1400 EST JAN 30
For most of the winter the Midwest which has been very cold but it has NOT seen a lot of significant winter storm activity. But that is about to change as the models continue to show a massive system coming out of Eastern Texas and tracking up through the heart of the Ohio Valley.
This system has major implications for every body and will be the biggest storm of the winter (so far) with regard to its impact over the U.S. Driving the overall pattern and complicating the situation is the the involvement of a massive arctic HIGH coming out of Western Canada and the intense Low pressure area itself. The interaction between these two features is going to cause a stunningly strong pressure gradient all over the Midwest and this is going to bring about blizzard conditions to some areas. For the Northeast US — and especially the big cities in the I-95 corridor- this system is going to be a rude shock as many have come believe that Major winter storms are now some some sort of US Constitutional right.
Although the precipitation may start as snow and sleet over Philly NYC and Boston it will change to rain as the system tracks into western Pennsylvania from Ohio and pulls up to warm air at 850 mb and all the way down to the surface.
This first image is the 500 MB map ( JET STREAM) from the 12z GFS at 36 hours. I am presenting this image to show why this is going to be the a Midwest storm and cannot possibly become Northeast. As you can see there is Ridge over the West coast which is a pretty good position for east coast winter storm lovers. But the problem it is that these two pieces of energy in the Jet stream – called “SHORT WAVES” in the weather biz — are located very far to the west. One is located over the southwest states and the other dropping out of Western Canada into Montana. These two features are about ready to phase or merge into one big system which we can see the here ay 60 hrs. This occurs west of the Mississippi River which is why this is a Midwest winter storm.
This image shows the European model at 500 MB from early this morning valid for 72 hours or Wednesday night. As you can see it is very similar to the 12z GFS at 60 hr .
This is the surface reflection of this monster storm valid Tuesday evening. The thing to note here it is the pressure gradient or the Isobars between the the developing and intensifying Low pressure area and a monster arctic High coming out of Montana.
This image represents the upper level features of the same Low…. The top map represents the 850 mb level and the Bottom map the 700 MB level. I have superimposed the the 50 low over South Central Illinois see you can see the how impressive the system has. Note all the red lines over the Deep South into the Middle Atlantic region… Which is indicative of the warm air surging northward into TN KY NC VA MF and WVA .
This image represents the TOTAL FORECASTED SNOWFALL for the next 3 days from the 12z NAM model.
This Image– the same thing but from the 12z GFS.
As you can see both models show a huge stripe of anywhere from 10 to 20 inches of snow. In fact some of the actual extrapolated data and bufkit shows Chicago getting 20-25″ of snow and this sort of stunningly huge amount of snow extends into places such as Peoria Quincy and Springfield.
Now for the Middle Atlantic region the temperatures will warm significantly as this Low pressure area moves through the Midwest and then tracks into Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. We can see the track of the Low in great detail on these two images. This next two images are valid Wednesday morning and afternoon. We can clearly see the model showing a significant dry slot moving into Virginia during the afternoon.
Temperatures are likely to reach into the 60s over much of North Carolina and Virginia… BEFORE the rains hit. This strongly implies that the areas from I-95/ I-85 eastward towards the ocean will have the greatest chance of seeing temperatures reach above 70°. And if there is any sunshine at all over Eastern Virginia and Eastern North Carolina temperatures can reach into the middle 70s!
Behind this system the pattern will continue to favor in Midwest. There is No hint of the pattern shifting back to the East coast winter pattern we have seen for the last eight weeks.
There is another system coming out of the Gulf of Mexico on February 6 but all the model data clearly shows some sort of ridge developing bother just off the SE Coast. This is strongly implies that this coastal Low will track On the coast. In addition because of the +NAO there is no cold air to work over the northeast or Middle Atlantic states. So the odds strongly favor rain with this next system for all of NC and central / eastern VA and MD. Areas of western Virginia and western Maryland could see a decent snowfall from the system.
By day 9 and day 10 we have another powerful system developing over the central portion of the nation coming out of the Rockies. In fact the pattern development of the system FEB 8-9 resembles a the the current system about to form in a lot of ways. This is more a strong indication that we are now moving into a pattern that favors Midwest and this new winter pattern may last for most of February and March.
1600 EST JAN 27
I never thought I would actually get around to saying something like this during the winter season … but I am actually getting a LITTLE tired and run down from the constant parade of major eastern US winter storms which seemed to be affecting so much of the country. Fortunately there appears to be a change coming in the pattern day after February 4 or 5… which may provide some of us tired and worn down weather folks with a break.
