Merry Christmas

>> Saturday, December 25, 2010

Posting this just after midnight on Christmas morning.....WAY past my bedtime! But I wanted to put out a few quick thoughts.

The modeling has, as a whole, gotten quicker with the phasing of the two pieces of energy I have been discussing here all week. This is resulting in a stronger system with heavier precip thrown back into much of the region.

I have not had nearly the time to deeply analyze things as I would normally have, but there general idea here is for precip to spread in from west to east as the day unfolds. Initially in some spots, it could be a rain and snow mix, but snow will take over in time.

It now looks like much of the region....mountains, foothills, Piedmont over to I-95 will see at least a good period of moderate snow later Christmas into the evening hours with some heavy snow possible at times.

As the coastal low really begins to crank overnight into Sunday morning, some good snow rates are possible, especially in the eastern half of the Carolinas. And I still think this will at least end as some snow for the coast.

I am not going to draw up a map, but I would just put out a general 2-5" snow for much of the region (Carolinas). I know that is a broad range, but this is a changeable situation, instead of trying to get overly cute with it, I will go with that for now. Some areas will certainly be nearer the 2, but some could definitely be near (or possibly exceeding) the 5, especially in the deformation band as the coastal low cranks. In fact, odds seem to be that there will wind up being a strip of 4-8" somewhere.

We will see if any further westward trending commences. If so, that would certainly aid further in the Piedmont snow totals.

I will be spending time with my family as Christmas unfolds, so you probably won't hear much from me until late Saturday night or Sunday morning. Everyone enjoy the idea of waking up on a Christmas morning with the opportunity for some snow. For snow fans, I hope it works out for you. Tricky, tricky system, but the potential is there.

Merry Christmas, and God bless....


Christmas Eve...

>> Friday, December 24, 2010

First of all, I thank all of you for stopping by, reading, and watching the videos. It is incredibly humbling, and I appreciate you deeply.

I want to wish you and yours the warmest and merriest of Christmases. Take some time, enjoy family and friends, and reflect on all of our blessings.

In terms of our Christmas storm system, this one has been mentally exhausting. It is always fun to track these possibilities, but this one has been an especially difficult challenge. And still is frankly.

Most of the modeling is indicating some degree of phasing between the disturbances, but it is too late to really give a good snow to the western Carolinas (mountains will get their typical upslope though to help).

As it stands now, it looks like a band of mainly very light snow or flurries (maybe even sprinkles in a few spots the farther south you go) will try to move in as Christmas Day. unfolds. This would likely be in the 'token' or 'novelty' category.

As more of the upper level dynamics get involved by late Saturday afternoon and evening, there could possibly be a brief period of some moderate snow in parts of the region...maybe a near or east of I-85 over toward I-95. You will likely be able to watch the low pressure strengthening as it lifts up the coast later Saturday night, and to the northwest of that low, there will likely be a band of fairly decent snow for a while somewhere in the eastern half of the Carolinas. I still think even the coast, especially NC around the OBX, could end as a period of snow Sunday.

Elsewhere, I suppose anybody is fair game to pick up some snow showers Sunday with tremendous upper level dynamics overhead. I guess it is always possible if you happen to find yourself under a good enough snow shower to get the ground whitened for a bit.

Another quick disclaimer here...the quicker the system tries to phase, the farther west the area of steadier snow could make it Saturday evening through Sunday morning. But at the moment, most indications seem to be it will not happen in enough time to push that back into areas north and west of I-85.

So that's how it looks now. I will be out and about much of today, but I be checking in and take a look at things before tonight. If time allows, or if something overly interesting pops up, I will try to post an update.

Again, I thank you so much for stopping by. Merry Christmas, and God bless....


Details still up in the air....

>> Thursday, December 23, 2010

Below is today's edition of the Carolina Weather Video. Give it a look...

First off, I was a little surprised to see the modeling scatter so much with the 0z runs today. With the 12z and 18z runs yesterday, there seemed to be a lot of consolidating of the array of solutions. However, with the 0z runs, the models really diverged pretty widely in how each handled the interaction of our southern stream and northern stream disturbances. Even the European, which had been rock-solid consistent, differed somewhat from its previous runs.

This is the issue I have been laying out here on the blog for you all week. We are dealing with timing the interaction of two separate pieces of from the northern Plains....the other from the Pacific (now in Arizona this morning).

In terms of the modeling specifics, I don't know that any of the models really did a good job of capturing the strength of the AZ disturbance with the 0z cycle. Hopefully the AZ disturbance will be better sampled in the 12z cycle later today.

