Monday, March 31, 2014

Live Vicariously Through This Guy Who's Really, REALLY Done With Winter

Hat tip to Cat Fraser for alerting me to this video of what looks like a guy from Quebec who is definitely done with winter.  
This guy is so done with winter.  

I don't think it's a real tantrum. I think it's just people having fun and mugging for the camera. But for those of us living this never ending winter, we can so, so relate to this gentleman.

So, I'll go out this morning, the last day of March, when you'd think it would be getting toward spring. I'll walk gingerly across the ice, and hack the ice off my truck windshield, and I hope not to have a huge meltdown.

God know all this deep snow on the ground is surely not having a huge meltdown.

Instead, if I'm feeling blue, and have blue skin because of this never ending winter, I'll watch the video below to feel better.

So watch the thing for a good belly laugh, but there is the Annoying Vertical "I'm Too Dumb To Correctly  Shoot Video With A Smart Phone" Alert:


Sunday, March 30, 2014

April Starts This Week, But Winter Is Still Hanging Tough

Looking at the national weather maps this Sunday evening, it looks more like the end of February than the cusp of April.  
Webcam image from Coles Pond, Walden, Vermont
at an elevation of about 2,250 feet
still has three feet of snow on the ground
with April starting the day after tomorrow. 

Winter weather advisories extend from the metro DC areas up into Maine, where they turn into a winter storm warning.

Blizzard and winter storm warnings are up for large parts of the Dakotas and Minnesota, and freeze advisories are in effect in Alabama and Georgia.

This spring has been reluctant all along. And despite occasional promises to the contrary, it's still incredibly reluctant, and going to stay that way for awhile.

Yes, of course, there have been attempts at spring, and those attempts are increasing. It got up to 60 degrees in Minneapolis today for the first time since last fall, and might get to 60 again tomorrow.

But, one step forward, one step backwards. By later Monday night, it looks like it will be snowing in Minneapolis.

It's the same down by Washington DC. Temperatures flirted with 70 degrees Friday, and today it snowed. And that's quite unusual for this late in the season.

Up here where I live, in St. Albans, Vermont, it's been a mix of light rain and light snow all day, and freezing rain and sleet is forecast for much of the state overnight. Snow is still deep on the ground, almost everywhere at a time of the year when most of it is usually gone from the valleys.

It looks like this March in Burlington, Vermont will come out around the third or fourth coldest on record.

The outlook for the progress of spring over the next week or two is mixed at best. There will be bouts of warmish, humid air in the southeastern quarter of the country over the next week. There might even be something of an outbreak of severe weather in toward the end of the week in Tornado Alley, which is typical for spring.

But across the winter weary north from the Dakotas to New England, it won't be all that springlike for the next week at least. On April Fool's Day, high temperatures across parts of North Dakota might not get past 20 degrees.

True, it will be closer to normal than it's been in many spots, especially in New England, but even in the valleys in northern New England, the deep snow will only thaw slowly.

Yep, the season of warm weather is going to be a short one this year, folks. At least it's getting off to a very late start.

Maybe next year will be the Year Without a Winter, who knows?

Spring Announces It's (Tentative) Arrival With A Lake Ice Attack

For those of us who live in the northern border regions of the United States, it's seeming like true spring will never get here.
In a photo from about five years ago, ice is pushed
ashore from Lake Superior near Duluth, Minn.
Photo by Bob King, Duluth News Tribune  

But it's slowly building in.

Those of us who live here in the North know early spring is not all green grass and sunshine.

It's about mud, moving ice, cold slush, and sometimes a little drama.

Like in this video, shot last week when weakening ice on Lake Superior was pushed onshore by fairly strong winds around Duluth, Minn.

It's pretty damn cool. Watch:



Messy Storm Expected To Dwindle To Nasty Freezing Drizzle

Depending upon where you are in northern New York or northern New York, forecasts for this weekend's storm turned out to be exactly right or off. 
The gloomy weather will continue today and
will remain like this web cam grab from Malletts Bay,
Colchester, Vermont Sunday morning. 

That was to be expected, considering the air temperature that was right near freezing and air temperatures aloft that were on the cusp of supporting  snow, sleet, ice or rain.

A few miles difference in location meant the
difference between snow, rain, ice or all of the above.   

Generally, the storm has so far behaved as expected. The southern half of Vermont, southern and central New Hampshire and New York south of the Adirondacks got mostly rain, as was predicted.  

The Adirondacks got mostly snow, again, as expected, with reported amounts up to 8 inches in Altona, New York and 7.5 Ellenburg Center, New York reported so far.

Warm air aloft moved across Vermont from east to west and stopped pretty much over Lake Champlain. So the New York side got snow, and Vermont, not much. So far, the deepest new snow and sleet accumulation reported in Vermont is two inches near Waterbury Center.

Northwestern Vermont caught a break: That area was expecting snow and sleet amounting to three to five inches, but accumulations there are less than an inch.

Where I live in St. Albans, it was mostly rain overnight. But early this morning, just as I remarked how glad I was it didn't snow, precipitation turned to sleet and a little snow. So far, only a slushy coating here. 

In southern New England, again as expected, enough rain fell to cause some flooding problems. A lot of places there got more than two inches of rain and some more is falling. 

The worst hit seems to be Rhode Island, where as of 8 a.m. Providence was closing in on rainfall of four inches from this storm, rain was still coming down hard and flash flood warnings were up for most of that state.

The main body of rain is heading up into northeastern New England this morning, but the parent storm system is sort of hanging around the Northeast.

This means the rather ugly weather in New England won't end until early Monday.

In northern New York and northern Vermont, temperatures will slowly drop during the day. Rain and mixed precipitation will turn to a depressing freezing drizzle. Not much ice will accumulate, but roads could get slick this afternoon through the early Monday morning commute.

In central New England, including the southern halves of Vermont and New Hampshire, a packet of moisture riding around the storm system will create snow, sleet and freezing rain tonight. This is the area that so far escaped winter weather with this system.

But tonight, those areas can expect 1 to 3 inches of snow, sleet and ice accumulation tonight. 

The ice and mix will end Monday morning.  And good news for both people who want to see the snow melt and maple sugaring enthusiasts: The upcoming week in northern New England will be just a tad cooler than average. That means that though nights will mostly go below freezing, daytime highs will get into the 40s, melting some of the snow in the valleys.

Meanwhile out in the Great Plains, blizzard watches and warnings and winter storm warnings remain in effect tonight and Monday as a storm rolls through there. Those areas can expect six to 15 inches of snow with winds of up to 50 mph.

Lovely.

The Northeast is not expected to get hit much by that storm. Maybe just a few light rain and snow showers across northern New York and the northern half of New England Tuesday night. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Another Wintry, Messy New England Storm Tonight

Time for some replacement snow!  
Heavy, wet snow weighs down trees in
St. Albans, Vermont in April, 2010.
Similar scenes are possible in
northern New England by Sunday morning.
 

The way this spring has worked in northern New York, Vermont and New Hampshire is as soon as a bit of snow thaws away, Mother Nature replaces what was lost with another storm.

And, after yesterday's replacement snow melted in afternoon rain, we've got another wintry storm to deal with.

This one has high bust potential, which means in some places the forecast really won't work out as forecast.

Here's what we're sure of: There is a storm loaded with lots of moisture and lots of precipitation heading into the Northeast tonight.

Flood watches are up from eastern Pennsylvania, through much of metro New York on up into southern and central New England into coastal Maine. There, it looks like a safe bet there will be mostly if not all rain, and plenty of it.

