February 19th, 2012, 9:38 am by sfosterstar
The models have nudged slightly less cold and have ended precip slightly earlier, which is not good news for us.
I would say the chances of more than a dusting of snow are very low now — 1 out of 10. Our best hope is to see some snow showers on the back end of this storm — more likely is a few flurries or nothing at all. If you want to see snow, however, you might only have to drive as far as the South Mountains or Hickory. And if you want to see a big dump of snow, Boone is forecasted to have 6-12 inches today and tonight.
If anything changes, I’ll let you know — at the least, today will be a raw day — our high temperature was likely around midnight — it should only fall the rest of the day.
February 18th, 2012, 11:22 pm by sfosterstar
A somewhat shocking southern trend continued tonight. And if what counts is what falls from the upper atmosphere, I’d say there is a 100 percent chance of snow tomorrow.
The problem is what the mets call “boundary layer” issues — basically, is it cold enough through the entire column of air to support snow. The NAM says it will be and that we might see a 1/2 inch to maybe an inch.
The GFS says .. not quite. The atmosphere looks great all the way down to the surface, but then … we are just not cold enough — the GFS shows it never quite getting below 33.5-34. Now, that means we may still SEE snow falling, but that it won’t stick. All of that could change, or the models could be off a degree or two. If that’s the case, we’ll have a lovely surprise tomorrow evening. But given that this is hitting after the warmest part of the day and given our warm ground temps, I’m still dubious we see accumulations.
But, given the model improvement, I’m going to 6 out of 10 that we see some frozen precip while holding at 2 out of 10 that there is more than a dusting.
February 18th, 2012, 5:51 pm by sfosterstar
Not much new to add — some of the models continue to advertise a changeover to sleet and/or snow as this storm winds down tomorrow evening and night.
I would say the chances of seeing accumulating frozen precip remains very slight — 1 or 2 out of 10. But we probably have a 50-50 chance of at least seeing some flakes or sleet pellets. Pretty pathetic, isn’t it? But, such is this sorry winter.
Still some south trending going on and we are close — Hickory could see as much as 2-4 inches. Certainly if you live in Casar or anywhere with higher elevation, your chances increase. Anyway, if the models kept trending tonight on this, we could see a half inch or even an inch of slushy snow.
Right now, though, best hope is just to see some flakes falling.
In the meantime, a soaking rain tonight and tomorrow — good day to clean out a closet!
February 17th, 2012, 11:27 pm by sfosterstar
It’s always funny to me, in a lopsided game where the victors are shutting out their foe, that if the scoreless team gets close to scoring, the winner will send in their first team to “preserve the shutout.”
Well, this winter has been a blowout loss — and we have been shutout. But there is at least a chance of some flakes (and, believe it or not, maybe even a slushy inch of snow) based on a very late model trend toward a slower system that allows some cold air to get in here.
The Euro and NAM in particular want to switch the precip over the perhaps some sleet, then a bit of snow before ending Sunday night.
I’d say the chances of seeing snow stick are low — 2 in 10. But the chance of seeing some flakes is 3 or 4 out of 10.
This doesn’t rise to “alert” status yet, but if the trend were to continue, tomorrow, we might have a better chance.
Important on this one — every mile you go north of here, your odds improve. If you live in Fallston, this is a better shot than Shelby. Casar is better than Fallston. Places like Hickory are in good shape for a couple inches. Boone will get hammered as well areas from the Tri-Cities over through most of western Virginia.
I will update in the AM.
February 15th, 2012, 2:53 pm by sfosterstar
The Euro was vastly different than its inferior colleague, the GFS, but even the Euro is not good enough — cold air never gets drawn in enough and we end up with a chilly rain. The Euro isn’t even really that close and it would take a meteorological miracle to save us at this point.
With nothing on the horizon, I’d say this winter is looking like a total bust.
Our only hope on this system is that the southern stream system remains “closed” all the way across the southeast. Right now the model show it “opening up” over Texas which means it gets weaker. We need it to stay very strong and also to slow down.
I’d say it’s about a 1 out of 100 shot right now, though.
Wish I had better news to report — but this was always a longshot — when temps are the issue, we rarely can pull off a good snow. I’ll keep an eye out in case something changes, but given the relentless hostile pattern, I’d say it’s time to start rooting for spring warmth!
February 15th, 2012, 11:41 am by sfosterstar
Only have a minute here, but we continue to have only a sliver of hope for a weekend snow — if the GFS is right, we are toast — heavy rains and temps in the 40s. If the Euro is right, it’s close but no cigar — rain with temps in the upper 30s. If the Canadian is right … well, that’s a much closer story. The NAM only goes out to 84 hours, but it looks much more like the Euro and Canadian than the GFS.
Canadian running again right now — hopefully with good news. Euro run today will really tell the tale — if it goes the way of the GFS, you can stick a fork in our chances. If not, our 1 to 2 out of 10 hopes remain alive (barely).
