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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sunday Snowmageddon?

Not likely. Possible? Sure. But with the data I see right now, I'm betting against it.

The storm in question will be organizing in the western Gulf Coast area Friday night. We have confidence in that part of the forecast. But after that, our confidence level drops. Two major computer models show very different outcomes on Sunday.

One of the computer models that we trust the most (the GFS) is showing snowmagaddon with a foot or two of snow possible in Connecticut. Before the midday (18Z) model run, the GFS has been inconsistent, showing a snowstorm every other run. But now the model has pointed to a major nor’easter for two runs in a row.

On the other hand, the European consistently shows the same major storm gliding well southeast of Connecticut, exiting off the coast of the Carolinas with ZERO impact for us.

So far this winter the Euro has done a better job, especially with storms where the forecast has remained consistent through time.

The NAM isn’t great this far in advance. It only forecasts 84 hours out. But so far it also looks to side with a southern scenario with little or no impact here in Connecticut. I have also looked at about 10 other models (many that I don’t normally check). I just wanted to see if anything else was in the same ballpark as the GFS. Nope. Some are further north and west. But as far as a major CT storm, the GFS stands alone.

Other factors to consider…Even if this storm creams us in Connecticut, there is no big blocking high to help keep cold air in place. This works against the idea of a blockbuster snow storm and points to mixing, especially along the shoreline.

Here’s what the HPC has to say about the model spread:

“FARTHER EWD... THERE IS CONTINUED SPREAD WITH RESPECT TO THE HANDLING OF EJECTING SRN PLAINS/NRN MEXICO ENERGY AND NRN STREAM FLOW ACROSS THE NERN QUADRANT OF THE CONUS. THUS IMPORTANT DETAILS ARE YET TO BE RESOLVED FOR THE AREA OF LOW PRESSURE FCST TO TRACK FROM NEAR THE GULF COAST INTO THE WRN ATLC. AMONG LATEST GUIDANCE THE 00Z GFS IS THE CLEAR EXTREME IN BEING FASTER WITH ITS SRN STREAM SHRTWV AND DEEP/SWD/CLOSED WITH ITS NRN STREAM ENERGY TO YIELD A VERY DEEP/NWD SFC SYSTEM. MINUS THE 00Z GFS THE REMAINING SFC LOW SPREAD IS STILL QUITE BROAD AS OF EARLY DAY 4 SUN WITH ONE OR MORE CENTERS POSSIBLE IN AN AREA FROM THE SERN CONUS TO OFFSHORE THE CNTRL-SRN MID ATLC COAST. THE 00Z ECMWF WHICH SHOWS ITS BEST DEFINED SFC LOW NEAR THE SERN COAST EARLY SUN IS CLOSER TO HPC CONTINUITY OVER THE PAST DAY. THE 00Z CMC IS SLOWEST WITH ITS SERN CONUS SFC LOW. THE ECMWF MEAN IS MORE BALANCED BETWEEN THE SWRN/NERN SIDE OF THE SPREAD WHILE THE GEFS MEAN/06Z GFS AND TO SOME DEGREE 00Z UKMET EMPHASIZE A LEADING WAVE AS OF EARLY SUN. FOR NOW WILL LEAN CLOSER TO THE 00Z ECMWF TO MAINTAIN SOME CONTINUITY WITH ANY 12Z GUIDANCE TRENDS BEING INCORPORATED FOR THE FINAL FCST.”

12Z Euro for midday Sunday. No impact. Storm stays south of CT.

12Z GFS for midday Sunday. Up to 2 feet of snow.

Bottom line: I'm am betting against a snowstorm. We may not get a better handle on the forecast until Friday when the storm starts getting better organized and the models get better initialization. But I'm still nervous and watching the latest information very carefully.

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