Friday, January 21, 2011

Next week's storm could be a big mess

The emerging trends about the winter storm expected to impact the Charlotte region next week are that it will be big, and that it will produce a mix of precipitation.

As is typically the case, if you check with five meteorologists, you'll get five different forecasts. I'll try to touch on all those possibilities here.

We know the storm will form along the southern jet stream, over the Southwest or in the Gulf of Mexico, and move toward the Southeast. Another weaker storm system will dive southward from the Midwest along a northern jet stream, and the two will phase somewhere in the Southeast.

The result will be a pretty strong storm, which is expected to move up the East Coast and bring more misery to places like Philadelphia, New York City and Boston -- where this winter already has been plenty miserable.

Then again, our winter has been miserable in its own right. Next week's storm will add to that.

Brad Panovich, the chief meteorologist at our news partner WCNC-TV in Charlotte, mentioned that the storm could dump heavy snow somewhere in the western Carolinas. And with strong winds expected with the storm, conditions could seem almost like a blizzard.

Frank Strait, a meteorologist with Pennsylvania-based Accu-Weather, said early Friday morning that the computer models he examined pointed to more of a wet event for Charlotte -- rather than frozen precipitation. He doesn't expect the storm to reach maturation until after it passes the Piedmont area and begins moving up the coast.

"In the Piedmont ... it would start as snow, then go to ice, and to rain," said Strait, who, incidentally, is from Rock Hill and plans to drive down here Wednesday -- if the roads are passable.

As Strait noted, if the storm's center tracks a bit farther east than the models predicted, then slightly colder air could filter into the Charlotte area, and more of the precipitation would be snow, rather than rain.

Another meteorologist, Mike Dross, says the models indicate precipitation starting as snow, then changing to sleet or freezing rain east of Interstate 85. Dross, now based in Houston but formerly of Charlotte, says the storm could be "a blockbuster."

We'll keep watching the evolution of this storm system over the weekend.

21 comments:

Anita said...

Ack! The cool thing about this is the models and the probabilities and the "gut feel" of the meteorologists--and how it's all uncertain! I appreciate you saying recently that no one model is better. I was wondering.

thanks for the update!

Anonymous said...

Could this be the Blizzard of 1993 revisited?

Anonymous said...

"Then again, our winter has been miserable in its own right."

You must not go outside much in winter or when it snows. What's been so "miserable" about it? Oh, woe is us. Jeez, enough with the gloom, already. Stop complaining. What do you expect in winter time, sunshine and sixty degrees every day?

You should live in some places that have a real winter, and where they actually celebrate it with different types of winter festivals that everyone enjoys, instead of engendering panic and pre-snow depression every time the temperature drops below freezing and there's a hint of some sort of precipitation in the forecast.

Of course, since we don't have a real winter in Charlotte, it'd be stupid to plan any sort of outdoor winter festival thing, since it'll snow here one day and be fifty degrees and sunny the next day.

Wait'll July and August get here, with their ninety-plus degree days, 80% humidity, and squadrons of mosquitoes darkening the skies. Then you can whine...it'll make a nice counterpoint to the whine those skeeters make as they buzz around your ears.

Until then, give me a day like today any day I can get it.

Try getting outside more in winter. You might enjoy seeing and feeling things you can't in the good ol' summertime.

Anonymous said...

HYPE!

Anonymous said...

Must be Al Gore and his "global warming"

Anonymous said...

5 comments before the tin foil hat global warming is hoax type makes their entrance.

Andy said...

Global warming supporters say that this IS global warming (extreme hots and colds), but if we had a mild winter with no snow, they'd say THAT was due to global warming. So either way...they win! That's genius, yet, so idiotic at the same time.

KMAL said...

You cannot judge global warming or for that matter, global not-warming by a few hot summers or a few weeks of cold weather. Both sides who align themselves with the extremes are wrong. Truth is, climate changes. It always has and it always will, regardless of mankind's political stances. In the meantime, enjoy the snow if it comes, get off your butts and go sledding!

Anonymous said...

The left wing nut jobs want it both ways. They want to be able to blame every drought, hurricane, tornado and heat wave on global warming, or rather their new phrase of climate change. However, they try to ridicule anyone who doesn't worship at their altar for making similar observations when those observations involve cold weather or blizzards. If you don't believe me just wait until the next major hurricane makes landfall and gets blamed on global warming. Remember Katrina? The drought of a couple years ago was CONSTANTLY referred to as a symptom of global warming. I guess I have six months of false memories from that summer. It goes on and on. So the next time you hear a warmer cry about somebody using a cold stretch as proof there is no global warming please ask for a little intellectual honesty from them, not that they probably have any.

Anonymous said...

All you need kids is http://www.wunderground.com/

Anonymous said...

I hope my kids enjoy their early summer break. They'll be in school until July!

Anonymous said...

The more times you say climate change isn't real, that doesn't make it so. I think I'll believe science on this one over the political pundits on TV and radio.

Anonymous said...

Try living in Ohio and Illinois, like I have. Now there's some snow for ya! I love seeing snow down here in NC. Bring it on!

Anonymous said...

I trust Brad's forecast, he's usually gets it right.

Anonymous said...

It gets warmer, it's global warming. It gets colder, it is glob... errr climate change. Pretty nice to frame an argument that can't be wrong. Lame

Anonymous said...

"What do you expect in winter time, sunshine and sixty degrees every day?"

Well yes, sort of. I DO expect normal temps for our area, whis is 51°F for the high and 32°F for the low for this area, with the high increasing a degree about every 5 days. This is an "abnormally" cold winter compared to the averages.I live here because it DOESN"T snow that much and is not cold all winter. Move up north if you enjoy winter weather. I remember with joy days in January and February that hit 70°F for days!!I hope they return, and I will take a90°F day over a 40°F day anytime, anywhere!!!

Anonymous said...

CMS better not tell the NAACP they'll need another holiday for a school day.

Ed said...

It was unseasonably warm the other day, Mr. Anonymous Global Warming Denier, does that mean we had global warming for a day and when it gets cold global warming goes away. You people need to really learn the difference between climate and weather.

David P said...

This is all orchestrated by Harris Teeter. We all have tp go and clean out all the milk, bread, beer, and toilet paper.
Ready, set, go!

Larry said...

My Grandparents always told me things like snow waits for snow.

So the fact we had snow stay for so long portends the fact we will have snow again real soon.

What is really funny about all of those old ways is when you see one of those Farmers Almanacs. They are printed a year in advance but the weather prediction for the day is almost uncanny accurate.

So I feel we will get a couple more snows before the end of this Winter.

Mark said...

It's so cold, there can't be global warming, right?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDTUuckNHgc&feature=related

"The question of global warming stopping is often raised in the light of a recent weather event - a big snowfall or drought breaking rain. Global warming is entirely compatible with these events; after all they are just weather. For climate change, it is the long term trends that are important; measured over decades or more, and those long term trends show that the globe is still, unfortunately, warming."
http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-cooling.htm