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February Medium/Long Range Discussion


snowmagnet
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1 hour ago, LeesburgWx said:

I love your posts. Easy to understand, to the point, and straightforward. Also, usually if you post, optimism is high. :)

Whenever we sit in progressive NS flow (often AF lol), you have to mentally approach it with an open mind to what "can pop up at any moment". Just because nothing is there for a couple days on ops isn't a reason to close the blinds. 40 degree 850 temps and no cold north? Yea, slam that f'r shut. Revolving door of cold fronts where each pack enough cold mid level air on the heels to keep us in the game? That's like our default state in a non-shutout pattern. Lol 

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Maybe this belongs in the "climo" thread more and if so Mods can move it.  But I wanted to point out something regarding what we are struggling with.  Since this pattern set in early January we have been cold enough for snow about 90% of the time.  Yet 90% of our precipitation has fallen during the 10% we weren't.  That isn't just bad luck.  That is the most likely outcome at our latitude (south of the mean latitude to support snow) in any pattern without blocking.  The current favorable Pac bad Atlantic pattern is better then a no hope shut out the lights pattern we often get if the pac is bad or both are bad.  Historically we could overcome a bad pac with a good atlantic sometimes but lately with the PAC on fire and the base state warmer it seems when the pac is bad it just torches the whole continent and the NAO can't save us.  So realistically to get a really high probability snowy pattern we need BOTH to cooperate.  Still a good pac isnt awful and it will put us in the game and eventually we might get lucky on some waves...but wanted to explain why we need luck.    For most this is nothing you don't already know but we have some new posters.  

 

I am going to really really really simplify this.  And for those that know more yes its possible to get a storm on the back side of a trough in a NW flow with upper level driven energy and vorticity or with localized WAA along a NW to SE oriented front.  But those aren't the typical way we score so lets just make this simple here.  

Most storms are going to lift the thermal boundary north.  As they amplify they will pump ridging ahead of them from the southerly flow.  The cold boundary will lift with it north.  If we don't have anything to resist this...we are too far south to end up on the cold side unless we get extremely lucky and a wave tracks just southeast of us out of pure chance.  

With blocking that is not the case.  I am using Feb 2010 to illustrate this point.  

Post1.png.e46eebcb24b18bb57b7ad04473a663cb.png

Look at the pacific.  This would be absolutely awful without blocking.  The mean flow into the central US is all from the SW.  But we have that huge block with a northerly flow locked into the northeast so we actually want that southwest flow to our west to take the STJ and throw it up into the cold.  Now look at the actual storm track.  

Huge.png.bfe70d5b60f07a51110c35859a9ce3eb.png

The primary for the 2010 storm was cutting to Ohio.  But it ran into the blocked flow and was forced to turn east, develop a secondary, and slide east and out under us.  Because of the block we had a HUGE window to win.  ANy storm that tried to track anywhere between those green lines was going to end good for us because of the block.  Nothing could cut so it would have to turn east under us.  

Right now we have a great pacific pattern putting a trough in the east.  But without a block we have to get that trough to align absolutely perfectly to get a system to track just southeast of us by pure chance.  There is nothing to "block" a storm from cutting west.  So basically below is our current "win" box.  We have to get a storm to accidentally track within that tiny red box.  

635178902_needtogetlucky.thumb.png.861c05680c5c8302d06776da797546b5.png

Again, its not impossible.  We do get plenty of our snow from these patterns by luck without blocking...and if we get enough chances eventually we should get lucky...but I do think the big winters of 2014 and 2015 which I've said were probably flukes and not indicative of a typical outcome from pac driven no blocking patterns, skewed some wrt what to expect.  This pattern is way way better than if the pac was a mess like most of the last 5 years.  If we arent going to have a -NAO this at least puts us in the game.  But it's a really frustrating pattern in that it is cold and you think it should snow...but we have to get the storm track to be absolutely perfect for it to actually happen.   

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10 minutes ago, Bob Chill said:

Whenever we sit in progressive NS flow (often AF lol), you have to mentally approach it with an open mind to what "can pop up at any moment". Just because nothing is there for a couple days on ops isn't a reason to close the blinds. 40 degree 850 temps and no cold north? Yea, slam that f'r shut. Revolving door of cold fronts where each pack enough cold mid level air on the heels to keep us in the game? That's like our default state in a non-shutout pattern. Lol 

100% agree. Since the New Year, it’s been storm chances popping up within 3-4 days constantly. Just none of them have been flush hits yet. But numbers games is how I live my life. We get enough, we eventually hit.

