Monday, January 17, 2011

Will it Snow on Friday?

There is some buzz about the potential for a late week snowstorm.  My title has a question mark on purpose because the method of storm delivery is not one that is frequently successful in dropping real snow.  While this winter is certainly not a stereotypical La Nina it does feature the phantom snowstorms and systems which explode in one area but skip another in its path which drive all of us NUTS!!!

IF some model output has merit then an area of low pressure will form along a cold front and move up the coast spreading snow to inland NC and potentially VA.  Here is GFS output from Plymouth State Weather Center.
A pretty decent 5-7" of Snow!
So how does this stack up with reality?  I have big concerns about either the quality of US Models and/or the data being entered into them.  How are we to know if the idea of a storm has merit?

Relative Atmospheric Angular Momentum in the Northern Hemisphere continues to favor high latitude blocking (green and blue) and a southern jet stream in the mid-latitudes (yellow).  Recently momentum has been on the rise particularly in our region's latitude.  This suggests that fronts and storm systems progress more rapidly west-to-east compared to points further north.
Source NOAA Earth Science Research Laboratory
The chart looks ominously like 2009-10!

   AAM is a reanalysis from 3 days ago.  Therefore we have no guarantee that momentum will still be rising late this week which would sweep the storm out to sea.  The European model (ECMWF) seems to believe the system will be much further east.
The low over Florida would move quickly east in this Scenario.
My conclusion is that the question of whether it is going to snow later this week will not be answered with much confidence tonight.

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