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stormtracker

The March Long Range Discussion Thread, Winter's Last Stand

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3 hours ago, showmethesnow said:

IR (infrared rays) has very little to no direct impact on the snowflakes rate of melting as it travels to the ground. In other words it isn't like the IR is internally nuking the snow flakes causing them to melt. To understand how much IR is being absorbed by an object all you need to do is look at the color of an object. White, such as a snowflake, basically means most of the IR is not being absorbed and is instead being reflected back and/or scattered. So there is very, very little warming of the snowflake itself even with an increase of the IR. Dark objects on the other hand are indicative of objects that are absorbing IR and the darker the more that is being absorbed. If you have run barefoot across blacktop to get to that patch of cool grass shows this concept well. 

But indirectly the increase in IR does have an impact on the environment surrounding the snowflake as it introduces more potential energy/heat into the equation. And the environment itself is what determines how the snowflake forms (ratios) and the rate of meltage as it travels to the ground. So take an equivalent storm in January but double? the IR seen in March and it will have an impact on the temp profile of the column (warmer) especially at cloud level where the snow is being formed and directly off the surface. This is because the condensed water vapor in the clouds will absorb some of the IR as well as the surface that has an high absorption rate. The atmosphere between the cloud deck and the surface on the other hand will see minimal warming directly from IR and will instead be influenced by the warming seen above and below as air parcels move upwards and downwards through this region (mixing). Now this brings up another aspect of what we see with the IR as it streams through the atmosphere. The thicker and deeper the cloud deck the less IR is allowed to reach the surface. This means we see greater warming upstairs then we see downstairs. Conversely less clouds and the greater warming is seen on the surface. 

Now barring a very marginal lead in of temps in the upper levels (850-700 mb), where increased heating from IR of a couple/few degrees can tip the balance, we typically want to see the greater warming occurring upstairs vs. downstairs. This is because the lower level temps warm much quicker to the seasonal changes then the upper which lag a good deal behind. So the limiting factor on these late season storms is most often the lower levels just off the surface where temps will more then likely be very marginal to begin with without adding even more heat to it from IR vs. the upper where temps will typically be much colder with a greater margin to support warming. So it is not unusual to see high ratio (12-1, 15-1, etc...) snow formed in the upper levels only to see low ratios (6-1, 7-1, or even worse a snow/rain mix or even just rain) for ground truth as the snow falls through the much warmer lower levels and melts.

Now minus an anomalously cold air mass what we need to see for our snow chances late in the season is a rapidly deepening low in our general local which not only limits the amount of surface IR warming due to thicker cloud cover but also helps to mix out any warm layers through its greater dynamics. Now I know some will point out that the 850's sometimes will not support snow on some of these model depictions of storms hence this is the limiting factor on our snow chances. But most often times that is not the case and the limiting factor will end up being the lower levels just off the surface after all. As I mentioned before the lower levels warm quicker then the upper during the seasonal changes thus quite often the 850s will be marginal on any lead in to a storm. But this late in the season where you really need to be looking is directly above that level at either a sounding or the 700 mb map. Quite often you will see the temps are much colder at these levels as they still haven't responded to the seasonal change. So what we see with a deepening storm is temps will rapidly lower in the upper levels (supporting snow) and progress downward through the lower levels as mixing of the atmosphere occurs. So the lower levels just off the surface are indeed the limiting factor in most cases as they take the longest to cool down and the less IR heating thrown into the equation the better as we see less melting of the snow as it travels downward and much less melting occur directly on the surface which can be greatly affected by IR warming.