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4 minutes ago, psuhoffman said:

Maybe this belongs in the "climo" thread more and if so Mods can move it.  But I wanted to point out something regarding what we are struggling with.  Since this pattern set in early January we have been cold enough for snow about 90% of the time.  Yet 90% of our precipitation has fallen during the 10% we weren't.  That isn't just bad luck.  That is the most likely outcome at our latitude (south of the mean latitude to support snow) in any pattern without blocking.  The current favorable Pac bad Atlantic pattern is better then a no hope shut out the lights pattern we often get if the pac is bad or both are bad.  Historically we could overcome a bad pac with a good atlantic sometimes but lately with the PAC on fire and the base state warmer it seems when the pac is bad it just torches the whole continent and the NAO can't save us.  So realistically to get a really high probability snowy pattern we need BOTH to cooperate.  Still a good pac isnt awful and it will put us in the game and eventually we might get lucky on some waves...but wanted to explain why we need luck.    For most this is nothing you don't already know but we have some new posters.  

 

I am going to really really really simplify this.  And for those that know more yes its possible to get a storm on the back side of a trough in a NW flow with upper level driven energy and vorticity or with localized WAA along a NW to SE oriented front.  But those aren't the typical way we score so lets just make this simple here.  

Most storms are going to lift the thermal boundary north.  As they amplify they will pump ridging ahead of them from the southerly flow.  The cold boundary will lift with it north.  If we don't have anything to resist this...we are too far south to end up on the cold side unless we get extremely lucky and a wave tracks just southeast of us out of pure chance.  

With blocking that is not the case.  I am using Feb 2010 to illustrate this point.  

Post1.png.e46eebcb24b18bb57b7ad04473a663cb.png

Look at the pacific.  This would be absolutely awful without blocking.  The mean flow into the central US is all from the SW.  But we have that huge block with a northerly flow locked into the northeast so we actually want that southwest flow to our west to take the STJ and throw it up into the cold.  Now look at the actual storm track.  

Huge.png.bfe70d5b60f07a51110c35859a9ce3eb.png

The primary for the 2010 storm was cutting to Ohio.  But it ran into the blocked flow and was forced to turn east, develop a secondary, and slide east and out under us.  Because of the block we had a HUGE window to win.  ANy storm that tried to track anywhere between those green lines was going to end good for us because of the block.  Nothing could cut so it would have to turn east under us.  

Right now we have a great pacific pattern putting a trough in the east.  But without a block we have to get that trough to align absolutely perfectly to get a system to track just southeast of us by pure chance.  There is nothing to "block" a storm from cutting west.  So basically below is our current "win" box.  We have to get a storm to accidentally track within that tiny red box.  

635178902_needtogetlucky.thumb.png.861c05680c5c8302d06776da797546b5.png

Again, its not impossible.  We do get plenty of our snow from these patterns by luck without blocking...and if we get enough chances eventually we should get lucky...but I do think the big winters of 2014 and 2015 which I've said were probably flukes and not indicative of a typical outcome from pac driven no blocking patterns, skewed some wrt what to expect.  This pattern is way way better than if the pac was a mess like most of the last 5 years.  If we arent going to have a -NAO this at least puts us in the game.  But it's a really frustrating pattern in that it is cold and you think it should snow...but we have to get the storm track to be absolutely perfect for it to actually happen.   

Serious question. I have admired your posts for a while and watching you on zoom, you know you stuff! What is your background? Meteorology? Climate? Etc. for someone so well versed in  weather, what is your background for those who don’t know?

 

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2 minutes ago, LeesburgWx said:

Serious question. I have admired your posts for a while and watching you on zoom, you know you stuff! What is your background? Meteorology? Climate? Etc. for someone so well versed in  weather, what is your background for those who don’t know?

 

Well...I'm a Constitutional Law and political science teacher and I help run extended learning programs and summer school for Baltimore City and I have degrees in Sociology and Political Science Education.  LOL 

BUT...what I think you are asking... I was a meteorology major at Penn State for 3 years before dropping it to focus on the sociology and politics stuff.  So I did get SOME formal education in meteorology.  But honestly 90% of what I know was self taught.  Observation and reading.  I am probably the only person who read college level meteorology text books for fun as a kid.  As an adult I've done my own research, poured through pattern analogs and records to see "what works" and what doesn't, and read up on things I come across I don't understand and want to.  

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1 minute ago, psuhoffman said:

Well...I'm a Constitutional Law and political science teacher and I help run extended learning programs and summer school for Baltimore City and I have degrees in Sociology and Political Science Education.  LOL 

 

So, seems like you're a really dumb guy.  

Just hang in there, apply yourself a bit harder and you'll get better. 

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4 minutes ago, psuhoffman said:

Well...I'm a Constitutional Law and political science teacher and I help run extended learning programs and summer school for Baltimore City and I have degrees in Sociology and Political Science Education.  LOL 

BUT...what I think you are asking... I was a meteorology major at Penn State for 3 years before dropping it to focus on the sociology and politics stuff.  So I did get SOME formal education in meteorology.  But honestly 90% of what I know was self taught.  Observation and reading.  I am probably the only person who read college level meteorology text books for fun as a kid.  As an adult I've done my own research, poured through pattern analogs and records to see "what works" and what doesn't, and read up on things I come across I don't understand and want to.  