Hence, the flood watches.

Once you get into northern New England and northern New York, things get really, really tricky in the forecast department.

Warm air high up in the atmosphere will blow in, which would want to keep precipitation rain. But cold air is going to bleed down from southern Quebec near the surface. With warm air above and cold air below, that would argue for sleet and freezing rain.

But when heavy precipitation moves in, the entire atmosphere overhead cools. That would argue for snow.

So which of these three influences win out? The low level cold air? The higher level warm air? The heavy precipitation cooling everything down? All of the above?

Who knows? All this means we're not entirely sure what's going to come out of the sky tonight in northern New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and the northwestern two thirds of Maine.

The best guess, in northern New York and Vermont is wet snow, mixed with rain at the beginning of the storm this evening and as it tapers off Sunday. Sleet mixing in is a good bet.  Freezing rain is a risk, too. The best chances of heavier accumulations of ice from freezing rain is in the high elevations from 1,000 to 2,000 feet, according to the National Weather Service in South Burlington.

This snow, slush and ice is all going to be wet and heavy, so look out for fallen branches, trees and powerlines overnight in northern New York and northern New England.

The guestimate of how much snow and slush will accumulate is about three to six inches.

In the southern third of Vermont, the southern two thirds of New Hampshire and in New York from Lake George south, it seems as if most of the precipitation will be rain. It might be enough, combine with melting snow, to loosen ice in frozen rivers, so ice jams are a risk.

It's kind of hard to say exactly where the line will be in this region between wintry precipitation and mostly rain, so you sort of have to play by ear tonight.

Precipitation lightens up, but light rain and light freezing rain will continue much of Sunday night into Monday morning in many spots.

In other parts of the nation, winter rolls on, too. Blizzard and winter storm watches are up for much of the Dakotas and Minnesota Monday as yet another wintry storm system blasts through that region.

At this rate, towns will hold community snowball fights on the Fourth of July.

Friday, March 28, 2014

More Stormy New England Weather Coming?

Today, a good week into spring, I awoke around dawn in my St. Albans, Vermont home. I looked out the window and saw heavy wet snow, sleet and gusty wind.
The lovely spring scene in my St. Albans,
Vermont driveway this morning. Snow and sleet
and wind and yuck.  

Isn't springtime in Vermont lovely?

Looking at the forecasts it looks like there's more challenging weather ahead.

The worst news is, there's a chance the northwestern third of Vermont and much of northern New York and maybe northern New Hampshire ane western Maine  might get another big snowstorm Saturday night.

Oh, joy!

First let's deal with today.

Since my early morning bout of snow and sleet, the precipitation has changed to a cold rain, and that trend is continuing across northern New England today. Most of the region will get rain, not snow today.

There might be a few snow showers tonight as colder air returns, but nothing extreme.

However. And this is a big however. It looks like a storm that I originally thought might give most of New England only a glancing blow Saturday night and Sunday might hammer us.

The storm coming Saturday night won't be anything like that super strong nor'easter that roared off the coast Wednesday, bringing gusts to 82 mph to Nantucket and more than 110 mph to Atlantic Canada.

In fact Saturday's storm is middling, as far as strength goes. It won't be all that windy. But the issue is this next storm will have a lot of moisture to work with.

Here's what's going on:  The storm that's going through today, the one with this morning's sleet and snow and afternoon rain, has a cold front that goes all the way down to the Gulf Coast.

A new storm will form down there along the cold front and then move northeastward. On it's way out of the Gulf of Mexico, the storm will grab a HUGE amount of moisture.

With that big supply of water, the storm will be able to drop a LOT of precipitation on the Northeastern United States.

Yeah, but what kind of precipitation?

In most of the the Northeast, the answer to that question is rain. Maybe lots of it. Southeastern New York, and southern and central New England might get enough rain to set off some flooding problems.

In southern Vermont and New Hampshire, the heavy precipitation will probably be rain or a mix, so there's a threat of flooding there, too. And the threat of several inches of wet snow if the storm is colder than forecast.

Once you get into northern New York, northern Vermont and New Hampshire, whether there's rain or snow becomes a huge question mark.  Early predictions are that just enough cold air will bleed down from Quebec to give that region a heavy wet snowstorm. Maybe 6 to 12 inches or even a little more than that.

Since the snow would be wet and heavy broken tree limbs and power failures are a real possibility.

But wait! There's more!

It's unclear at this point what will win out in these potential snow areas.

Will enough cold air come down from Quebec to keep things snowy? Or will the wet storm be strong enough to throw quite a bit of warm air more north than we now think? If that happens, northern New York and Vermont and New Hampshire would get more rain and less snow.

There's a winter storm watch up in this area for the potential for heavy snow. Forecasters are reluctant to upgrade this to a warning because of the uncertainty about how much warm air is coming.

So, stay tuned to updated forecasts. A very white North Country might get even whiter to welcome April, or the first good rainy thaw of the season will come in. Time will tell.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Still Looks Like Winter, But Dangerous, Weakening Lake Ice Says Spring

We're a week into spring now, and around Vermont, temperatures were in the mid-winter single numbers either side of zero this morning.
Ice fishing enthusiasts on Lake Champlain near
Colchester, Vermont in February, 2012.
The ice might have been safe then, but
the warm late March sun is making lake
ice unsafe now.  

There's still plenty of snow on the ground, so it doesn't look at ALL like spring.

But don't let looks fool you. I noticed the Vermont Department of Public Safety and National Weather Service in South Burlington, Vermont put out a notice yesterday warning of increasingly dangerous ice conditions on the lakes.

The lakes and ponds look every bit as solidly frozen as they did a month ago. But looks are deceiving. Even on cold, subfreezing days this time of year, the sun is strong.  The dark grey ice near the bottom of the ice layer, near the water, can collect heat from the sun.

So the ice might be thinning and weakening from the bottom up. What looks like solid ice to us, us we just walked on a week ago, might be too thin to handle us now.

That means it's time to get off the ice in the Great White North. That's whether you're on Minnesota's 1,000 lakes, the deep lakes of the Adirondacks, and the many fishing ponds and lakes across Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

In Vermont and New York, Lake Champlain hasn't frozen over to this winter's extent in years. A lot of people have taken advantage of the novelty by walking out there in big groups. Probably not a good idea now, as the ice can break under an entire group, and then who will rescue them?

It's also about time you get your fishing shanties off the lakes, too. Most northern states have a deadline of about now to remove them.  If they fall through, you have to get them out and that could cost TONS of money.

It's going to warm up over the next few days, so ice will keep getting more and more unsafe.  The time to walk on water is over, folks.

Take it as a sign of spring. We take what we can get when spring is off to this slow a start, right?

Hodgepodge Today: Last Nor'easter Look, California Twister, Weird Amsterdam Clouds

Now that the huge megastorm is pulling away from Atlantic Canada, I've just got a hodgepodge of stuff to show you this morning, just for fun.
One last photo for you of that massive storm off the
U.S. East Coast yesterday.  

The first photo in this post is one last satellite photo of that huge Atlantic storm, just, from a weather geek's perspective, it's incredible and beautiful.

Next, we had a couple tornadoes touch down in California, near Sacramento. While California isn't exactly Tornado Alley, they do get them from time to time.

The two confirmed tornado touchdowns yesterday caused minor damage.

There were also many reports of funnel clouds and hail near Sacramento.

