Posted by wxrisk | GENERAL | Thursday 30 December 2010 4:34 pm

1615 PM EST   DEC 30

As more and more data comes in on the models this afternoon … not  only is there a threat for some sort of  winter event for portions of the Tennessee Valley and Middle Atlantic states around January 7 – 8 but those energy meteorologists  who have been forecasting a Mild January   –   (paging Accu-wx and JB …please  pick up the courtesy  white phone)  –   are  in deep doo-doo.   The models continue to show a tremendous amount of high latitude blocking in the jet stream across Greenland into northeastern Canada  and this Blocking  is  pushing into the arctic circle.
Not only does this become an extremely powerful negative NAO  but are also forces the AO  — arctic oscillation –to tank and drop to very dangerous levels.  This is similar to what we saw in January and February of last winter when the pattern turn extremely stormy over the Eastern Conus.  However last Winter  we had an Moderate  El Nino providing plenty of moisture  in  the southern  jet streams and Low pressure areas.  These   Big wet Lows     moved  into the cold air to help produce major snowstorms.     This time around we have a weaker subtropical jet stream which   NORMALLY means for the most part a  weaker  southern Jet stream and weaker Low pressure areas.
Of course what happened over the Christmas holiday was an exception to that rule and that is one of the things which is turning out to be   very of interesting about this weather pattern.    You need to understand the typical moderate or strong  La Nina weather pattern.    It features a persistent trough in the jet stream over the West coast  with numerous storms hitting the West coast and the  Rockies   with a Ridge appearing over the lower Plains which extends into the southeastern states.  This forces the whole jet stream to the north once it leaves the Rockies and as a result of most of the nation from the Plains states to the East coast ends up saying a milder and drier than normal winter.
However in the CURRENT winter we have seen such impressive and persistent monster blocking in the jet stream over Greenland  and eastern Canada that  the Jet stream is forced well to the south.  In other words the storms keep battering the West coast but now …with  the Jet stream  forced south…  these  weather  systems from the West coast  track through the Rockies and in straight east across the country.  This allows for a potentially much strong  Winter pattern for all of the CONUS  except for the lower Plains and the immediate Gulf coast states.
The  6z  operational GFS  which you can see here picks  up on our Southern System threat for January 8 – 9.  The model is a little late but this solution may be a viable since we  are dealing  8-9 days out.   The 0z  GGEM is also showing a significant Carolina Low around the same time frame.
The 12z  GFS also shows a major piece of energy over the southwest states are California  in the 6-10  day. The   operational  GFS hangs a piece of energy back an extra  24 hrs so that when  it   e finally comes east it is more like January 9 as opposed to January 7 – 8.
Here is the  12z  GFS  ensemble..all  20 of them.  I have highlighted for you which maps are showing a significant snowstorm threat based upon the  500 MB…  and which ones are not.  Of the 20 members… 10 of them show promise and several of them show a significant threat for the Tennessee Valley and the lower Middle Atlantic states.  On the other hand of course 10 of them show no event whatsoever and some of them showed no event — just severe cold.  Still given that this is DAY 8 or 9  days out…   10 out of 20 is a fairly strong signal.  Not conclusive and not decisive but fairly strong.
 The 12z  operational European this afternoon shows two significant areas of Low pressure at Day 9.  One Low is  on the North Carolina coast an developing rapidly and the other Low coming in on the arctic front over the Midwest.   By Day 10  the model is showing some sort of Low off the Virginia North Carolina Coast and the severe arctic cold front has  swept into  gulf coast  and  through the interior  Northeast.  Notice the isobars which I have circled in white which shows a very strong winds out of the arctic regions plunging all away into the southern states.  The dark purple areas over the Midwest represent the 850 temperatures of minus the -18  and -20 Celsius which would support (especially with snow on the ground)   temperatures near 0°.
If we look at the big picture of the  DAY 9-10  operational European we see a very impressive block still coming in from Greenland.   This  drives  into Northeast Canada and the arctic circle which forces the Polar Vortex to plunge  way to  the south.  In this sort of pattern     it would not be possible for any Low pressure area coming off North Carolina to come up the coast into the big cities of the northeast.   Any such Low  could only had due east out to sea from the North Carolina Coast.
Of course that is  based upon the current modeled pattern and is not in any way conclusive.  But the fact remains that when the polar vortex is displaced   this far   to the south it becomes very difficult to get major snowstorms north of Washington, DC.




1300 EST    DEC 28 

Now that this major nor’easter is over and   I have had a chance to get some rest and catch my breath it is time to move on to more things and get NEW things rolling.  When you are the private weather business it have to strike when the weather is hot and then once folks see what you can do  you  end up  getting  some loyal clients and fans.

Of the the explosive growth over the past 10 days here at  WXRISK.COM again caught me by surprise.  I thought last winter was a season of significant growth   but this  one?   Holy  cow.

FIRST   when  you to get the chance take a look at this letter which was email to me by   Matt  Dinardo   the Morning and Midday  met  at TV 8  WRIC here and Central Virginia Richmond.  He asked me  to  place it on the wxrisk page

You can find    the letter over at the discussion  section  over the  I  am  going to make a few comments  about the letter — from MY point of view— since it is a very well written  and worth   talking about. 

The next major event is going to be a the impressive winter storm which comes a roating  out of the central Rockies  DEC 30  and into the Upper Plains  DEC 31.    The large cold High pressure area now over the Delta will move off the SE Coast on  DEC 29…  So winds will naturally turn around to a West or Southwest   direction for all areas east of the Mississippi River.  So by itself we are in for warming pattern but the development of the big   Low over Minnesota and the western Great Lakes DEC 31 is going to cause temperatures to really warm east of the Mississippi River for two or three days.      The  big MN  Low  will send a cold front that sweeps into the   Midwest and  into the  East Coast  DEC 31-JAN 2.  The interaction between this cold front and the High off the SE coast will cause temperatures to really warm even over the snow laden areas of the Nnortheast   US.    60 degree is possible  over  the   Ohio valley   as well as    WVA NC  VA  on JAN 1.



The front should come through fairly dry   as it reaches the  East coast on January 2.  There will be some cooling behind the front but not a big deal. 

The cold front will stall across the Deep south and there may be some overrunning precipitation along the front across the Deep south but this  will be mostly the rain.

