Saturday, February 5, 2011

Before the warm comes terrible cold and storm!

The buzz about the potential for a east coast winter storm has become a rumble.  After the Dec 26 computer model debacle I have kept a healthy scepticism as La Ninas often feature "phantom snowstorms" in projections. 

Deep snow and terrible cold from Mexico through the Great Lakes was last week's big story.  My friends in Chihuahua, MX received a rare snowfall which covered the roads and temperatures reaching -1 F and a Thursday high of only 23, 42 degrees below the 65 F average high!  New Mexico and South Texas were heavily impacted by similar cold which drained power and natural gas supplies to critical levels requiring rolling blackouts and gas pressure outages.  Imagine temperatures near 0 and no way to heat your home!  Power and gas outages also impacted northern Mexico in a similar fashion.

It appears that Old Man Winter is in a foul mood and is set to target the East with a POTENTIAL monster storm and another serious drainage of Arctic air.  The only good news that can come from such an extreme event is how the high pressure which pushes the dome of cold air into our region often stalls in the south and warms up!  My confidence is very high that the days around Valentine's Day will be warm ... the only threat to 60+ highs being reduced if heavy snow is included with the cold.

One of my key tools which correlates very well to dramatic weather is the daily Southern Oscillation Index (SOI).  In my opinion the 2 day crash to slight negative readings on Jan 26-27 which is both preceded and followed by much higher values is a big warning that the tropics plan to participate in the event. 

Here is a European Model forecast which IF CORRECT would lead to a serious winter storm for the entire east coast.  I have added some notes to the forecast.  As usual, the exact track of the storm means everything.  Whoever ends up in the snow zone will get buried. Local Meteorologist Allan Huffman commented today that extreme projections include a 1-2 foot snowstorm followed by low temperatures near 0.
A ECMWF Perfect Storm
The upcoming week will likely be very busy.  Please expect to have your hopes and fears really stretched by computer models which go back and forth with all kinds of storm and cold projections. 

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