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Ray8002

March 4-6, 2001

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I was living in Cleveland for the March 2001 bust, but I remember December 1989 really well. I was in Queens watching Lloyd Lindsay Young calling for close to a foot of snow just as the first raindrops were hitting the window. I couldn't believe my eyes. One of the most upsetting busts of my lifetime as I was really hoping for a day off from school.

Oh goodness, he recently retired I believe from somewhere in California I think...I can envision that one "Ladies and Gentlemen, we are gonna see some HEAVEH SNOW tonight!" March 2001 and February 1989 are remembered alot more because they were busts for a much larger area where there is a significant population and they also produced snow over relatively populated areas too (Keene NH had 7 inches of snow in one hour during the March 01 storm)...the Dec 89 storm is not remembered by many people because it busted primarily over the NY Metro and the surprise snows dumped generally over places like BGM, MSV, ALB and other parts of E NY...many of those places heading into the evening were forecast to be cloudy with a chance of flurries and saw 8-12 inches of snow.

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interesting write up. I'm surprised to learn the models had actually backed away. I was always under the impression that it was a nowcast bust. I've read a lot of posts over the years where people said they went to bed expecting x,y.z and woke up to nada.

Don't forget there was not nearly as much nowcasting available to most back then. Was the Internet even widely used back in 2001. Maybe barely, but don't think it was even close to being in every home, and certainly not many had high speed.

I remember in Baltimore/Washington, if I recall correctly, the storm was suppose to start Sunday. On Friday, there was mega media hype on Friday afternoon/evening newscasts. I distinctly remember them talking about a storm that was going to stall basically south of Long Island and then retrograde back to the South. I think the forecast was for 1 to 2 feet, with mentions it could be more than that.

But once the Friday 11 p.m. newscast was over, you had to wait the entire way till the Saturday 6 p.m. newscast to get much info, beside the weather channel. And, if you missed the Saturday news for whatever reason, you would have thought the forecast was a huge bust when you woke up Sunday...

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Someone can Correct me if I am wrong, but I am pretty sure this was the storm -- and what the Weather Channel was saying about it at the time. Obviously, at the end of this clip, someone in northern New Jersey was mocking at the outcome.

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Well; this is weather and things are never certain. It's interesting to note that the title of the map was "potential" snow storm and that Paul Kocin used the word "likely" not definately. Bottom line is that with major snowstorms there is always some inherrent uncertainty and I think this uncertainty is even hinted at in this clip as he even says that rain may cut down amounts. The public doesn't get this though. They just hear potential blizzard / 2 feet of snow and intstantly interpret that as "expected" blizzard.

Someone can Correct me if I am wrong, but I am pretty sure this was the storm -- and what the Weather Channel was saying about it at the time. Obviously, at the end of this clip, someone in northern New Jersey was mocking at the outcome.

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Don't forget there was not nearly as much nowcasting available to most back then. Was the Internet even widely used back in 2001. Maybe barely, but don't think it was even close to being in every home, and certainly not many had high speed.

I remember in Baltimore/Washington, if I recall correctly, the storm was suppose to start Sunday. On Friday, there was mega media hype on Friday afternoon/evening newscasts. I distinctly remember them talking about a storm that was going to stall basically south of Long Island and then retrograde back to the South. I think the forecast was for 1 to 2 feet, with mentions it could be more than that.

But once the Friday 11 p.m. newscast was over, you had to wait the entire way till the Saturday 6 p.m. newscast to get much info, beside the weather channel. And, if you missed the Saturday news for whatever reason, you would have thought the forecast was a huge bust when you woke up Sunday...

Ever since March 2001, has any storm been hyped as much as that one, around the DC Baltimore area?

In other words, were PDII, 12/19, or Snowmageddon hyped as much prior to the storm as March 2001, or did the local media permanently tone everything down?