The general consensus from a lot  of  private weather services  and  energy  meteorologists   for January 2011  is  that  is  going to be a significantly milder month than normal especially from the Rockies over to the East coast.     This is the  reason that Natural gas  prices (and  to a lessor  degree heating oil)   have been going down over the last few months.  But there is a lot of data which has  come out which is showing that those who have been forecasting a very mild January 2011 are in some trouble…  from a forecasting perspective .

One of the leaders in the mild or very mild January 2011 idea has been Accuweather.  Unfortunately over the last two weeks the change the January forecast three times!  So at this point it is a little difficult to figure out exactly what their January 2011 forecast is.     Clearly if you make a forecast for particular a month ….a few months ahead of time …then  the given the state of the science ….you  SHOULD have the right to updated as you get closer to the month in question.  But three updates in the last 14 days is a little much.

The premise  for the mild January 2011 forecast from the Rockies to the East coast is based on the proven idea that moderate La Nina events have a strong correlation to Above Normal temperatures in the months of January and February.  Of course that being said….  that   idea is…itself   premised on the idea that the moderate strength   La  Nina does NOT   weaken.    However that  is   Just general guideline  about  Moderate/ strong  La Nina  events and it doesn’t always work out .

One of the reasons why the La Nina  pattern often turns mild in January and February is   that  in  Moderate &  strong La Nina  event…  the Pacific jet becomes very strong as it approaches the West coast of North America.  Because the Pacific jet becomes stronger than normal it is resistant to any sort of pattern shift   or     ” Buckling”.   In other words the jet stream  cannot be  deflected     so that it comes out of Canada.   Instead  the Pacific Jet   brings in stormy and mild Pacific Air from Washington State   down to California.

This brings a lot of precipitation to the entire West Coast and heavy snows into the the mountains of the Western CONUS  but east  of  Rockies… this is pattern  means  mild Pacific air overruns the nation all away to the East coast    and  there is  no  path  for cold air masses to enter the  central and  / or eastern CONUS.
Got it?

One of the basic rules  in the weather business  whether its   2 days  or 10 days… is that for every   TROUGH  in the  jet stream there is a  RIDGE and  for every RIDGE there is a   TROUGH.  All this La  Nina energy  means we get a trough on the West coast that  helps bring in  that storminess.    BUT   to counter that   there must be a  RIDGE in the  Jet stream over  se states.  

That it is the typical  Jan and FEB  La Nina   weather Pattern.     Of course when you  are dealing with the real world there are a lot of things  that can change that.  One of them  is the  -NAO/ Greenland Block which has been in existence for over 30 days.    The Greenland block is one several manifestations of the  -NAO  (there are several other different types of  -NAO patterns as well).     Having a block in the jet stream over Greenland is  very favorable for East Coast major snowstorms and the the event over the holiday weekend clearly supports that assertion.   But it also    keeps the pattern colder than  otherwise it would be .

For January and February to stay mild the block over Greenland which is  currently weakening …has to stay nonexistent.    Unfortunately the new data is showing that is  not going to be the case as all  the data  shows  the block over Greenland  will begin to expanded into eastern Canada  in the  11-15 day.  

This image shows the   day 10 European   ensemble Model  pattern over the northern hemisphere valid for January 7.  This is not just one model but 51 versions or individual members of the  European model all   “averaged”  together.    I  have highlighted a couple features on this map.     First is the the black oval   shape which I have drawn in over Greenland.  We can see the   ‘ BEND”  or  ” BUMP” in those white lines which represent the jet stream beginning to develop  over Greenland  again.    We can  also see the two very deep areas of Low pressure in the jet stream:   one located over northern Siberia and the other one over Hudson’s Bay Canada.     The model also shows a disturbance  in the jet stream over the lower Mississippi Valley which is  why  I placed a  short thin black line there.     This  show the potential for some sort of significant precipitation event around January 7 for some portion of the eastern US….  possibly including    the TN  th  and OH  valleys and the Middle Atlantic states.

We can see this enlarged imaged  on this next image  – which is  the  euro  ensemble   (the LEFT  side)    and the  operational or regualr  European model (on the RIGHT side).  This is not  a  severely cold pattern because   there   is no ridge on the West coast and we are still getting to a significant Pacific jet crashing into the West coast but it certainly not a MILD pattern by the any stretch of imagination.  Again  note the the same black line  over the Mississippi Valley and the    QUESTION  MARK  near the East coast.

Here  is the GFS ensemble at 300 hrs   VALID    JAN  9.     It shows more of the same pattern with   a  Ridge or bulge in the jet stream over Greenland building into northeastern Canada.  (Note the bright red shading  over Northern Canada and Greenland and the white squiggly line that I have drawn over it).    There is also another bright red area   in the northern Pacific pushing into Alaska which represents another Ridge or bulge in the jet stream.      And the   BLUE   shaded areas  –one on the West coast and  one  right along the East coast represents    the mean trough positions .

If we can get the ridge over the northern Pacific to build into Western Canada the pattern could turn severely cold and stormy around the middle the month over the eastern half of the nation.    But there is no guarantee that this is goning  happen and it is possible the ridge can stay out there by Alaska for several weeks . 

Eventually   IF  the Model data is correct and the Greenland  Block   really does come   back  in force and moves into   eastern Canada  by   Jan  10-14    then the  idea of a  Mild  January   2011  is  not going to  work out.   That does not mean  it has to be a  COLD  January either.


Posted by admin | GENERAL | Saturday 25 December 2010 4:20 pm

 for  fast  breaking updates   in WEATHER…

 last map    issued 4pm dec 25    CLICK ON THE IMAGE FOR  FULL  SIZE

   the 18z   nam   has come out   and it shows  Something  Important.        The  12z  Nam  was the ONE    “dry-ish “   MODEL… the 12z  Nam only  had   0.25″  over  RIC and  all of eastern VA and only  0.35  over    far  SE  Virginia and    0.25″   or less   over   DCA and DWI…. 
(  0.25    times  10  =  about  3 Inches of snow).   Now in this very cold air mass  the snow ratio     is NOT going to  be  10 :1  but more like 12 or 14  to 1.  The  18z  Nam  now    has 0.50″    into all   central VA–  covering  all of     I-95  corridor  from Emporia into  DC.      So   even the    1    dry-ish   model  has given up the   battle.      And   even More important   …  1.00″ over   lower MD  eastern shore and   se VA!!!     in other words  for those   eastern areas  12-16″ of snow …    

Finally the 15z SREF  shows  0.75 over   RIC  and the I-95  from   Emporia  N  to DC…  thats 9-10 inches of snow at RIC aand    close to theat    from DCA   to the  southeast. the SREF   just crushes   Lower MD  eastern  shore and   Hampton Roads  with 15″ of snow

1000  DEC  25


 Merry Xmas     to all !!!      FIRST  … the flurries in the area NOW will stop and start … they are NOT NOT the name event.   SECOND     Believe me I wanted to make a FULL discussion last night at 12am but it was xmas and the wife put her foor down .    THIRD  ….yes I have seen the 12z GFS — the fact that the western side of the snow –over the PEIDMONT– is    slightly less with the snow …is of NO consequence.  