There will be a complete rundown of the forecast and my analysis of the January 26 winter storm on the facebook/wxrisk page under the discussion section later on today. For the most part on extremely happy with my performance in the forecast that I start issuing back on January 22. Overall even thought forecast was roundly attacked the criticize by many weenies over at some of the weather forms …that forecast work out extremely well. I do not believe that any of the forecast or forecaster had a band of 12 inch plus snows over the northeast 72 hrs before the event even began.
I did. Of course my southwest VA was a disaster.
What is most interesting here is that even though the overall pattern across North America continues to not be favorable for East coast winter storms… we are STILL seeing East coast winter storms. I presume by now that many of you know that this is now the snowiest January on record for Northern Virginia through the Washington, DC area up into Baltimore Philadelphia New Jersey New York Connecticut Boston.
Here in Richmond there has been nothing. I believe that the January 26 event was the 5 significant or major East coast winter storm …and all of them have missed Richmond. (OK the Dec 26 event gave RIC 4″. Big fooking deal). And it is true that only with yesterday’s storm did DC and Baltimore see a significant snow. But that really is not relevant after the two back to back blizzards those areas had last winter. My point is that is after 5 big East coast winter storms… If you have not gotten any significant snow… and you keep missing it by just that much… well you are probably screwed for the rest of the winter if you like snow.
The models are now coming into stronger agreement and moved into some kind of consensus here today with regard to the February 2 event. This event I first mentioned late last week– JAN 21 -22… here on this website… in the newsletter and on the facebook site.
Additionally the European model from yesterday was showing this to be a Midwest winter storm with Low pressure area developing over the Delta and tracking up into the eastern Great Lakes. However the European ensemble from yesterday was much further to the east as was the Canadian model — which by the way did a spectacular job with the January 26 winter storm!!!. In addition the placement and size and intensity of the ridge on the West coast of North America does not support a Midwest track with this next system for February 2 .
Temperatures over the the Mid-Atlantic and the the New England regions are going to run mild over the next few days. That much is obvious and without any dispute whatsoever.
Second we know that a strong arctic cold front with another massively cold arctic High is going plunging southward on January 30 -31. The cold front will drive south and east reaching the east coast some time on the 31st.
So far so good. That Low pressure is going to develop on the front summer over the central gulf coast– perhaps over Louisiana …perhaps over southern Mississippi or Alabama.
For the Tennessee Valley and the Middle Atlantic states the key is going to be the timing. Since we did not have a the blocking in the jet stream over Eastern Canada… since we do not have a 50/50 Low… and since we do not have any block over Greenland ( -NAO) the arctic cold front is going to have to drive into the Middle Atlantic states first before the Low pressure area makes this move out of the gulf coast.
The model data today– the 0z and the 12z Models are much more supportive of this idea that was yesterday.
Right now most the model data shows the cold front getting into Virginia and portions of North Carolina and Tennessee by JAN 31. The issue then is how much cold air will get into NC and VA?
If the cold air is shallow and not very deep …. then when the Low tracks northeast… we would be looking at NOT snow but sleet and or freezing rain over NC and much of VA. From Northern Virginia into DC and up into the I 95 corridor right now all the data clearly supports this next event is being another significant snowstorm.
Based upon the data I am seeing here at midday Folks in Much of western and central and Northern North Carolina and southwest central and south central Virginia need to keep in mind the potential exists for significant ice storm.
POTENTIAL…. Keep that word in mind because we are not yet anywhere near making a solid forecast on this.
There are so many variables and things that can go wrong that it’s hard to make sure you cover all of them.
First we have to ensure that the cold front gets all the way into North Carolina Eastern Tennessee and Northern Georgia BEFORE the Low comes out of the central gulf coast.
It’s possible that might not happen –which is what the data was showing yesterday.
Another possible scenario is that the precipitation begins as freezing rain and or sleet in North Carolina and Virginia then quickly changes over to plain rain because the Low pressure area tracks up into say West Virginia or Western Pennsylvania. This type of track or scenario would also supportssnow going over to sleet and freezing rain from DCA northward into Boston.
12z EURO FROM JAN 26 ** CLICK ON ALL IMAGES FOR FULL SIZE ****
0z EUROPEAN MODEL JAN 27 run: the European model supports a significant ice event for western SC southern NC and significant snow from Northern North Carolina and much of central and Southern Virginia. As you can see the model develops a weak area of low pressure which moves off the South Carolina North Carolina Coast in a ENE direction.
0Z JAN 27 EUROPEAN ENSEMBLES: had a the stronger low pressure area which develops over Southern Mississippi… And the model shows significant colder damning over Northern North Carolina and all of Virginia. The Low tracks Northeast just east of the Appalachian mountains over the coastal Plains – say Atlanta to Binghamton- Concord .