Haha that’s awesome! I’m actually a political science major myself. Good to know though, you are spot ok with your weather pattern thoughts etc.

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I’m sure Will will say that GEFS has us at like 0.3” of snow through D15, but still looks like next weekend things become more conducive to snow chances. I’m still somewhat cautious on whether we ever get the @Bob Chill big bowl pattern over the CONUS with the strong PNA/EPO ridge just on the west coast up towards AK and the arctic. That pattern clearly has been cankicked for a more meridional flow, but the ensembles really are insistent it is coming. V-Day is probably a good marker to see if that pattern does move closer in time. 

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43 minutes ago, psuhoffman said:

For this region in general our snowiest period is Dec 1-March 15.  About 1/3 of our annual mean snowfall is from Feb 15-March 15.  Yet some people want to throw that away every single year.  WTF 

Thank you. I never understand the pessimism by early February. We had quite a lot of it in here during January too.  Some years we get our biggest snows in March. 

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5 minutes ago, snowmagnet said:

Thank you. I never understand the pessimism by early February. We had quite a lot of it in here during January too.  Some years we get our biggest snows in March. 

it can snow into early april here, but i do think the ROI gets suspect by early march.  by then, i start tracking cherry blossoms and march madness.  hopefully, we can get one forum-wide snowstorm before spring starts making an appearance.

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8 minutes ago, snowmagnet said:

Thank you. I never understand the pessimism by early February. We had quite a lot of it in here during January too.  Some years we get our biggest snows in March. 

One thing I'm looking out for is if the Atlantic becomes more favorable late into Feb. Past Ninas had that as a turning point, recently with March 2017 and 2018. Those didn't take a favorable PAC state to produce good snowfall in parts of the subforum. 

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2 hours ago, Bob Chill said:

Ever since the turn if the year, practically every event (real or digital) has been sneaky and jacked up. That's not changing unless the NAO decides it's time. It's def disappointing seeing ops dry paint but unless there's a big storm patten (haven't seen one this year really), any event in the next 10 days is going to be sneaky and weird. Just keep our column supportive of snow as much as possible and let the chips fall. That's what I see. No discrete window or shortwave. 

What I'm hearing you say is that we shouldn't be doing what the .gif in my profile pic is doing.

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10 minutes ago, WxUSAF said:

I’m sure Will will say that GEFS has us at like 0.3” of snow through D15, but still looks like next weekend things become more conducive to snow chances. I’m still somewhat cautious on whether we ever get the @Bob Chill big bowl pattern over the CONUS with the strong PNA/EPO ridge just on the west coast up towards AK and the arctic. That pattern clearly has been cankicked for a more meridional flow, but the ensembles really are insistent it is coming. V-Day is probably a good marker to see if that pattern does move closer in time. 

This is my thinking. We might get lucky this coming week, but there are issues with even being cold enough. The advertised look on the means beginning around the 11th Feb suggests we get the combo of legit cold plus chances. Even a bootleg -NAO thrown in there on the GEFS. Clearly a continuation of a progressive pattern though, so specific threats won't necessarily show up at long leads.

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45 minutes ago, LeesburgWx said:

100% agree. Since the New Year, it’s been storm chances popping up within 3-4 days constantly. Just none of them have been flush hits yet. But numbers games is how I live my life. We get enough, we eventually hit.

Flush hits require more than what has been offered so on the balance, we're actually doing pretty good. Better than most similar years. Northern stream winters are always frustrating and always leave you feeling that it should have been MUCH better... if just "fill in blank" worked out. I look at it a little different. Any all snow event is a win. Any snowfall over 4-5" is a big win. 

We could repeat this same exact pattern every winter for 10 years and 1 or 2 will be really big, most avg at best but kinda lame, and some making you want to gently nudge little bunnies off your lawn. Problem is, there's no way to predict any of that in advance. You just gotta roll with the punches and see what sticks. 

Any time there's amplified flow with the right trajectory and/or axis, a big storm is possible. Not predictable at long leads. Not obvious with the longwave features. But still happen. That chance has been on the table and is still on the table for as far as you can see. But never lose sight of the fact that most if not all chances will be janky and not classic. 

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24 minutes ago, snowmagnet said:

Thank you. I never understand the pessimism by early February. We had quite a lot of it in here during January too.  Some years we get our biggest snows in March. 