IF you did not get the chance to see the the video from my a longtime friend and very experienced meteorologist Glenn Schwartzar it is. This link was made at midnight last night… yes 1201 am Xmas day. The BOWTIE is Glenn’s trademark.

He made that Video because he was concerned of the dramatic shift in all the weather models which began on Friday afternoon but which was largely discounted throughout the weather committee because of a strongly worded statement issued by HPC.   If you dont know what or who HPC — google it– they are a branch of the national weather service and are located up in the Washington, DC beltway area.   They are among the finest collection of scientists and researchers in my opinion in the world. Amazingly from some of the super weather of nerds and facts other out there… They were quite upset and disturbed that HPC issued this special statement on Friday afternoon regarding the bad data which got into some of the weather models .

The problem is that if you don’t know if the bad data is affecting the model or not…. so you just can’t rely on the forecast and quite frankly I would rather have that information to make the decision then not knowing at all.

That being said the Non contaminated American weather Models overnight continue to show a dramatic shift to the west of this coastal storm. And it is NOT Just the American models but the Canadian the British and the European models with a violent and severe almost unprecedented shift in the track of this coastal storm. This is what has anybody up and all arms and concerned this morning.This is not just a little bit of snow in the forecast calling for dusting to 1 inch.    This is a whole different kettle of fish and the wind and the amount of snow coming for Eastern Virginia interior portions of central and Eastern North Carolina and the lower Maryland Eastern shore is going to be impressive.

The light off and on snow we will see across the Middle Atlantic states today is not the storm. That snow will be flurries at times and then stop. Do not be fooled –the main event comes tonight and most of the day on Sunday.    Tat means if you need to go out and get some supplies a what have you and make preparations you have time provider of course you can find stores open today.

This most affected portion of the commonwealth will be the from Richmond to the south and east and to the Northeast. As you get closer to the BAY the more snow you will see and the winds will be stronger. In the original forecast from back earlier in the week …I maintain that northeastern Virginia — the middle peninsula and northern neck areas —would see the most snow out of this and that appears to be the case. In addition much of the lower Maryland Eastern shore is likely to break 12″ of snow as well.

There will be a very sharp cut off in the snow shield here. Right now the models are driving the significant snow line — 6″ or more deep into the Piedmont and almost as far west as Roanoke and Charlottesville… and into metro DC and Baltimore. However this subject to some change and there is a risk that the western side of the storm may not have quite that much snow. If you are south and east of I95 in Maryland you will see much more snow a special edition approach Patuxent / St Marys and Annapolis.

One last point I want to make about eating Crow and   being accused  by    Channel  6  of  being  Chicken Little  sayingin  the Sky is falling on be right or wrong.

I hope by now many of you realize that in the initial forecast made earlier in the week …. there was a serious threat which has now come back.   was not crying the   “sky is falling for NO   reason” .    When I believe the forecast had busted the premise of that was a severe winter storm which I thought was coming.   That is why portion of the Channel 6 interview where they instered that cartoon of Chicken Llittle … was a cheap shot.     I don’t know if Aaron and or Zach were directly connected with  that bit or not … But as we can see the from the current data and what is about to happen…   I was NOT saying   ” the sky is falling ”    for  NO reason

THAT is why it is a cheap shot by Channel 6.

This winter storm coming tonight and tomorrow IS the same winter storm I talked about earlier in the week.    BUT…. it is not going to be it the EXACT same severe and long lasting event.   Therefore It would be inaccurate of me to claim that I got the forecast perfectly correct after all.    So I am not going to do that . However I did face the music by going to channel 6 and I was going to face the music by going back and WRVA on Monday and admitting that I busted.    The question today is this…. If we assume the model data is correct and we do get this major winter storm late tonight and Sunday… where will Channel 6 ‘s apology to forthcoming?

Will they Man up Like I did?  Inquiring minds want to know.

0830 EST  DEC    24

 While it is clear that the major winter storm which I was concerned about early in the week is not going to materialize for central and Eastern Virginia North Carolina and the lower Maryland Eastern shore… there is still a threat of seeing some decent accumulating snow for SOME portions of these areas.

For that reason I am not yet willing to assert that NO SNOW — oh excuse me dusting to 1 ” – is the only thing that is going happen as some other forecasters have already committed to . The weather model data was so extreme yesterday in terms of taking this system from the southeast US coast then way out to sea that there is really only one way or possible trend we can see in the short range models over the next 12 to 24 hours. That trend can only shift WEST in the models.
That does NOT mean a major or servere   snow is threat is coming back to central VA. It is NOT.   FOR CENTRAL VA THAT   IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN

But for SOUTHEAST VA 6 or more inches is STLL possible and for that area … that is a BIG deal. For Central VA and Richmond Even a slight shift back to the west of 25 to 50 miles will Bring in a band of moderate snow into this area.The first sign or hint of the strand weekend with the 0z Friday GFS run which developed a very powerful low pressure area well off the East coast but that ends up hammering southeastern New England including Boston with high winds and heavy snow on dec 27. Southeastern England is still under the gun with respect to getting a major snowstorm.

This slight shift to the west by the 0z and 6z GFS places a band of LIGHT snow over CENTRAL va out to Highway 15 and moderate snow well EAST of I-95 — the eastern third of Virginia into all of Hamton Roads and eastern North Carolina and lower Maryland Eastern. Right now the BEST case scenario for MAX snowfall… would be the following
Virginia Beach 6″
Newport News 5″
Richmond Va  3″
Salisbury Maryland 5″
Elizabeth City NC 6″
Nags Head NC 7″
Emporia VA 3″
Fredericksburg va 2″.

