Friday, March 23, 2018

Young TV "Meteorologist" Will Get You Through Your Day With A Big Smile

Kindergartener Carden Corts, 6, gets blown away and blows
the rest of us away with his televised weather report. 
For those of us wanting spring, we all need something to smile at.

I don't have full-on spring to give you.

However, we present Carden Corts, 6, who gave us a viral video of his own weather report. The video is at the bottom of this post and really is a great thing to watch.

A teacher in Carden's class had the kids do a weather forecast video for a school assignment. His father, Charlie, works at a design studio with a green screen. 

So magic happened.

At first, Carden forecasts bad weather, including a hurricane (Charlie Corts used a leaf blower to add to the effect.) Then there was a blizzard, then a tornado, but then, thank God, Carden gives us a forecast perfect for spring break - complete with dancing on the beach.

The viral video racked up 1.1 million hits in just over a day on YouTube. So, meet our viral weather sensation, Carden Corts:

Thursday, March 22, 2018

No New Nor'easter In Forecast, But Gotta Talk About Snow Anyway (Sigh)

Satellite views of each of the four nor'easters this month. Click on
the image to make it bigger and easier to see. 
For the first time in what seems like a month at least, this post won't contain a forecast for an upcoming nor'easter.  

There's not one in our immediate future anyway. But, of course, this being an ultra-reluctant spring, I do have to talk about snow, winter storms, a post mortem of the last nor'easter, and winter cold.

It's not all bad, though. Just mostly bad.

The last departing nor'easter really clobbered Long Island, parts of the New York City metro areas, New Jersey, parts of eastern Pennsylvania and Maryland.

There were many, many reports of a foot or more of wet snow in this area. Parts of Long Island seemed to be the big winner, with 20.1 inches reported at Potchogue and 19.3 inches at Bay Shore, both on New York's Long Island.

New York City managed to avoid having its latest foot-deep snowstorm on record, with "only" 8.4 inches in Central Park.

Pretty view of Central Park, New York yesterday. Photo by
Michael Brochstein/Getty Images
Reagan Airport, near Washington DC, picked up 3.7 inches of snow with this. That was more snow than the total that fell for the entire winter of 2017-18. So more than half their snow came in the spring.

Southern New England got lucky. Dry air feeding south from dry, cold high pressure over Quebec suppressed the snow, so other than in parts of Connecticut, that region got four or fewer inches of snow.

By the way, meteorologists in southern New England are taking heat for an incorrect forecast. Most had predicted much more snow than they got. The whiners are saying that meteorologists "always" get it wrong.

There's truth to that, but not in a way that insults meteorologists. As Crankyweatherguy (@crankywxguy) notes on Twitter, some people want absolute precision on what will happen in their back yard, and the science isn't there. Then they howl bitterly when the forecast doesn't come out quite right.

Every storm will "misbehave" in such a way where somebody will get less or more snow, rain, wind or whatever than forecast.

Bottom line: When you hear a forecast from a meteorologist, and they tell, you, say, we're going to get four to eight inches of snow, don't just accept we're going to get exactly six inches and complain when that doesn't come true.

The four to eight inches is a best estimate, and the intricacies of the atmosphere being what they are, you could end up with less or more than forecast. Use the predictions as a guide, not gosepl.


That dry air from Quebec meant that it didn't really snow in Vermont, either. Instead of a couple inches in far southern Vermont, there were only flurries.

Of course, there's snow in the forecast, not just much.

Today, a bit of wrap around moisture from that offshore nor'easter, combined with a favorable wind flow, will probably squeeze out a few snow showers or flurries, mostly in the northern Green Mountains and the western slopes. It won't amount to much of anything.

Other little disturbances Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning will probably result in more snow showers in Vermont from time to time, but accumulations each time will be a dusting to an inch, with perhaps a tad more than that in the mountains. No big deal.

It'll stay colder than normal through Sunday, so what snow is on the ground, and the little bit we'll get over the next few days will continue to melt only very slowly. At least daytime highs in the valleys will make it into the low to mid 30s, so with a little sun getting through the clouds, the snow will continue to settle a bit.