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Some other notable busts: 1) early March 94 storm - a couple days out this was forecast to produce 1-2 feet in the Boston area but ended up giving less than 6 inches with a change to rain. 2) Dec 30, 2000 storm. Another bust for E Mass. a couple days out 20-30 inches was forecast and right up until the day of it looked like at least 3-6 inches or more. Instead it was ALL rain right along the MA coast with areas to the west getting hammered. I remember going out that evening and they still had all the flashing blue lights on in my town for a snow emergency despite it being 35 degrees and pouring rain. I remember seeing cars driving in from the west on 110 though and that they were snow covered! just a couple degrees and a couple miles off. Like I said in the other recent post, I think in a lot of these cases the experienced mets at least cover themselves when they know there is bust potential by using words like "possible" accumulation or "potential storm" when its 48 hours out. the public doesn't get it though....

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Ever since March 2001, has any storm been hyped as much as that one, around the DC Baltimore area?

In other words, were PDII, 12/19, or Snowmageddon hyped as much prior to the storm as March 2001, or did the local media permanently tone everything down?

Going off vague memory: PDII wasn't really hyped cause it seemed like it sort of snuck up on the TV mets. It happened on Sunday as well. I remember even the Friday before they were going with forecasts of like 6 to 10 or so. It wasn't till the storm was on our door step where forecasts raised to 1 to 2 feet or more from what I remember.

Dec. 19 also didn't really fully take shape on the models for here till like 48 hours before-hand. Once it did, however, there was a fair amount of hype.

And the Feb. 6 snowmaggeden was certainly hyped. But many people now get their weather info from the Internet or other sources so the TV mets can now be somewhat marginalized when a big storm is approaching.

If you ask me, some DC METS downplayed Feb. 6 a little too much until it was clear looking at the radar it wasn't going to be a miss.

Most on this board could tell 4 or 5 days out it was going to be a huge storm with up to 2 feet possible -- even national weather service issued a watch like 3 days ahead of time - but the TV mets here were a tad more cautious. Still, by about Wednesday for a storm starting on Friday, everyone in town knew the big one was coming.

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Going off vague memory: PDII wasn't really hyped cause it seemed like it sort of snuck up on the TV mets. It happened on Sunday as well. I remember even the Friday before they were going with forecasts of like 6 to 10 or so. It wasn't till the storm was on our door step where forecasts raised to 1 to 2 feet or more from what I remember.

Dec. 19 also didn't really fully take shape on the models for here till like 48 hours before-hand. Once it did, however, there was a fair amount of hype.

And the Feb. 6 snowmaggeden was certainly hyped. But many people now get their weather info from the Internet or other sources so the TV mets can now be somewhat marginalized when a big storm is approaching.

If you ask me, some DC METS downplayed Feb. 6 a little too much until it was clear looking at the radar it wasn't going to be a miss.

Most on this board could tell 4 or 5 days out it was going to be a huge storm with up to 2 feet possible -- even national weather service issued a watch like 3 days ahead of time - but the TV mets here were a tad more cautious. Still, by about Wednesday for a storm starting on Friday, everyone in town knew the big one was coming.

Yeah, it seems like none of these examples were hyped in the media 5 days out as the STORM OF THE CENTURY or any of that crap. Therefore March 2001 probably had a permanent impact in the way that huge storms are presented to the public.

As for Snowmageddon, based on what I recall, a lot of TV mets seemed to be modest until the day before the storm, calling for about a foot of snow or merely "significant snow". Then around Thursday or Friday many of them finally concluded that this was another historic event.

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Remember those archaic weather chat rooms back then, haha. Just kept creeping north and north. Historic storm here in ENY, although due to NYC getting hosed, usually thought of as just a New England storm. I had close to two feet NW of Albany at the time. Storm started off a little slow, then we got stuck under a few very heavy bands of snow late evening and night. Rather long duration storm. Was actually surprised wind was less of a factor than anticiapted, at least out here...closer to the coast had strong winds. Most surreal aspect was national media talking as if the storm never happened while roads were near impassable near NYS' capital region.

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Here is my detailed recount of the March 4-6, 2001debacle.

