wind blows. 

Exactly how it is here now too. More ice in last couple hours than all night long. Temp is up to 32 though so just in time before we start having more widespread problems, the melting should begin. 

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Well, it sounds like the mets who underplayed this were right, but for the wrong reason. Rather than the issue being April climatology juju, the mitigating factor was the much more mundane reason why it’s so hard to get ice storms at any time: because the cold air was deeper than progged.

It would be nice if our poster who acts as a hype man for verbatim model output when it suits him would stick around for a little analysis of lessons learned, but that never happens.

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13 minutes ago, WNash said:

Well, it sounds like the mets who underplayed this were right, but for the wrong reason. Rather than the issue being April climatology juju, the mitigating factor was the much more mundane reason why it’s so hard to get ice storms at any time: because the cold air was deeper than progged.

It would be nice if our poster who acts as a hype man for verbatim model output when it suits him would stick around for a little analysis of lessons learned, but that never happens.

I'm thinking the main reason this wasn't a major event was because the precipitation wasn't there. Didn't rain all night when the greatest accretion would've occurred. If the slug of moisture that just passed by would've been here 4+ hours earlier, things would've been more serious. Especially since the winds were higher as well. All the elements just didn't align. 

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4 minutes ago, vortmax said:

I'm thinking the main reason this wasn't a major event was because the precipitation wasn't there. Didn't rain all night when the greatest accretion would've occurred. If the slug of moisture that just passed by would've been here 4+ hours earlier, things would've been more serious. Especially since the winds were higher as well. All the elements just didn't align. 

Yeah you’re right on the second half of the event. The first half (until midnight or so) had decent precip at times but a ton of sleet contamination. Either way, typical forecast quandaries, not seasonal factors. I can’t blame the mets too much for playing this up because the consequences of a severe ice storm are so dramatic, and at least one (Santos at WIVB) was putting out a range of possibilities with percentages. But the hyping here was at times at a weenie proportion. ICWs are rare and it is an amazing if scary phenomenon, but hyping model output as the nowcast is clearly going in the other direction was silly.

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Here in Rochester this storm only busted because of straight lack of precip. I can’t imagine we got more than .2” total precip in a 18 hour period where up to 1.2 inches was forecasted.  

My reason for thinking this storm would bust, was temps. I assumed we just wouldn’t get good efficient accretion, but surface temps were quite cold and rain froze to black pavement and soil alike.  Impressive stuff for April 15th. 

If we even would have had a light drizzle all night things would have been drastically different. We just had no precip to work with. I’m still thinking that deep convective line in the south intercepted our plume in ways the model missed. 

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16 minutes ago, BuffaloWeather said:

.7” of sleet and .15” of freezing rain at kbuf. I’d say the depth of cold air caused the majority of precip to fall as sleet instead of freezing rain which resulted in less issues. 

QPF was over modeled there too. 

 

 

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43 minutes ago, OSUmetstud said:

QPF was over modeled there too. 

 

 

How much precip did S. Ontario get? Seems the models had it too far east. 

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1 hour ago, DeltaT13 said:

We had almost zero sleet in kroc, perfect temps for freezing rain. We just didn’t have the rain. 

It's interesting because here, the entire first part of the event was sleet. Through at least 1 am. They just plowed the remnants off the street. When the second batch arrived (4-6 am or whenever, I was asleep for the most part) it was zr. I haven't gone out to measure but it looks like about 1/4" of glaze on the trees. Temp is at 31.9 and I think there is still some minor buildup occurring.

As you noted elsewhere, lack of cold wasn't the reason this didn't turn out worse. If anything the cold was deeper and more intense than forecasted (though I think the NAM had a good handle on it) so for many of us, about 1/2 of the precip was frozen rather than freezing. What saved us was the underperformance of the precipitation that was forecast. That definitely deserves some study.

I still think this was the kind of situation where it was OK for the forecasters to err on the side of caution and over-warn a bit. The NWS did eventually catch on but I think they should have done a better job alerting people to the potential at least a day or two earlier.  In the end, though - just about the best possible outcome considering what might have been.

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