Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Clipper Mutant Expected to Bring Snow Late Wednesday Night

It's not a Panhandle Hooker but it's not a standard issue Alberta Clipper, either. As Tom Novak tells us in this video, the next episode of snow is essentially coming in straight from the west. The result, however, is expected to be similar to past events -- a quick punch of snow that's forecast to accumulate to 2-4."



28 comments:

  1. Actually, a pretty typical Montana/nrn Wyoming low scenario. No names, no hype. Each model guidance run has depicted sfc low and precip shield slightly north and appears Twin Cities metro now to be be impacted with measurable snow with greatest amounts on the south side (which is good as that is where this author resides!) Timing is Thursday AM just in time for rush hour.

    I know its gets bad with the timing of even small snow events but nothing, I mean NOTHING here will match what is going on in Atlanta where I lived the past 16 years and in awe/shock/sadness what folks are going through! Many friends are sleeping at work, schools, hotels and even their cars (they had some extra blankets in trunk) tonight. The ones that made it home took between 7-10 hours for a typical 20-45 minute commute. Every road is clogged and school buses with kids STILL on roadways at 10pm! Rescues are all by foot in many parts of the metro area of 5 plus million people. Its a public disaster there.

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    1. I assume there must been some sort of instant freeze situation going on as well to produce such paralyzing results? Did it rain first? I know that temps were quite mild ahead of time so I guess the first bit of precip melted and froze. People here forget that the same inch of snow in the south is typically far slicker than it is here, and that's before you throw in all the other factors.

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  2. I think it all fell as snow in Atlanta, but I'm guessing that the first bit of snow melted due to warm ground and then froze because it was falling through the 20s during the day yesterday. Although looking at the obs in Atlanta, they were reported as Light Snow Fog/Mist - whatever that is.

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  3. Question for the so-called experts:
    wasn't the storm that in Dec 2010 collapsed the Metrodome also a storm that came in straight from the west?

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  4. Maybe you're thinking of the December 2012 storm that most forecasters didn't give enough credit because it was coming from more of a westerly direction?

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  5. NWS not issuing advisories yet, are they not thinking as much snow now?

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    1. Dave Dahl just said 4-5 inches from Mankato south and east. Maybe an inch in the northern metro and possibly 2-3 inches in the southern metro.

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  6. Advisories will likely come out with the afternoon update. It's looking like the potential is there for a healthy swath of snow across a good portion of southern MN. Unfortunately it will probably be at its heaviest during the morning rush. Still probably mostly a 2-4 deal but some 5+ amounts in some locations wouldn't surprise me either especially to the south and east of the metro.

    The December 2010 storm did, in fact, come in from the west and is taking a similar route. The difference between that one and this one, is that the 2010 one went through a rapid deepening process as it passed south of MN, and it slowed way down while doing that. It seems like our past few large storms we've had have been these hybrid type clippers that come in from the Pacific. This one, however, looks to be more progressive and moving through the area within about 6 or so hours. No rapid deepening showing up with this one so don't expect a dome buster from this one. Then again, maybe mother nature will decide to throw another big curve ball our way. We never really know, do we? Snow rates will be pretty decent with this one, with the heavier bands probably exceeding an inch to maybe an inch and a half per hour. I don't think the NWS will go with any warnings yet, but if snow totals start to pile up faster than initially thought, then they will probably upgrade those areas to a warning. Drive safe everyone.

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  7. thanks for answering my question.
    I seem to recall that storm was not hyped at all, with nobody really paying too much attention until a couple of days before when 2-4 inch forecast started to turn into 10-12 and then more.

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  8. Here's a look back at the forecast evolution of the Domebuster: http://www.minnesotaforecaster.com/2010/12/snow-forecast-for-saturday-december-11_09.html

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  9. Tough forecast for the Thursday morning snow for the MSP metro area, current thinking is we will see 3-5" across the metro. I know that goes against the grain with respect to the MPX office, but I'm riding the 18z Nam pretty hard with this one. Final snowfall forecast will be updated after the Nam 01/30 0z run.

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  10. No one predicted we get as high as 31 today.....highest I saw was 23.....I believe the models and mets are struggling with the fact when the air is coming from the south or west there is virtually no snow cover to cool it......almost every warm spell the last two months(and they were few aand far between)has been underestimated......like Duane said in a earlier post if places south or west of us dont get a decent snowpack our snows will melt rather quickly if the warms winds blow for an extended time.

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  11. Wow.....we just were put under a winter storm warning....talk about a turn of events....keep talking about the Domebuster storm, I think mother nature is listening.

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  12. When the advisory was first issued I think they were skeptical of the 18z runs (rightfully so, they can overdo things). Now, 00z NAM comes in somewhat supporting what the 18z showed and boom, there is the warning. The northerly shift continues. It's a very slight bump but enough to put more of the metro into the heavier snow area. I have a feeling that if the new GFS and foreign models continue to show this stronger/north solution, then the Winter Storm Warning would eventually be expanded even more than it is. Unless something major changes or this system doesn't do what models say it will do, expect a difficult commute in the morning.