There's a lot of "stories" behind it. First off, almost all guidance was going for a monster Mid-Atlantic HECS about 96-108 hours out. Back then the time range beyond 96h meant very little...but models actually did have it further out than that. Only a few model went further. The UKMET, ECMWF and the MRF (the extension of the AVN which is now the GFS all in one package) all called for it. By the time we got to 84 hours out, all models showed it still...basically 2-4 feet for DC-NYC with Boston getting fringed....except the old ETA-x....the old ETA went to 60 hours, but the "ETA-x" was the ETA to 84h which eventually became the NAM (run under the ETA) to 84 hours but is now run under the WRF and not the ETA anymore...ETA has been retired from operational use, only used in the SREF now. That run of the ETA-x had the storm much further north and crushing New England while limiting the snow in the Mid-Atlantic. I believe this was Friday at 12z. Nobody took it seriously as it was the ETA extended beyond its already 60h limit.

The next run at 00z Friday night, the ETA-x showed it again, but the other models held serve....the ECMWF didn't run at 00z back then...only at 12z, so its solution was non-existent. It was the best model back then too like recent years. We were now at 72h out or closer. The 12z runs came out on Saturday morning and they shifted north, limiting the snow for DC (probably from 2-3 feet to about 1-2 feet), but from Wilmington DE northward it was still monstrous except the UKMET shifted slightly north of that, to Philly and northward.

A little side note. The AVN had performed absolutely brilliantly in the other big east coast storm on December 30, 2000 and also on the December 3, 2000 North Carolina/Virginia bust. The ETA hadbeen way too bullish and far west in both events while the AVN schooled it. So a lot of attention and credence was being given the AVN. That was a big factor in the forecast IMHO.

After those Saturday morning runs at 12z (while the ETA showed a huge hit north again at 48-60h now in the operational run)...the forecast was still for a monster M.A. hit. The 12z ECMWF wouldn't come out until around 8pm that evening. It used to come around at that time back then. As 8pm rolled around, the ECMWF all of the sudden jumped way north and agreed with the ETA solution. But most forecasters disregarded it as it had been pretty steadfast before (maybe a burp run?) and the AVN was holding really steady and it had done so well on East Coast storms that winter. By Saturday night, the GGEM started to go north, the AVN held serve once again (having been the model of choice all winter), the ETA went north again taking Philly and nearly NYC out of the huge snow and hammering New England/Boston with a storm like Feb 1978. UKMET I don't recall what happened, but I know the forecast stuck close to the AVN.

Again there was no 00z ECMWF run back then. Only 12z.

By 12z Sunday morning just 24h before the event, the AVN once again gave a monster hit to the mid-atlantic except it shifted a bit north...it was mostly Philly northward. The ETA gave New England a huge HECS again, the GGEM finally went well north...and so did the UKMET. The ECMWF would have to wait until 8pm as usual. Most forecaster were trusting the AVN because it had served them well that winter after the obscene ETA busts and the AVN had nailed two major east coast storms.

When 8pm came in, the writing was on the wall if there was any doubt left. It was way north and took Philly and possibly even NYC out fo the big snows, though NYC was still on the line.

The forecasts started being revived when the 00z AVN came in late that Sunday night and it finally jumped north, but still not far enough....it still gave big snows to Philly (but not historic totals) and historic totals to NYC. I think this is when most operational forecasters knew something was terribly wrong. You have to remember it was so hard to trust any model that winter and the AVN was the best until that point.

That was the first storm that I recall Dave Tolleris (whether you like him or not) came up with the old "EE rule"...when the ETA and ECMWF (both start with "E") agree, you don't go against them. I was lurking on ne.weather back then. When the EC came north to agree with the ETA back on Saturday, he said the M.A. was cooked and got a lot of crap for it on the boards as you can imagine.

That's just my personal recollection of all of that storm. I don't claim for all of it to be 100% accurate, but I usually remember things very vividly, so I think at least most of it is right. There was a lot of controversy and talk amongst the weather people both on ne.weather and the NWS back then. It ended up being a huge interior New England and NY State HECS. Even the models at the last second kind of busted at Boston...only getting 10" while they were forecasted for double that...but the suburbs got all the snow.

Very incredible storm both from a forecasting standpoint and also as a student observer back then when I first learning a lot of the intricacies of forecasting and models.

 

 

Awesome write-up. I've been working on making archived AVN and ETA plots for this event since last night and so far have this:

 

http://synoptic.envsci.rutgers.edu/dougsimo/indexcasestudies.html

 

Your writeup helped me a lot with which runs to choose. I'm going to add more ETA runs and hopefully see if I can get 12-hour precip data for 60 and 72 hours on the AVN since I don't have data for 54 and 66 hours (not sure the AVN had those hours anyway). 

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Very good event up here, but nothing over the top.

I received about 18-20"....with some sleet and rain to start.

 

I'll never forget the famous ADG from Walt Drag when I had arrived home from work that Sunday evening.

Headline: "SEVERE WINTER STORM REACHING OF EXCEEDING THE BLIZZARD OF 1978"

 

I remember that they were pinning the heaviest axis on a line from about KBEV-KHFD...citing anticipated drifts of around 10'.

So, you understand why a very major snowfall had seemed a bit more pedestrian relative to what we were ready for.

 

The heaviest actually verified about 40-so miles to the north of that...im se NH, where there were totals on the order of 36-40", but nowhere were the winds as intense as anticipated because the system's phase was imperfect.

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I'll never forget Al Roker's snowmap a couple of days before the "so called" event. He had the eastern half of jersey along with NYC metro and Long Island at 2-3 feet. Everywhere west of Morristown was 3-4 feet! I ended up with a few paltry inches. What a bust of a storm! Still irks me to this day.

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Awesome write-up. I've been working on making archived AVN and ETA plots for this event since last night and so far have this:

 

http://synoptic.envsci.rutgers.edu/dougsimo/indexcasestudies.html

 

Your writeup helped me a lot with which runs to choose. I'm going to add more ETA runs and hopefully see if I can get 12-hour precip data for 60 and 72 hours on the AVN since I don't have data for 54 and 66 hours (not sure the AVN had those hours anyway). 

 

Nice archive there. Glad the model runs reflected my memory well, lol.

 

You can see how far north the ETA was compared to the AVN on Saturday night.

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The 1st low would have been a big hit for the mid atlantic had the 2nd low not been in the way.

The 2nd low would have been a big hit for the mid atlantic had the 1st low not been in the way.

 

I also can't think of another time that the heaviest snowfall axis was so far displaced from the track of the 500mb low. The 500mb low tracked over Norfolk, VA while  Vermont was getting the heaviest snow. The 2/10/2010 500mb low tracked further north nd gave Baltimore 20".

 

Nice job DSN btw.

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Nice archive there. Glad the model runs reflected my memory well, lol.

 

You can see how far north the ETA was compared to the AVN on Saturday night.

 

 

The 1st low would have been a big hit for the mid atlantic had the 2nd low not been in the way.

The 2nd low would have been a big hit for the mid atlantic had the 1st low not been in the way.

 

I also can't think of another time that the heaviest snowfall axis was so far displaced from the track of the 500mb low. The 500mb low tracked over Norfolk, VA while  Vermont was getting the heaviest snow. The 2/10/2010 500mb low tracked further north nd gave Baltimore 20".

 

Nice job DSN btw.

 

 

Thanks! I have more ETA data that I will be adding shortly. It amazed me that the AVN was STILL as far south as it was as late as 12z March 4th, considering how much the ETA had already jumped. Unfortunately, I don't have any MRF data, which would've been really cool for the 00z March 3rd run that I just added. I think as Chris said a few years ago, the best forcing was further north with the phasing PV lobe, as that was where the better dynamics were, and as that phase trended north and sloppier, a still somewhat south track of the 500mb low wasn't enough to take the forcing and explosive cyclogenesis with it, like it had on previous runs.

 

I still wish this verified :lol:

 

http://synoptic.envsci.rutgers.edu/dougsimo/1march2001preciptest060.gif

 

1march2001preciptest060.gif

 

http://synoptic.envsci.rutgers.edu/dougsimo/1march2001500mbtest060.gif

 

1march2001500mbtest060.gif

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Thanks! I have more ETA data that I will be adding shortly. It amazed me that the AVN was STILL as far south as it was as late as 12z March 4th, considering how much the ETA had already jumped. Unfortunately, I don't have any MRF data, which would've been really cool for the 00z March 3rd run that I just added. I think as Chris said a few years ago, the best forcing was further north with the phasing PV lobe, as that was where the better dynamics were, and as that phase trended north and sloppier, a still somewhat south track of the 500mb low wasn't enough to take the forcing and explosive cyclogenesis with it, like it had on previous runs.

 

I still wish this verified :lol:

 

http://synoptic.envsci.rutgers.edu/dougsimo/1march2001preciptest060.gif

 

1march2001preciptest060.gif

 

http://synoptic.envsci.rutgers.edu/dougsimo/1march2001500mbtest060.gif

 

1march2001500mbtest060.gif

You can clearly see the AVN was just too quick dropping in the northern stream down and trended slower every run.   Slow low in the lakes= bad news for I95.

 

post-673-0-15852200-1448501411_thumb.gif

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Y

 

You can clearly see the AVN was just too quick dropping in the northern stream down and trended slower every run.   Slow low in the lakes= bad news for I95.

 

attachicon.gifmarch2001avn500.gif

I recall it being explained right after the event that a northern s/w in the Hudson Bay/Greenland area was late to the party.  Your post depicts that well.

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My forecast was for 2-3 feet of snow, even in that morning. All the schools were closed the day of the storm. I was really excited to see a big blizzard. The storm started off with temps in the upper 30s with drizzle and it stayed like that for a while. I knew something was because the changeover was supposed to be quick, not take its time. The changeover did occur but not until the night time . I only received 5 inches of snow out of this storm instead of 2-3 feet.

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Don't forget there was not nearly as much nowcasting available to most back then. Was the Internet even widely used back in 2001. Maybe barely, but don't think it was even close to being in every home, and certainly not many had high speed.

I remember in Baltimore/Washington, if I recall correctly, the storm was suppose to start Sunday. On Friday, there was mega media hype on Friday afternoon/evening newscasts. I distinctly remember them talking about a storm that was going to stall basically south of Long Island and then retrograde back to the South. I think the forecast was for 1 to 2 feet, with mentions it could be more than that.

But once the Friday 11 p.m. newscast was over, you had to wait the entire way till the Saturday 6 p.m. newscast to get much info, beside the weather channel. And, if you missed the Saturday news for whatever reason, you would have thought the forecast was a huge bust when you woke up Sunday...

 

 

A number of people who helped create this place was around then on a forum called WWBB. I joined that place ( browsed it for a few months prior ) right after this bust. A couple of days leading up to it they were saying 1-2 feet at the DE coast ( Delmarva-where i lived at the time ) with blizzard conditions and started to back off the day of but never did back off enough. I remember watching the radar as the precip developed over the ocean/Delmarva and i knew it was gonna bust. Got about 2 inches or so?

 

This one never really bothered me like March 93 did which was a huge bust there at the coast.

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what was forecasted at the coast for 93 and what did you get?  AFAIK, that storm was always expected to go inland from the coast.

 

 

Was expected to go off of Hattaras and keep it mostly snow from about the DE/MD line north on the Delmarva. Even had blizzard watches and warnings ( expectations was for around 2 feet with some calls as high as 3 feet ) up till it arrived but were quickly replaced/downgraded to winter storm warnings and even winter weather advisories at the beaches. Got a couple on the front end and about 6 on the back side. Temps cracked 60 and if i recall right we even ended up with a tornado watch? Surface low tracked right across the mid part of the Delmarva and off the DE coast i do believe?

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