Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Is It A Bust? Yes On Snow, Not On Wind

Washington DC picked up a whopping tenth of an inch of snow today during the day as the big modeled snowstorm for them did not produce at all -- for a myriad of reasons that we will outline tomorrow.

For us, even our 1-3" and 2-5" forecasts for the immediate region will go down in a snowy flame of failure...compared to what went down in DC, I'm not all that upset about our failure.  It sucks but I feel for those in DC but the modeling there was nearly universal in showing the potential for big snowfall.  Even the vaunted Euro had the potential for big snows in the Washington area.

Here, on the northern fringe, the forecasts were more difficult and there was a wider spread of opinion between the various modeling.   You saw the various guidance suggesting a spread between one and eight inches yesterday and the NAM (ugh, that discussion for another time) suggested as much as a foot of snow would fall in a few runs within 48 hours of this storm.  Here, the forecasts here were a bit more wide-ranging and a bit more various.  We felt a cautious approach was a wise and prudent one -- March is fickle but knowing the climate around the region, knowing the consistency of the global modeling (GFS and Euro) and how they both generally agreed on precipitation layout and the event being more modest, we went with lower totals than what the NAM went with.  While we will still likely bust...and we will talk about tonight in a bit...I don't feel terrible about the forecast we put out there.  Given the information on the table and given the smorgasbord of options, I felt it was smart to go safe and conservative on this storm.  

DC, South Central Pennsylvania are another story -- there was massive amounts of failure there and we will spend the upcoming day or two figuring that hot mess out back to our west.  Elevated areas in South Central Pennsylvania did well but Lancaster, York, and Harrisburg were a complete mess in terms of the forecast verifying.

Where the storm is not busting is on wind.   Winds have gusted to 67 mph in Lewes, 65 mph in Cape May.  From a wind and coastal flooding standpoint, this storm is delivering.  There's been some pretty decent coastal flooding earlier today across the South Jersey and Delaware coastlines and that will continue into tonight, with the late night high tide expected to be pretty nasty.

From a precipitation standpoint, we should see precipitation transition from rain to snow in some areas, with some coating type accumulations likely, especially east of I-95.  I don't think we'll see the one to three inch totals or two to five inch totals we advertised but I do think some snowfall is possible later tonight towards the Shore as the storm wraps up and colder air (post sunset) tries to work in.  Coatings, perhaps an inch, are possible east of I-95.