There are definite signs of a brief warmup next week to interrupt a cold pattern that should continue well into April.  But we will get that break Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with highs in the 40s to perhaps near 50 degrees. That'll clean up some of the snow, at least in the valleys.

Unfortunately, it looks like we revert to chilly weather, with occasional wet snow and cold rain risks after next Wednesday.  But by then it will be April, so it won't be as cold as March, only because the sun angle keeps going up and up.


Forecast map shows a weird, narrow band of heavy snow will
track from North Dakota southeastward to Virginia
over the next few days. 
The weather pattern, as I said, generally favors chill, and there's a weird snowstorm in the works for a narrow band in the middle of the country.

Usually snowstorms go west to east, or southwest to northeast as they travel. This one is diving down toward the southeast.

It'll start in North Dakota tomorrow, then head across parts of eastern South Dakota and southwestern Minnesota, northern and eastern Iowa, north-central Illinois, central Indiana, southern Ohio then into the western Virginias.

Yeah, odd. And it's going to be a narrow band. Some areas will get eight to 12 inches of snow, while others just a couple dozen miles north or south of the band will get little.

And you know that discussion above about "wrong" forecasts? This one has wrong written all over it. If this snowband sets up just a little north or south of current predictions, or the temperature is a a wee bit warmer or colder, the forecast will be a total bust. This is really a meteorologist's headache.

Be prepared for whines about extra snow or not enough snow anywhere from Minnesota to Virginia in the next couple of days.


Today will be the rainiest stretch this week in southern California, and will be the peak of the rough weather today. Some debris flows have been reported, but it hasn't been too bad - yet.

After today, things will dry out in California again, and little rain is forecast in southern California next week.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

"Four'easter" Still Dumping Snow. Yeah, We're Sick Of It

Here's one of a variety of forecasts for snow totals
with the latest nor'easter. Areas in pink could get
up to a foot of snow. Most forecasting indicates
this will mercifully be mostly a miss for Vermont.
To me, the sky over Vermont looks a bit ominous, which might surprise other people who are looking at that same sky.

Spoiler alert: Don't worry, I'm still thinking we won't get much snow out of this late season nor'easter in Vermont. Still, it's the type of sky that says "snow."

That's because the nor'easter - the fourth big one this month -  is still lurking to our south. It's the type of sky that comes in the hours before a snowstorm:

A high, thin overcast that keeps gradually thickening, making the sun go dimmer, dimmer dimmer until it's pretty much gone.

Despite the signs from the sky, forecast guidance still tells us the nor'easter will be largely a miss for Vermont. The National Weather Service in South Burlington is going for a dusting to an inch south and east of a line roughly from St. Johnsbury to Rutland, with pretty much nothing north and west of that line.

The far southern Green Mountains could still pick up a couple, maybe three inches of un-needed snow from this tonight.

Still, that's better than the one to three feet of snow many of us got last week, right?

Somebody in Massachusetts is trying to coax spring
along as best as they can. 
The story is far worse further south, of course. Unseasonable winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories continue extending from Indiana and western North Carolina all the way to southern New England.

Some areas from New York City to Washington DC are likely to have one of their biggest late season snowstorms on record.

In New York and Washington, of the four nor'easters this month, this one will probably have the highest snow accumulations.

If New York and Philadelphia get more than a foot of snow, this would be the largest spring snowstorm on record for those cities. 

The accumulation will be hard to measure. This time of year, some solar radiation gets through the clouds during periods when the snow isn't coming down that hard, leading to some settling and melting. Then the accumulation picks up again when the snow starts coming down hard.

It still seems like it's a good possibility that the New York City metro area, parts of Long Island, much of New Jersey and pieces of eastern Pennsylvania could get 12 to 18 inches of snow out of this.

Washington DC which should be right into spring by now, is expecting four to eight inches of heavy, wet snow.

As you can imagine, this is one big mess that shouldn't be happening during the spring. NBC News reports about 3,700 flights canceled across the East today.