Today, that storminess moves out into the middle of the nation. There might be a few severe thunderstorms and maybe a couple of tornadoes around Missouri and Arkansas, which is what you might expect this time of year.
A tornado near Sacramento, Calif. yesterday.   

Finally, the last photo shows some weird clouds over Amsterdam, The Netherlands. They're mammatus clouds, often attached to strong and severe thunderstorms.

The weird thing about these clouds is how big they are. They clouds usually have small lumps and bumps.

But still pretty neat, eh?



Menacing mammatus clouds over Amsterdam, the Netherlands,
from Govet/Reisling via @Anthonywx on Twitter.  

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wild Images Starting To Come In Of Cape Cod, Nova Scotia "Bomb" Storm

It's quite a ride out on Cape Cod and the Island of Massachusetts and in Nova Scotia as this huge storm does its handiwork.
Not much of a view through the blizzard
near Halifax, Nova Scotia this morning.  

Winds have been gusting to 80 mph around Nantucket.

Some images of the storm have been coming in this morning, so you've got them in this post, updated at around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.









Another satellite view of this hugely
wound up storm. 





















From @hurricanetrack on Twitter, this antique
building under renovation collapsed
in high winds at Chatham Light, Mass this morning.  


















A blizzard-blasted brew pub on Nantucket
this morning from @Irisheagle on Twitter.  

That Mega Storm Off The East Coast Is Behaving As Expected, Which Is Incredible

The forecasts for that humongous storm off the coast of New England are turning out to be totally accurate.  
The enormous mega-bomb of a storm
swirls off the New England coast as
dawn breaks Wednesday morning.  

That's actually a little surprising, because this storm is almost unprecedented in its strength.  If there's not much experience with a certain kind of weather pattern, the chances can increase the forecast is wrong.

If meteorologists have not really dealt with a particular type of weather event in the past, they haven't had the chance to learn from experience.

Then again, computer models are getting a lot better and meteorologists have gotten more sophisticated in using them.

So some mega storms have turned out to be very accurately forecasted, which of course can save lives and property.

For instance, forecasts for Hurricane Sandy in October, 2012 were almost dead on.  True, the destruction in New Jersey and elsewhere was extreme, and some people didn't heed evacuation notices, and people died. In that storm, 117 people in the United States died.

Another visible satellite view of the storm
The center of the storm looks like it
has an "eye" like a hurricane. Though the storm is as
strong as a hurricane, it's a completely different type of
storm from a hurricane.  
However, imagine how many people would have died had they not been warned Sandy was coming.

The great news is I'm not expecting nearly the destruction of Hurricane Sandy with the current huge storm, mostly because it's not hitting as many populated areas.

There is going to be coastal flooding and battering waves on Cape Cod and the islands, plus heavy snow.  

As of 8 a.m. winds were gusting to 69 mph in Nantucket, amid heavy snow and near zero visibility, for instance.  Winds there could gust to hurricane force before this is over.

There's also going to be a lot of damage up toward Nova Scotia, which is bracing for hurricane force winds and tidal surges.

Heavy snow is going to be confined to the New England Coast, and Atlantic Canada.

Luckily, the storm won't stick around long and will be gone by Thursday. Then, those of us in the Northeast will face more typical sized, and some rather unpredictable storminess over the weekend.

More on that later.....


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Winter's Last Big Gasp To Fade By The End Of The Week

It's still a lot like January out there in much of the nation. Tuesday morning, in places like North Carolina, Virginia and Kentucky, where spring should be in full swing by now, it's snowing.
Snow on the flowers in Prestonburg, Kentucky this
morning. Photo by Steve Russo via WeatherNation
from Twitter.  

Freeze warnings cover a huge swath of the South, almost all the way down to the Gulf Coast.

And of course we're watching that mega bomb storm forming off the U.S. East Coast, which promises to brush eastern New England with gales and snow, and blast places like Nova Scotia, Canada with one to two feet of snow and winds as strong as hurricane force.

I'm happy to report, though, that this will be the last bout of weather that you can describe as typical for January until late next fall.

Yes, we'll have spring cold waves and snow and freezes to come as we go through April and May.  But the weather will never again feel just like January, at least not until maybe November.

Of course, the milder change in the weather pattern will bring its own set of problems, but overall, it will be a nice switch from the deep freeze.

Places near the Great Lakes and interior New England will have to start watching out for ice jam flooding, or general river flooding if it rains too hard over the next few weeks.

A couple of storms, one Friday and one Saturday, will cross New England with some rain (and a little mixed precipitation)

The snow on the ground needs to what forecasters call "ripen" before it can launch into a full throttle thaw.  That means the initial rains and thaws this weekend won't melt a huge amount of the snow.

So I don't expect a lot of flooding this weekend.  There is a risk of an ice jam or two, but I don't think it will be too bad.

The change in the nation's weather pattern also increases the chances of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes as the storms cross the nation. The storms will have warmer air to play with. Warmer air helps feed violent thunderstorms, so you get into the normal spring tornado season that way.

I don't see any huge tornado outbreaks in the next week or two, but there might be some severe weather over the next few days.

One good thing about the cold this March is it has limited the number of tornadoses. There's only been something like four tornadoes in the nation so far this March, which might mean this month might set a record for the least number of tornadoes in March.

If you're going to have a drought, a tornado drought is the kind to have, for sure.

Monday, March 24, 2014

More Totally Amazing Views of Dust Devils, Tumbleweeds, Tornadoes and Fires

I know I featured a couple posts in the past couple of weeks of dust devils,  tumbleweeds and other dry climate stuff doing amazing things, if only to give us a break from the endless discussions of winter weather.

But wait! There's more!

For fans of weather porn, (the viewing of photos and videos of severe, large or weird storms, no nudity!) we have more.

From Twitter, we got a photo,  originating from @KOB4, shows an enormous dust devil near Las Vegas, New Mexico recently.

(The New Mexico town is not to be confused with the glittery gambling Nevada city.)

This has to be the most humongous dust devil I've ever seen.

Most dust devils don't have strong enough winds to cause damage, but a few do. I bet if this huge
dust devil had hit any of the buildings in the foreground, there would have been damage.

Luckily, no structural damage was reported.

Next, we have a video of a controlled burn at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal in Colorado, to get rid of some brush.

Or, at least it WOULD have been a controlled burn had the big dust devil not come along to stir up a ton of tumbleweeds, set them aflame, and spread the blaze all over the place.

Luckily, the crew got things under control a little while later, and the so-called control burn didn't scorch THAT much more land than it should have.

The video is next but warning: The idiot who posted the video decided screaming death metal music would be the perfect accompanyment to the visuals. So turn the volume to mute before watching.

Your ears will thank you, and you'll still get your weather porn fix:




Finally, we have a spectacular tornado in Mexico that struck Saturday. Quite the spectacle:


Mega Bomb Superstorm Still A Threat to Cape Cod, Maine, Canada; In Vermont, Not So Much

Yes, we're still in a tizzy in the weather world about that storm that's supposed to be off the East Coast later Tuesday and Wednesday.  
Storm surge during the Blizzard of 1978 in Massachusetts
It won't be as bad as this during this week's upcoming
storm, but Atlantic Canada is in for quite a blow.  

It's still going to be a monster, we're still callling it a bomb because it will develop so explosively, but it also still looks like most of the U.S. East Coast will be spared the worst of it.

A blizzard watch and coastal flood watch are up for Cape Cod and the islands in Massachusetts, and it still looks like things will get pretty nasty in Down East Maine, too.