At the moment, I am completely discounting the NAM. It has essentially had 3 different looks its last 3 runs, so it is all over the place.

I am also largely discounting the 0z Canadian. It appears to weaken the AZ disturbance far too much as it enters the Plains states early tomorrow.

I have spent a ton of time comparing the most recent (0z) run of the Euro to its previous 12z run. There are really pretty similar overall. The one big difference is that the disturbance moving in from the north is a little less consolidated and strung out toward the Ohio Valley. The system still phases, but about 6-12 hours later than the previous runs. So, you still get a rapidly deepening low riding up the coast, but just later in the track than its previous runs. Therefore, the heaviest snow is all east of I-85.

As I have stated, the devil is in the details. If the northern branch feature is weaker or more stung out, this will not phase in time for a big snowstorm in the southeast.

Here is the general idea for this morning...

Snow still looks like a good bet around much of the region Christmas Day into Saturday night. I still like the chances of accumulating snow in a good number of spots. For the time being, I think the idea of the 12"+ snow dumps that had been indicated on some modeling seems even less likely now. That was always a long-shot. While it is still within the realm of possibility, odds seem to be favoring any potential for that shifting up toward New England if at all.

But, the general idea of some snow spreading into the region Christmas Day into Christmas night still seems good. At the moment, I envision a scenario where mainly light snow pulls in during the day Saturday, and then an area of moderate snow develops in from the southwest as the coastal low gets going. Where that moderate snow spread in will receive the highest snow totals.

Like there almost always is, there will be a strip of heavier snow totals, but pinpointing that location right now is impossible. Initial impression might be somewhere near or just east of I-85 to a little east of I-95, but again, that is VERY, VERY preliminary and certainly subject to change.

Like I said earlier, I think the 12z runs will begin to clear the picture a bit. Let's see what they hold....


Late Afternoon Update

>> Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Just a few quick words here. Most modeling continues to gradually step toward the European solution, which came in with another huge snowstorm with its most recent 12z run. So, the idea I continue to go with is a less extreme version of the Euro model.

It looks like this low will likely bomb out pretty rapidly as it begins to move from the Gulf up near or along the Atlantic coast. This will likely be one of the more impressive coastal lows we have seen in a while.

Here is the trick though....there could very well be a sharp western cutoff to the heavy snow. I can fully envision a scenario where Columbia and Raleigh get significantly more snow than GSP, Charlotte, and Greensboro. But, if this really turns into a monster storm, there would likely be some significant orographic enhancement in the western Carolinas (orographic and due to lee side trough development).

So, all in all, I am staying the course, and I find it encouraging that the 12z modeling has trended even closer to the Euro...while the Euro holds its course. But again, I think the way to go at the moment is with a less-extreme version of the Euro....but I am fully aware that the Euro could very well verify.

Be aware that if this system really cranks, travel could become very difficult if not impossible around portions of the Southeast and mid-Atlantic by Saturday night and Sunday.

**Looks like the 18z GFS continues to look even more like the Euro solution, albeit quicker and not quite as intense. But the trending continues....**


Christmas storm coming slowly into better focus

Below is today's edition of the Carolina Weather Video....give it a watch...

The GFS finally caved to the general track idea of the foreign modeling of our Christmas storm system. However, it is still much weaker overall with the system than the other modeling. See the video above and I will show you why I think it is likely incorrect.

The European modeling continues to steadfastly hold on to the idea of an historic snow storm across the Southeastern US Christmas Day and night, gradually moving up the eastern seaboard Sunday and Sunday night. At face value, places like Huntsville, Nashville, and Atlanta all see snow with this, and the amounts really begin to ramp up once you get into the Carolinas. GSP, CLT, and GSO do very well in terms of snow totals, and the amounts get mind-blowing as you head to Columbia up to RDU. Just like previous runs, the Euro even brings snow prior to the end of the system all of the way to the coast and Outer Banks.

The Canadian too is weaker with its 0z run. However, it too looks to weaken the southern stream system too much as it enters the Plains states.

The UKMET is fairly far south with the system as well.

I will say it is a caution flag to me that a lot of the other modeling is less extreme than the European.

So, what does all of this mean?

Again this morning, I continue to lean my forecast in the direction of the European model....just a less extreme version of it. The European model continues to show textbook examples of explosive phasing and the resultant bombing of the low pressure area. And I do think that is a possibility.

However, to me, that appears to be kind of the extreme end of the spectrum, while the 6z GFS is the extreme in the other direction.