This sign pretty much sums up the mood
with repeated nor'easters and snowstorms
hitting much of the East 
All this wet, heavy snow in populated areas is causing a rising number of power failures, which will only get worse as the day wears on.  Repair crews were still trying to fix the mess left over by the previous three nor'easters when this one hits.

As I noted yesterday, coastlines in New Jersey, New York, especially including Long Island are going to be battered with this. High tides, storm surge flooding, high winds and battering waves will add to the damage that has piled up all this month.

Yeah, it's all pretty depressing if you ask me.

To make things more dreary for you, it's still not looking like any kind of full-on spring weather is coming any time soon.

Back here in Vermont, snow showers will probably add an occasional dusting of snow to some areas, especially the north and mountains tomorrow, and possibly again on Saturday.  At this point, though, I'm not seeing any blockbuster snowstorms in our near future, so we can hang onto that.

North winds will increase here in Vermont later today and especially tomorrow because of our proximity to the offshore nor'easter. That will add a windchill and a bite to the air. More clouds over the next few days will limit melting of the existing snowpack.

Still, there's glimmers of minor hope. Daytime highs in the valleys of Vermont should get barely above freezing, or least near 32 degrees each day through Sunday, which will melt the snow in tiny little increments, at least.

And it will turn somewhat warmer, but not torrid early next week. But the more seasonable temperatures next week should accelerate the gradual erosion of our unwanted spring snowpack. (And yes, not everybody considers it unwanted. I know there are plenty of winter sports fans out there, so be happy.)

It's not just us who are suffering under the weather. A strong blast of wet air is hitting central and southern California, where flash flooding is a risk through Thursday. In areas where there were big wildfires last year, very dangerous debris flows are possible, since vegetation that would hold soil in place has burned away.

There was already one destructive debris flow that killed nearly two dozen people in early January. California risks a repeat this week. As a precaution, up to 30,000 people have been asked to evacuate from their homes during this storm.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Nor'easter, Of Course Develops; But Vermont Impacts Small; South Tornadoes

Here's the Weather Channel's take on how much
snow will come out of this latest nor'easter
I knew it, I knew it, I knew it!

This past Saturday, when most of the weather forecasters were saying the nor'easter for this week would mostly be a miss, I said in this here blog thingy that I suspected that was wrong, that it would hit.  

Not to gloat, but I was right. Winter storm warnings extend from North Carolina to New England today, and a lot of people are going to get a lot of snow, once again.

The good news, if you're not a snow lover this time of year and you live in Vermont, is it still looks like you won't get much snow out of this one. In fact, northern Vermont at this point looks like it will get none. I hope. More on that in a minute.

I'll also get to those awful tornadoes in the south in a bit, too. There were some weird aspects to some of those.  Videos of the severe weather also at the bottom of the post.

Anyway, the forecast trends starting Saturday and continuing right into today track the nor'easter closer to the coast. It'll still go offshore, but will be close enough to give much of the eastern United States a pasting.

Particularly at points south, like Maryland, Delaware, western Virginia and parts of West Virginia, it's pretty odd to get a full-fledged winter storm this late in the year, the first day of spring. And it's equally odd to see forecasts of more than a foot of snow on the first day of spring in places like New Jersey and the New York City metro area. 

Most of the snow will come down Wednesday, and be accompanied by strong winds, producing near blizzard conditions in some spots on the first full day of spring. (The spring Equinox was at 12:15 p.m today, EDT)

As always, results may vary. This time of year, any East Coast snowstorm comes with marginal temperatures. A couple degrees warmer, and the snow totals would go down as it would mix with rain. A little colder, and the snow would get a little fluffier, increasing the totals.

There's little chance the snow will get much fluffier. It will be wet and heavy. Combined with the wind, there will once again be widespread power failures, just as there were in the last three nor'easters.

With all the damage over the past month, I think utility rates will rise across much of the East. Somebody is going to have to pay for all that repeated damage to the electric grid.