February 14th, 2012, 12:04 pm by sfosterstar
The trend on moisture for this system is great — the southern stream system is getting stronger and stronger with each model run. The latest GFS had a whopping 1.5 inches of liquid precip for us during the event.
The problem is our northern stream low (called a 50/50 low) is coming in weaker on the models — this is adversely affecting our cold air feed. And remember, our cold air was ALREADY marginal. The GFS that dumped all that precip also shows us never getting out below 43 degrees during the entire event. Of course, that’s no good at all. And while there is plenty of time for a swing the other way on temps, 10-12 degrees is a lot to ask, even 5 days out.
I’d say this one is looking pretty bleak, folks. Certainly not time to throw in the towel, but it’s going to take a major trend toward a colder solution for this to pan out. 12z Euro will run soon — will update this afternoon.
February 14th, 2012, 12:16 am by sfosterstar
The 0z GFS joined the rest of the computer models in showing a significant winter storm for our area.
The GFS shows .86 inches of liquid falling. Upper level temperatures are slightly below freezing, but — read verbatim — surface temps would hang around 33-34.5 which means we would see heavy wet snow, but with low accumulations.
Still, this run features a perfectly positioned high pressure system over the Great Lakes — if it was just stronger by a touch, it could funnel enough cold air down to make this a real snowstorm. To wit, I checked the forecast soundings and Monroe is actually right at freezing for the entire event and would see 6 inches of snow.
The Canadian was much stronger with our southern system, but kept it more suppressed giving us lighter precip totals.
Headed to bed, but the Euro will be interesting — will update on that in the morning.
You will notice my tone is still measured – very long way to go here and VERY dicey on temps. To put it in perspective, we’ve got to survive about 20 more run of the GFS before this thing happens.
Have a good night.
February 13th, 2012, 2:05 pm by sfosterstar
The European computer model — known as “Dr. No” because it always dashes the hopes of snow lovers — just delivered a big “YES” to snowlovers as its 12z run depicts a significant snow event.
The key to this run is a “phase” between our southern disturbance and a disturbance in the northern jet stream. A phase is basically when two disturbances “connect” and result in stronger systems. That is key in this case because the strengthening low draws down JUST enough cold air to deliver us some snow.
The UK model had a similar solution on its 12z run. The 12z GFS is still suppressed, but that is its bias so it’s probably a good thing. The Canadian is in between the Euro/UK and the GFS.
Now, this continues to be a razor close shave for us. As it stands right now, we could see snow, but places just to our south and east would not be cold enough. In fact, we could lose quite a bit of our precip to rain, even with this almost-perfect solution. On the other hand, models will often trend colder in the short term, so we’ll have to just wait and see.
Operative word in that sentence is: “wait.”
This is still, meterologically speaking, a LONG way away — almost 6 full days. While we know there will be a southern stream system, it could end up cutting way to our west or sliding well to our south and east. The disturbance we are pinning our hopes on is still WAAAY out over the Pacific. It will be days before we have a handle on the details. My gut tells me that the issue is going to temperatures, not moisture.
By Wednesday we should start to have a decent idea — and by late Thursday the picture should be very clear.
I still think the odds are low — 2 to 3 out of 10. But we’ll keep tracking it until it’s either 0 or 10!
February 13th, 2012, 9:44 am by sfosterstar
OK folks, we legitimately have something to track — all models now agree on a southern stream system developing a Gulf of Mexico low over the weekend. There is also a modest supply of cold air.
I have to tell you, a LOT has to go right for this to work out (but it beats the ZERO chance we’ve faced all winter).
The main features are:
1) The Southern stream system — we need this to trend stronger on the models so it can start to draw down some cold air once it starts to turn to the NE.
2) A low pressure area NE of Maine — this needs to be like the baby bear’s porridge. If it’s too strong, it will crush our southern stream system and cause it to be too suppressed to our south. This is what the models have been showing for the last few days, but started trending sharply toward a less suppressed solution yesterday. On the other hand, if the northern low becomes TOO weak or trends too far north, it will mean less cold air is funneled down and we end up with rain.
It is POSSIBLE that there IS NO GOOD RESULT HERE — that is, to get the southern stream system far enough north, we sacrifice our cold air OR to get enough cold air, we sacrifice our precip. The Euro is closest right now, with precip knocking on our doorstep and upper level temps BARELY cold enough for slushy snow.
This is the kind of setup which, if we saw it 6 or 8 times during a typical winter season, we might thread the needle once. Obviously, we don’t have the luxury of 6 or 8 more chances as we sit here almost halfway through February.
So, I’d still give us a 1 or 2 out of 10 chance, but at least it’s not zero and it will be fun to at least track something over the next few days.
More to come after 12z model runs, this afternoon.