But this will largely be a Canadian storm, with areas around Nova Scotia and New Brunswick taking the brunt of the blow.

Nova Scotia is bracing for hurricane force winds, and some areas of southeastern Canada could get a couple feet of badly windblown snow.

That said, there's still a few question marks. The National Weather Service in Taunton, Mass., which serves most of southern New England, said the path of the storm is uncertain enough so that we still don't know if bigger cities like Boston and Providence will only get light snow and gusty winds or a full blown winter storm.

Long Island, New York might get into the act, too, and there might even be some some in the New York City area.

More to the north and west, once you get into New Hampshire and Vermont, the storm will just produce clouds, maybe a little light snow and a chilly north wind. We've gotten used to that.

Speaking of chilly, it's below zero again this morning in a wide swath of the interior Northeast. It was 24 below in Saranac Lake, N.Y. -20 in Canaan,  Vermont, -15 in Berlin, N.H. and -13 in Whitefield, N.H.

Isn't springtime in the North Country glorious?

The good news is that almost everyone in New England will see the last of the below zero weather of the season this week.  Fewer places than this morning will be below zero tomorrow morning, and just the coldest spots will be below zero Wednesday and Thursday mornings.

After that, it turns milder. Not totally springlike going into early April, but at least warm enough to get the snow melting, especially in the valleys. Maple sugaring, which has been kind of slow due to the cold, will pick up steam, too.

The next storm on Friday and Saturday doesn't look big. Expect light rain in the valleys, mostly, and maybe some wet snow in the mountains of New England and New York then.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

About That Mega Bomb Of A Storm That's (Maybe) Coming

You are probably hearing a lot about a huge storm that might affect the Northeast toward midweek.  
The Superstorm of 1993 was a "bomb" that caused havoc
all over the eastern United States. Another huge bomb
might hit parts of New England and Atlantic Canada
midweek, but won't affect nearly as huge an
area as the 1993 storm.  

The meteorologists and weather geeks like me are TOTALLY in a tizzy over this one because it will be what's known as a bomb. And an incredibly big bomb, one that us weather people have rarely seen.

A bomb is the term we use for a storm that develops and grows and intensifies explosively. It usually applies to nor'easters but can describe many rapidly developing storms.

A bomb can grow from a piddling mediocre storm with a routine amount of rain, snow and wind to something that creates gales and havoc and coastal flooding and deep snow and torrential downpours and lightning in just a matter of hours.

I can hear a lot of you saying out there, "Well, that's nice, Matt. Have fun with your little weather bomb, but what does this have to do with me?"

Well, maybe a lot. Or maybe not. Let me explain.

We do know there's going to be that bomb off the coast. But the way the forecasts have the path of the storm going, just a little variance in exactly where it travels will make a big difference on how bad the storm will get, especially in New England.

American forecast models have it going pretty far out in the ocean. That means Cape Cod and the Islands, and probably eastern Maine would be in for gales, with gusts almost to hurricane force and lots of snow.

Under this scenario, once you get up to Boston and points north and west, the weather would be unpleasant and cold and windy during the storm but nothing extreme.

The European model seems to want to bring the storm maybe 50 miles closer to the coast than the American forecast model. That would bring the strong gales, the heavy snow, blizzardy weather basically, into many of the big cities and towns in the eastern half of New England, and spread some wind and snow all the way into southern Vermont and into central New Hampshire.

Under the European model scenario, Cape Cod and the Islands would get hurricane force winds, which is never a good thing.

By the way, if you live in places like Nova Scotia or New Brunswick, Canada, you're screwed. I'd start getting ready for a really bad storm now if you live in those regions.

This storm would come through Tuesday night and Wednesday, so we have a few more rounds of computer forecasting models to go so we can refine exactly where our bomb will go.

Will it just throw a little bit of shrapnel New England's way, or will the region get the full force of the blast? Stay tuned.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Luckily, Super Mega Storm Next Week Will Probably Give Only A Glancing Blow

National Weather Service forcast map shows an intense
storm off the New England coast Wednesday. 
All the computer forecasting models say an enormous, dangerous storm will lurk just off the East Coast the middle of next week.  

Luckily, most of the forecasts say the worst of the storm will stay offshore for most areas.

That's a good thing, because this offshore nor'easter looks to be an incredible monster.

If it moved right along the coast, you'd get hurricane force winds, terrible coastal flooding and a blizzard with snow measured in feet.

But so far --- knock on wood--the storm seems to want to stay offshore.

That means eastern New England in particular will get some nasty weather, but the storm won't be the end of the world for most of us.

I bet by Tuesday or Wednesday, Cape Cod will get some gale force winds, and by Wednesday, eastern Maine will have quite a windy snowstorm.

For the rest of the Northeast, it will just be windy and very cold for late March, with weather more typical of January.

Atlantic Canada will bear the brunt of the storm, with enormous winds, heavy snows, and in some places, very heavy rain.

Of course, if the storm unexpected takes a more westward track, most of the East Coast is screwed. I'm really banking on the forecasts being right.

Another tidbit of good news: After that mega storm rockets north toward Greenland, the cold in the Midwest and East will finally start to ease up.

There will be record cold in parts of the Great Lakes and maybe the Northeast during the first half of the week.

By next weekend, most of the nation will see temperatures pretty close to normal for late March or early April. That, if it comes to pass, will be sweet indeed!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Broken Spring: Winter Rolls On And On And On And On

I woke up to a dusting of new snow in my yard in St. Albans, Vermont this morning. I should count myself lucky. The dusting fell atop about a foot of snow on the ground, which is less than a week ago.
This is how part of my yard in St. Albans, Vermont
looked on the first day of spring yesterday.
Believe it or not, there is a perennial flower
garden on the lower right of the photo.  

And places near where I live got a lot more snow than in St. Albans last night.

Still, I'm calling this continued cold the Broken Spring of 2014. (though who knows? Maybe later in April and May will turn really warm. We can only hope)

Anyway, northern and central Vermont, away from the Champlain Valley, checked in with 2 to 7 inches of new snow last night, on top of the 2 to 7 inches the night before, which was on top of the remains of all the previous snowstorms we've gotten.

Some communities in northern Vermont now have more than three feet of snow on the ground. (Hi, there, Walden, and Greensboro, Vermont with your 40 inches of snow on the ground yesterday as spring officially arrived!)

Winter storm warnings and advisories are flying again in parts of North Dakota and Minnesota, too where up to 8 inches of new snow is coming today,  atop the 10 to 20 inches that's already on the ground

The upper Midwest goes back in the deep freeze this weekend, with temperatures of below zero in many areas.

That snow in Minnesota today will end up in northern New England by early Saturday morning. That means another two to five inches of snow in northern New York, Vermont and New Hampshire tomorrow.

And Vermont's Champlain Valley, which pretty much missed out on this morning's snow, will share in the two to five inches of snow on Saturday.

Even though daytime temperatures are supposed to be in the 40s this time of year and we're supposed to get thawing, the Midwest and interior Northeast will pretty much stay below freezing Sunday through Thursday.

And, the crown jewel of this Broken Spring: There could be a strong nor'easter along the New England coast, and maybe parts of the Mid-Atlantic around Wednesday.

The storm that's expected to churn up is going to be extraordinarily strong with enormously strong winds. The good news is, as it looks now, the monster storm will move fairly far east of the coastline, so its worst effects might miss the icebox Northeast.