Understand that this right now is the best case for Max snowfall not necessarily be actual forecast as of 830MA dec 24 .   

At this point in time the shift to the west of the Low and its associated snow shield is not enough the forecast any sort of snowfall over 1 inch in areas west of I-95″ in in Northern VA or in central NC or in central MD


500 pPM  DEC 23

Time for me to eat it. Unlike others I do NOT have to wait Until the very last second for the event hoping that something MGHT happened so I dont look too bad.
Someone is at the Door… its Pamela Anderson (in her prime) and she is here to show me what a BUST is.

To say that I am surprised by the massive changes in ALL of the weather models today would be an understatement. I having been doing this a long period of time and this is about as big a bust with the weather model performance as I ever seen in the MEDIUM RANGE — day 3 to day 7. The only thing that comes close to this event is the March 2001 NO storm.

Now if you are not a super weather nerd like me let me briefly remind you what happened in March 2001. The March 2001 storm was a much publicized / hyped winter storm threat which was forecasted by all of the weather models to bring blizzard like conditions to Washington, DC through Boston MARCH 1-2, 2001. On an old web site I did a study on THAT storm and what went wrong. The model agreement was complete in every aspect. HPC — the big boys as NWS forecast HQ– as well as the weather channel and local TV stations throughout the entire northeast metropolitan area were bout as bullish and the aggressive with this storm as you can ever see. Even exceeding my perspective on this storm over the last few days.

And nothing happened. Oh sure there was a significant snowstorm but nothing spectacular in Eastern New England. I was actually one of the few forecast is at the time who downplayed the threat.

What happened today with the weather models was just stunning. Usually when you move from the medium-range into the short range forecasting time period… there is often some sort of adjustment with the forecast or the storm track. That is to be expected. As I stated several times yesterday ..the severe or extreme forecast by the European model for the record or near record setting snowfall for central and Eastern Virginia was just a possibility. But all of the data –and not just the European model –showed a major east coast winter storm that would still drop heavy snow over much of North Carolina Virginia Maryland Delaware southeast Pennsylvania New Jersey Southeast New York and Southern New England.

Even as recently as 5:00 AM DEC 23 the GFS show a very decent Low pressure area of fairly close to the coast and a wide swath of significant precipitation over eastern third of VA … 0.50 to 1.25″. That would be a very good snowstorm if that were to verify.

Six hours later…. Nothing.

Today’s Model data shows that there is essentially no storm that forms anywhere near the coast. Eventually a significant Low pressure area does forms … but it is well out to sea and that is not what we are supposed to be. There is always going to be some adjustment in the forecasts as you moves from the Medium range to the Short Term as to which areas are going to see rain vs snow…. 3″ or ….6″ or 12″ . But a complete reversal like this from a major storm to nothing is a real shock.

That being said I am not gonna sit here and hide behind weather models. My forecast for the major winter storm is going to bust.

I am NOT going to be correct. Bottom Line — I screwed the Pooch.

I am going to ask WRVA and Jimmy Barrett give me time one morning perhaps after the holiday… to “fess up” and admit my Bust and apologize to central and Eastern Virginia listeners.

I do want to communicate to you that this was not about hype or getting hits on the web page… Or anything like that. Long before this event came along and all the publicity came my way WXRISK.COM has been out there. Moroever if you go to the web site you will see that there is actually very LITTLE advertising on the web site — much to the disappointment of family members and friends. This was not a case of jumping the gun because ONE weather models show the a big storm one time. I really did believe there was a lot a model data which supported a major winter storm for the Middle Atlantic region an especially for Virginia and North Carolina.

I will take crap for being wrong… and I should Because I am and that IS the way the game is played. But it is NOT fair to argue that this is all about publicity and hype.

If I had to do it over again I probably would say things and do things differently but the truth is I am a very direct type of guy. Most of my business and concerns has to do with people who trade grain in energy. Most of those folks are very abrupt and direct and they don’t have a lot of time for crap. And that directness has affected me in some ways I was not aware of. Now that WXRISK has gone viral… I probably need to spend a lot of time rethinking HOW I should chnage the way I say things … but NOT what I say.

OK lets get on to the forecast. As I stated over the past few days the key for the big event happening was that the system would come in SLOWER …not until Saturday night and and continue through most of the day on on Sunday. Clearly that is not the case based upon the new data which brings and light snow into much of the commonwealth on Saturday and Saturday afternoon. That is the good news if you want a white Christmas…. But that is BAD news if you want a big snow.

And however there is still a threat of seeing a decent snowfall for EASTERN va (only) and I am not prepared to call that off completely.Lets talk about the 12z GFS ensemble.  For those of you who again are not weather geeks weather Models Ensembles consists of 20 and or 20 different ” versions” of the same model which are one at the same time . The idea is to get a the wide variety of model solutions are outcomes. So if you are on the models 20 times and you get 10 model solutions for showing let’s say a a big snow… Five of them showing a moderate snow and five members showing no snow at all… The probability (15 of 20) is that you are going to see if a moderate or significant snowfall .

Thats the idea.      This Image shows us some of the gfs ensemble individual members.

If you take a look of the image you will see that I’ve highlighted several of these individual GFS ensemble members showing a major storm very close to the coast and dropping significant or heavy snow over Eastern Virginia. Of course it’s not a majority but it is a significant portion and that is telling me the that it still possible that this whole scenario may shift back closer to the coast.

In fact the model data today is so far to the east and so extreme that if this going to be any shift at all … it will be back to the West and it will begin on the weather models over the next 24 HRS. That does mean it is going to occur . Just that it might — MIGHT — shift back to the west. If this shift back to the west of the storm track it is going to all happen it will occur on the weather models tonight or tomorrow. If it does not happen by the the midday Friday models (12z runs) it is not going to.

Lastly the total Mis read of this event by the weather models and the event last week — is probably telling us something about this winter. This is a La Nina Winter and that fact is … I think ….the major reason why all of these weather Models in the day 3 to Day time frame are performing poorty. In addition the data shows that since 1950 there have only been 2 Moderate snowstorms for the East Cost cities and no mJaor ones during La Nina winters.

This fact is something I need to keep in mind as we go into January February and March


7:30 AM EST DEC 23

First I apologize for the delayed in getting this morning statement out but last night really acquired me to get some decent sleep for a while .

