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NJwx85

11/15-11/16 Coastal Storm Observation Thread

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This was a perfect "storm" for commuter chaos. A mid-November forecast of an inch then rain right up until game time. Followed by early to mid afternoon inch-an-hour, sticking snows. The city had no chance on this one.

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I take no position with the city and points east; but I said it last night and all I have heard this morning confirms it, Murphy owns this. He closed all non-essential offices at 2:30 p.m. His "Office of Emergency Management" was on the job and monitoring the situation since 7:00 am per the Governor's website. They screwed up, they own it; hopefully they will be more prepared next time. 

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This was one of those storms that years from now we will all remember. This is the storm that many thought would be a slushy inch along the coast and maybe 1-3 or 2-4 inland = we always remember the ones that gave us nightmare commutes and this storm is THE WORST one that I can remember as it caught all of NY and NJ off guard. Every human I know had a hellish commute home, heck my wifes car is still miles from my house as I had to rescue her in a jeep ! So many people blew this forecast and its really not about who was right or wrong but to those of you that poo pooed this storm or dumped on the weenies or were foolish enough to make wagers I hope you swallow your pride and have the stones to just admit that you blew it and maybe we can all learn something from this one and move on to the next one.

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Another factor was how cold it was the night before, 20s area wide. So the ground was cold and the snow stuck right away everywhere, rare for a mid-day snowstorm. Really just a perfect storm to create mayhem. 

And yea, we can never laugh at a southern city again...

Ive also never seen so many cars get stuck in 3-4" of snow (on the roads), most cars should be able to handle that amount just fine.

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1 hour ago, North and West said:

I'm not a pro by any stretch, but doesn't it seem like the NAM has been firing on all cylinders the past few years? Or is it just recency bias?

Maybe a met could chime in, but I agree that the days of laughing at the nam seem to be over..in the last two years it appears to have nailed some pretty significant events.  It seems that the days of having the euro/nam combo be the most reliable are back..has there been an upgrade?  Or is it really just a few lucky wins?  

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I live in your hood, Kaner. 

My best weather tip after 35 years on the UES:  In big storms go onto the reservoir track in the park and situate yourself near the 85th & 5th entrance on the track, right where the track is perpendicular to the wind.  That gives you a long, unblocked trajectory over the reservoir before it slams into the (slightly) elevated running track, and if the trajectory is right the wind can even be funneled a bit by the old pumping station.  I've verified  60mph+ gusts in big blizzards at that spot with a Kestrel.  

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Well, back in Feb. 1969 Mayor Lindsay had every right to blame the meteorologists for not getting the quickness and severity of that blizzard correct early on.    The storm came on a Sunday, and no call had been made for emergency manning of the sanitation fleet, and cancelling of days off etc.

When finally ordered to go to their nearest depot, those employees living in LI, Westchester, NW NJ etc. of course could not get to the City.    That is why uniform services are suppose to live/work in the City.     That rule is not enforced to keep recruitment high, I think.

Queens and SI suffered the most in that one.      The Mayor's home district in Manhattan was plowed, adding to Lindsay's woes.     His re-election was saved that November, when he cleverly appeared as much as possible with the Miracle Mets, on TV, as they celebrating their unexpected victory.      By the way, it took 9 more years to get another doosy storm of 12"+.

https://www.google.com/search?q=lindsay+snowstorm+1969&client=firefox-b-1&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=F-l001OIYe9QXM%3A%2CF28Q5Xc8ruDfVM%2C_&usg=AI4_-kRCY1pJKlhvxCxp4V7LAfTwPxbhig&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiZ1M7Mt9neAhVG7FMKHT1LBJoQ9QEwB3oECAAQCg#imgrc=F-l001OIYe9QXM:

https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/blizzard-political-storm-mayor-lindsay-article-1.816098

 

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Nice pics Kaner587.

Funny as I did well avoiding the chaos and bolted at 2pm from my office down on West 3rd Street for Port Authority to get bus to Old Bridge. Took 2 hours door to door which was good given the conditions on Turnpike and GSP. Normally if I leave at 2pm on good day it takes 1 hour and 25 minutes door to door.