Still, there looks like there could be quite a bit of  wind driven snow in eastern New England, Long Island and maybe even the New York metro area on Wednesday. As it looks now, the big nor'easter will mostly miss the interior Northeast, but you never know.

Stay tuned for later forecasts on that one.

Most long range forecast models keep the Midwest and Northeast cold through most of April. But of course it will get warmer in April, because it can't stay wintry forever. Plus, it looks like the intensity of the cold blasts will lose their punch.  So maybe the snow will actually melt.

And, AND, one long range forecast model suggests a warm ridge of high pressure could nose into the eastern United States for a week or two in mid-April, which would cause some above normal temperatures for a change.

I don't know if that will happen, as other models forecast cold, but at least it's a glimmer of hope.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Tumbleweed Connection: And Easterners Thought The Snow Accumulation Was Bad

Yes, I know, you winter weary achy backed snow shovelers in the Midwest and Northeast. You can't bear to clear one more flake of snow after shoveling your driveway day after day, week after week for months.  
A Colorado neighborhood buried in tumbleweeds
earlier this week. 

But it could be worse! Yes, it could!  You could live in the community of Fountain, near Colorado Springs.

Residents there returned home from work one day last week to find tumbleweeds piled up to 10 feet high against their houses. 

They couldn't get in or out.

These tumbleweeds have been a particularly terrible problem in windblown, drought stricken areas of the western United States this winter.

And what do you do with the mess? It's not like the tumbleweeds are going to melt eventually. Plus, they could catch fire and cause a nasty wildfire. The snow in your driveway is not going to cause a fire, trust me.

For now, the residents have piled the the tumbleweeds in a common area, but if the wind blows in the wrong direction, it could pile them against the houses again.

Tumbleweeds have become a real problem in the western United States this winter. They grew like crazy, especially in areas that got a lot of rain last summer. Then it got dry, and they're blowing around and piling up and getting to be a nasty headache.

You could burn them, but only if it's not dry or windy out.  The city of Kennewick, in eastern Washington suggests stomping them or using  heavy duty string trimmer to break them into bits so you can somewhat more easily dispose of them in the trash.

Some cities are spending weeks and many thousands of dollars with heavy equipment trying to get rid of the tumbleweed invasion, which is the worst in memory for a lot of Western towns.

It was as bad as it gets recently in Clovis, New Mexico, as you can see from this incredible local news vieo out of New Mexico:



Here's the local news clip from Colorado:


In Vermont, First Day of Spring and First Spring Day Are Two Different Things

Astronomical spring arrives at 12:57, EDT, right after lunch today.
Vermont State Police this morning Tweeted this gloomy
photo with the caption "A sure sign of spring in Vermont"  

That's nice, but as we all know in the Great White North, the first day of spring and the first spring day are two completely different things.

Here in Vermont, that's demonstrably true today.

Yes, temperatures have risen a little above freezing in many locations this morning, and will rise to near 40 by the time spring officially gets here this afternoon.

That's enough for a modest maple sap run, which is good. But really, spring?

As much as 7 inches of snow fell overnight in southeastern Vermont and most of us got one to five inches of snow overnight.  Some roads were still icy and slick during the morning commute.

There's still more than a foot of snow on the ground in most areas of the state.  More snow is forecast tonight, especially in the mountains.  It's supposed to stay cold for at least a week, probably more. The first spring day in Vermont is going to come way, way after the first day of spring.

Vermont State Police got the spring situation, or lack thereof exactly right on Twitter this morning.  Above a caption that reads "A sure sign of spring in #Vermont," they Tweeted the photo you see in this post. VSP captured it perfectly.

Of course you have the "Winter Weather Advisory" electronic sign on the highway median, but notice the dark sky, darker landscape, wet road, piles of dirty snow and the car headlights cutting through the gloom in their mostly colorless photograph.

Not exactly spring brightness and cheer, huh?

I guess this means when (and if!) spring finally gets here with it's exploding greenery, blue skies with scattered puffy white clouds and splashes of flower color all over the place, we'll appreciate the first spring day more than we usually do.

Which is saying something!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Warm Cooldown: Global Feb. Temperatures "Only" 21st Warmest

The latest National Climatic Data Center global temperatures came out this morning, and worldwide, February, 2014 was the 21st warmest of the past 134 years.  
Two cold bullseyes, one in North America, one in eastern
Europe dragged down global temperatures a bit in
February, 2014, but overall it was a warmer
than normal month. Add caption

This represents a "cooldown" of sorts. The global warming denial club is going to have a field day with this, saying it's "proof" global warming is a myth.

But the data says no such thing.

February on a global scale was still quite a bit warmer than average, and it was the 348th consecutive month of worldwide warmer than average temperatures.

Most months in recent years have scored in the Top 10 warmest.  February's comparatively modest global warmth isn't a trend, though.

Now, if the world kept cooling down more and more month after month and year after year going into the future, that would be something to look at.

But the science so far tells me that continued "cooldown" won't happen.

It will be interesting how the rest of the months in 2014 pan out, especially if an El Nino develops. El Ninos tend to boost global temperatures a bit..

In February, 2014, central North America, parts of eastern Europe and northwestern Asia were very cold, compared to normal, while most of the rest of the world was warmer than. In some places, like Alaska, California and Scandanavia, it was way, way, way warmer than normal.

I'll be waiting for some analysis to share with you as to why this February didn't crack the Top 10 warmest on a global scale. But notice the extremes in the Northern Hemisphere. A wildly wavy jet stream that was stuck in place during February made some regions in the north hugely warmer than normal, while others were extremely cold.

I found it interesting that the data showed that worldwide ocean temperatures were the 7th warmest on record in February. But measurements taken exclusively on land showed terra firma was only 44th warmest on record in February, 2014.

Attention analysts who are above my pay scale:  Please offer more explanations as to why February, 2014 was wicked warm globally, but not near record warm like it's been in previous months.

Readers: I'll share any interesting information climate scientists offer.

Oh Joy! More Snow, Sleet, Cold in the Forecast!

Of course you wanted more snowy, chilly weather! Who wants spring when you can have ice underfoot and enormous heating bills all year?  
Happier times: Daffodils in my St. Albans, Vermont
garden in April, 2013.Won't be seeing these anytime
soon this year.  

Yes, I'm getting pretty cynical about all this winter weather that won't quit.

It gets more frustrating as we get closer and closer to April.  Especially since there's precious little warmth in the forecast. Still.

Want to feel even worse about the cold?  This week two years ago, an unprecedented week long March heat wave sent temperatures into the 70s and 80s for days on end in the Midwest, Northeast and southeastern Canada.

I'm beginning to wonder if we'll even manage to hit 70 degrees by the Fourth of July at this rate this year.

Bouts of wintry weather will continue in the northern Great Lakes area and parts of the interior Northeast as a parade of midsized storms and big cold blasts from the Arctic come crashing down on the region

It was snowing in parts of Michigan this morning, part of a storm that will cause some messy weather in interior New England tonight.

The eastern half of Vermont,  parts of New York's Adirondacks, northern New Hampshire and western Maine are in for two to five inches of snow and sleet tonight from that system. East facing mountain slopes look like they'll get the most of this.

Broader valleys like Champlain Valley, the St. Lawrence Valley of New York and the lower Connecticut Valley will get less, as it will be warm enough for a mix of rain. Plus nearby mountain ranges might block some of the moisture from the storm, cutting down on precipitation.

So if you're in places like Burlington, Vermont, you probably will manage to get only a slushy coating to an inch or so of slush out of this.

