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Fall 2022 Pittsburgh/Western PA Discussion


Ahoff
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On 11/20/2022 at 7:21 AM, TimB said:

Looks like PIT squeezed out 0.1” of snow just before midnight last night to extend the streak of days with measurable snow to 5. The only time such a streak has occurred earlier in the season is November 11-18, 1995.

Another good omen? 1995-1996 was a pretty epic winter for the Eastern U.S. At this point, though, I'll be satisfied with just a cold December for a change.

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55 minutes ago, Rd9108 said:

Looks like a relaxation of the pattern and then there are signs of a return to winter in early December. Idk about anybody else but I enjoy the early winters especially around the Holidays.

Absolutely, I hope we get the wintry pattern throughout December.  However, I don't want to waste it all too early in the month.

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Mesoscale Discussion 1974
   NWS Storm Prediction Center Norman OK
   1119 AM CST Sun Nov 27 2022

   Areas affected...Upper Ohio Valley

   Concerning...Severe potential...Watch unlikely 

   Valid 271719Z - 271915Z

   Probability of Watch Issuance...20 percent

   SUMMARY...Isolated strong/damaging winds will be possible in parts
   of the upper Ohio Valley region this afternoon.

   DISCUSSION...Shallow convection has very slowly deepened along the
   cold front in southeast Ohio to near West Virginia border. A small
   region of mid 50s F dewpoints within this region is supporting
   250-500 J/kg MUCAPE. Regional VAD profiles show 40-60 kts of flow
   within the lowest 2 km. Though convection will likely remain shallow
   and produce little lightning, isolated strong/damaging gusts will be
   possible as surface heating continues this afternoon. Within the
   last hour, a gust of 37 kts was observed near Chillicothe, OH and 47
   kts was observed at Huntington, WV. Given the low-level inversions
   present on the 12Z observed ILM/PBZ soundings, low-level lapse rates
   are not expected to become overly steep even with more heating. The
   shallow convection will likely be the primary mechanism for stronger
   gusts this afternoon.

   ..Wendt/Hart.. 11/27/2022

   ...Please see www.spc.noaa.gov for graphic product...

   ATTN...WFO...CTP...LWX...PBZ...RLX...ILN...

   LAT...LON   39818266 40428121 40717986 40387904 39897887 38758039
               38378185 38558251 38808270 39818266 

Top/All Mesoscale Discussions/Forecast Products/Home
Weather Topics:

MD 1974 graphic

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32 minutes ago, Ahoff said:

Ugh, the CPC outlook for the next two weeks looks bad.

The upcoming 10-12 days has been fairly well advertised as meh for any winter weather of interest in terms of discrete storm threat tracking, something little could always pop up short term but overall it looks pretty hostile. Whether the upcoming "pattern change" materializes is the real question. (Yay! Pattern tracking lol) Lots of posts seem to be  proclaiming the modeled -Nao as a panacea for everything else will likely end in disappointment. I'm paying more attention to the PNA, if it's very negative the calls for big cold will fail as cold air source gets cut off and SE ridge pushes. Then again you rarely score a big storm with a huge purple temp anomaly overhead. 

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7 minutes ago, RitualOfTheTrout said:

The upcoming 10-12 days has been fairly well advertised as meh for any winter weather of interest in terms of discrete storm threat tracking, something little could always pop up short term but overall it looks pretty hostile. Whether the upcoming "pattern change" materializes is the real question. (Yay! Pattern tracking lol) Lots of posts seem to be  proclaiming the modeled -Nao as a panacea for everything else will likely end in disappointment. I'm paying more attention to the PNA, if it's very negative the calls for big cold will fail as cold air source gets cut off and SE ridge pushes. Then again you rarely score a big storm with a huge purple temp anomaly overhead. 

So this is the patience game yet again, waiting for winter to materialize. Let’s hope this turns out more like 21-22 than like 19-20. But this is an ominous sign, most of what I’ve read has said December was our best shot at a good winter month this year.

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2 hours ago, RitualOfTheTrout said:

The upcoming 10-12 days has been fairly well advertised as meh for any winter weather of interest in terms of discrete storm threat tracking, something little could always pop up short term but overall it looks pretty hostile. Whether the upcoming "pattern change" materializes is the real question. (Yay! Pattern tracking lol) Lots of posts seem to be  proclaiming the modeled -Nao as a panacea for everything else will likely end in disappointment. I'm paying more attention to the PNA, if it's very negative the calls for big cold will fail as cold air source gets cut off and SE ridge pushes. Then again you rarely score a big storm with a huge purple temp anomaly overhead. 

