Thursday, February 25, 2016

HAVE WE HAD ENOUGH RAIN YET? WINTER IS NOT OVER AND THE GROUNDHOG DROWNED THIS MORNING

yep, the groundhog drowned last night. I first was hoping he was going to be buried alive but nope- his hole was filled with water and he drowned. This had been a godawful last 2.5 weeks for us in the LV. The 34" snowpack is gone after a two consecutive 2-3 inch rainfall events and 60 degree weather together with a wintry mix. We are officially out a drought and spring flowers should bloom with adequate moisture around. But I am afraid this may not be the case this year.

The early March weather patterns on the models are indicating several more chances of a winter storm event, especially late in the first week in March right into the second week. If that should happen, many flowers may not bloom on time this year with a delay in tree budding. El Nino years are also known for nasty late March- April time frames for long duration rain events but more notably for cloudy skies and cool weather.

The weather we had last night was a doozy. The flooding rains were the predominant feature but what was even more unusual was the spike in the temperature in such a quick time. When you have such conditions, tornadoes and severe weather is a given. I have gone through these type of  quick temperature changes before and every time severe weather is involved. To have this in February is a once in a lifetime experience for most of us in the Lehigh Valley. I would expect this in May and June not in winter. Spring Creek Rd will be closed for today because of the flooding and perhaps all day tomorrow and into Friday. Lets see how fast the waters recede.

You may see snow this evening like I called for earlier. Do not be surprised as this is common after a strong system like we just had. Accumulation will only be on the grass this afternoon through the evening but it may stick on the road later tonight if falls heavy and quick




Monday, February 22, 2016

MORE WINTRY CRAP ON THE WAY

Remember back in my December post when I said most of the storms will ride the Appalachian Mts this winter. Well, it sure has been doing this in the past three weeks and this storm is no exception. Expect 1-3 inches of snow starting in the morning with sleet and rain mixed in tomorrow changing to heavy rain again by the evening with small stream flooding and road ponding. No plows needed as it will all melt and the roads are too warm.

March appears to be coming in cold and clammy. I am expecting at least one more storm event of 6+ inches of snow. Beware of 1958 another El Nino year where we had a big blizzard of 20+ inches of snow in March. It could happen again and the current weather pattern is promoting another big snow event in first two weeks of March.  We will see.


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

UH OH- MORE MODEL AGREEMENT- THE GROUNDHOG WILL BE BURIED ALIVE?

By the 29th of February, 2016, a leap year---snow weenies maybe leaping for joy again. The models are in agreement around this time frame of February 24-29 for a major storm event. Way too early to call snow amounts but this could possibly be another major plowable event. Just when the snow piles were disappearing in the parking lots, there could more to replace them. 12+ inches is not out of the question at this time but lets keep an eye on this situation. When three major weather models agree to shout- then it is time to bring the shovels out. Remember my statement.

Here is one of the models prediction- 12+ inches ---we will see. 



Monday, February 15, 2016

UPDATE TIME FOR PRESIDENTS DAY STORM

Everything is on cue. Mt Holly has gone over to a freezing rain advisory in the past hour. The snow has mixed with freezing rain the past hour with occasional sleet. The snow looks to be done for the front end of the storm two to four inches looks pretty common- little lower than I called for but whats an inch or two.

I am really concerned that Mt Holly should have issues an ice storm warning for the LV. I do not see the cold air  being scoured out in our area by almost sunrise. Well we will see how close I am to sunrise prediction for changeover to flooding rains.

The snow chances after the rains have dwindled. But stay dry anyway. I see flooding on our local roads and along the Little Lehigh and Swabia Creeks big time by Tuesday afternoon. Watch your basements

Sunday, February 14, 2016

COLD AIR DAMMING- WHAT IS IT AND HOW DOES AFFECT MONDAYS FORECAST?

Cold air damming (CAD)  is a weather phenomena  that often occurs on the east side of the Appalachian Mountain chain. When a CAD establishes itself in these areas, a weather forecaster can be faced with quite a challenge, one that can wreak havoc on forecasting high temperatures and precipitation types.    