More snow, mostly on north and west facing mountain slopes in northern New England will come along Thursday night. Places like Mount Mansfield and Jay Peak in Vermont could get yet another two to five inches of snow then.

By Friday more snow will be falling on already very white Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan as the next storm comes along. That one will spread some more snow and rain on the Northeast Saturday, though it looks like accumulations will be light.

Then the Arctic air resumes it's full force attack, dropping temperatures below 0 in parts of the Midwest over the weekend, and on into northern New York and New England next week.

Yay!!  Don't you just love having to wear your warmest ski parka every day during the spring?

Want more? You got it!! At least maybe.

Some of the long range computer forecasting models are predicting a large nor'easter during the middle or end of next week. If the forecasting comes true, a LOT of snow could dump on New England.

This forecast could be just a scare. Chances are the storm will harmlessly go out to sea and not bother any of us.  (Maybe if we all push hard enough somehow it will)

But we have to watch this, just in case. Our luck is this year's April Fool will be us, wondering why spring has passed us by.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Never Ending Winter Could Come With A Hangover: Floods Are A Threat

Tuesday morning, it was below zero across much of northern New York and northern New England.  Winter storm warnings were up for parts of Minnesota and northern Wisconsin, areas of the country already deep in snow.  
Severe flooding along Lake Champlain in
Colchester, Vermont, May, 2011. Although
I don't expect it to get this bad in 2014,
some spring flooding looks more likely as winter
drags on and snow and ice still accumulate.  

I don't see any real breaks in the cold in the Great Lakes region and Northeastern United States through the end of March. It'll keep snowing in the region occasionally, too, ensuring the snow cover lasts and lasts.

Winter is hanging on.

When, and if, winter does break, we could suffer from a hangover of sorts in the form of spring flooding.

It's funny. In January, snow cover was below normal and the thought was then the spring flooding threat would be minimal.

Then the cold deepened and so did the snow in February. The spring flooding threat in most of these regions was upgraded to "normal" chances.

Now, with snow still deepening and cold hanging on, the threat of spring inundations seems to be growing.

There's certainly no guarantee of flooding once the spring thaw arrives. Or any flooding could turn out to be minor.

But there are reasons to be worried.

The snow is deep and has a lot of water content for this time of year in the Great Lakes region and northern New England, including here where I live in Vermont.

The snowcover isn't setting any records and is not as ominous as the big spring flood year of 2011, but it's still worth keeping an eye out on.

By my estimation, the highest chances of spring flooding are in the northern half of Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, the Upper Penninsula of Michigan, the northern half of New York, and in most of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

The longer we go toward and into April, the greater the chances are that we get a sudden spike of temperatures way up into the 50s, 60s, and even 70s, accompanied by rain.

That would induce a lot of sudden melting and a rush of rain water and snowmelt from the mountains. The ground in most places is frozen hard, too, so don't count on much of that water harmlessly soaking into the soil.

An even bigger threat is ice jams.  It's been very cold in the Midwest and Northeast, as you are well aware.   Ice is thick on a lot of rivers, and record cold temperatures this past week have thickened the ice even more. It's going to be cold next week, too.

The thicker the river ice, the more likely chunks of it will form jams when a thaw and more runoff finally arrive.  There's also old ice jams frozen in place in the Midwest and Northeast from brief thaws earlier this winter. That could lead to even more flood trouble.

Back in 2011, an hugely snowy winter followed by what was easily the wettest spring on record unleashed a lot of flooding in Vermont and surrounding areas. Lake Champlain had a record, lengthy and costly flood.

Water rose to unprecedented levels. The water and battering waves damaged or destroyed hundreds, if not thousands of camps and homes along the lake shores in Vermont, New York and Quebec.

I still don't believe Lake Champlain flooding will get nearly as bad as 2011. There's not as much snow to melt as there was in 2011. And the chances of another record wet spring are remote.

Still, I think at least minor Lake Champlain flooding,  when the lake level gets up to 100 feet above sea level is a pretty good bet toward May.

As I said, bigtime flooding is not guaranteed. In 2001, many feet of snow lay on the ground in western New England and northern New York as April arrived. This was after a record snowy March. The fear was all the snow would abruptly melt in the warm, rainy weather of April.

Instead, April that year was very dry, and frequent overnight freezes slowed runoff. There was only minor flooding and minor damage that year.

In 2014, we won't find out what will happen until, and if, winter ends.


Monday, March 17, 2014

More Proof Of Bizarre Winter: There Were Wildfires In the Arctic In January

This somehow escaped my attention earlier this strange weather winter, what with the intense cold waves and snow in the eastern U.S., the California drought, the epic British storms and floods, the Australian and Brazilian heat and the Alaskan mega-thaw keeping me totally busy.  
One of the big, bizarre Arctic wildfires
rages in Norway in January (!!)  

Apparently, there were wildfires in Arctic regions of Norway. In January. You know, when there should be plenty of snow and ice around to keep anything remotely like that from happening.

But a huge drought, along with a super warm December and a lot of wind touched off the fires, which destroyed a number of homes in Norway.

I wonder what bizarre weather event will happen next. At this rate, the only thing we'll consider bizarre is normal weather. All the extremes will seem like par for the course.

He's a video of the midwinter Arctic fire. Pretty impressive in size:


Calendar Says St. Patrick's Day, Weather Says Mid-January

Incredible, mid-winter conditions hang tough in the eastern United States today as the awesome, awful stuck jet stream pattern keeps winter holding on, seemingly forever.  
Deep snow and high snowbanks in my
St. Albans, Vermont yard Sunday.
No early spring outdoor work or
gardening looks possible for quite a while yet.  

At last check in Burlington, Vermont, the temperature early Monday morning was minus 6, tying a record set way back in 1885.

In Milton, a suburb of Burlington, the temperature was an unbelieveable 17 below early Monday morning.

It's as low as 26 below at Saranac Lake, N.Y. and I'm sure there are a number of other readings in the minus 20s in the cold hollows of New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

This is as cold as it can possibly get in mid-March in northern New England.

This morning is already the sixth this month in Burlington that's gone below zero. At this pace, March 2014 will be among the coldest Marches on record,  if not THE coldest.

Meanwhile, the Washington DC area this morning is suffering through one of its largest March snowstorms on record, with around 10 inches of snow basically stopping the Monday morning commute down there.

Out in very winter weary central Minnesota, winter storm watches and warnings are up for a likely dump of 4 to 12 inches of snow late tonight and Tuesday.

While the weather will ease up and warm up somewhat in all these areas by the end of the week, the overall wintry weather pattern looks like it could continue well into April.

Of course April will be much warmer than the deep freeze going on now, just because it's April and you expect it to warm up. But in general, temperatures looks like they will mostly stay below normal on most days for the next couple of weeks or more, so spring is going to be delayed.

I do like snow in the winter. However, I don't know about you, but I'm done now. Time for a nice spring thaw.

We'll take any warm weather we can, as long as the thaw doesn't come so fast we end up with a flood.

But the snow is going to stick around for awhile.

In northern New England, expect another day of far below normal temperatures today, followed by more subzero cold tonight.

As I said, it will sort of warm up later in the week. But it won't really thaw grandly. Instead of temperatures way, way below normal, it'll only be a little colder than normal.

Expect one to three inches of snow in the northern New England mountains Wednesday night. The snow showers will probably mix with rain showers in the valleys so accumulations won't be so bad there.

