Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Weekend snowstorm, a look at details

Bernie Rayno, meteorologist, made a great point about model projections leaving out a typical New England High which feeds cold air into east coast snowstorms.  This ECMWF projection for Monday morning at 6AM illustrates what may or may not be a key missing component.  I used this one because it has consistently projected a serious storm!
The Cold Air Source is due west of the projected storm.
Next I used Plymouth State Weather Center's tool which recreates weather maps from past dates.  The legendary 20 inch RDU snowstorm of Jan 24-26, 2000 has key similarities to what the ECMWF has been predicting as the end result for the upcoming weekend.  Note the position of the cold air source and other features.
Cold air source in the Midwest and Newfoundland low are near the same.
While this is no guarantee that the worst case scenario will be the final verdict it is important to know that this kind of storm HAS been observed.  In this case the rapid deepening of the low generated it's own cold air through decompression and convection thus leading to high winds and near blizzard conditions.

I do believe that 4"+ (Winter Storm) amounts are very likely.  Further updates will be posted as the storm traverses the country.

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