Sunday, November 23, 2014

Why Meteorologists Have No Idea If A Nor'easter Will Screw Up Your Travel Plans Wednesday.

Different scenarios for a possible East
Coast storm Wednesday and Thanksgiving morning.  
Maybe there's going to be a big nasty storm on the East Coast Wednesday into Thanksgiving.

Or maybe there won't be any trouble at all.

You might have heard rumors this morning that a nor'easter would drop a boatload of snow on the Middle Atlantic states and the Northeast when we're all trying to drive over the hills and through the woods to Grandmothers house.

Or down I-95 to her condo in Passaic.

Well, right now that storm is just a rumor. The weather forecasting computer models that predict these sorts of things are all over the place right now.

Some models say a storm will dump six inches or more of snow on eastern and southern New England. Other computer models say there will be a pretty good storm, but it will be mostly rain.

Still other forecasting models say the storm will go out to sea and miss entirely.

So yeah, I'm not really helping with your holiday travel plans at this point, am I?

Here's the problem: We know a weak, but wet and kind of warm storm will come out of the Gulf of Mexico later Tuesday and start heading northeast. We also know a weak, moisture-starved and cold storm will head east and southeast out of the southern Canadian prairies toward the Northeastern United States.

The two storms are on a collision course.

The computer models, and no humans that I know of, can yet figure out where those two storms will collide, and what will happen when they do.

The collision will probably ignite a nor'easter along or off the East Coast.  Will that nor'easter be really strong, and just in the right position to dump a bunch of snow on the Northeast?

Or, Door Number Two, will the cold air package with the storm coming in from the west be a little slow, so the East gets a rainstorm?

Or, we have Door Number Three, in which the nor'easter gets cranking off the coast and almost all of its precipitation misses the East Coast completely.

Only time will tell. The ingredients for this potential storm are still far away, and in large part still over the Gulf of Mexico and off the West Coast.

That means there's not much data for the computer models to work with. Junk, really. Garbage in, garbage out, as the say.

Once we get closer to Wednesday, probably later tomorrow, we'll have better data and a better idea on what to expect toward Thanksgiving along the East Coast.

Sorry to make you wait, but that's the way it goes.

Elsewhere in the nation, if you're traveling on Thanksgiving, the weather will be fairly calm in the southeastern United States, cold in the northern Plains and upper Midwest, rather wet in the Pacific Northwest and dry in the Southwest.

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