There will probably be more snow showers Thursday, with little accumulation in the valleys but another few inches in the valleys.

There is a risk of a moderate strength snowstorm (3-6 inches) across northern New York and northern New England Saturday. Sigh. We seem to be in a pattern that every time a bit of snow melts, we immediately get replacement snow.

Of course, the Saturday snow is not guaranteed. It still could miss, or it could be warm enough in the valleys to have the snow mix with rain, so we wouldn't get much accumulation.

We'll see about that.




Sunday, March 16, 2014

An Excellent Snow Devil Spins Up in Quebec.

Today, as we continue to slog through the never ending winter of 2014, at least we have something cool to watch.
A fairly rare snow devil pushes through some
trees in Quebec recently.   

In early March, a large snow devil spun up in Quebec, and somebody got it on video.

The snow devil is the same idea as a dust devil, the sudden tornado like whirl of dust you sometimes see on sunny, warm, relatively calm days.

Dust devils depend  partly upon updrafts of warm air to get going.

Warm air rises into a pocket of cooler air, and if the wind is just right, the air might rotate. The colum of rising air is stretched vertically, the axis of rotation draws in, like the way a figure skater spins faster if she makes her body more compact, and there you go.

Usually dust devils are not dangerous as the winds inside them aren't too bad. But occasionally, you can get damage or injuries from a especially strong one.

Snow devils are a bit more rare, because of course there's not that much hot air to rise when it's cold enough for snow around. But as long as the column of rising air is warmer than the air surrounding it, you can get a snow devil.

In any event, they're pretty cool, as you can watch, below.



Saturday, March 15, 2014

Worst Attempt At Debunking Climate Change Ever

Of all the weak arguments I've heard claiming that global climate change isn't happening, the worst came the other day from that, er, icon of scientific thought, televangelist Pat Robertson.
Pat Robertson said God had
a humorous editorial comment
on global warming politics.  

The other night, U.S. Senators, attempting to call attention to the issue, held a marathon overnight session highlighting the therat of climate change.

The next night, a cold front packing strong winds swept through Washington DC, briefly cutting power to the U.S. Capitol.

With that information, Robertson had everything figured out.

Take away, Pat!:

"Do you think God has a sense of humor? Well, I think he does. Let me tell you what happened. In the United States Capitol, Harry Reid, Barbara Boxer and the Democrats had an all night marathon advancing global warming. And they said we have to be in fear of global warming.

So God says, 'Harry and Barbara, you've got it all wrong.' He dropped the temperature 40 degrees, send so much wind that it knocked out the lights in the Capitol dome for the first time in years. And it's still cold! And the Lord is saying, 'Democrats, it isn't going to happen that way.' Isn't that fun? God has a sense of humor"

Yeah, God surely would take time out from His busy day to offer a political commentary about speeches by Harry Reid and Barbara Boxer.

And since it was windy and cold in Washington DC, on one night, regardless of the weather elsewhere on earth, global warming surely doesn't exist. Of course, then how do you explain the fact it was in the 70s in Washington early that day?

Oh yeah, weather. You know, warm fronts and cold fronts changing the temperature periodically, like they always do. But that's not nearly as fun an explanation as God yanking on Washington DC power lines.

Meanwhile, as I sit and write this in Vermont, it's breezy with normal temperatures. I have no idea what God is trying to tell me with that.

I guess God needs to make his signals from the heavens  little more clear to heathens like me.

Friday, March 14, 2014

"Kelvin Wave" Video Is Coolest Cloud You'll See In A Long Time

I have to show you the coolest cloud formation with the most boring of names.
Another example of Kelvin-Helmholtz instability
clouds, different from the ones in the video.  n

It's called Kelvin-Helmholtz instability.  A yawner of a scientific name, but the clouds the instability causes can be totally amazing.

Writing in About.com's weather page, Rachalle Oblack explained them this way:

"When two different layers of air are moving at different speeds in the atmospher, a wave structure will often form. The upper layers of air are moving at higher speeds and will often scoop the top of the cloud layer into these wave-like rolling structures. The clouds often form on windy days where there is a difference in densities of the air, such as a temperature inversion."

The video first appeared on Facebook, posted by Darren Springer.

Here's the video:

Weather Is Off The Rails Pretty Much Everywhere Lately

Readers of this blog know I made a big deal out of the big snowstorm that hit western and northern New York and northern New England this week.  
While the Northeastern and Midwestern United
States linger in never ending winter, Germany
has had a week of unprecedented March warmth.
This was the scene last Sunday in Bonn.
Photo by Denis Moller.  

It was a blockbuster. In some places one of the biggest March snowstorms on record. But it certainly wasn't the most extreme weather going on in the world.

Like it has been so often lately, the weather has really been off the rails in many places.

In Germany, the beginning of March proved to be the warmest for so early in the season. The region experienced several days with temperatures in the 70s, which isn't far off from normal mid-summer weather in that neck of the woods. Flowers are already blooming there.

In Egypt, incredible rains fell on what is normally among the driest places on Earth. Luxor, Egypt normally gets 0.04 inches of rain per year. (That amount of rain, for the unintiated is basically a light, brief shower)

But on March 9-10, Luxor got 1.18 inches of rain.  To make things more bizarre, it even hailed there during the storm.

In contrast to the Midwest cold, California had its warmest winter on record, according to the National Climate Data Center 

Despite the storm California had last week, the drought out there actually worsened, as you need much more than one soaking storm to end a drought like that.

To make matters worse, record heat and dry winds are forecast for southern California over the next few days. There's also no sign of any major rain storm in the Golden State for at least a week.

In the Midwest, that snowstorm that I was yelling about pushed some cities, like Ann Arbor, Michigan, Toledo, Ohio and Fort Wayne, Indiana over the edge to make this winter the snowiest on record.
A decidely un-snowy aerial view of a dog sled
participating in the Iditarod in Alaska. Record warmth melted
much of the snow up there.
Photo by Bob Hallinen, Anchorage Daily News  

Up in Alaska, the famed Iditarod dogsled race had an unusual problem: A lack of snow. It was among the warmest winters on record up there, and much of the snow melted.

So you had the spectacle of dogsleds dragging across brown, muddy ground and organizers dumping snow on the finish line along the streets of Nome, because the snow that normally is there wasn't.

For general weirdness, and everything but the kitchen sink weather oddness, here's the forecast discussion from about 9:45 a.m. from the National Weather Service office in Baltimore, Maryland/Washington, DC.

"We sometimes say the forecast has something for everyone. As this forecast has almost every possible weather type/hazard. In the first 36 hours, strong to severe storms, snow, wind chills, strong winds, unseasonably warm (temperatures) fire weather concerns, minor coastal flood potential. There is not much left."

Maybe with all these weather extremes they'll have to start issuing Locust Warnings or something in the near future.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Snowstorm Pretty Much Over, But Winter's Not

Skies began to clear across New York State and Vermont this afternoon as the epic big snowstorm moved on off to the Northeast. Some breaks of sun were poking through in New Hampshire and Maine, too.  
Here's a map of what the National Weather Service
in South Burlington, Vermont predicted before the
storm. Red is the deepest snow. Click on
the map to make it bigger and easier to see.  

The National Weather Service in South Burlington did an awesome job forecasting this storm.

They'd said 18-24 inches would accumulate in the Adirondacks, central Vermont and on into northern New Hampshire and that's precisely what happened.

Slightly lesser amounts would fall to the north and south of that band, the National Weather Service had predicted, and they were on the money.