Highly dependent on how things have worked out in one's own yard at any point in winter. Most were pessimistic in December, but then things flipped to significantly colder. So far luck has been more on the side of areas to the east wrt winter storms, so I get the frustration for those further inland at this juncture. Fortunately it appears we have a favorable pattern just ahead, and it coincides with the exact period where it "likes" to snow in the MA.

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1 hour ago, psuhoffman said:

Maybe this belongs in the "climo" thread more and if so Mods can move it.  But I wanted to point out something regarding what we are struggling with.  Since this pattern set in early January we have been cold enough for snow about 90% of the time.  Yet 90% of our precipitation has fallen during the 10% we weren't.  That isn't just bad luck.  That is the most likely outcome at our latitude (south of the mean latitude to support snow) in any pattern without blocking.  The current favorable Pac bad Atlantic pattern is better then a no hope shut out the lights pattern we often get if the pac is bad or both are bad.  Historically we could overcome a bad pac with a good atlantic sometimes but lately with the PAC on fire and the base state warmer it seems when the pac is bad it just torches the whole continent and the NAO can't save us.  So realistically to get a really high probability snowy pattern we need BOTH to cooperate.  Still a good pac isnt awful and it will put us in the game and eventually we might get lucky on some waves...but wanted to explain why we need luck.    For most this is nothing you don't already know but we have some new posters.  

 

I am going to really really really simplify this.  And for those that know more yes its possible to get a storm on the back side of a trough in a NW flow with upper level driven energy and vorticity or with localized WAA along a NW to SE oriented front.  But those aren't the typical way we score so lets just make this simple here.  

Most storms are going to lift the thermal boundary north.  As they amplify they will pump ridging ahead of them from the southerly flow.  The cold boundary will lift with it north.  If we don't have anything to resist this...we are too far south to end up on the cold side unless we get extremely lucky and a wave tracks just southeast of us out of pure chance.  

With blocking that is not the case.  I am using Feb 2010 to illustrate this point.  

Post1.png.e46eebcb24b18bb57b7ad04473a663cb.png

Look at the pacific.  This would be absolutely awful without blocking.  The mean flow into the central US is all from the SW.  But we have that huge block with a northerly flow locked into the northeast so we actually want that southwest flow to our west to take the STJ and throw it up into the cold.  Now look at the actual storm track.  

Huge.png.bfe70d5b60f07a51110c35859a9ce3eb.png

The primary for the 2010 storm was cutting to Ohio.  But it ran into the blocked flow and was forced to turn east, develop a secondary, and slide east and out under us.  Because of the block we had a HUGE window to win.  ANy storm that tried to track anywhere between those green lines was going to end good for us because of the block.  Nothing could cut so it would have to turn east under us.  

Right now we have a great pacific pattern putting a trough in the east.  But without a block we have to get that trough to align absolutely perfectly to get a system to track just southeast of us by pure chance.  There is nothing to "block" a storm from cutting west.  So basically below is our current "win" box.  We have to get a storm to accidentally track within that tiny red box.  

635178902_needtogetlucky.thumb.png.861c05680c5c8302d06776da797546b5.png

Again, its not impossible.  We do get plenty of our snow from these patterns by luck without blocking...and if we get enough chances eventually we should get lucky...but I do think the big winters of 2014 and 2015 which I've said were probably flukes and not indicative of a typical outcome from pac driven no blocking patterns, skewed some wrt what to expect.  This pattern is way way better than if the pac was a mess like most of the last 5 years.  If we arent going to have a -NAO this at least puts us in the game.  But it's a really frustrating pattern in that it is cold and you think it should snow...but we have to get the storm track to be absolutely perfect for it to actually happen.   

This is really useful for those of us who have never read college meteorology books for fun.  I knew that the PAC had been horrific for several years, but I thought we were supposed to get a favorable Atlantic at some point. Hoping for a random block.  
 

I appreciate the explanation of Feb 2010 -it was such an amazing month.   My Facebook memories started popping up today. I didn’t remember that we got several inches a few days before the Feb 6th storm. 

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Whoa some serious mid-atlantic snow climo knowledge being dropped in here today by the legendary @Bob Chill and @psuhoffman. I'd like to think both posts could be put in the climo thread! And the two of you give a one-hour virtual lecture on what works and doesn't work for snow here (assuming it could be explained in an hour, lol). That would seriously be awesome if you considered doing that!

Great analysis as always by you both--nice to see good info instead of us lesser-knowledgeable posters swimming in weenism, not-so-great analysis, and memes...(though those things too kinda make this forum, Iol)I'll. Thanks to ya both!

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The GFS has been pretty consistent with this type of look in the longer range. Problem is the -NAO is transitional and the GFS kicks it shortly after that. We have had and the GFS is keeping a decent PAC ridge in the long range. If we could just get the NAO to cooperate for a bit in February it would be game on. 

gfs_z500a_namer_32.png

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