The major change in the weather models overnight shows that the the European model which has been showing an extreme scenario for the past several model runs or cycles … is no longer stalling the intense Low pressure area off the the Southeast Virginia Coast for 24 HRS . Because the early morning European model does NOT stall the Low… the Model does NOT produce near record snowfall for central and Eastern Virginia into the Lower MD eastern shore.

That does not mean there will be NO significant snowstorm for central and East Virginia. Indeed the 6am GFS Model is again closer to the coast than the 1am GFS was last night . The 6am GFS and GFS ensemble shows 0.50 to 1.00″ liquid over eastern third of Virginia from this event and of course it is all snow.

The important model Trend in overnight weather models is that we are still seeing strong signal that there will be a significant or sharp cut off to the western edge of the snow. This trend will be reflected in the new probabilities forecasts as it comes out.

For example it is still quite possible as I have said all along that areas such as Roanoke and far western NC…. Winchester VA could miss the snow completely. Airports and locations such as Washington, DC Baltimore and Philadelphia COULD see or wide changes and their snowfall totals across the metropolitan area. This means that areas just to the north and west of these cities could see a LOT less snow than areas to the south and east of those cities.

Southeastern England is still under the gun with respect to getting a major snowstorm.

There is still an awful lot of time here with these various weather models for different changes and solutions to come out. The key piece of information that we have to resolve is how strong will this massive system be as it comes out of California today … And how is it going to interact with the piece of energy in the jet stream coming out of Central Canada.

Those two pieces of energy are going to be eight and that’s was going to develop the storm. How they meet and how they Merge will determine
1) where the Low will form
2) where the Low pressure area will track
3) where the heavy snow band is going to be
4) and any chance for the Low pressure area to stall like the European model was depicting all day yesterday.

For today the key aspect to figuring out what is going to happen with this winter storm will be the timing. If the snow was coming in Christmas afternoon or Christmas evening into central and Southern Virginia ….that means that the system is developing a little faster strongly implies that the Low pressure area is not going to stall off the Virginia Coast and bring a potentially record snowfall .

If the snow hold off until Saturday night and early Sunday morning that would imply a much slower solution and the potential for a very high or possiblye near record snowfall .

More slow… more snow . Less slow less snow.


Posted by wxrisk | GENERAL | Monday 20 December 2010 5:00 pm

IF you want  to see   the    VIRGINIA 2 WEEK FORECAST the  click  on the   BLUE tab  Above

4:00 PM EST  DEC 22

Yes the web site is still down but we are trying to bring the website backed up by moving into a dedicated server. According to a google analytics WXRISK.COM is now on the top 20 the of all web sites in the USA and is now the 11th fastest growing web site in the country.

There are still some sponsorships slots and advertising spaces on the web site available. Once the dedicated server is up WXRISK Won’t crash anymore so if you’re interested in advertising were promoting your business on the web site you should probably let me know pretty soon!

One of the things I need to get across to many of you who are just discovering this website is that I have a reputation for being skeptical about big snow storms and forecasting them. I have done a lot of work and snowstorms and I publish a very in depth the meteorologically detailed newsletter about East Coast snowstorms when the overall weather pattern support the threat of a significant snowstorm on the East coast .

But my overall point of view is be skeptical …to think what could go wrong ….to think why this is NOT going to happen. The problem is that many of you have found this website recently or last winter when we had a tremendous active winter storm season. This results in that many of you may have the perception that I love to promote and Monger / HYPE about snowstorms. I can assure you it is not the case.

But there is a difference between being skeptical and being cynical. IF you ALWAYS use climo or Probability you will NEVER EVER get the BIG events right. The probability is a difficult thing to get past the cause most of the time nothing bad happens.

99% of the time the most east coast hurricanes are not going to turn into North Carolina and Virginia and give Richmond a directed hit — which is what happened with the Isabel in 2003.

Most of the time a hurricane like Katrina is not going to hit New Orleans. Most of the time the Washington, DC Baltimore metro area is not going to see the back to back 12-24 inch snowstorms four days apart… which is what happened last year. Most of the time you will not give the hurricane season like the one we had in 2004 where four major hurricane struck Florida in the space of 45 days .

Probability is a very a tricky thing.

One of the reasons why TV folks THE WEATHER CHANNEL and nws in wakfield have been reluctant to commit to a the forecast for a major winter storm for NC VA MD DE eastern PA and NJ is that they have a certain restrictions and obligations which I don’t have as a private forecaster. So some of you have to cut them some slack. I certainly would not be making these forecasts if I was on television forecasting. No way .

Surely you can see with a television medium such as TV forecaster meteorologist there are a world of implications of such a forecast.

On the other hand since I don’t have to kow tow the party line as it were I can say the certain things about various weather models and I can be more free in speaking the truth. As I stated earlier the main reason why there has been so much uncertainty with regard to the potential storm from other forecasters and TV sources it is that the American weather model — the GFS — has for the last 10 runs showed EITHER No Low or a very weak one. As a result these forecasters do not know which model to choose and they make their choices by thinking either the American or European models are equally valid .

****That is a false choice since those three models are not of equal value with regard to East coast snowstorms atb the day 3 day 4 day 5 day 6 and Day 7 time frame.***

Early this morning the folks at HPC in their morning model discussion stated the following about the extreme winter storm scenario of the European model.





Its clear that most of the TV weather folks this morning in all of VA and thru the midday hours — as well as the weather Channel — did NOT read this discussion from HPC . They continued to hem and Haw about which model MIGHT be correct. Because there is MISTAKEN General belief that the GFS and European models are of equal value when it comes to Handling east coast snowstorms in the day 3 to day 7 range ….they don’t know how to analyze the situation or what choices to make .

For example the 5AM run of the GFS…. of the GFS had the Low extremely far to the south and east of even f Charleston South Carolina and passing over Bermuda!!!

No…. I am NOT Kidding.

Then at midday today the Wednesday December 22 the new 12z GFS did a complete MAJOR reversal — known as a flip flop– and showed a hugemajor winter storm for the East coast.

Think about that … Six HRS after showing no storm except for maybe Bermuda the same model shows a major east coast winter storm.

Again if you’re thinking it’s a compromise between these various weather models and you don’t know what to do you’re making the wrong assessment. It isn’t a compromise.