Once again, battered coastlines are going to be battered anew, with beach-eroding waves and more flooding along shorelines made much more vulnerable by the last three nor'easters. Winds were already increasing dramatically along parts of the Mid-Atlantic coast today and that should spread northward into Wednesday.


At this point, it still looks like it won't be too bad up here in the Green Mountain State. The far southern Green Mountains, which have gotten as much as six feet of new snow this month, are in for a little more.

This time, it looks like that region will be measuring the snow in inches, not feet. I still looks like they'll get six inches or less of snow in far southern Vermont, but that will have to be monitored.

So far, it looks like any light snow won't get any further north than Rutland and White River Junction on Wednesday and Wednesday night, but we'll of course have to continue monitoring the path of the storm. We don't want it to come further north,  do we?

The Arctic air mass over us is slowly moderating, and each day since Saturday has been getting slightly warmer, though staying way chillier than average. At least a tiny bit of snow has melted in sunny corners.

Today, with lighter winds and clouds from the storm not really getting too strongly into Vermont, readings might go briefly above freezing this afternoon. Still cold for this time of year, but we'll take anything.

That nor'easter passing by will increase the north winds, throw a few clouds our way and slow the pace at which the air warms up over us during the second half of the week. So it will stay wintry. If any afternoon temperatures get above freezing between Thursday and Saturday, it will be just barely.

Winter is hanging on.


Meteorologists knew since Saturday at least that parts of the Southeast were at risk for severe storms and tornadoes by yesterday, and sure enough, things got bad very fast.
A reporter with the Cullman, Alabama Tribune holds one
of the giant hailstones that fell near his house last night. 

There were at least 12 reports of tornadoes, pretty much all in northern Alabama, not far from the borders of Tennessee and Georgia.

One thing odd about this tornado outbreak, at least in my opinion, is how supercells creating the tornadoes, immense hail and damaging winds followed each other.

Usually, when a town gets hit by a tornado, emergency responders can get to the scene relatively safely, despite continuing lightning, flooding, heavy rain and sometimes hail.

Last night, one tornado hit the town of Jacksonville, Alabama, and first responders had to be warned that a second tornado (later confirmed) was hot on its heels. Even after that, a third circulation came into town, but I don't know yet whether that one touched down into a tornado.

At least one of those tornadoes hit Jacksonville State University, but thankfully the school was on spring break. There weren't that many students in the way to get hurt by the twister.

So far, I'm not aware of any deaths caused by the storms, but there were injuries. 

The supercell storms marched into Georgia later last night, and National Weather Service meteorologists there are investigating whether any of the damage around metro Atlanta and elsewhere in northwest Georgia was caused by tornadoes.

The storms also dumped huge hailstones on parts of Alabama. In Cullman, Alabama, hail as big as softballs caused widespread damage. One large car dealership alone suffered perhaps $4 million or more in damage. In some parts of town, hail was big enough to crash through roofs. 

There's still a threat of severe storms and tornadoes today across northern and central Florida, and near the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina.

Here's a news video of hail damage at a Cullman, Alabama car dealership:

Here's what it was like inside the Cullman, Alabama Walmart during the hail. It was loud, and you can see pieces of the ceiling coming down during the onslaught:

Not confirmed as of this writing, but the damage in this video in Campbellton, Georgia had to have been caused by a tornado last night:

Monday, March 19, 2018

Always Trying To Find Out Who's Got It Worse

A snow drift in New Brunswick, Canada last week. Via
Ashley Ricard, Facebook
When I'm discouraged by weather I don't like, I perversely find places where conditions are even worse, just to console myself.

One place I found was Bathurst, New Brunswick, Canada. As you know, I've been whining about the deep mid-March snowcover from the recent nor'easters and the current January-like chill.

New Brunswick has also been dealing with the same nor'easters, and the snow drifts are worse, much worse than around here.

A woman named Ashley Ricard has been posting photos of her snow-buried neighborhood, and houses are nearly buried. A couple of her photos are in this post.

A New Brunswick, Canada house buried in snow. Via
Gail Harding/CBC
Like us here in Vermont, it's cold in New Brunswick, so most of the snow won't go anytime soon.