A CAD occurs when a low-level cold air mass is topographically trapped on the east side of a mountain range. An area of high pressure at the surface will be positioned to the north of the region and the clockwise flow around the high means the low-level winds coming into the region will have an easterly cold component. These easterly winds will push up against the east side of the mountain range. Air moving up the mountain range ends up cooling even more and allowing the cold air to build up on the eastern slopes. This causes a "damming effect".  As the winds eventually switch to a more southerly direction as the low pressure or storm approaches us, the cold air is eventually scoured out of the eastern valleys  such as the Lehigh Valley. The problem is that the Lehigh Valley holds so much cold air in place, it is difficult to forecast when the warm air will eventually push out or erode the cold air trapped in the valley. This results in prolong periods of freezing rain or sleet in the Lehigh Valley where closer to Philadelphia or even in the Poconos sometimes it will be simply raining. This is purely A GEOGRAPHICAL  ISSUE which is one reason why I tried to convince NOAA to keep its weather office at the Allentown Airport. An example of this is seen below in the image for the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia which is similar to our topography.

A CAD will form over us Tuesday morning. We should receive 3-6 inches of snow before the CAD sets up. The snow will start off light and fluffy and will be accumulating on the roads since it was so cold the last few days. Salt will not work initially. Be prepared to actually drive on snow covered roads Monday evening on the way home from work. Expect accidents and delays on your way home from work. Drivers have not been used to this timing and road conditions of snow falling. Lucky its a holiday for many.

The amount of freezing rain will be very dependent on fast the winds change direction for this storm event. I expect at least a quarter of inch of ice to form on the trees and power lines, maybe even more. The big issue is when does the snow change over to sleet and freezing rain on Tuesday morning then finally to rain. In this type of event, its been my experience the changeover occurs sometime between 10 am and 2:00 pm.  4:00 am and 10 am.  Lets see how close I am. 

Please do spend a lot of time shoveling snow because it will be very wet and heavy on Tuesday morning as the changeover occurs. You will not be used to this type of snow shoveling. What usually happens is that the snow flakes will become half dollar size before changing to sleet going back and forth for a period of time and then to just freezing rain and plain rain. How long the snow says as half dollar size will determine the final accumulation of snow before it all melts away. 

I am forecasting up to 1 to 1.5 inches of rain after the snow, so it will be an all out crapfest of trying to walk around on Tuesday with slush everywhere. Wear your boots if going outside- you will be glad you did. Flooding on roadways will be a good bet so I expect Spring Creek Rd maybe shut down for a period of time as well.

The scenario played out by Mt. Holly will be a winter weather advisory but do not be surprised if we get more snow or ice to go a winter storm warning and a flash flood watch or urban flood warning for us.  The amounts of snow and ice are difficult for even MIKEY to call on this storm event but I gave you my best forecast and scenario n on how it will play out. The plow driver will have a field day on this event plowing slush and snow on Tuesday morning. This will be the last snow event for a while.

There is a chance that the rain may turn back to snow late Tuesday night and Wednesday as the storm pulls away and deepens. If it does snow, the snow would accumulate on the grass for a couple of inches or more as the streets maybe too wet and warm for accumulation, especially if  the streets do not have enough time to dry out between the changeover or if it snows heavily with the expected big flakes. We deserve another surprise right?  A six inch snow event is not unheard of after this type of storm event  but you just never know.  Stay dry

For my weather friends in Memphis- sorry I was wrong about getting snow today, The storm was warmer and further north. Two weeks advance notice sometimes goes wrong. The boot hill of Missouri and northern TN received all your snow today.







Tuesday, February 9, 2016

DO NOT WORRY ABOUT THE SNOW EVENT TODAY----- WORRY THAT IT IS GOING TO GET REAL REAL COLD-BRR

After this storm event today, this snow will be around for awhile. I am still sticking with my original 4-8 inch call from several days ago with us in LMT being closer to four to six inches.

