Monday, March 02, 2009

March's Lion

The March Snowstorm that roared like a lion over two (and a half, if you will) phases brought some impressive snowfall totals to the Philadelphia region. While the city did not top 10" from the Sunday night/Monday phase of the snowstorm, it was still an impressive storm that ranks among the top ten snowstorms in March lore. Yes, this means that Philadelphia will finish with snowfall that is above the seasonal average as the city is now over 22" for the winter.

This was a relatively long duration event, starting Sunday night around 7 PM in Philadelphia and continuing with snowfall observations until 4 PM today, save for a two hour break in the snow with the "lull" that worked through. This is depicted on radar pretty well as you see the break in the first wave (the surface low) and the second wave (upper level energy) between 3 and 6 AM on Monday.

Based on my forecast thoughts from Sunday morning (also discussed on Saturday in my first call), the one-two punch developed and moved through pretty much as planned. The "third punch" did not amount to much other than some light snow that moved through during the afternoon with some upper energy but was unexpected.

My final forecast from Sunday morning is below along with a location point comparison between my forecast and actual snowfall totals for those locations.

Some areas that I busted in include coastal areas where mixing did not take place as far inland as I thought, as well as some parts of the I-95 and I-295 corridor that had some pockets of lighter snow compared to other areas during the movement of the upper level low through the region. With that said, much of the Delaware Valley was correctly forecast for this storm as was snowfall totals generally ranged between 5 and 10" west of I-95 in the suburban counties and between 6-12" with isolated higher amounts east of the Delaware River. I do think given the higher winds that measuring snowfall was a bit of a challenge in this storm so some snowfall totals could be a bit higher and lower than what fell from the sky. No fault of the measurer at all as the storm's gusty winds did not help matters!

For a March snowstorm, this was pretty impressive, as was the cold that accompanied it.

More: National Weather Service Snowfall Reports