Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Latest forecasts ... whiter than ever

The latest computer model runs -- from midday -- are in, and they continue to paint a snowy picture in the Charlotte area and elsewhere across the Carolinas for the second half of Christmas Day.

The newest trend is for a low pressure system to strengthen very rapidly off the Carolinas coast and deliver a blizzard from Virginia northward.

Under this scenario, we wouldn't escape in the Charlotte area.

Before we go any farther, let's introduce a new wrinkle -- the timing of the storm. If it should arrive fairly late Saturday, temperatures might have climbed above freezing. That means the first few hours of precipitation could fall as rain, before a changeover to snow in the evening. And that would limit the accumulations somewhat.

The Global (GFS) and Canadian computer models' latest runs continue to show limited precipitation for Charlotte, which means light snow accumulations (a few inches, at most).

The latest run of the European computer model shows up to a foot of snow falling in Charlotte and even more in the Raleigh-Durham area. North of there, they could be measuring snow in feet, and they'd have howling winds of 40 mph and stronger to deal with.

All of this is 72 or more hours away, and you know how this winter forecasting business goes. A lot can change between now and then.

But the computer models, which are based on the science of meteorology (including weather history), seem to paint a picture of a major snowstorm affecting the eastern United States.

Let me thank my brother Michael, who's much more the scientist than I am, for his help in this. But here's a very preliminary look at what could happen this weekend:

In Charlotte: Christmas Eve would be dry, and it would still be dry when you awake Christmas morning. Snow would move into the area sometime between midday and mid-afternoon, and it would continue into Sunday morning. Accumulations could be heavy.

In Raleigh: Precipitation might begin as rain early Saturday afternoon, but it would change quickly to snow. The latest European model shows more than a foot of snow in the Triangle area. Much of eastern North Carolina would be affected.

Columbia: It'll be a rain-snow mix, but temperatures would be cold enough Saturday night and early Sunday for some snow accumulations.

Myrtle Beach: The picture is that of a rainstorm, with temperatures near freezing and strong winds.

Atlanta: Some snow, but it's too early to tell how much might accumulate. The rain-snow line could be close to the Atlanta area.

More to come. Stay tuned.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

“Sex is like snow, you never know how many inches you're going to get or how long it will last”

Anonymous said...

Nice one anon 3:00.

J said...

The Weather Channel is stubbornly sticking to its forecast of rain on Saturday and a "snow shower" on Sunday.

I'm getting a queasy feeling in my gizzard that the European model is actually calculating feelings of those wanting snow into their equations. Why is their prediction so much more dire than the other models?

I'm still holding out hope for a 6-inch snowfall, but given that my 'hood has received a grand total of aobout 6 inches in the last 6 years, I'll be happy with anything over 2.5...

Anita said...

Steve--Are you giving more credence to the European models than the ones that show the storm starting as rain in Charlotte with little accumulation. Why? Are they more accurate? Different models!? Are the European models more exciting!?

Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

Have you heard anything about the Iredell County area getting snow?

Anonymous said...

In the words of the Decider, bring it on.

Anonymous said...

This is going to be monumental, or a complete strikeout. Not all models are forecasting a big snow.

Anonymous said...

Oh boy oh boy, if this forecast really does come true, it will 'fun' driving home.

A snowbird from Maryland.

ThaQueenCity said...

I hope we gets LOTS of snow!!!!

Anonymous said...

Latest GFS run looks good. It looks to be a later afternoon storm.

weather said...

weather forecast from GFS, with snow maps

snow rain maps

Anonymous said...

Looks like it's going to be cold enough, but I'm not sure how much we're going to get. Models are pointing at a coastal storm which would give places like Raleigh and Richmond a nice blanket of snow. We'll probably get a few inches (maybe) but we won't be the big winners.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure the Managers at all the grocery stores are smiling ear-to-ear right now. In the meantime, Channel 9 is gearing up to hijack the TV with their "exclusive" storm cam to show us a fuzzy scene of the salt-brine that doesn't do cr@p to the roads.

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