This morning is where I paid the price as waited 55 minutes outside for a bus. Apparently union rules are that if you drive over a certain amount of hours the day before you cannot drive the next day. So very few buses were running on Route 9 thanks to long trips home last night. The few buses that did pass us all were full since there were so few buses. I was about to give up when one stopped and had seats for all of us. Flew in as no traffic.

Talking with the other people waiting and there were lots of 4 and 5 hours commute home to Old Bridge stories. Just insane.

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2 hours ago, NJwx85 said:

I blame TV and Radio meteorologists because they kept insisting that it was going to all changeover to plain rain even as the guidance kept coming in colder and colder. Even if you thought it was going to change to rain, it's been evident for days that it was going to come in hot and heavy for at least a few hours and during the evening rush to further complicate things. 

I said it yesterday and I'll say it again, some recent major busts have made a lot of tv and radio mets gun shy. 

Good post.  NWS and most media forecasters blew this one badly for a day or two before the storm (except for DT/WxRisk who had Philly to NYC in 2-4" and 4-7" NW of there) and then played catch-up badly, not even issuing Advisories for NYC/LI/Hudson until 12:45 pm, when it was obvious hours before that that the storm was overperforming from DC to Philly!  Ont top of that, State, County, and Local governments blew this badly too in PA, NJ, and NY by not putting crews out until way too late (especially NW of 95 in NJ/PA and north of NYC, where a few inches or more were expected even Wednesday).  Bad combo.  

So, in light of the massive bust from the NWS (and I love those guys, but a bust is a bust) and every major media source I saw, especially for the 95 corridor, I go back to a post I had made earlier about why the huge difference between the 3 km NAM using 10:1 ratios (6-10" for 95) and the same model using the Ferrier algorithm (1-3" for 95) I wonder if that's what the NWS was looking at or maybe the lonely GFS showing 1-2" for 95 and I say to myself, ok, I guess they missed badly on all 3 factors that might've made them underpredict the snowfall vs. what the Euro, NAM, and GFS-FV3 were showing for days (of about 4-8" for the 95 corridor):

  • Very low snow ratios of 4-5:1 (nope, they looked like 10:1 to me),
  • Much of the frozen precip falling as sleet (nope, it was mostly snow)
  • Significant melting of the early part of the snowfall (nope, it accumulated from the get-go - I know I got that one right)

Would love to know what went on in those meetings at the NWS, where they clearly saw the Euro consistently churning out 4-8" snowfalls (at 10:1 ratios) for Philly to NYC along/near I-95 - the Euro was consistent on that for the last 3 days. Furthemore, they saw the NAM over the previous 24-36 hours before the storm consistently showing significant snowfalls for the 95 corridor (except for the Ferrier algorithm for the 3 km NAM, which obviously needs some tweaking, lol). The new GFS (FV3) was also quite snowy for the 95 corridor. 

The Euro is the best global model, as everyone knows, and the NAM has performed quite well in very energetic coastal storms over the past several years. If I recall correctly, only the GFS (the old one) was consistently showing only an inch or two of snow for the 95 corridor and we know that's not the best model (apart from Jan-15 - totally different setup, though).

Did everyone really follow the GFS or was it simply a case of massive groupthink around climo, assuming it just couldn't snow that much in mid-Nov (despite recent history to the contrary on 10/29/11)? I'd just love to know. Wonder if the NWS will do an "after action review" to look at what happened. Thoughts? Maybe this should be a separate thread...

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1 hour ago, nzucker said:

Guys, NYC had never had a 6" snowfall this early since records began in 1869. How easy is it to forecast an event that hasn't occurred in 150 years of observation?

Granted, the NWS probably did hug the GFS thermal profiles too much, as opposed to favoring the colder NAM/ECM guidance. And we certainly know the GFS tends to be too warm in CAD situations with +PP to the North. Low dewpoints and a more northerly flow than expected were also factors. 

