March Madness and Fairy Tales!

The first 15 days of March can be crazy, and not just because men’s basketball starts to get crazy, but because it’s a transition period between winter and spring. Meteorologically speaking, winter is from December 1st – March 1st, however, winter officially ends on the 21st of March, and just like a pesky 15 seed in the NCAA tourney the cold air of winter will try and stick around. The peskiness of the 15 seed (i.e. winter’s cold air) will push around the 2 seed (spring’s warmth) but usually, the 2 seed wakes up and crushes the 15 seed with it superior talent. In this case the 2 seed’s superior talent is the tendency for warm air to be stronger and more persistent, making snow more difficult to develop. Even if the 15 seed keeps it close down to the end (let’s say a spring snow), clutch free throws by the 2 seed (higher spring sun angles that melt snow) almost always ice the game.

Every once in awhile though, a 15 seed has enough talent, and an irrational level of confidence to bust a bracket. Everything clicks, threes fall, monster dunks are thrown down, and by the end of the game the arena goes crazy because a 2 seed went down.

On Monday I think a 2 seed is going down, and going down hard. In this case the #2 (warm air) never wakes up and gets bounced out by the #15.

Our cold air is Florida Gulf Coast last year against Georgetown. You probably noticed that’s it’s painfully cold outside today due to another strong shot of arctic air.  That arctic air is strong enough that it’s going to stay entrenched over the weekend. Meanwhile a massive storm heading into California, which is much needed, and will track east. That storm engulf the Rockies and bring the Vail area well over 16″ of snow (wish I was there) through Sunday morning. As the system exits the Rockies it will pick up a lot of warm and moisture laden air from the Gulf of Mexico. What happens next is like a fairy tale!

In  situations like this the cold air is a lot like Goldilocks. Too Strong, and it pushes in to much cold air and the big moisture stays south. Too Weak, and we get a bunch of ice/rain. Juuuust Right, and you get a lot of moisture mixed with cold air, which equals major snowstorm!

At this point, I think NYC and all of NJ, except AC, is in the Juuuust Right zone, and have a good chance at seeing 12″ of snow! Areas in NY and CT north of 84 will see all snow, but less of it than areas south of 84. The further north of 84 you go the more you are in the Too Strong zone.

Extreme northern MD/VA should see all snow but are close to the Too weak zone! Most other areas in and around DC are in the Too Weak zone and will see ice, rain, and a change to snow at the tail end of the storm.

I will continue to watch the strength of the cold air, and make adjustments as necessary. However, I will be skiing tomorrow so don’t expect too much! Oh, and after we get  the snow, it’s sticking around becuase it will remain unseasonable cold for a few days.

Snow Totals:
NYC and all of NJ (minus AC): 6-12″
NY/CT suburbs south of 84: 6-12″
NY/CT suburbs north of 84: 5-10″

Extreme Northern VA (i.e. North and West of Dulles):  6-10″
Extreme Northern MD (Counties that Border PA): 6-10″
DC/Baltimore Metro: Ice/rain  then 1-3″ of snow.

Record Tracker:
Currently NYC sits at 57.3 inches of snow. With just 6″ of snow it will be the second snowiest season ever. 12.7″ will give New York its second season over 70″ of snow, and put us within striking distance of the 75.6″ total of 1995-96 winter.


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