There have been reports of a couple buildings collapsing under the weight of the snow, and travel is still difficult in some spots in southeastern Canada because of the snow.

Speaking of nor'easters, we're still watching one for mid to late week. Current forecasts are still insisting the next one will have little or no impact on Vermont, but I'm still not counting it out.

The beginnings of this next storm swept across Texas Sunday, causing a couple of tornadoes, strong winds and numerous reports of giant hail, some the size of baseballs. (Once you start getting into March, storm systems are increasingly likely to bring severe weather to parts of the nation.)

Today, the storm will bring severe weather to parts of the south, particularly Alabama and Tennesee, where damaging tornadoes are possible. 

The storm is still expected to head off the North Carolina coast. Some computer models continue to nudge the projected path of this next nor'easter a little closer to the coast. But it still - at this point at least - looks like it will pass relatively far off the New England coast Wednesday and Thursday.

Southeastern New England still looks like it will get a little snow and wind from this. It looks like the New York City area, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland, including the Washington DC area, look to be in play for some snow out of this as well.

I expect it will throw some clouds back over Vermont. If the projected path holds, the Green Mountain State will get little if any snow out of this. If the storm track ends up being another 100 miles to the northwest than current projections, then it's -- ugh.

Meanwhile, it remains frigid. Widespread below zero temperatures were reported across the North Country this morning, though readings were a few degrees warmer than Sunday morning.

Still, I also always like to look for signs of hope during weather I don't like. The March sun angle is high, and temperature, while remaining well below normal, will gradually creep up a bit each day through Wednesday.

I noticed yesterday when I was in Rutland, Vermont, where the snow cover is thinner than it is up here in St. Albans, the sun was able to open up a few bare patches on steep south and west facing slopes. Not a pretty look, but a sign that the snow will want to try to melt. Some day, at least.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Bottom Really Drops Out Of Temperatures This Morning

Dawn breaks on a frigid Vermont March morning today,
as this webcam view from Nashville, Vermont depicts.
Temperatures were 0 to 20 below across the
region this morning. 

As expected, this Sunday morning was very January-like, and even colder than some forecasts indicated.

Blame Arctic air, clear skies, and a deep snowpack.

There usually isn't this much deep snow in northern New England this time of year, at least in the valleys. Deep, fresh snowcover tends to make cold snaps worse when dry, cold Arctic air arrives from Canada.

That was certainly the case this morning.  Just before dawn, it was 21 below in Saranac Lake, New York and Whitefield, New Hampshire. A 20 below reading was reported from Island Pond, Vermont. Montgomery, Vermont was at 16 below.

These temperatures might have gone down a degree or two from these frigid levels before the sun came up. I don't have the final stats yet.

At last report even "tropical" Burlington Vermont was down to 1 below, the first time it's gotten that cold since February 3.

The forecast hasn't changed any since last night, so if you like the Arctic cold, you'll love the forecast.

All these temperatures are approaching record lows, most of them on this date set in 1956. March, 1956 was another time we had three snowy March nor'easters.

Temperatures will only modify very slightly today and Monday. We might actually get to a little above 20 degrees this afternoon and the mid 20s Monday -- still far, far colder than normal this time of year.

Tonight's lows will be within a few degrees of zero again, with cold mountain hollows getting well below zero.

At least the wind won't be as bad as Saturday. During the morning and early afternoon, winds gusted as high as 45 mph in Burlington, and many other locations around the North Country. This, while temperatures were in the teens, so wind chills were below zero. The wind did manage to die down somewhat in the mid to late afternoon, which I suppose helped a bit.

I see no signs of any springlike weather for more than a week. Ugh.

As I expected, forecast models are starting to nudge that mid to late week nor'easter a bit closer to the coast. So far, the trend isn't bringing it close enough to give Vermont any snow, but we'll still have to keep an eye on it. As it stands now, coastal New England could get a bit of snow and gusty winds and maybe some more coastal flooding out of it.