Interested in hearing your or anyone else's thoughts on what is more important for our area (PNA/NAO) since it is looking boring for a little while. 2009/2010 was our last BIG storm and Jan 2016 being a narrow miss both had the massive -NAO. It seems like the last few times we've seen a decent blocking event materialize we waste a large chunk of it trying to get the airmass underneath the block cold enough. I know bigger events tend to occur during NAO phase changes so I'm guessing NAO is important for a big storm and +PNA/-EPO gives more chances at moderate events. Just curious if we are rooting for the same thing as the MA/NE since we don't quite fit into either region. 

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I will say that I wouldn't get too wound up if the costal guys are freaking out about the pattern. If the current NAO and depiction on the GFS plays out we should see enough cold air in our area for snow. I'll be curious is we start seeing good snow storms start showing up. 

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22 hours ago, dj3 said:

Interested in hearing your or anyone else's thoughts on what is more important for our area (PNA/NAO) since it is looking boring for a little while. 2009/2010 was our last BIG storm and Jan 2016 being a narrow miss both had the massive -NAO. It seems like the last few times we've seen a decent blocking event materialize we waste a large chunk of it trying to get the airmass underneath the block cold enough. I know bigger events tend to occur during NAO phase changes so I'm guessing NAO is important for a big storm and +PNA/-EPO gives more chances at moderate events. Just curious if we are rooting for the same thing as the MA/NE since we don't quite fit into either region. 

I'm far from qualified to answer and to RD9108s point if coastal folks are really happy we probably see the storm track to far out to sea for any real shot. That being said, in my opinion in general if the pattern is favorable for the east coast we have a shot. If there is a monster -NAO we actually probably want a more nuetralish / slightly negative PNA as we want some SE ridging to push against the NAO to force the storm path inland. To many variables in my mind to say one specific metric is better than another for any discrete threat, things like timing of a phasing / other shortwave interactions can alter the track in ways that would make a less than optimum setup work for us or kill us. 

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On 11/28/2022 at 12:37 PM, Rd9108 said:

I will say that I wouldn't get too wound up if the costal guys are freaking out about the pattern. If the current NAO and depiction on the GFS plays out we should see enough cold air in our area for snow. I'll be curious is we start seeing good snow storms start showing up. 

I would agree.  It's quite rare for all of Pennsylvania to win in a single snowstorm together.  Usually it's one section of the state that wins while other sections miss out entirely.  Most common I'd say are eastern sections, then central, then western (for the big ones).  Erie is its own climate because of lake effect, thus they win the most.  For synoptic setups, though, 2010 is the rare example of Pittsburgh and Philly both winning on the same storm.  Pittsburgh seems to do better when the coastal sections do worse - meaning more inland tracks.  A marginal La Nina isn't necessarily as bad for us here.

I think the +PNA is the dominant driver anymore.  Spotting that ridge in the right location allows everything downstream to flow into the right place.  Too much of a -NAO pushes storms away from us, either south or into the coastal plain.  A +NAO isn't as negative for us because of our inland and more mountainous orientation.  Lows riding the spine of the Appalachians are ideal in many ways.  Cold air sources are easier to come by locally.  Basically all the same reasons we do better with clippers.  The PNA can also influence earlier development down into the southern states or Gulf of Mexico.  That's important for us because we don't do Miller B's here.  They strengthen too late.

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1 hour ago, Ahoff said:

Pretty bleak through the entire GFS run, obviously can't take the long range seriously, but nothing really to even watch at this point.  Some rain events, but that's it.

Euro, pretty bad too, lol.

Yes, pretty crazy to see entire runs of the GFS extending into the middle of December with not a flake of snow. I mean, obviously, this wouldn't be unprecedented by any stretch of the imagination. But, normally, the GFS would at least be manufacturing fake snow storms by this point in time.

snku_acc.us_ma.png

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18 hours ago, Ahoff said:

Pretty bleak through the entire GFS run, obviously can't take the long range seriously, but nothing really to even watch at this point.  Some rain events, but that's it.

Euro, pretty bad too, lol.