But I don't think anyone should be blamed too much for this one. Early season storms are notoriously hard to prepare for, as we saw with 11/8/12 and 10/29/11: the combination of leaves on trees and roads, the public forgetting how to drive in winter conditions, and a reluctance to forecast aggressively near the coast all play a role. The amount of trees down is almost certainly due to the foliage, and that was a major factor in snarling roads. Timing was also the worst possible with a normal morning that encouraged people to come to work and then a brutal evening rush in heavy snow.

Let's stop the blame game: Mother Nature simply showed us that she's still boss, even in our highly connected, digitized age.

 

 

agree.  easy to blame wherever it is you are effected but it was a mess everywhere, not just nyc, not just nj but everywhere.  All officials, state and local and school districts too.  It was just a confluence of factors all coming together to make a really bad situation.  I'm pretty on top of the weather forecasts and was totally blindsided by what happened.  I was thinking at worst this would be a nuisance type of event.  left my office in the bronx at 4 and it was total gridlock.  there were trucks and buses stuck evereywhere.  the plows and tow trucks couldnt get through just like everyone else.

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38 minutes ago, Euripides said:

Nice pics Kaner587.

Funny as I did well avoiding the chaos and bolted at 2pm from my office down on West 3rd Street for Port Authority to get bus to Old Bridge. Took 2 hours door to door which was good given the conditions on Turnpike and GSP. Normally if I leave at 2pm on good day it takes 1 hour and 25 minutes door to door.

This morning is where I paid the price as waited 55 minutes outside for a bus. Apparently union rules are that if you drive over a certain amount of hours the day before you cannot drive the next day. So very few buses were running on Route 9 thanks to long trips home last night. The few buses that did pass us all were full since there were so few buses. I was about to give up when one stopped and had seats for all of us. Flew in as no traffic.

Talking with the other people waiting and there were lots of 4 and 5 hours commute home to Old Bridge stories. Just insane.

fwiw-I dont think those are union rules but actually federal regulations.

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1 hour ago, ForestHillWx said:

I take no position with the city and points east; but I said it last night and all I have heard this morning confirms it, Murphy owns this. He closed all non-essential offices at 2:30 p.m. His "Office of Emergency Management" was on the job and monitoring the situation since 7:00 am per the Governor's website. They screwed up, they own it; hopefully they will be more prepared next time. 

but doesnt the fact that NYC and points east had the same exact problems as NJ indicate that these problems had little to do with the governor?

seems to me, this like blaming the manager of a baseball team when the bullpen blows a 5 run lead in the 9th.

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2 hours ago, nzucker said:

Guys, NYC had never had a 6" snowfall this early since records began in 1869. How easy is it to forecast an event that hasn't occurred in 150 years of observation?

Granted, the NWS probably did hug the GFS thermal profiles too much, as opposed to favoring the colder NAM/ECM guidance. And we certainly know the GFS tends to be too warm in CAD situations with +PP to the North. Low dewpoints and a more northerly flow than expected were also factors. 

But I don't think anyone should be blamed too much for this one. Early season storms are notoriously hard to prepare for, as we saw with 11/8/12 and 10/29/11: the combination of leaves on trees and roads, the public forgetting how to drive in winter conditions, and a reluctance to forecast aggressively near the coast all play a role. The amount of trees down is almost certainly due to the foliage, and that was a major factor in snarling roads. Timing was also the worst possible with a normal morning that encouraged people to come to work and then a brutal evening rush in heavy snow.

Let's stop the blame game: Mother Nature simply showed us that she's still boss, even in our highly connected, digitized age.

 

 

You can't use that excuse when the city had a similar storm ten days earlier than this one only six years ago on November 6th 2012.

Central Park measured 4.7 from that storm, likely an under measurement, but many parts of the city measured 8 inches.  Memories can't be that short.

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I think I know a little about the weather but never thought the city would get 2" let alone 6" of snow...I was thinking a slushy inch before the rain came...

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23 minutes ago, Hitman said:

fwiw-I dont think those are union rules but actually federal regulations.