0Z JAN 27 GFS… This first image represents the jet stream maps– the TOP image the afternoon of February 1 the bottom image February 2. I have highlighted the PJ –polar Jet stream in BLUE shading and the STJ – southern Jet stream m in RED. And I have drawn in a red circle round that is going to causes the area of Low pressure to develop.
Here is the corresponding surface map which shows the low pressure development and its track according to the 0z JAN 27 GFS run. This looks to be ideal track for significant ice and snow for western North Carolina and Virginia as well as WVA and MD. In addition the 850 Low track over central TN looks ideal for snow and ice KY WVA VA and MD.
6Z GFS JAN 27 RUN … the 6z GFS continue to show an impressive looking setup for the Tennessee Valley and the Middle Atlantic states. The Model held onto the significant piece of energy in the jet stream — the short wave and its embedded vort max – the Model was still developing the Low over the SE states along with some cold air damming indications. According to the model all of Virginia days cold enough for snow and ice …even for Hampton roads.
12Z JAN 27 GFS run: continue to show a pretty good looking setup with respect to the Tennessee Valley and the lower half of the middle Atlantic states. The Model was building a second or BABY High extending off the main arctic High over Texas and Oklahoma. The BABY High located over western New England kept the cold air in place into all of the Middle Atlantic states and into western Northern Georgia and the western Carolinas. The model shows a very strong cold air damming signature… With significant precipitation of overrunning Kentucky WVA and VA and 850 temps still cold enough to support significant snow over northern KY the northern half of WVA and Northern half VA…. with RIC sitting right on the edge of the snow sleet line.
This Next image –156 – shows the Low tracking ENE into Northeast North Carolina or extreme far Southeast Virginia. Inland temperatures are still at or below 32°so a large portion the precipitation -based upon what this run of the GFS is showing -would be a heavy snow or ice over much of WVA VA and MD.
This image shows total Precip– which as you can see the is well over a inch across much of the Tennessee Valley and the Middle Atlantic states.
12Z CMC JAN 27 run: shows a Midwest track. Now the model does have a BABY cold High over New England which does set up a cold air damming and potential ice event for western NC much of VA and MD…. But the model takes the major low up thru or just to the west of the Appalachians. This would drive warm air all away into the New England states … so any ice or snow would change over to rain and temperatures and warm up significantly.
THE BRITISH MODEL. The 0z and 12z Model runs BOTH show a major Low coming out of the western Gulf of Mexico and hammering the Midwest with a tremendous amount of snow over the upper Mississippi Valley including Chicago and St. Louis.
12Z JAN 27 EUROPEAN run: again the model is to the south and east matches the 0z run and the 6z and 12z GFS. The model clearly shows the first cold front moving into the southeastern states and some sort of wedge of cold air settling Ian over North Carolina and Virginia on February 1.
The Low develops over southwestern Georgia— a classic MILLER A set up. Since the model has the arctic High plunging south from North Dakota into Western Kansas… the cold air push over the northeast is not as strong. If this depiction of the actual surface features is correct ….then the north winds coming out of New England and the Great Lakes will drive low level cold air into North Carolina and Virginia WHILE the Low is coming up from GA. The upper levels of the atmosphere over NC VA and eastern MD would still be too warm for snow but the lowest few thousand feet would be very cold due to the Low level North winds and this would support a significance for SLEET and or freezing rain == Ice storm.
12Z EURO ENSEMBLES…. makes sense. There isn’t a reason for this Low to go to the coast south of DCA. The wedge is pretty impressive so this is showing a decent THREAT of ice over NC and VA
SUMMARY : even though the 12z EURO and 6z and 12z GFS have both shifted the track of the southern Low well to the south and east … In my view the overall pattern over Eastern North America does not support a coastal track. However the air mass this coming in on January 31 is extremely cold and all the models do show the development of this BABY HIGH over New England as the southern Low begins to develop. This combined with the 12z European ensemble which continues to show a inland track… with this system for February 2.
On the other hand the atmosphere IS going be a lot colder in this event at the start of it ….than this what we saw for January 26.
One last note…. The data is becoming pretty strong that the persistently cold overall pattern across North America especially eastern Rockies is about to come to end.
If you recall this image earlier in the discussion you will note that the PV can be seen over Eastern Canada. As long as that feature stays over Eastern Canada the mean trough will stay over the East coast and the pattern will stay quite cold .
But most of the model data continues to show that the PV will slide east towards Greenland . Not only does that constitute a very strong POSITIVE NAO but it takes the heart of the cold air off the East coast because it pulls the mean trough position off the East coast into the Western Atlantic Ocean as well. Assuming that this is correct… once the PV is located over Greenland and the entire pattern across North America will begin to relax and the cold air flow will be cut off from entering the country… and a significantly milder pattern will develop over all of the CONUS (after FEB 4).