What is happening is that the other weather models are turning dramatically towards the extreme solution of the European weather Model. This is why taking a compromise solution is not going to work.

What is significant about the new 12z GFS is that the model has now turned dramatically towards the European model. The 12z Canadian model also came out at midday and show a bigger system with more moisture but this Model still tracked the Low more to the east. Again which important here is not that the Canadian model might be correct ….but that it is turning towards the European model solution.

TRENDS my friends…. Trends

Now we have the new afternoon European model for Wednesday, December 22. AGAIN it shows a severe east coast NOREASTER that parks itself or stalls off the far southeast coast of Virginia for 24 hours with only a very slow movement.

Again the model shows a the very heavy the amount of precipitation and high winds for North Carolina Maryland Virginia Delaware into southeastern Pennsylvania all of New Jersey NYC and up to New York but what’s important here is that the cause the European model stalls the system… It produces the heaviest amount of precipitation over central and Eastern Virginia.

That if the European models correct… And this is still a big IF … Richmond WILL come very close to tying or breaking its all time snowfall record. The model produces over 2 inches of liquid at Richmond even more over Eastern Virginia.
All of that precipitation is all snow…. and the snow ratios for a portion of the storm will be closer to 12:1 . 2.06″ times 12… do the math.
BOS-2.00″ exactly!

In order for this extreme scenario to work out …. The European model depiction of this powerful NOREASTER stalling off the east coast of Virginia is going to have to occur . THAT IS KEY.

It is still quite possible that the European model is wrong about this stalling .

Indeed the European ensembles this afternoon do NOT support the idea of this Monster Low stalling off the Virginia southeast coast for 24 hours . The European ensemble DO show a track very close to the coast….. so even if we did not see the Low stall off central southeast VA coast… ALL of Eastern Southern and northern VA would see a major snowfall with amounts still around 12″ -14″. And yes there would be snow amounts well over 8′”+ in large portions of NC M MOST of MD southeast PA and NJ

The model continues to show extreme wind with this particular storm because of the intense pressure gradient. This storm could cause widespread prolong flooding throughout the western side of the Chesapeake Bay as well as the eastern portions of the Delmarva Peninsula. There could be winds gusting up to 50 miles per hour.

800  AM EST  DEC 22

As you can see more and more of the TV stations and media outlets are beginning to turn towards the forecast that I was issuing 48 HRS ago— of a significant snowfall late Christmas daay or Christmas night and into the 26th for large portions of Virginia including the Richmond metro area and much of Eastern Virginia.

The event is delayed until Christmas night. The snow may begin later in the day or early evening along the Virginia North Carolina border. This means that any sort of activities you may have Christmas day should be free of any snowfall. However the delay in the start of the coastal Low is actually making it worse because it means that the system will have a much better chance to become massive.
The overnight European model for the third run in a row is showing a massive and POSSIBLY historic winter storm that brings heavy snow as far south as Columbia and Greensberg Spartanburg SC… then into large portions of North Carolina including Raleigh Charlotte and Greensboro.. then into all of Virginia Maryland Delaware and up into the big cities of I – 95.

The snowfall amounts continue to be extremely high from this severe nor’easter. Amazingly the European model stalls the LOW pressure area off the Virginia Coast for 24 hours and as a result it snows over all of central and Eastern Virginia until early Monday morning December 27. wow…

Because of this extended period of snow the European weather model model produces snowfall which IF THE EUROPEAN MODEL  IS CORRECT….. would come very close to TYING or breaking the record for the most snow ever in Richmond … and it  if  does not    the Model  is  clearly  showing  a  severe snowstorm   that  would certainly place it in the top five snowfalls of all time for Richmond.

In addition the winds become very strong on the 26 and on the 27th with wind gusts up to 40 mph. Only over Norfolk and Virginia Beach is this  even a  partial  rain event but even there it ends as snow that will accumulate. Williamsburg and Newport News could see the very heavy accumulations of snow and very little if any rain.

The European model drives a heavy snow deep into Western Virginia covering Roanoke Charlottesville Culpeper Warrington and then up into the DC area with the 12″+ snow amounts.


It is important to note that this is a forecast NOT a certainty. To be sure what the European model is showing is an extreme solution. But the increasing consistency of the European model data is impressive and significant.

Meanwhile the American weather model continues to flip flop violently in all different directions with absolutely no consistency and it is to be disregarded.

The Canadian weather model has a major winter storm as well BUT it is further to the east and it does not stall the system off the Virginia Coast. Because this model does not have that stall … its snowfall amounts are significantly less but it still shows a major snowfall for central and Eastern Virginia.

Because of the current pattern over the eastern half of North America there is no chance of this system coming inland and becoming a rain event. None. This is why WXRISK.COM has been strongly against the idea of the snow to rain scenario for the past 4 days. The variable here is whether not this system actually develops as fiercely as the European model is showing or whether the major Low is more to the east.

Even IF this powerful Low shifts to east … keep in mind central and eastern VA NC and Lower MD eastern shore COULD see heavy snowfall amounts. Just not extreme.
As weather Models and new information start coming out over the next 4 days I will have the latest and BEST info atr and wxrisk

dont foerget to check for any sudden changes

21 DEC  845AM

This event is now 4 days away or LESS   so  can folks stop  saying  its  5  or 6?    Jesus  folks learn to ADD.

Today is DEC  21…  and  it will be snowing  in  sw  Virgina  by  midday  on the  25th   and the afternoon   over central VA.   So lets see   tomorrow is the  22nd…  then the 23rd… then the 24th…. see ?   thats 4 days  to DEC 25.    Add keep   in Mind  that  by  DEC 24   ideally we  want  to already   have the  final forecast  out there… so   from a Forecast range its  3 days.

REMEMBER  the purpose of  issuing a weather forecast is so that folks can  make decisions and have Information.   Issuing  or upgrading  the forecast for   heavy snow or raising the snow amounts   when it is  ALREADY snowing   12 hours before the event is  about to begin a sad pathetic Joke.     My  Job  is not to say   ” well I sort of got the  general  pattern right”…  ( an accu wx  special) .   My job is to get the   information  to you  …NOT to blow somke  smoke up my own ass.

