Beyond Monday

January 14, 2012

Just took a quick glance at all the 00z models…wow…a lot of action the next 7 days!

The highlights:

-The 00z NAM continues to be by far the coldest solution for Tuesday, the time when more moisture starts to move in for steadier precipitation.  Not sure what to think of that since it’s the only model showing such a cold airmass, cold enough for significant sticking snow in the lowest elevations.  For now I’m ignoring it since it’s out on it’s own.  Unfortunately the NAM only goes out to 84 hours, so we don’t know what it shows Wednesday.

-The GFS has almost exactly the same solution Monday-Wednesday that it’s shown for a couple days.  Quick warmup Tuesday, then a nice surge of very mild air Wednesday for high snow levels.

-The new 00z ECMWF is slightly cooler (slightly closer to the NAM) Tuesday morning, keeping us around a -7 at 850mb.  Then it warms up.  It brings the surface low up to about Astoria on Wednesday morning, slightly farther south (again a nod to the NAM) than 24 hours ago.

-The 00z GEM (Canadian) is similar to the GFS.

-All 3 of those models have several deep low pressure centers tracking across the Pacific Northwest Wednesday-Saturday.  All 3 of the 00z runs have an especially deep center passing through Washington sometime between midday Friday and midday Saturday.  We could get a real windstorm out of this…I’ll keep an eye on it.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen


00z RPM Snow Outlook

January 14, 2012

Latest run of our model showing similar conditions through the next 24 hours:

White areas are 1″ or more.  The one we show on TV goes down to 1/2″ so they look slightly different.  This still shows light accumulations in the lowest elevations through tomorrow afternoon.

Is this Why The Public Is Sometimes Annoyed By TV Weather Coverage?

January 14, 2012

I had a great time watching the 5pm newscasts on other stations since we’re late due to football.

-4 live shots on one station, all showing partly cloudy skies branded as “WINTER STORM” coverage.  Uggh, no wonder the public gets irritated with us!  Where is this WINTER STORM? And is 1″ (give or take an inch) of snow showers a winter storm?

– Same thing over at station #2, but it’s BREAKING WEATHER (what does that mean?). 

Then the weather people get on both stations and tell us there is no storm coming but some snow showers with light accumulations.  All of the weather folks (including me) appear to pretty much have the same forecasts.  That’s why I told the newsies here not to call it a STORM, unless it’s the mountains they are referring to. 

It’s as if the news department isn’t even communicating with the weather team.  Because of this, I really appreciate that my co-workers and especially management here at FOX12 will take our opinions into consideration when forming news coverage of weather.  Sure, hype and get excited if something significant is on the way, but don’t get viewers thinking something is coming that isn’t.

Some inside baseball here:  this afternoon a producer asked me if WEATHER ALERT (branding) was okay.  I said:  sure, nothing will be going on other than a scattered flurry or two during our evening newscasts.  But we want people to be ALERT for some light snow or icy spots on roads by morning.  I think that’s perfectly reasonable.

Of course now that I’ve worked myself into a lather over it, we’ll probably get 5″ of snow!  Hopefully not.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

Late Afternoon Update

January 14, 2012

Here’s the note I just sent to the newsies here at FOX12:

Everything is progressing as expected (so far), steady rain has changed to very light showers.  They will gradually change over to snow showers as the evening wears on an colder air slowly filters in.

So from now through Monday morning, it’ll be showers, sunbreaks, showers, sunbreaks etc…  This time they will be snow showers though, sticking mainly from evenings through mid mornings.  Temps during the middle of the day will be 36-40 degrees. 

How Much?  I haven’t changed the forecast from a Trace-1” in the lowest elevations to 1-3” up around 1,000’ and above.  Here’s a 24 hour snow forecast from the WRF-GFS model from 4am Sunday to 4 am Monday..still quite dry at the lowest elevations:

Tons of snow in the Cascades the next few days.  Our model shows 25-30” between now and Tuesday morning…all powder at very cold temps. 

Road Conditions:  Spots of some snow on roads, randomly scattered around the Metro area late tonight through tomorrow morning.  Same thing Sunday evening through Monday morning.  Obviously with slightly colder hills, there is a better chance of snowy roads up there anytime during this period. 

Winter Weather Advisory:  The National Weather Service issued one this afternoon for all of our viewing area.  The criteria for a WWA is all of 1”!  They issue one with almost every snow event.

Right now, it appears that we’re out of the snow threat in the lowest elevations either Monday evening or early Tuesday morning.  Then it’s on to a very stormy weather pattern Wednesday-Saturday.  Each of our models are different, but they all show strong (possibly damaging) wind and heavy rain during this time.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

Saturday Morning Update: Coast Range Turns Snowy Soon!

January 14, 2012

Everything is proceeding according to plan, the leading edge of the much colder air is moving through the Coast Range right now and will move into the Metro area within the next two hours. The sticking snow level is below 2,000′ at Astoria already (from BPA’s sensors at Megler and Nasell Ridge). That colder air will drop the snow level down to around 1,000′ over Highway 26 and 6 within the next couple of hours as well. Not a whole lot of snowfall, but the highways COULD turn white.

No other signficant changes on the morning models…but what’s up with that NAM for Monday night and Tuesday? It continues to be far colder with more northern stream energy than any other model. It either has a severe cold bias over us, or knows something the GFS and ECMWF don’t know. Strange…not trusting it for now.  Other models still continue to show a deep area of low pressure moving to the S. Washington Coast Tuesday night and Wednesday morning for a dramatic warmup at that time.

More later…I’m working the next 7 days.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen