Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Something to watch for the weekend

A two-day outbreak of arctic air is pegged for the Charlotte region this weekend, and anytime there's arctic air in the neighborhood, we're at risk for wintry precipitation.

Typically, there's a dry northwest flow of air during these periods of arctic cold, but every now and then a disturbance in the atmosphere comes through.

Something like that is possible, but not likely, for the weekend.

First, let's set the lineup here.

One of the most popular computer models, the Global (GFS), has been predicting on some of its forecasts in recent days that low pressure will cross the Southeast and intensify off the Carolinas coast. In some of the recent forecasts, the GFS shows accumulating snowfall Saturday in the Interstate 77 corridor.

The European model wants no part of this scenario.  Its forecasts display either no precipitation, or a storm that forms farther out to sea.

Meteorologists are watching all of this carefully, because there's also a chance that low pressure could develop along the coast and move northward, affecting the Middle Atlantic and New England. That area, of course, is still digging out from last weekend's blizzard.

The low pressure system that will be responsible for all of this is not in the continental United States yet. It will be Wednesday before we start getting better data on the system, so there's no need for anything more than a wait-and-see approach for now.

I notice that WCNC meteorologist Brad Panovich is giving Saturday's system a "2" rating (on a 1 to 10 scale) for snow likelihood.  That sounds about right.

Incidentally, Accu-Weather senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski says that next week, the storm track will move farther northwest of the Carolinas. That indicates milder weather, as we approach the end of February.

Some blizzard left-overs ...

Here are some numbers from last weekend's storm in the Middle Atlantic and New England.

Pennsylvania ... The Keystone State was spared, for the most part.  I noticed a 5.7-inch snowfall total in Allentown, and 4 inches in Philadelphia.

Delaware ... Only a trace in Wilmington, and no coastal flooding problems.

New Jersey ... While Atlantic City got only 1.7 inches, it was a different story to the north. Princeton had 7 inches and Freehold got 8.2.  Up around NYC, there was 11.5 inches in East Rutherford and 10 inches in Newark.

New York ... Some accumulations from around New York City included 11.4 at Central Park; 12.1 at LaGuardia Airport; 6.4 at JFK Airport; and 6.8 at Staten Island.

The heaviest total I saw in Westchester County was 23 inches at Yonkers, with 17.2 at Mount Vernon.

Then there was Long Island ... 33.5 inches at Medford in Suffolk County, and 30.9 inches at the National Weather Service office in Upton. In Nassau County, the high numbers included 18 inches at Massapequa.

Connecticut ... Fairfield had 35 inches, and New Haven recorded 34.3. Other numbers include 27 inches in Hartford and 24 in Bristol (home of ESPN).

Rhode Island ... West Glocester led the way with 27.6 inches, while Providence got 19.5.

Vermont ... Most areas seemed to get 6 to 10 inches, but there was 16.5 in South Royalton (Windsor County) and 14 in Waterbury (Washington County).

New Hampshire ... New Boston was hit with 30.4 inches, and Exeter had 24.1. Farther inland, toward Vermont and the Connecticut River, amounts were closer to a foot.

Maine ... The Portland Jetport got 29.3 inches. Other totals included 26 at Kennebunk and 19.5 at the capital city of Augusta.

Massachusetts ... Framingham was hit with 30.5 inches,  and  28 inches fell at Worcester. Logan International Airport had 21.8 inches.  Winds were ferocious, too. A buoy measured a gust of 83 mph, and there were gusts of 77 mph at Hyannis; 76 mph at Logan Airport; and 75 mph at Bedford.