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  13. winter storm warning issued for the metro!!!!
    WOW...

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  14. From what I'm reading, it is only the 11-county metro under the warning and they only issued it because it is the 11-county metro and snowfall rates will be heavy right at the peak of rush hour. They are still saying only 3-6 total.

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    1. The warning extends into Wisconsin as well and those counties aren't considered metro area. While widespread totals may or may not happen, yes the peak rush hour and heavy snow rates certainly warrant the warning.

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  15. Could the upgrade to a winter storm warning be in some way related to the Atlanta fiasco and the desire to step up communication efforts?

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  16. Bill I think they did it so the schools could close again (kidding). The warning makes no sense to me, rush hour is a mess if we get 1" of snow or 6" of snow. I see that Dr. Novak moved his heavy snow band slightly north, but not like the NWS has.

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  17. This storm is lining up like some storms from last year where it is better to not be under the heaviest threat of snow 48 hours out (if you are a fan of snow and want the metro to get snow that is).

    Bill - I was thinking the same thing - Atlanta had a big reason for calling it a warning. But as we now from prior storms (New Years Eve 2011) a winter storm warning can be issued with just 1-2" in the forecast.

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  18. I think the WSW was issued not so much because of snow totals, but apparently because they are expecting very high snow rates 1-2 inches/hour during the morning commute.
    I think this would have been a situation where the old Heavy Snow Warning would have been issued, but that has since being phased out and replaced by a WSW for Heavy Snow which I believe is what they issued here.

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    1. My guess (and maybe more informed others can say for sure) is that this is not a case where a heavy snow warning would have been issued since snow totals are not expected to be that high. I think it's purely for intended effect, which is to make people stand up and take notice that a short burst of heavy snow will fall at the worst possible time.

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    2. yes, maybe someone can tweet the NWS for clarification.
      I always get confused as to whether heavy snow is in reference to totals or visibility which correlates with snow rates, but I think it is the latter.

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    3. Think it's totals. Blizzard warnings would recognize visibility issues.

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  19. Given the expected snowfall amounts of 3-6", the snowfall intensity of 1-2" per hour, and during a high impact timeframe of morning rush hour, the Winter Storm Warning is EXACTLY the correct call. And, they did the RIGHT thing by issuing before the 10pm news to allow media partners to get the word out for the public before folks go to bed. This also helps MnDOT, local DOTs to adequately prep and prepare for the rush. There will be travel issues no question but the correct call by the NWS (and likely coordination with emergency managers in the Twin Cities metro) will help to mitigate the already high impact the snowfall will bring.

    Yes, the NWS, emergency managers and DOTs are well aware of what happened in Atlanta which was a cluster in so many ways. I am very close to many of the events, the meteorologists/colleagues at TWC, the NWS in Peachtree City and some of the local markets. Although not perfect, overall the weather forecast and warning was pretty good. A few issues in the morning with some meteorologists wavering a bit on snowfall potential and accums, but in general the message was decent. One thing that did hurt the situation was 330am Winter Storm Warning which honestly just isn't enough time for govt, DOTs, schools, etc to effectively mobilize to the fullest potential. Yet, again more lessons for Atlanta and State of Georgia to learn despite efforts made since the January 2011 "Snowmaggedon" debacle which I personally lived through and folks, it SUCKED! Nothing in MSP area has approached what has taken place in 2011 and now again in 2014 on such minute snowfall (and ice) amounts.

    So, yes, the move by the Twin Cities NWS should be applauded and commended. Other markets will take heed to what happened in ATL as a learning and reminder event to their own practices.

    Yes, there are some things I am passionate about and this topic is it which not only means a good weather forecast but one that helps in the messaging, preparedness and mitigation in severe weather events.

    I had numerous friends from TWC and other things that endured drives of 5-14 hours to get home and several not making it having to ditch their vehicles and hike several miles home and/or back to the office. Not a good day.

    Thank you.
    Daniel Dix
    16 year ATL resident/former TWC meteorologist
    Representative in ATL and Twin Cities Integrated Warning Teams (NWS, Emergency Managers, Media meteorologists, DOTs, etc).

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  20. If this storm verifies with 4"+ snow in the MSP metro, then we have to hammer the Weather Prediction Center (WPC) in Maryland on this one. They are STILL late to the game and they are suppose to be the bible when it comes to snow prediction. Gut feeling is that the MPX NWS was gun shy to move the snow band north because the WPC was further south than they should've been.

    Now, we sit & watch this thing evolve overnight. It will be interesting to see if and where the axis of the heavy snow band sets-up. If the warning verifies, then we also need to give the NAM a ton of credit.

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  21. Can someone in Atlanta run a basic cost/benefit analysis comparing buying $250 or even $500 million worth of plows vs. having the city be at a standstill every 3-5 years for 3 to 5 days. I'm guessing in the end it pays for itself. It's an embarrassment that this happened only 3 years after the 2011 debacle. But I'm guessing we'll be saying the same thing in 3-5 years.

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