Knights of the Vale

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Jon Snow was certainly going to die, again and painfully, and then he didn’t. The Battle of the Bastards was one of the most exciting and gut wrenching episodes of G.O.T.  Yesterday was the equivalent of that episode with predicting this storm.

Coastal storms go through model runs, after model runs, after model runs. As you get closer to the storm, the model runs become more reliable. At the beginning of the battle I was hopefully and thought not doubt Jon Snow will prevail, and then the arrow got Rickon and you got the feeling this isn’t going to go as I thought.

The Battle of the Bastards makes for a good analogy for this storm. Our Rickon moment came as the midday data started rolling in and the storm got weaker and none of them could agree on the track and intensity.  The real pain started when Wun Wun died in the battle and likewise the best model in the business, the Euro, at midday killed the storm almost entirely. The Ensemble Euro (the averages of multiple model runs) wasn’t as bad, but still provided cause for hope concern. At this point Ramsey and his crew of heathens had surrounded the storm and were ready to “kill” the potential for a massive east coast storm. At 6 PM Jon Snow was on his last breath, gasping for air…….and then BOOOOOOOOOM the Knights of the Vale has arrived.

Coastal storms are always tricky and often times there are a slew of runs that are confusing and force people to challenge what’s going to happen. Even more the case in the middle of March. These storms are tricky because everything depends on how fast they intensify, how much they intensify, and most importantly track. To far west and we get mixing and rain, to far east and we get a lot of cold, a lot of wind, but minimal snow.

At about 10:45 last night everything started to become clear again, and then at 1:30 our Knight of The Vale moment arrived. The Euro, and its ensemble, reverted back to what it had been saying for the last 5 days, the other models joined in the party and soon enough Sansa was feeding Ramsey to his own dogs.

Of course things can still change but confidence levels for a major blizzard are back up and the metro area should prepare.

What to Expect:

If you are camped inside your apartment make sure to tip your delivery people like kings because all day tuesday should be windy, snowy, and all around terrible. I’d expect city schools to be closed on Tuesday. If you live outside the 5 boroughs, or don’t have access to the subway, I’d expect to work from home on wednesday as transportation will be a mess.

NYC Metro, North and Western Suburbs:

Likely Snow Total: 12-18″
High End: 16-22″ (25% chance)
Low End: 8-12″ (25% chance)

South of Perth Amboy, East of the Garden State:
4-10″: Higher totals as you move west and North.

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Spring Tease…Winter’s Wrath

We all thought winter was over with near record setting warmth in February. I enjoyed two donut runs on my bike. Of course the mind wandered to sunny warm evening with my son, and grilling on the deck of our home. Ooooooooops. Instead we are basically Jon Snow. Winter died, came back to life, and now winter is coming.

March is often a hit or miss month with snow and storms, but because of the changing of seasons there are times wicked nor’easters will develop and pummel the east coast with snow. What’s unique about this storm is all of the weather models (big supercomputers that run a million simulations of what is going to happen) are in agreement, and have been for the last 3 days. Essentially this means the storm, like a Lannister will always pay its debt, but instead of gold we get a lot of snow!

The biggest unknown at this point is the track of the storm. The models are usually a great predictor, but with nor’easters a 20 mile difference can make all the difference.  In this case 20 miles more inland and rain will mix in. If it moves of the coast a little more we will still see big snow totals.

What to Expect:

The storm is going to move in the early hours of Tuesday, go all day and some snow on Wednesday. In the Metro area we should see 12-24 inches of snow. However for those in the coastal areas of NJ, south of Perth Amboy and east of the Garden State Parkway you will probably see much less as rain mixes in. In these coastal totals will be 3-10″. With totals increasing as you move away from the coast.

UPDATE #1:

I was a little over confident with my last forecast especially given it was 3 days out. What we know is a powerful storm is shaping up, what is very very uncertain now is track and intensity. Much like Jon Snow growing over confident in the battle of the bastards, the overconfidence can lead to dangerous decisions.

Confidence Levels:

4″+: 80%
8″+: 50%
12″+: 35%
18″+: 20%

A Roaring Comeback by Manning!

Well, sometimes Peyton does break through and wins.Most model are now in agreement that the northern cutoff of the heavy snow will make it up to New York City area, especially those areas in NJ south of 287. Areas even further south could see over 20″ of snow!

Why? Extremely warm ocean waters and weaker high pressure. Earlier in the week I touched on El Nino and the warm November and December it produced. As a result the of that warmth the Atlantic Ocean in the northeast is probably 2-3 degrees warm than it typically is which makes a huge difference in storms like this. With the cold air firmly in place, moisture laden energy, and warmer waters the storm can really bomb out and push high pressure away.

This is something all the models handled poorly with regard to the NYC metro area (The euro for this storm in the mid Atlantic has been spot on the entire way). The GFS and Canadian handled it correctly in the beginning but then went the euro route starting Tuesday. Only in the last “2 minutes of the game” 36-48 hours out did everything start coming back north.

So in a way this storm and the difficulties forecasting it for the NYC metro area resembled the AFC championship game in 2006 when Peyton some how rallied back after being 18 down.

Enjoy the snow everyone!

Forecast:

NYC Area #1: South of Nyack and North Cross County

NYC Area #2: South of Cross County Expressway/North of 287 in NJ/And the NJ Coast
12-18″

NYC Area #3: South of 287 and West of the garden state
16-20″

Timing:
Starts to arrive around 3 am then ramps up from there, before exiting sunday morning. Tip your delivery people or bar tenders generously!

Manning Is Struggeling

It’s the start of the 4th quarter and it looks like Manning is behaving like Manning. The other global weather models have started to come around to the Euro, and some of my earlier concerns about this storm being suppressed to the south are going by the wayside.

Why? Our friend high pressure is getting stronger and stronger, making it harder and harder for the storm to come up the coast. It’s still 48 hours or so away so it can change, but like usual, it looks like Manning loses to Brady. We won’t know conclusively until the 2 minute warning (i.e. 24 hours from now), but it’s not looking good for NYC.

Richmond to Baltimore: Buried as always been the case
NOTE: My friend Frank Hood notes that Baltimore stations have a 12-24″ spread. Reason being northern most suburbs up Baltimore could see some cutoff.

NYC Area: 4-8″
Snow will start here early Saturday morning

El Nino Style “Manning” Face

Hopefully everyone knows about El Nino and the massive impact its had on the East Coast winter that finally felt like it started this week. Basically, the waters off the equatorial pacific waters are well above average (some of the highest anomalies on record!).  Good for west coast skiing, terrible for East coast winters due to the lack of cold air. During Strong El Nino years, the east coast typically sees above average precip, but above average temps, thus a lot of rain.

Sometimes though the east coast will have cold air in place, and because of the train of storms that comes across the western mountains, down into the gulf, and then up the east coast during El Nino winters, a big, bad, burley monster of a snow storm can erupt and puke snow.

If you are reading this and live in the Richmond to Baltimore corridor, you are in for a big snow event (maybe even a record setter in Richmond). For me, and my other readers, in the tri state area, we could get 10-16″, or a nuance 4″. Why?

These storms are always tricky (if you live in the baltimore dc area you can skip this part you are safely in a 20-30″ type snow scenario) and depend on track. Forecasting these storms requires looking at a lot of different sources of data (weather models), reading information about past performance, and reading what others who are waaay smarter than me, and then adding my own thought process into the forecast. When all of the models agree (which happens) writing a post becomes easy. When they don’t agree it can become a lot harder because one model for winter weather is post season Tom Brady (almost always an MVP), and the others are post season Peyton (almost always worthless).

The “Tom Brady” model, or the Euro, is very very good at what it does and rarely misses. The “Peyton” models are the American GFS and the Canadian GEM. For this storm the GFS and GEM are saying the NYC area is in line for a major storm, and the Euro has the NYC area in the dinky nuance snow. How fitting the weekend Brady and Manning play each other, these models are going against each other. Of course Peyton could win, but no one who follows football outside of Denver believes he will. Tom Brady will probably mop up and win another ring. In our case with the weather, I’m betting our Tom Brady secures another victory.

So if you love snow get on a train tomorrow and go down to DC, just like if you wanted to build a franchise to go to the Super Bowl now, you’d probably start with Tom Brady. Otherwise New York probably gets an El Nino style Manning Face!

NYC Area (North and West):
Tom Brady Wins:
2-5″ Everywhere NW of the city, with the highest totals in the immediate NYC area
5-9″ Everywhere South of Perth Amboy

Peyton Wins:
12-18″ Everywhere in NYC and south
8-12″ Areas north and west of NYC

Baltimore/DC Area:
Tom Brady Wins: 12-24″ increasing as you go south of I-95 exit 67 in Whitemarsh MD
Peyton Wins: 18-24 everywhere

 

 

 

 

 

Tyrod Taylor of a Storm!

The Setup

Those of you reading this who know me know that I a couple months ago I finally got a bike, so my interest in the weather is no longer just for seeking delicious pow in the winter. You also know that there are times when something major comes up (Irene/Sandy) I’ll blog about it too. I’d be making this post regardless, buuuuuut the looming storm washes out most of my ability to ride this week and it is a very interesting meteorological event that could unfold in part because of El Nino.

While I haven’t blogged about the major El Nino, if you’ve spent anytime with me you’ve undoubtedly discuss while muttering curse words under my breath for the crappy ski season it’s going to produce on the east coast (luckily I have an epic pass so it may not matter). The reason we have had almost no rain this summer is due to the fact the El Niño has created a huge and very northerly ridge that allows Atlantic based high pressure (warmer air) to build up and “block” out the cooler arctic high pressure (cold air) and keep moisture to the south west–similar to a great left tackle and an NFL RB picking up a blitz. These same meteorological features (the ridge and Atlantic high pressure) are why, despite it being nearly October, it still feels like late summer during the day. However, that about to change, even if it is just temporary.

Starting this evening a “blitz” of cold air will bull rush the left tackle and the RB won’t pick up the blitz (kinda like LeSean McCoy!). This will bring cool air based high pressure (ie Arctic air) and moisture along the boundary to the east coast. At the same time a tropical system will be developing off the coast of Georgia (warm tropical based system) which I will call Tyrod Taylor. So what happens? Shady misses the blitzer (cold air and moisture) and we get rain and cold air later tonight and tomorrow. Unluckily for weekend plans, a tropical system will act similar to a nimble QB and step through his blockers and into the gap and then the chaos ensues!

Because the “blitzing” cold air will push the Atlantic high (warmer air) to the Northwest, the tropical system can step into the gap left behind–for our tropical system this means moving slightly up the coast to where it will run into the colder arctic high and the associated moisture along the boundary. When a warm tropical system, meets a cold arctic system, monster nor’easters usually develop overnight, thus the seemingly overnight and ridiculous success of Tyrod Taylor is a perfect analogy to what is likely to happen over the coming days.

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Tyrod Taylor came out of nowhere this season and has emerged as a fantasy beast. This Nor’easter , like Tyrod Taylor has come out of now where is will be looking reek havoc on any plans for the next 5-6 days!

The Forecast

On Thursday are warm tropical low pressure systems will meet cold air, and the associated low pressure at the boundary of the arctic air. The two low pressure systems will morph into a beast of a Nor’easter overnight. However, this won’t be a typical nor’easter.

Normally when a Nor’easter develops they will go through rapid intensification and move up the coast in an orderly fashion producing moisture (either snow or rain) and wind for 18-30 hours depending on the size and the speed it travels, but because of the strong El Nino, this Nor’easter won’t be orderly.

The big Atlantic high pressure block (warmer air) that’s given us the warmer than average weather thanks to El Nino will be pushed off to the northwest, but will remain very strong. The northwest push, and the strength of the Atlantic high means the Nor’easter can’t travel up the coast. Instead we get a Nor’easter that will park along the coast and spin. When Nor’easters stall there is a dramatic increase in the moisture that falls.

The first event (tonight through tomorrow) I have all confidence in and  it should deliver between 1.25″ – 1.75″ of rain starting tonight into early Thursday. Thursday during the day there may be periods of on again/off again light rain/drizzle. Starting early Friday through sometime Monday is where the NYC will receive a profuse amount of rain via the Nor’easter. Given what the setup entails for Friday-Monday (where both high pressure systems end up sitting, and where the tropical low develops) there is still some variability in the forecast, but my confidence is growing that we could see anywhere between 3-5 inches of rain from the Nor’easter. That could mean NYC sees upwards 6.5″ of rain making in a very very wet storm and one that inevitably screws up the NYC MTA system!

Booooooyah! Winter is Back!

Booooooyah! As the late, great Stuart Scott would have said, winter made an enthusiastic comeback today! In less than 24 hours, temperatures have dropped from near 60 to about 30 degrees. Like everyone else it seems like Old Man Winter has decided to makes his way back to work, and he will be hard at work at that. Temperatures will be below average all week, and through the weekend.

Tonight, into tomorrow morning, we will also see a quick shot of snow via an Alberta Clipper. Alberta Clippers are typical this time in winter and often follow a shift in the jet stream–like we saw the last 36 hours–that usher in a lot of cold air to the eastern part of the country.

Get used to bundling up over the next week!

Snow Totals:
Greater NY Metro Area: 1-2″
Greater Wash/Baltimore Area: 1-3″