Thursday, January 20, 2011

Another round of winter weather

The last of the Jan. 10 snow and ice has melted finally, and now the weather computer models are predicting another bout of frozen precipitation early next week.

The various computer-generated forecasts used by meteorologists to predict the weather were pretty much in agreement leading up to the Jan. 10 storm, but that's not the case this time.

The next system falls pretty much in line with the typical Southern winter storm -- difficult to predict in advance.

The system is expected to form in the Gulf of Mexico this weekend and cross the Southeast, in some fashion, either Monday or Tuesday. Meanwhile, high pressure will build over New England, pumping cold air into the Carolinas.

And as all of you who have spent one or more winters in the Carolinas know, a Gulf storm and a New England high are the ingredients for problems.

But get a load of these varying predictions for the system:

GFS (Global) model ... It calls for a quick-hitting storm, with precipitation arriving Monday afternoon and leaving by early Tuesday morning. That would mean not a lot of precipitation, but the Global model sees most of it falling as snow, sleet and freezing rain.

ECMWF (European) model ... This forecast keeps the storm system pretty far off the Carolinas coast and predicts the New England high won't be quite as strong as some other forecasts. That means much of the precipitation would remain south and east of Charlotte, and temperatures might warm enough for rain to be a part of the mix.

GEM (Canadian) model ... This model predicts a longer-lasting storm, with precipitation falling into Tuesday, and with plenty of cold air.

All three models show some amount of snow, sleet or freezing rain for the Charlotte area, but there are big differences in how much falls, and when.

The major private meteorological companies are hedging their bets, understandably. Accu-Weather predicts rain and snow. The Weather Channel forecasts a light wintry mix Monday, changing to rain Tuesday.

Scott Krentz, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Greer, S.C., said it's not a case of picking one model and going with it every time.

"You weigh how the model has done recently, but you also have to factor in climatology and other issues," Krentz said. "There's a lot that goes into it."

Krentz didn't even want to hazard a guess as to what will happen next week. He says he's waiting for the models to reach some sort of consensus.

It could be the weekend, perhaps late in the weekend, before that happens.

That gives us lots of time to replenish the supplies of ice-melting compound, bread and milk.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good thing you used black clouds in your graphic, or Kojo would be picketing the Observer building.

Anonymous said...

It ain't gonna snow. Yeah it is. Sez who? This one guy sez. Yeah, but this other guy sez. But my guy's got a computer model thing. So, my grandmama sez it rained while the snow was still on the ground, so it'll snow again soon. Ah, your grandmama don't know nuthin'.

I love this stuff. And I hope it snows again big time.

Anonymous said...

Ok I live in the Hickory area and all I have to do is plan on a week out of town....cases in point : January 2010 went to Wyoming to snowmobile....10-12 inches here, Christmas Day...california first white Christmas in years ....8 or so inches (didn't see a flake fall as it started 15 minutes after I left.) Ok leaving Tuesday for Wyoming again. Get the "drift."

kantstanzya said...

The computer models are all different. We can't really determine if or how much snow we might get. The predicted temperatures vary enough so that we might get rain...or sleet...or snow. 'Krantz didn't even want to hazard a guess as to what will happen next week."

This is on Monday...four days from now.

But we can definitely use computer models to say definitively (settled science even!) that the temperatures will rise, the snow will melt, the ice caps will receed, the ocean will rise, species will become extinct, etc. etc.....50 years from now!

And if you even question that inevitability you are an "idiot".

Anonymous said...

Weather Channel says 40% chance light wintery mix on Tues...not monday...that is for Charlotte..they wont know anything til closer to the actual time it happens.

Anonymous said...

Everyone wear their pajamas inside out on Sunday night so we will get a long weekend!

Linnea said...

Dear Winter: You are dismissed. Please send Spring in your place, and take your wintry mix with you. Thank you and goodbye.

Anonymous said...

What do you mean, "the last of the Jan. 10 snow and ice has melted?" There are still some yards in Lincoln county that looked like it snowed yesterday! I'm praying the European model is right...keep it off the coast!!!!!

Anonymous said...

An we're supposed to think that anyone can predict with any accuracy a 1.5 degree Celsius rise in global temperatures 20 years from now?

Anonymous said...

am i the only former northerner who remembers being able to smell snow in the air before it actually snowed? i couldn't describe the smell anymore, but we all knew it when i was growing up in buffalo, and i have encountered it 2 or 3 times as an adult.

Anonymous said...

"am i the only former northerner who remembers being able to smell snow in the air before it actually snowed?"

You don't have to be a northerner for that. For me, the air has always had a distinctive smell and feel before a snow. The best way for me to describe it is that the air feels "heavier". The smell (if it really is a smell) is sort of like in summer when you can smell rain in the air, except it's a colder and fresher smell. It's sort of a humid smell, but since it's cold, the humidity doesn't bother you.

Anonymous said...

Everybody talks about the weather more in winter than the other seasons.I just hope Steve is fair and keeps talking about the weather and model forecasts this spring and summer and fall, especially when everyday is a repeat of the last one....

KMAL said...

That wasn't the smell of snow; it was the smell of Buffalo. Hahahahahaha! Just bustin on ya. I'm a former resident of Lake George, so I know too well the smell you speak of.

Anonymous said...

All the "weather men" meet at Shoney's each morning for breakfast, each one draws a forcast from a hat.

Anonymous said...

No one's talking about tonight / early tomorrow. My model (heehee) shows snow in the morning.

You heard it here first.

Anonymous said...

kantstanzya said...
The computer models are all different. We can't really determine if or how much snow we might get. The predicted temperatures vary enough so that we might get rain...or sleet...or snow. 'Krantz didn't even want to hazard a guess as to what will happen next week."

This is on Monday...four days from now.

But we can definitely use computer models to say definitively (settled science even!) that the temperatures will rise, the snow will melt, the ice caps will receed, the ocean will rise, species will become extinct, etc. etc.....50 years from now!

And if you even question that inevitability you are an "idiot".
~~~~~~

I spent 22 years in the Navy as a Weather Forecaster. I specialized in tropical weather. The 72 hour margin of error for typhoons/hurricanes was the same the day I started as it was the day I retired (1974-1996).

Our governor is worried that the Outer Banks will be gone a century from now.

Go figure.

Anonymous said...

i like european models, they're HOT!

Anonymous said...

The morning runs of GFS show a massive storm on Tuesday, 1"+ of liquid precip. 5 days out, I'm not going to get excited. GFS is notoriously wrong this far out...