My forecast will continue to reflect snow potential in much of the Carolinas beginning later Christmas Day into Christmas night....even much of Sunday if the Euro is correct.

It is still too early for accumulation estimates, but just know the potential is there for significant accumulations somewhere around the region.

Also, please keep in mind the cautions I put out yesterday are still in the forefront of my mind. This system depends entirely on the phasing of two pieces of from Canada and one from the Pacific. The degree to which these disturbances phase, and the speed with which they do so will determine the outcome of this system. These are details that it is impossible to have confidence in yet.


All eyes on the Christmas storm...

>> Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Below is today's edition of the Carolina Weather Video. Give it a watch.

A few areas saw a bit of snow last night, and in a few places, it was enough to lightly dust the ground. This was with a weak disturbance that is not exiting the region. A few sprinkles are possible tonight and tomorrow, but no big deal.

Christmas storm...

In terms of the modeling, the GFS remains the farthest north model of any of them. Let me say right off the could be right. We are dealing with the phasing of two short diving down from the High Plains and the other that ejects from the Pacific and moves into the Deep South. If those phase early on in the game, the GFS could be correct. However, at this time, I continue to lean my forecast in the direction of the foreign models. It is worth noting that the GFS's own ensembles remain well south of the operation model....even up through the latest 6z run.

For snow lovers, the oz runs of the Canadian and European were a beautiful sight. Both painted a very snowy scenario Christmas Day from the Tennessee Valley right up through the Upstate and midlands of SC and most of NC.

The UKMET was even farther south, indicating any phasing between the disturbances would be much slower.

As I mentioned above, like I did yesterday, I am leaning my forecast heavily in the direction of the foreign models. For my public forecast on News 14, I am going with no precip on Christmas Eve with snow chances arriving Christmas Day.

What can go wrong?

Lots. If the two disturbance phase early, then a more northerly track would occur, meaning rain for most from the Carolinas southward.

If they phase too late or not at all, a very weak, suppressed system would result, meaning very light precip amounts.

However, if we thread the needle, like the Canadian and Euro have been showing, the result would be a once in a lifetime type of Christmas snow in the Southeast. But PLEASE keep in mind it will take near perfect timing to get these disturbances to interact at the right time for this to happen.

I am not going to commit to any specifics at this point. It is just too early, and too much can go wrong. But I will continue to go with the idea of some snow being possible around the region Christmas Day.


Christmas week...and a Christmas storm system

>> Monday, December 20, 2010

Below is today's edition of the video....give it a look....

A couple of items before I get into what everybody wants to hear about....the Christmas storm possibilities.

A total lunar eclipse will occur during the overnight hours tonight.....greatest eclipse will be at 3:16am. Astronomically, North America is in about as good a position as we could be in to see the eclipse. In the Carolinas though, we will have some clouds rolling in, but hopefully enough breaks to allow it to be seen if you so choose.

This is Christmas week obviously, and the weather will remain pretty quiet for our region through Thursday. Most highs will be in the 40s with lows mainly in the 20s.

A weak system will move through tomorrow, but it will only being clouds to the Piedmont....maybe a little light rain in the mountains.

Christmas system...

Lots of people already buzzing about the potential for a storm system Friday into Saturday. The system definitely has piqued my interest.

Here is the disclaimer. Here on the blog, I kind of pull back the curtain and just lay out a lot of the behind the scenes stuff. I like to discuss possibilities with you and let you know some of the things I am looking at.

The operational GFS is the farthest north of all of the modeling. Even the GFS's own ensembles are farther south than the operational run. Taken verbatim, the operational GFS shows a little light snow north of I-40 as the system arrives by Friday night, but then a mainly rain event in our region.

All of the others models I can get my hands on this morning show a farther south and stronger solution. If you were to give me a blank map and a pencil, I could not draw up a better setup for Southeast snow than what the 0z European model shows. It was a thing of beauty for snow fans. Its ensembles were largely in agreement, and the Euro not only brought snow Christmas Day to the Carolinas, but all of the way up I-95 into the Northeast.

The UKMET and Canadian all also indicate at least some snow being involved at some point in the system for much of the interior Carolinas.

Hear this....the system is 5 days away, and there are two main things to watch with this system.

1. The latitude it takes west to east across the US.

2. The phasing between two different streams.

When this phasing occurs, and how much phasing occurs it at all, will play a huge role in the track of this system. It is within the realm of possibility that this system winds up trending north with time. There is also the chance of very little phasing and a weak system sliding out to sea.

Way too early for any confidence, but it sure is fun to watch.....


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