Although final, final totals weren't in by 4 p.m., the most snow I've seen so far in Vermont out of this is 29 inches at Jay Peak and 26 inches at Sharon.

In Burlington, Vermont, 18.6 inches fell as of late morning, which would make this the 5th largest March snowstorm and 12th biggest snowstorm overall. A bit of snow might have fallen after that report, which could move the storm up in the rankings a bit.

The storm is over, but winter is not.

With a fresh, deep snowpack, temperatures, which were already running a good 20 degrees below normal Thursday afternoon, will crash tonight. Most of northern New England will be below zero, with a few "warm" spots just above zero.

Winds were diminishing late Thursday afternoon, so the threat of blowing and drifting snow is gradually subsiding.

But we aren't done with that, yet. Friday, winds will grow strong from the south, especially in the Champlain Valley. With Friday's winds coming from the opposite direction as they did during the storm, the snow will be able to rearrange itself again, blowing out onto roads.
Here's a map of snow totals from the storm, based on
reports to the National Weather Service in South
Burlington, Vermont. This actual map
is very similar to the prediction map, above.
Click on this map, too to make it bigger
and easier to read.  

So, you'll be blasting down the road at the speed limit or more, then encounter a big snow drift in the middle of the road. And there you go. Another crash or slide off waiting to happen.

Also, since roads and driveways are essentially canyons flanked by tall snowbanks now, deep drifts could appear on wind exposed roadways on Friday.

It'lll turn warm-ish Friday night and Saturday, with temperatures remaining near 32 degrees Friday night and briefly spiking to the upper 30s Saturday morning.

But then we get another cold front. Temperatures will fall slowly Saturday afternoon, and we're in for another dusting to three inches of snow. (The three inches being in the high elevations.)

Then it's back to midwinter, January style cold Sunday through Tuesday as our never ending winter shows few signs of well, ending.

As Expected, Vermont, Surrounding Areas Buried in Snow

Oh, I hope you're good at shoveling snow.
The ugly scene in my St. Albans, Vermont driveway
as dawn broke this morning. And I'm one of the lucky
ones as I got less snow than much of Vermont.
It looks like "only" about 12 to 14 inches out there.  

As of 6 a.m. the snow was not coming down quite as hard as it did yesterday and last night, but the damage is done.

Most of eastern New York, Vermont and much of New Hampshire have somewhere between one and two feet of new snow on the ground.

Snow reports were just coming in as of 6:30 p.m.  So far, Burlington, Vermont had 18.2 inches of fresh powder, making this the 13th largest snowstorm in that city's history.

Since it's still snowing, this storm will probably move up in the rankings.

The deepest snow reports I saw so far in Vermont were 26 inches in Sharon, 24.3 inches in East Roxbury and  22" in Proctor. But we'll get even deeper reports later today, I'm sure.

Out in western New York, Buffalo got 13 inches and Rochester 15 inches of snow out of this.

It's still wicked nasty out there. It's still snowing in parts of New York, much of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. It's windy, too, so the powder is blowing around wickedly.

The Weather Channel names winter storm and called this one Vulcan. The Vermont State Police stated things perfectly in terms of going out for a drive this morning.  Latching onto the obvious Star Trek theme, Vermont State Police Tweeted: "It would be illogical to boldly go out on Vermont roads during Winter Storm Vulcan."

They've got that right. Most schools, a lot of government agencies and many businesses in the storm zone are closed this morning. Stay home, relax. Chill.

Heck, it's easy enough to literally chill with temperatures in the single numbers and low teens and strong winds making it feel like it's below zero outside.

A side note: On this date two years ago, Burlington,  Vermont had a record high temperature of 67 degrees. Today's high will be about 50 degrees colder than that. Brrrr!!!

As the strong storm departs today, snow will slowly taper off. It'll last the longest in the Champlain Valley, western slopes of the Green Mountains, parts of the northern Adirondacks, northwest slopes of the White Mountains and parts of western Maine.

Several inches of additional snow is likely in these areas today on top of what has already fallen.

The National Weather Service in South Burlington nailed this one in terms of forecasting. They were spot on when they said the deepest snow would hit the Adirondacks and central Vermont. The National Weather Service in Gray, Maine also got the forecast for New Hampshire and Maine right, so kudos to all of them.

Strong winds will continue to blow and drift the snow all day, so watch for that. Temperatures won't really rise today, either.   This is unusually cold for January, never mind mid-March.

Winter will continue to hang tough. It'll get below zero tonight in much of northern New England, which is unusual for mid-March.

Temperatures will flirt with seasonable 30s to near 40 by Saturday as some snow showers add a little dusting to the deep layer of snow, especially in the mountains.

Then it's back in the deep freeze Sunday and Monday with highs barely reaching 20 and yet ANOTHER below zero morning Monday.

Speaking of another,  a new storm looks like it could brush the East Coast Sunday or Monday.  Little snow will fall in the areas that got blasted with deep powder yesterday and today, but areas along the coast from Washington DC north into eastern New England, which pretty much missed out on the snow this time, could get a few inches of snow Sunday and Monday.

That storm is still uncertain, so stay tuned. And again, another snowstorm Monday for hard hit northern New England looks pretty damn unlikely, which is one bit of good news for the winter weary.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wednesday 5 p.m. Update: Worst Of Storm Arriving In Vermont, To Continue Most Of The Night

In the hour or so after 4 p.m. visibilities dropped noticeably across northern Vermont as the intensity of the snow picked up.

As of 5 p.m. or so, we are sailing into the teeth of the storm.
Jackson the Weather Dog shakes and shivers
as he checks storm conditions on his St. Albans, Vermont
property late Wednesday afternoon. 

The snow got heavier earlier in the afternoon in central Vermont, and that's where the deepest accumulations have been reported so far, with a lot of 6-8" reports coming in from that region.

The heavy snow extends well back into New York State, so expect heavy snow to continue for several hours yet in Vermont and New Hampshire. It will last for some time in New York, too.

The general philosphy of the storm forecast hasn't changed at all.  The Adirondacks, central Vermont and into northern New Hampshire and western Maine will get the most, with 18-24 inches likely.

That band is in the most favorable zone for heavy snow, as it's precisely the right distance north of the storm center, where heaviest precipitation usually sets up. There have been some lightning strikes in western New York today, so thunder snow isn't out of the question this evening in New York, central Vermont and parts of New Hampshire.

North and south of the heavy snow band, there still will be lots of snow, with 10-20 inches expected, with lesser amouts once you get down into southern New England, where a lot of the storm will come as rain, not snow.

The temperature, as expected, is dropping, and the wind, also as expected, is picking up.

At least where I am in St. Albans, the snow is falling in fine, moisture dense flakes. It's powdery enough to blow around, worsening visibility even more. But since the snow has a lot of moisture in it, it's pretty heavy to shovel.

Basically all activities are canceled tonight, from events, plays, classes, etc. A lot of schools and other places will be closed tomorrow morning, too.

So you have no excuse to go anywhere. The plows are out, but they can't keep up. There've already been plenty of fender benders and slide offs.

STAY HOME!

It still looks like the snow will taper off during the day tomorrow, but overnight and early Thursday, continue to expect near blizzard conditions in the North Country.

Yet another subzero night is forecast tomorrow night. It will warm up, sort of, Friday and Saturday with afternoon readings in the 30s.

There will also be a little snow around Saturday, but nothing like what we're getting now. Maybe a slight coating in the valleys and an inch or two in the mountains over the weekend.