An alberta clipper/arctic cold front comes through on Friday. IT WILL BE COLD AND YOU WILL KNOW IT as the the highs will only be in the low teens while the lows go below zero. Snow showers too may result in an inch of snow as the front goes through. Shovel all the snow you can off your driveways because it is not going to melt this time.

Another possible snow event comes around Presidents Day. I will keep you informed. Keep warm this weekend.

Monday, February 8, 2016

SOMETIMES I JUST HAVE TO CRITICIZE THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AT MT HOLLY NJ

I know I am shooting myself in the foot, but about twenty years ago when  the National Weather Service office was eliminated at the airport, I was one of the few who fiercely objected. I knew that transferring the regional forecasting office for the metro Lehigh Valley to an office in Southern New Jersey was not going to cut it for us. This was because of the geographic conditions that reside in  the metro Lehigh Valley. In the past few years, Mt. Holly NJ  office has had an extreme bias for Philadelphia and southern New Jersey to get their forecasting correct and issuing watches and warnings but to hell with it when it comes to the Lehigh Valley. Their simple answer is we will just adjust the forecasting especially the watches and warnings as the storm evolves, leaving  us simply stranded with no reliable forecasting for major storm events.  FAILURE TO PLAN IS PLANNING TO FAIL.

I was not the only one who felt this way and with this lapse in accurate weather forecasting together with the invention of social networking, the Eastern PA Weather Association was born, the most reliable weather forecasting in the Lehigh Valley. I trust them a thousand percent more than Mt Holly. I have also been booted off many social weather forum for simply airing out the geographic mistakes of  Mt Holly forecasts. The idiot youngsters call this "weather bashing" and of course they were a just a dream when people my age were using their forecasting skills instead of relying on five different computer models.  I am not faulting the current weather forecasters personally at Mt Holly, its just that they have little geographic background and more mathematical background when it comes to regional forecasting- relying more on the various computer models and not enough on the diverse geographic conditions that affect forecasting as in the metro Lehigh Valley. You maybe asking yourself why I am on this tangent now?

Lets go back to the recent blizzard.  Mt. Holly weather forecasting office for the umpteenth time upgraded the LV to a winter storm warning and then to a blizzard warning in the middle of the storm event. This all occurred during the middle of the night and early morning as well.  By then its too late, the cities of Allentown, Reading  and Bethlehem are crying they were never notified in time to prepare.  Whats being done to rectify this problem? Absolutely nothing. Mt. Holly has simply ignored the fact that over one million people live in the metro Lehigh Valley which includes Lehigh, Northampton and Berks Counties. I have heard all of the excuses like it was not supposed to hit here or was a difficult storm to forecast but tell that to that the guy who died shoveling out the 30 inches of snow that 'UNEXPECTEDLY FELL" in Berks county. Enough is enough and the one million residents of the metro Lehigh Valley Region deserve and demand better forecasting, especially when it comes to issuing watches from their National Weather Service. Thank god many people rely on EPAWA.

I just want you know why I am bringing attention to the critical issue. The Mt Holly office again has issued a winter storm watch for Chester County and Philly area where they are forecasting nearly nine inches of snow. The Lehigh Valley is supposed to get only three inches. Because of the geographic conditions and the fact that this is a storm is originating from the west instead of the south many models are anticipating an inverted trough to set up over southern PA. In an inverted trough, the storm event usually is topography natured as well (terrain geography) which helps to enhance snowfall  rates (e.g.  hills/mountains can assist in forcing air upward creating more lifting and heavier snowfall rates).