Best case scenario for any late season storm is to see the 500's close off and go for the capture of any developing storm just to our east. Typically when we see this the other levels of the atmosphere (925, 850, 700 mb) respond as well where we see either a trough/closed low within these levels as well in what is called a stacking low. What this brings is much colder temps in the upper levels (850-500 mbs) as well a much better ability to mix those temps downwards and quicker as the low bombs. We also typically see high ratio snows formed in these bombing storms as we see very good lift through the snow making regions. These ratios can be substantially reduced though as the snow travels through the lower/ warmer levels. Now a bombing storm can be seen if you look at yesterdays EPS control run. And though I don't have access to the different atmospheric levels I would still put good money on this scenario playing out just by looking at how the surface responds. Now the snow maps of the control run were impressive but consider this. On the northern portion, where the best CBB banding occurs we are probably talking 12-1 ratios (ground truth) at the very least as the surface temps would have very little impact. Sadly it is more then likely just a fantasy run otherwise we would be talking an HEC through the mid-Atlantic into the NE.

good stuff.  it makes sense (well, as much as it can to someone who only took 3 semesters of college physics lol).  i agree that the 500 chart plays a huge role here, at least from experience.  i feel like this year we've been lacking with good tracks...for the most part.  just not enough cold in general, which makes it even more complicated in march.

long story short, it seems like sun angle would affect the overall environment, but if it's cold it's cold...as psu said before, if it's cloudy there won't be as much of an effect anyway.  the problem is that it's just flat out warmer in march (sun angle)...therefore, generally less chances.

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59 minutes ago, 87storms said:

a hecs in march sounds good on paper, but i really have no interest in seeing mounds of snow through april nor do i have any interest in basketball courts and bike trails being covered/muddy in spring.  that's for the birds.

i'll take a moderate event though.

You're not one of us :O

Show yourself the door. :hug:

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3 minutes ago, losetoa6 said:

Interesting Gfs run at 192....gulf energy trying to phase in with some upper midwest energy ...most likely too late but h5 isnt terribly far off from something. 

Closer this time with GFS, stay tuned

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4 minutes ago, losetoa6 said:

Interesting Gfs run at 192....gulf energy trying to phase in with some upper midwest energy ...most likely too late but h5 isnt terribly far off from something. 

Looks like all models at 12z have a major storm off the coast. Just too far east for now.

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Just now, Chris78 said:

Looks like all models at 12z have a major storm off the coast. Just too far east for now.

Right where we want it.  Page 37 paragraph 3 WHB

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54 minutes ago, Kmlwx said:

You're not one of us :O

Show yourself the door. :hug:

lol.  the day of is awesome, but the whole "sticking around for weeks after" situation is...meh...kinda passable in march.

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21 minutes ago, Chris78 said:

Looks like all models at 12z have a major storm off the coast. Just too far east for now.

really need that ns sw to dig further south and west than what is shown, otherwise it looks like a late phaser.

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2 hours ago, psuhoffman said:

Thanks, excellent stuff... Question.  Are they working on a way to turn the MVP into a predictive tool?  

Reanalysis is a part of the program so, yes.  Next steps are to:  "determine why some MJO events produce a response over North America while others do not. Preliminary results suggest that the convective anomaly near Hawaii might play an important role. This convection may be associated with anti-cyclonic wave breaking from the extratropics. Therefore, further research is required to determine whether the convection is driving the circulation or vice versa".  So, still in the research domain but, there is very little meteorological research being done just for the sake of research anymore.  The vast majority of it is focused on expressly enhancing predictive capabilities and mitigating impacts.  

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6 hours ago, showmethesnow said:

IR (infrared rays) has very little to no direct impact on the snowflakes rate of melting as it travels to the ground.

most often times that is not the case and the limiting factor will end up being the lower levels just off the surface after all.

Great writeup. This graphic supports your contention that it's really not the sun angle melting the snow while it is forming or ground temps preventing accumulation as much as increased warmth in the lower levels that reduces our snow chances in March. Note how much snow falls in March in areas at the same or even LOWER latitude than we are. The difference is elevation, which tends to offset the lower level warmth issues. 

image.thumb.png.040f15004f96bde9547f3c5db5711aa6.png

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Looks like good model agreement on big storm in Atlantic north of the Bahamas. Gonna book a cruise out of Baltimore and sail thru it, I’ll have reports for you guys 

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22 minutes ago, MountainGeek said:

Great writeup. This graphic supports your contention that it's really not the sun angle melting the snow while it is forming or ground temps preventing accumulation as much as increased warmth in the lower levels that reduces our snow chances in March. Note how much snow falls in March in areas at the same or even LOWER latitude than we are. The difference is elevation, which tends to offset the lower level warmth issues. 

image.thumb.png.040f15004f96bde9547f3c5db5711aa6.png

When I see maps like this, I'm reminded how special snowfall is. You realize cities like Chicago and NYC are basically at the same latitude as southern Italy and notice the climate differences. Even places further north in Europe get less snow. Climate is amazing.