You are correct

My brother in law corrected me about that later this morning and I still wrote union rules.....sigh

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You can't use that excuse when the city had a similar storm ten days earlier than this one only six years ago on November 6th 2012.
Central Park measured 4.7 from that storm, likely an under measurement, but many parts of the city measured 8 inches.  Memories can't be that short.

Memories are that short because the only people remembering past snow events are us weather enthusiasts.


.
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3 minutes ago, Superstorm said:


Memories are that short because the only people remembering past snow events are us weather enthusiasts.


.

Correctomundo 

 

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2 hours ago, psv88 said:

Another factor was how cold it was the night before, 20s area wide. So the ground was cold and the snow stuck right away everywhere, rare for a mid-day snowstorm. Really just a perfect storm to create mayhem. 

And yea, we can never laugh at a southern city again...

I've also never seen so many cars get stuck in 3-4" of snow (on the roads), most cars should be able to handle that amount just fine.

It's not the cars that can't handle it it's the tires they come with and the tires that people buy to replace those with. I have a few neighbors with Subarus and assorted other AWD cars and they struggled with the conditions yesterday. They fought through it last year too and just can't seem to understand why. I get around just fine in my BRZ with rear wheel drive and ~4 1/2" of clearance and nobody can figure out how I do it. Tires people, tires. The LRR pieces of crap that come on your cars get you decent mpg's but suck when it's cold and slippery, the car companies have to spec them to bring their fleet averages up that extra 1-2mpg but you don't have to stick with them. Then you have all of these people that go with UHP's or Max Performance tires because some dude on the internet told them that's the best for the car but they never seem to think that the recommendation is coming from someone in Texas. The whole thing gets me so frustrated...grrrr.

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4 hours ago, psv88 said:

When the forecast calls for literally all rain out here, the officials are supposed to have plows on the road? They actually did a great job, as at 2 pm all the way out in suffolk they were salting and sanding. 2" an hour rates at the height of rush hour were the problem. '

Again, a forecast calling for all rain, supposed to have an army of plows on the road. Come on.

We were forecasted for accumulating snow here, 3-5". Roads were barely treated, and the plows were not even out. NJ-23 was a disaster and it's most definitely not a local road, not one plow was seen yesterday while I was driving. Some blame should definitely go towards officials. 

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2 hours ago, Hitman said:

but doesnt the fact that NYC and points east had the same exact problems as NJ indicate that these problems had little to do with the governor?

seems to me, this like blaming the manager of a baseball team when the bullpen blows a 5 run lead in the 9th.

IMHO, it has everything to do with the obvious bloat of government and the lack of clear directives, but I digress and leave that conversation for a different forum. Cheers!

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1 hour ago, rgwp96 said:

E1B1F382-5B6B-4374-9A10-0380133B49AD.jpeg

Nice critter!  It's deer season up here and I've not seen anything yet - will look again tomorrow on the fresh powder, probably 4-5" atop the 5 from Tuesday's storm.

Yesterday morning when I heard that the SNJ branch of the family had snow, I checked there (forecast 1-3 rather than the earlier call for just a coating) then looked at your area (actually, my old area uphill from you) and saw a warned storm with 4-7" expected.  That was low by about 1/3, as reports for Morris Cty ranged mostly 6-10 with one 11" lolli from Randolph.  However, anyone seeing that forecast and believing it would've known that the homeward commute would be a disaster.  Heavy snow on heavy traffic is a mess that all the plows in the world might not fix (or prevent.)

On another topic, the Lindsay Storm.  Our troop (I was asst scoutmaster) was camping at Allamuchy that weekend, and woke up to heavy snow, 2" and counting, with wind.  Interesting 30-mile drive home, though the '62 Beetle had no problems, even in the unplowed 8" by the time we got there.  NYC had been progged for a cold (low-mid 30s) rain, and nearly all of the snow fell with temps 32-33.  A 2° "error" (quotes because catching that small a temp change is tough even now, almost 50 years later) made all the difference.

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Our country is way too polarized but this storm shouldn't be political and this is not the place to talk politics. I don't see many objective posts in here.  

There's too much partisan bs nowadays and I had to hide a number of dumb posts.   

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