Give it a few days, we are still about a week out at least for the block / pattern change to start getting established. All we have now is a general idea of how things will look at H5. Should be interesting to see how the first storm interacts with the block. 

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19 hours ago, jwilson said:

I would agree.  It's quite rare for all of Pennsylvania to win in a single snowstorm together.  Usually it's one section of the state that wins while other sections miss out entirely.  Most common I'd say are eastern sections, then central, then western (for the big ones).  Erie is its own climate because of lake effect, thus they win the most.  For synoptic setups, though, 2010 is the rare example of Pittsburgh and Philly both winning on the same storm.  Pittsburgh seems to do better when the coastal sections do worse - meaning more inland tracks.  A marginal La Nina isn't necessarily as bad for us here.

I think the +PNA is the dominant driver anymore.  Spotting that ridge in the right location allows everything downstream to flow into the right place.  Too much of a -NAO pushes storms away from us, either south or into the coastal plain.  A +NAO isn't as negative for us because of our inland and more mountainous orientation.  Lows riding the spine of the Appalachians are ideal in many ways.  Cold air sources are easier to come by locally.  Basically all the same reasons we do better with clippers.  The PNA can also influence earlier development down into the southern states or Gulf of Mexico.  That's important for us because we don't do Miller B's here.  They strengthen too late.

That is what I see being a concern with the advertised upcoming pattern. Still lots of other variables that will dictate things but seems more likely than now the trough axis will be to far east which is why coastal folks are jumping for joy.

Miller Bs almost always end as slop storms when the warm air arrives sooner than anticipated or we get caught in a dryslot unless we get the perfect pass before it jumps. They can be fun though if we get a thump from the primary and lucky enough to get some love from the secondary throwing back moisture. 

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54 minutes ago, TimB said:

Models are showing a much more workable pattern this morning. Let’s hope that’s a trend.

You can already see the block making a big difference on the storm early next week that was a massive cutter into Wisconsin a few days ago. I think we're headed in the right direction come mid Dec. 

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19 hours ago, TimB said:

Other than 2020, when was our last good December? And by good, I mean even average.

Well, our average has skewed up a tad because of two years ago, which happened to be the 2nd best December ever (behind 1890).  If you look at patterns, I'd guess we're due for another single-digit total next month.  Perhaps even another dud.  The only instance of snowfalls snapping back that quickly were across 2010 to 2012, where you had a bad year sandwiched by two better-than-average years.  Granted, this is weather and quite literally anything can happen, but historical trends don't suggest a big total this December.  For whatever that's worth - and to be fair that may not be worth much.

Average December snow since 1989 is 8.12" and it was 7.73" before 2020 happened.  That's a pretty big jump for one season.  We've only hit the average twice since 2014 (2017 was 13.3").  Before that mini-drought we had actually had a strong run of good Decembers.  In the preceding seven-year period, we hit the average five times, four of those in double digits.

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1 minute ago, jwilson said:

Well, our average has skewed up a tad because of two years ago, which happened to be the 2nd best December ever (behind 1890).  If you look at patterns, I'd guess we're due for another single-digit total next month.  Perhaps even another dud.  The only instance of snowfalls snapping back that quickly were across 2010 to 2012, where you had a bad year sandwiched by two better-than-average years.  Granted, this is weather and quite literally anything can happen, but historical trends don't suggest a big total this month.  For whatever that's worth - and to be fair that may not be worth much.

Average December snow since 1989 is 8.12" and it was 7.73" before 2020 happened.  That's a pretty big jump for one season.  We've only hit the average twice since 2014 (2017 was 13.3").  Before that mini-drought we had actually had a strong run of good Decembers.  In the preceding seven-year period, we hit the average five times, four of those in double digits.

I guess that’s the other thing, being that the normals are means and not medians of statistics with no upper limit, it’s going to be naturally more likely to get a BN snowfall month than an AN snowfall month. It is literally impossible to get a month that is 15” below normal but you can get a month that is 15” (or more) above normal if you’re lucky.

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1 minute ago, Ahoff said:

The newest GFS and Euro look better, but still rather underwhelming.  Good steps though.  The storm on the 12th is almost there on the GFS, really bad L placement for that one right now.

The ensembles look 10000 times better. Honestly the EPS shows a possible historic December for the east coast. Doesn't mean we get snow but the pattern may shape up for the possibility of snow. 

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