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Though the GFS doesn't get it done this go round it is much closer to a winning solution then many of you probably realize and it generally shows us how we could possibly score without a -NAO. What we see is a low moving through the 50/50 region with a high following on its coat tails. What this is doing is backing the flow and raising heights in front of the trough dropping down into the Midwest. This in turn will tend to promote a deeper drop of the trough as well as giving us a closer to neutral tilt where the trough will not be as progressive. The biggest issue with this setup (lacking a -NAO) is that we are dealing with a much smaller window to time this then otherwise would be afforded with an -NAO locking the 50/50 in for a longer period of time. Seen enough runs with this general setup the last couple of days to believe it is a viable solution here. 

 

gfs500s.thumb.gif.6ea7013e587f3174ffaf13c323ab8d17.gif

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20 minutes ago, showmethesnow said:

Though the GFS doesn't get it done this go round it is much closer to a winning solution then many of you probably realize and it generally shows us how we could possibly score without a -NAO. What we see is a low moving through the 50/50 region with a high following on its coat tails. What this is doing is backing the flow and raising heights in front of the trough dropping down into the Midwest. This in turn will tend to promote a deeper drop of the trough as well as giving us a closer to neutral tilt where the trough will not be as progressive. The biggest issue with this setup (lacking a -NAO) is that we are dealing with a much smaller window to time this then otherwise would be afforded with an -NAO locking the 50/50 in for a longer period of time. Seen enough runs with this general setup the last couple of days to believe it is a viable solution here. 

 

gfs500s.thumb.gif.6ea7013e587f3174ffaf13c323ab8d17.gif

Taking a look at the GEFS even though they haven't been to great this year is that they are showing a much better ridge out west as well which would help promote a further SW dig of the NS.  A noticeable shift further west with the mean SLP plot in response to it as well.

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Gfs 168 has a closed 546  contour over MN but the southern stream ejects too fast for a phase and the HP crushes it.

Typical gfs depiction of a ku storm 7 days out. Not that its always the outcome.

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3 minutes ago, Amped said:

Gfs 168 has a closed 546  contour over MN but the southern stream ejects too fast for a phase and the HP crushes it.

Typical gfs depiction of a ku storm 7 days out. Not that its always the outcome.

What does ku stand for?

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53 minutes ago, showmethesnow said:

Though the GFS doesn't get it done this go round it is much closer to a winning solution then many of you probably realize and it generally shows us how we could possibly score without a -NAO. What we see is a low moving through the 50/50 region with a high following on its coat tails. What this is doing is backing the flow and raising heights in front of the trough dropping down into the Midwest. This in turn will tend to promote a deeper drop of the trough as well as giving us a closer to neutral tilt where the trough will not be as progressive. The biggest issue with this setup (lacking a -NAO) is that we are dealing with a much smaller window to time this then otherwise would be afforded with an -NAO locking the 50/50 in for a longer period of time. Seen enough runs with this general setup the last couple of days to believe it is a viable solution here. 

