I’m back! And here’s a discussion on the cold/snow

December 4, 2009

9:40 P.M.

I’m back! Not from some trip to some exotic locale or anything like that. I’m just literally back on this website, as my overload of homework forced me to put this blog on hiatus for several days. Nevertheless, I’m here now, and we have a lot to talk about.

Since early this week, people have been talking about the snow rumors, which has been very surprising to me. Why? I never noticed the news stations hyping it up much, and people were even asking me questions about snow when the different global models were in disagreement. