Another Storm Brewing-- A Pattern Perhaps?

There is a risk of showers arriving later today, lasting into early Sunday, but another strong system continues to gather prominence for early next week.

Good Saturday morning everyone!

It certainly was a cold one in the valley this morning-- hopefully we didn't have too many issues of melt-water freezing. It shouldn't be long past sunrise when we thaw out again. The high pressure area that quickly edged in last night will continue to move southeastward, allowing some showers out to the west to get closer. You can track these on the maps below. For those headed to the football games or to Civil War Days (in Guyandotte), it's the second-half of the day that will see these showers make it to the tri-state. Relatively pleasant and cool weather sticks around until then. Here's the breakdown on the high-resolution NAM product:

NAM - Simulated Radar - Saturday 3pm NAM - Simulated Radar - Sunday 4am

Not a big deal... but can be annoying if you're still working on that huge pile of leaves when a few rain drops begin to fall. These showers will be scraping the southern parts of the area. That could affect folks at the Marshall game, though its much better that they have one of their earliest starts this season. Anyone traveling up through the mountains should be happy to know that we're not going to be worried about snow this time around.

The Next Storm...

Following Superstorm Sandy a.k.a. "Frankenstorm", the civilized world has gotten their antennae finely tuned toward any potential low pressure development along the east coast-- particularly when it shows up on the hallowed European model. We've got another situation brewing next week, though it at least doesn't have a hurricane to capture. Here's a look at where the models represent it when things really start to get going:

GFS - Wednesday Night CMC - Wednesday Night ECMWF - Thursday Night

Note that the NAM isn't used here because it's higher resolution modeling does not go out this far in time-- we don't yet have the super-computing capacity dedicated to such a monstrous undertaking. Even as it is, the Euro has some 30 countries supporting the huge complex of supercomputers that take more than 6 hours to crank out a forecast every 12 hours. Anyway, though each one is showing a decent storm, they are all doing so in slightly different ways (and somewhat different arrival times to New England). They all show that they're leaving the tri-state area alone, except for some continued cooler than normal weather. Your eyes may be drawn to the CMC model more than the other two, as it has the best representation of a snow event (that dashed red line indicating the ballpark rain/snow line in an average winter-time storm). However, the CMC (Canadian) model is often the one I typically like the least, particularly when it disagrees with the other two. Here are their storm track projections (where the lowest pressure point will be traveling):

Model Storm Tracks -- Tuesday - Friday

All three of these tracks are great for getting good snowfall-- if only it were winter. For New England, this would primarily indicate an inland snow event, though the CMC's loop-de-loop would certainly make it interesting. However, it is not winter, so it would take something like a hurricane circulation to force the air into compliance with greater vertical velocities and cold air advection (we've certainly now seen how that can happen). The GFS and ECMWF are both pointing toward "meteorologically common" results, so that's the way we should go. However, it should be noted that this is going to be another windy stormy nor'easter-- and perhaps something that will become more common for us this season compared to last.

Emerging Storm Track Pattern..?

As many of you have been asking for, we have been at work (in the background) on our Winter Weather Preview, set to air as it does traditionally on Thanksgiving Day. There are several elements to a good winter forecast, but all of them are challenging. One of the tricks is to see if we can identify some common storm track patterns that will be delivered to us with the help of the jet stream and variations in ocean circulations. Now that winter has done us a favor and started early this year, that picture may not be as hazy as it has been in other years. Let's go back to the GFS model for this approaching storm, and look at it at the upper levels:

GFS - 500mb Chart - Sunday GFS - 500mb Chart - Tuesday

It looks like these days that we're able to stitch together a 1-2 punch of shortwaves to amplify developing mid-level troughs. This particular event shows an even deeper plunge than the last time, though it has no Atlantic Hurricane to capture-- it's got to work on it's own. This is a more common scenario in winter meteorology though, so it happens all the time. This deep plunge/southern track is a great "blockbuster" storm generator, as well as ones that can create those loop de loops that can keep them in place for as much as a day longer (note the "blocking high" on the ECMWF map for this upcoming storm). For the tri-state area, it also is one that runs the risk of actually missing us too far south, and too far east, but the WV mountains have always managed to get a piece of the pie in these cases. Time will tell. It's still quite early, and the coldest air is still up north. But we've already seen 20 and 30-degree below normal temperatures during storm events. It won't be long now until that will put the whole region below freezing.

These are the kinds of things we think about when devising a Winter Weather Seasonal forecast. I'll try to post more specific thoughts here and there as we build toward our on-air presentation.

Regional Radar/Satellite with Warnings Tracking

Accuweather Radar

From the Storm Prediction Center (below): Click For a Larger Image

Activity Overview Storm Outlook Watches Potential Watches Storm Reports
Temperatures HD Doppler Radar Estimated Rainfall Active Warnings
Current Temperatures HD Doppler Radar Estimated Rainfall Active NWS Warnings
Click For Larger Click For Interactive Radar Click For Larger Click For Larger

Have a great day everyone!

-B

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