 

gfs500s.thumb.gif.6ea7013e587f3174ffaf13c323ab8d17.gif

It has a chance... fighting the progressive atlantic flow though.  I find it funny how every time 1993 comes up as an analog, it is usually surrounded by really crappy analogs.  Yea if you can get all 3 branches of the jet to phase into an STJ system at the base of a trough then having a negative NAO is really not that important.  That storm can go to town no matter what the high latitude situation is.  But typically, absent some kind of crazy phase solution, having the kind of progressive flow that comes with a positive NAO in the Atlantic makes it hard to get something to phase and amplify in time.  A positive NAO doesn't always mean warm, if the pacific is bad AND the NAO is bad year thats a torch.  But a -EPO or +PNA can deliver cold with a positive NAO but getting a major amplification on the east coast is still difficult.   I suppose March is the best time to try it though with the shorter wavelentghs and it CAN and has happened before absent NAO help so I am not ruling anything out, just skeptical.  

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15 minutes ago, psuhoffman said:

euro laughs at us... 1005 mb low near Bermuda LOL

Flow is way too progressive in the northern stream on the euro.  

The whole winter has been progressive...lol So weird how hard it's been for stuff to amplify up the coast this winter (other than the rain nor'easter in December!)

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1 hour ago, psuhoffman said:

euro laughs at us... 1005 mb low near Bermuda LOL

Flow is way too progressive in the northern stream on the euro.  

terrible end to a terrible winter. Never got that congested blocky look. Ninas are the worst...especially when they are Ninos

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30 minutes ago, Ji said:

terrible end to a terrible winter. Never got that congested blocky look. Ninas are the worst...especially when they are Ninos

Not all ninos have that. 2003 after December didn’t. 2015 never did. But we also lacked either the Aleutian low or east based epo ridge that also typically “saves” the +NAO ninos. 

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41 minutes ago, Ji said:

terrible end to a terrible winter. Never got that congested blocky look. Ninas are the worst...especially when they are Ninos

And it wasn’t really an awful year it just fell shy of expectations. Kind of like if you think you have a 12 win super bowl contender and go 9-7. If this was a Nina year we would have been happy. 

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5 minutes ago, psuhoffman said:

And it wasn’t really an awful year it just fell shy of expectations. Kind of like if you think you have a 12 win super bowl contender and go 9-7. If this was a Nina year we would have been happy. 

It's all about expectations and the hype of a great pattern that didn't come close to materializing disappointed everybody, I would think. When the experienced guys are that wrong, it's tough on the rest of us snow lovers. And 9-7 keeps you in the running. We've never been in the running this winter, except for next week of course.

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And it wasn’t really an awful year it just fell shy of expectations. Kind of like if you think you have a 12 win super bowl contender and go 9-7. If this was a Nina year we would have been happy. 
We got really lucky....and unlucky..we could of finished at 15 or 40 lol...I think the winter was frustrating because all we did was wait and wait ...then delay...wait...the climate models were terrible. Never has epic periods despite the weeklies constant looks. Never had a legit nor'Easter....no sustained winter weather
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It's all about expectations and the hype of a great pattern that didn't come close to materializing disappointed everybody, I would think. When the experienced guys are that wrong, it's tough on the rest of us snow lovers. And 9-7 keeps you in the running. We've never been in the running this winter, except for next week of course.
I think DC beat Boston in djf... which is great until you realize DC had an average winter. Bad season for the east coast in general

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20 minutes ago, Ji said:
41 minutes ago, psuhoffman said:
And it wasn’t really an awful year it just fell shy of expectations. Kind of like if you think you have a 12 win super bowl contender and go 9-7. If this was a Nina year we would have been happy. 

We got really lucky....and unlucky..we could of finished at 15 or 40 lol...I think the winter was frustrating because all we did was wait and wait ...then delay...wait...the climate models were terrible. Never has epic periods despite the weeklies constant looks. Never had a legit nor'Easter....no sustained winter weather

It isn't always about hitting average snowfall. One 6-7" storm and I am at average. Wouldn't make any difference. This winter totally sucked here. It was much worse than the last 3. And I pretty much hated 2015-16.

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33 minutes ago, C.A.P.E. said:

It isn't always about hitting average snowfall. One 6-7" storm and I am at average. Wouldn't make any difference. This winter totally sucked here. It was much worse than the last 3. And I pretty much hated 2015-16.

For you it did suck. You have had an oddly different climo than the rest of us west of the Bay the last few years. 

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