The overnight  early morning  Model data  have into MORE agreement and showing MORE snow and less rain or Mix for central and east central  VA (east central VA =  Northern Neck and Middle Penisula).   This is VERY different from the storm threat that fizzled on DEC 18-19.   By   DEC 14   — 4 days before the   possible DEC 18  event –   ALL  of the Model already were backing away from ANY significant snow for ANY portion of VA.
The Canadian European and GFS (american)  weather Models are increasing the amount of Liquid this major Noreaster is going to produce.  Despite the blather  you may have heard on some of the Richmond TV 11pm last night about how this MIGHT be rain for Richmind…. AGAIN I need to point out that overnight NONE of the Model data.. NONE… shows this event will be rain OR even snow to rain.

Instead these new early Tuesday morning weather Models drive significant snowfall –6″+ into DCA Baltimore and Philly for the 1st time (   the data earlier showed little snow for those areas).    The new data shows about 0.9″ liquid for RIC which would be around 10 ” of snow   (if this data is right) and MORE to the south and east.   Areas such as New Kent and chesterfield and the Middle Peninsula and North Neck may see total liquid of 1.25″ and 1.50″ for the Lower MD eastern shore.

IF we assume a 10:1 ration that is a LOT of snow EAST of I-95. Given how cold the air mass the ratio may be more like 12:1.    There will be sharp drop off in the snow amounts to the west… areas such as Roanoke Charlottesville DC and Winchester stand a good chance of seeing less snow than Richmond or Tappahanock.

More    at   2pm…  and  facebook updates   all  day  at facebook./com/ wxrisk


20 DEC  455  PM EST

OK I have lots of talk about in a lot to say so let’s get right to it.  First because this is a developing situation and the model data is coming out as fast and furious am trying to get the updates out as fast as I can but if…  It can get hectic.  Last night I was up until  230AM …LOL….

maps  out soon

The  12z — Mididay weather  Models and  data continues the trend of showing a significant winter storm for large portion of Virginia Northern North Carolina and Maryland especially the eastern shore of Maryland    — and  possibly into the Washington, DC and Baltimore area.

All the model data here at midday shifted to the  SOUTH with a storm track.  This places Virginia and especially central    and eastern  VA  in a near ideal  or  textbook situation for a significant winter storm.  It must be remembered that the storm track  for central and Eastern Virginia to see significant  / major snowfall  is   NOT the same track as it is for the   big  cities of   I-95 cities.   There are exceptions to this rule where Richmond will get a major snowfall   when  Washington, DC Baltimore and Philadelphia  is also  hit with a Major snow  but for the   most part …  that is NOT   that  case.

There   is little doubt that if you watch the the clowns over at the weather channel   –or over accuweather  — you will  see almost no mention at all of Eastern Virginia and the lower Maryland Eastern shore in their discussions.    In other words…   IF    for example… they are  forecasting the Low to miss the big cities of 95 and pass to the south and east   …it never occurs to them to think that that such a  track  is  a very good   track for central and Eastern Virginia  seeing significant snowfall.

This afternoon   accu wx  is forecasting   6-12″  from DCA to BOS  which is   totally  supported by NO model  data at all.      Of course there are an awful  lot of    subscribers up there  in the NE  corridor right?

Closer to home the afternoon discussion from Wakefield is finally mentioning snow but they continue to talk about  snow to rain  or at least the possibility of  snow to rain  over central Virginia and the Richmond metro area.  That is  still possible but I must emphasize again that as of today there is  absolutely no model data of any kind   that shows Richmond getting rain   OR    snwo to rain from this situation.    Now that doesn’t mean     that cannot   happen and it doesn’t mean that the model data  cannot   change so I suppose are leaving the door open that the snow could change to rain and back to snow again.

It  is a reasonable and cautious forecast at this point but right now I am very skeptical about any transition to rain for the Richmond metro area or  any  serious mixing  of the snow to rain… maybe sleet.  For a few hours. Maybe.
That dramatic shift we saw    the  GFS  very early  Monday Morning  tells me   that the GFS  model  should  NOT be considered the model of choice —   UNTIL  we get with  72  or 84  hrs    of the event.    Instead   it  would be wise to use the 1  weather model which has been consistent and not changing ….  The 1  model were the other model data is shifting towards ” IT” .    That Model is the European.

The European model  at 12z show a the shift to the south and east which is bad news for the big cities of the northeast but good news for snow lovers into central and Eastern Virginia.     The  12z European  ensemble  mean strongly supports the the  12z  the operational European.  It has the developing  Low tracking from southwest Georgia along the the Carolina Coast day and passing just north of Cape Hatteras.   This is just a perfect classic track for big snow for eastern and Central Virginia as well as a   NW  and N centraL  North Carolina  ns the Lower MD eastern  shore.

The 18z GFS  is coming   out  as I write this but quite frankly I really do not care wet the 18z  GS shows.  It would not surprise me at all if the models showed sunny skies on Christmas Day or whether it showed a large asteroid heading for the planet.


900 AM   DEC  20

Given what happened with the weather models last week one might expect a weather forecaster to be a little cautious in jumping the gun when it comes to the next significant winter weather event for Virginia and the Middle Atlantic region.   But that would be a mistake.

For one it is always a bad idea to fight the last battle at the wrong time.  Just  like in war   … in the  weather  Biz… you  have  to   accept   losses and defeats.  Because  sometime  you  dont get a break and it keeps coming  at you.    Like it did last Winter… and  as it seems to be doing again this winter.      Second the two events winter events we had last week were not significant events.    The first event came out of Kentucky which fell apart as it moved east out of the Mountains.    The second event which was supposed to occur on December 18 – 19 never showed up.    Originally the weather models show a possible major winter storm for Virginia and the Middle Atlantic states but as we get closer to the event the models rapidly moved away the from that possibility.     That si always a   sign  from the weather Models  that   its  NOT going to work out.

REMEMBER.. as we get closer to   an  weather event… the  idea is that weather Models should  be  coming together .   Think about it… Weather Models  SHOULD  be a lot  more accurate and in   Better agreement  at  say  36 hours  then at say 7 days.    Right?     That is the exactly what we are seeing Now… and the   exact  opposite of what we saw last week.

In the early morning hours of Monday all of the weather models moved into strong agreement that a major winter storm is going to occur on Christmas day over the Middle Atlantic states from Northern North Carolina into Connecticut.   This includes most of Virginia as well as the big cities of I- 95 corridor.