Experience tells me and other good meteorologists you cannot rely on computer models alone especially when the storm event is over twenty-four hours away.  So if you simply do not know, the proper thing you do is you put your entire region under a winter storm watch and upgrade to a winter storm warning as the event unfolds in the applicable areas so the major cities like Allentown have ample time to prepare for snow removal as the trough forms. This is perfectly understandable. The Lehigh Valley is left out of the watch again and if the inverted trough sets up over our area, we could easily get a foot of snow. We could go to no watch to a warning in a an eight hour period during the middle of the night. I guess we will see what happens but geographical conditions usually indicate that if an inverted trough sets up over Eastern PA it runs southeast to northwest which puts everyone in our area at risk of seeing a heavy snowfall event. That is why I push for common sense when forecasting instead of relying  so called "CONFIDENCE LEVELS"  Confidence levels are found in statistical analysis models. Weather forecasting for issuing watches should never be based on this alone. Most of all Mt. Holly needs to recognize that the metro Lehigh Valley exists and the million people who reside here want to trust the weather service for prompt issuance of watches and warnings.




Sunday, February 7, 2016

BY THE HAIR ON MY CHINNY CHIN CHIN

We just missed getting hit by a blizzard tomorrow that went out to sea that was just as strong as the one in January. By the way, it did snow Friday in Montgomery and Berks County to the south of us in the LV and left a coating to an inch but melted pretty quick.

Whats for us in the LV the next few days?  More rumors of a big snow event - LMAO. I am predicting between 4-8 inches of snow depending on where the the heavier snow bands set up for Tuesday. In a normal storm event like this, someone will get much more snow- even from county to county. Otherwise- to my plow friends- just enough to plow the parking lots and enough to for municipalities and PennDot to use salt. The storm will be of a long duration  with off and on snow showers. I expect two hour delays for the schools on Wednesday and maybe early dismissal on Tuesday. Traffic will be a nightmare on Wednesday morning.

Beware after this snow event, the bottom drops out on the temperatures. The lows will be near zero for a few days and highs barely making the mid-20's. The next snow event looks around Valentines Day. Keep warm

Thursday, February 4, 2016

DARN, I KEEP SECOND GUESSING MYSELF- MORE SNOW BY MORNING?

A couple of weeks ago I said it was going to snow on the 5th. Well, it looks like it will. Only a few inches of snow if we are real lucky though- a dusting compared to what we had two weeks ago. I even saw the potential for snow last night in the models but as I said "you never know" in my facebook posting yesterday.  It still looks like a potential of six inches or more for Monday- Tuesday as well.  Any snow that falls tomorrow will melt quickly if the sun comes in the afternoon. I will keep updated for the Monday storm and a bigger potential around Presidents day. Plan accordingly. Thanks





Tuesday, February 2, 2016

FLOODING THEN BACK TO WINTER

While , this two foot of snowpack has to go somewhere and it looks like the Little Lehigh will be the beneficiary come Wednesday night. During the day on Wednesday we will see periods of heavy rain, maybe even a thunderstorm. With nearly 2.5" of  liquid precipitation tied into the snow pack in combination with nearly 2" of rain, flooding is a good bet.  Basements should be monitored and I expect Spring Creek Rd to be under water for a few days or more. Lake Aster will be around for at least a week. We are currently under a flash flood watch which I expect will turn into a an urban stream flood warning for us in Lower Macungie Wednesday night.

We should expect Spring Rd to be barricaded on both ends and maybe even on the residential roads of Ancient Oaks. Wild Cherry Rd and maybe even Macungie Rd bridges will be barricaded if the water level is high enough. Mill Creek Rd might even be barricaded as the Walmart River starts flowing across Spring Creek Rd. What makes this flooding bad is that the ground is still frozen, so little runoff will soak into the ground until Thursday, when it starts freezing again. To you and me thats like 90%  runoff and the streams are just not geared to handle this volume of water. Stormwater basins will be full and it will be awhile for the flood waters to recede and basins to empty.

Well I must apologize on my forecast for the next round of snow storms in the upcoming weeks. They will start a couple of days later than I thought -from February 8-15 and may continue all the way into March. So the grass you see this week should be covered by next week some time. I expect maybe one or two  6+ inch storm events and one of them maybe  a 12+ inch storm around Presidents Day. It will be winter again.