We'll continue to monitor.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

First The Snow, Now The Cold

A big snowbank on the edge of my St. Albans, Vermont
driveway this morning. Sky looks nice, but temperatures
were only in the upper teens, with winds gusting to 30 mph or so.
I've said this before, but I hope you like all the snow that's on the ground in Vermont and other parts of the Northeast and southeastern Canada.

It's going to stick around for awhile.

Here in Vermont, despite all the snow, you might be surprised to learn that March, up until yesterday at least, was warm.

At Burlington, Vermont, each of the first 15 days of the month were warmer than normal, and the first half of March was more than five degrees balmier than average.

Part of the reason was all the clouds. Overcast tends to keep nights warmer. All those slow moving storms gave us lots of cloudy weather. The result was nights that were much warmer than average. Daytimes were generally only slightly warmer than average,

Friday broke a remarkable streak of 30 consecutive days of warmer than normal temperatures in Burlington. Yeah, it's been relatively toasty since mid-February. It's quite rare to have that many days in a row above normal without a break.

Of course, things do tend to even out. So I guess you have to expect some cold weather. Friday marked the start of what will be a long streak of colder than normal days. I hope it doesn't last 30 days, because that would take us into mid-April, which would be depressing.

I do know this just-starting cold streak will last at least a week, likely more, as we're locked into a cold northwest flow of air from way up in northern Canada.

The worst of the cold will come today through Monday. Another Arctic cold front is coming through this Saturday morning. It will bring us some snow showers, but accumulations will be mercifully light. Some places won't get any snow flurries at all. Lucky souls.

But many of us have already reached our high temperature for the day or close to it. (It was 24 degrees at 7 a.m. Saturday in Burlington.) Temperatures will remain steady or even slowly fall today. There might be a very slight uptick in temperatures early this afternoon as the sun comes out, but you won't notice it.

That's because winds from the northwest will gust in many places to over 30 mph, so wind chills will be at or below zero at times.

Tonight in Vermont, temperatures will rocket downward, and be between five below in the colder spots to five above in the "warmer" valleys. It would get even colder, but the wind will keep blowing, so the air will stay mixed. Of course, that adds a wind chill.

Sunday, the sun will be out much of the time (yay!) but it will be like January. Some of us won't even make it past 20 degrees in the afternoon, and that northwest wind will continue to crank Sunday night will be just as cold as tonight will be.

This is all a good 10 to 20 degrees colder than normal. For reference, normal highs this time of year are in the low 40s, with overnight lows typically around the mid-20s.


This forecast map for next Thursday shows
an intense nor'easter passing a little too
far east of Vermont to have much of an
effect, other than wind. Coastal areas may
see some snow. This forecast is subject to
change, and it's still possible this thing
could hit us. Just not likely at the moment. 
That word scares you, doesn't it? Nor'easter. Shudder. Still, I have to give an update.

The forecast consensus at the moment is that nor'easter we're watching for next week will pass too far south and east of us here in Vermont to have much of an effect.

However, and this is a big however: Don't count this storm out yet. Some computer models do still bring it close enough to give us a decent snowfall.

And this next part is decidedly un-sciency:

My experience with March cold waves, like the kind we're embarking on now, tend to end with snowstorms. Not always, but often. These storms often come from nor'easter that forecasters initially tell us will miss, but then they don't.

I might change my mind, but at this point I give the nor'easter a 40 percent chance of hitting us Wednesday or Thursday.

Even if the storm does miss us, it will keep us in a cold northerly flow. Winds will pick up because of the offshore nor'easter around Thursday. By then, though, temperatures will have warmed up a bit. Still below normal, but better than this weekend.

If you don't like all this snow on the ground, you can take a tiny, tiny bit of heart in this: Despite the bitter cold, you might see a little snow melt in some corners of your property.

The March sun angle is high and the days are longer. Even with temperatures well below freezing, the sun will erode some of the tall snowbanks, and melt a bit of the snow in sunny, protecting corners, like the south side of your house, under pine trees and on some south and west facing slopes.

You have to take anything you can, I guess.