One of the reasons why the winter storms last winter were so easy to forecast 5-6 days out by   (not  by others)      was that these were BIG systems and as a rule ….weather models do a much better job in forecasting major weather systems  several days ahead of time.

Historically for example the great blizzard of January 1996 was forecasted by the EUROPEAN weather model seven days out.     Hurricane Isabel was detected by  the  EUROPEAN   weather models to make a direct hit in Virginia 7 days out.   The president’s Day nowstorm FEB 16-17 which dumped 10 to 24 inches of snow from western and North Virginia to Massachusetts was detected 7 days out  by the  EUROPEAN weather Models.

The strong model agreement that we have early this morning has a major Low pressure area coming out of the Gulf of Mexico and rolling up the East coast cannot be overlooked.
Of course it is a little deceptive to call this historic since the most snow that Richmond has ever seen on Christmas Day is 5.4 inches. (6 inches of snow would be historic for Xmas day in Richmond).     However the model agreement here is very strong that the potential exists for at least 6 inches of snow … and possibly double that… over many areas of central… western and northern Virginia. The heavy snow potential also exists for much of Maryland including the lower Maryland Eastern shore New Jersey southeastern Pennsylvania NYC Long Island and Connecticut.

In  SOME ways this system as is currently being depicted by the weather models   resembles the historic blizzard of January 1996.   Of course no two snowstorms are ever exactly like but we are now five days away from this event.      The snow will begin to move into Kentucky and much of Tennessee on DEC 25 then spread rapidly eastward into western NC amd all of VA Christmas night. Southeast VA may even see the some significant snow before changes over to rain in Hampton roads area.    Even though the snow will be over in Eastern Virginia by the late on the 26th of December it will continue across DC in the big cities into the northeast most of Sunday. Winds over Virginia will increase significantly possibly gusting up to 40 miles per hour AFTER the snow has ended.

All persons and businesses within the commonwealth and the Middle Atlantic region needs to follow the potential development of this major winter storm closely.  It   has the potential to cause significant disruption to travel and businesses for several days.    As weather Models and new information start coming out over the next 4 days I will have the latest and BEST info  Here and wxrisk ….  images and maps will be out   in 15 MINUTES


DEC 18 820 PM


As you can see from this late day radar Image   from the folks at Wakefield      the  snow line  is   into southeastern Virginia   and reaches   about 20  miles to  the  south and east of Richmond — and just south of Petersburg.  This snow  is close to the Richmond Metro area of but    I don’t think it’s gonna make it any further to the north and west.

It’s now time to turn our attention to the potential for a significant snowstorm or a moderate snow fall and Christmas day / night for  much of Virginia and possibly even for the Richmond metro area.

Starting  from early   today the operational gfs became very bullish with this system.  The model takes a piece of energy in the jet stream  (which we call a shortwave  in the weather business)    and amplifies it as it crosses the Mississippi River.   Then  a second piece of energy drops   in  from Canada and when these two pieces of energy  in the Jet stream  merge  ( “phase”)    they  cause a significant Low pressure area to form on the East Coast Christmas day  & Christmas.

The 0z Saturday GFS develops  the Low  over   NC  into   large snowstorm for the entire East coast but that solution is silly… it is  overdone  and has no support from any other model.  The  0z European model and the European ensembles have a  much more reasonable solution by developing a moderate area of Low-pressure over Kentucky tracking it through Southern Virginia or North Carolina and then off the coast and out to  sea.  This would bring a moderate snowfall to much of Virginia and dome Maryland Washington, DC area    BUT  this solution would not turn up the coast and bombed out the big cities of the  I-95  corridor.

The 6z and 12z  GFS  continue to develop this Low into a significant event but are more reasonable and follow the pattern and other models are showing .  In other words they bring significant snow   to     VA and MD (made a Northern North Carolina)  on Xmas Day and Night then take this  Low out  to sea.  This mean  that according to the the   12z  saturday GFS  and GFS ensemble means   Philly   NJ  NYC   and Western New England would miss out on the snow.

The problem here  with  the GFS  and GFS   ensemble solution is multi faceted.   Most of the time the gfs loves to over develop and over phase two pieces of energy into big systems.  In addition the model lives to  ” dig”    systems in the Jet stream  way too far to the south.  It is uncommon for a  piece of energy in the Midwest  to drop  southeast into in NC.  It has happened in the past to be sure but it’s not common.

The key feature that the GFS  and GFS ensembles are focusing on which forces this system to drop into North Carolina and give Virginia to snowstorm on Christmas Day…  is a piece of energy over far Northern Quebec Canada.   On DEC  23 and 24    the  GFS Model  has this peice of energy    moving SW…. into  southwest  Quebec.  This is why the  GFS model  drop the    Midwest  energy  well to out south and  spins  up a Low and  Xmas  Day snowstorm  for  VA and MD.

Interestingly the  0z  and 12z Saturday the European model as well as  the European ensembles are also quite bullish with this system.  This is a bit of a surprise because usually  it is the GFS  which   drops  these Lows  too far  to the  south  while the European model is far more realistic and further north with its tracks.  To see the European ensembles keep this low pressure area this far to the south and bring significant snow to much of Virginia and Maryland is a real surprise.

This solution is also supported by the   12z    saturday Ukmet  Model as well.

If we want  to stay  level headed and reasonable about this   then  what we are probably looking at  ( assuming   that these models come to fruition)  … is a  2 to  6 ” snow Christmas afternoon and night.  If the system slows down and develops a  closed   Upper Low  in the Jet stream  as it approaches the coast the snowfall amounts could be a few inches more than that .  But that is unlikely as the models show the system moving at a fairly good clip  as it sweeps  off the coast  in a   ENE  direction.

One last point I  wish to mention.  Most  of the forecasts — from private weather sources as well as the climate prediction center — have been calling for a fairly typical La but Nina pattern for January and February . In other words  the cold pattern we seen in December  is likely to break down and the pattern will turn milder.  There is  a strong tendency for  Jan& Feb  winters   that feature  La Nina events  to run  mild.

However the    European  model weeklies  have come out.  This is a  relatively new product from the Europeans and it has the forecast  maps projected out to four weeks.  The European weekly models do not show the pattern breaking down and it keeps  it  cold right through the middle of January.  Sometimes the European weekly models have shown some skill and sometimes they have been absolutely worthless.  But I wanna to get   this out there to let you know that there is some indication  that  the pattern might not turn Mild in January