November 5, 2012
One week after Hurricane Sandy and all eyes once again are on the coast -- this time for a potential Nor'Easter. This storm will not have the impact Sandy had, but it will still pack quite a punch. Winds will kick up for coastal areas once again and the possible storm track does bring the Midstate some wet or potentially winter weather late Wednesday into Thursday. Let's break everything down:
The surface map today shows nothing to worry about over Pennsylvania. High pressure should drift in later in the day and finally burn away those pesky clouds that were with us all weekend. As skies clear tonight, it will turn quite cold. Lows will be in the mid to upper 20s tomorrow morning! This cold air could set the stage later in the week for some interesting weather if the Nor'Easter tracks just right. Election Day will not only be the best weather we have seen in a while, but it could also be the best day this week as you get out and vote! High pressure will yield sunny skies and cool temperatures for Tuesday.
One thing to notice on the above map, though, is that area of low pressure in the Texas panhandle. That low, which is still forming as of today, will track through the Gulf of Mexico, pick up some moisture, and then track along the coast Wednesday and Thursday. This has the potential to make our weather dicey midweek.
The upper air chart for early Thursday shows that deepening low pressure center just off the New Jersey coast. This is not what those folks need right now as they continue to clean up after Sandy. If the low hugs the coast, our region would be on the western edge -- the good side for snowfall if enough cold air is in place. This is only one scenario, however. Uncertainty is king right now and we probably will not know for sure what this beast will do until maybe one day before it moves up the eastern seaboard.
My advice: curl up in the fetal position now as we try and dissect this storm for you. If you don't like snow, or rain, or uncertainty of any kind...just do what our production assistant Patrick does when big weather threatens. It seems like the obvious choice! Anyway -- for those that NEED to know what will happen, I wish I had those answers for you on this Monday -- but I simply don't. The storm track is still the biggest player. If it hugs the coast -- we will most likely see some precipitation and breezy conditions. This scenario seems most likely, however, some models still keep this thing out to sea and give us nothing! Precipitation type is the next uncertainty. If it hugs the coast, will it be cold enough to snow? We just aren't sure at this time. It appears there could be cold air already in place with this storm pulling in more on its western edge. If that's where we are sitting (and it could be), then we will likely see some wintry precipitation. However, if the storm is too far inland, then expect more rain. Tough call as of this writing. Finally, the timing is the last uncertainty. This seems to be coming into focus -- late Wednesday into Thursday morning before the storm zooms out. It appears to be a quick mover. This means, though, that it could sneak in faster on Wednesday and that is something we will need to watch for! And you thought forecasting was easy, didn't you?
Our PrecisionCast is one model that brings the storm very close to the coast. Remember, this is just one model -- some others keep the storm out to sea. However, this model has been very reliable and it's something to keep an eye on going forward. This shows the storm center directly east of Virginia Wednesday evening putting us on that western edge. Also keep in mind that the prime part of this storm could happen when it is dark. No sunlight means colder air -- this could spell snowfall. PrecisionCast likes our odds for the colder scenario. The question now is -- will this model prove correct and nail the track of the storm?
If this model plays out (and I'm not ready to buy it just yet) then we could be talking about a decent snowstorm for parts of the region. These are just projections according to the PrecisionCast model. It's still way too early to put out our own numbers -- but this is fairly interesting to be sure. Some folks may wonder why it's too early to put out an actual forecast for this thing. Well -- here's the nuts and bolts of it:
This model keeps the precipitation mostly rainfall and also keeps the center of the storm a little farther east -- more out to sea. Notice the difference. This would be just some wet flakes mixing in from time to time rather than mostly a snow event. This model is still very much in play heading into midweek. Let's look at some others:
This model more closely lines up with our PrecisionCast model. Don't be confused because we label them all PrecisionCast -- fancy TV term! This first model is our in house model, or the RPM. The second model is the GFS (Global Forecast System), and this model is the European. The Euro model has been very consistent in keeping the storm more to the west. The RPM, our PrecisionCast, has now seemingly come into line. The GFS isn't buying it just yet -- and neither is another model we look at -- the NAM (North American Model).
This model takes the whole thing and swings the storm back into the Atlantic without having a real impact on our area at all. Who wants this model to win out? The NAM has been consistent too with this feature -- but I'm not entirely sold on this solution. It's been the only model to really show no impact for our area. Plus, the Euro nailed Hurricane Sandy for quite sometime before it made landfall. It could be doing the same again with this next storm.
Keep us tuned in over the coming days as we tweak the forecast. As you can see -- these types of storms are not easy to forecast. Everybody wants an easy answer, and unfortunately, there are none to be had. At least, not yet. We'll nail this thing down in the coming days to be sure. My gut tells me that enough cold air will be in place that we will see some snow from this overnight Wednesday. Whether its a few wet flakes -- or an accumulating storm -- remains to be seen. Enjoy your Monday and remember to vote tomorrow!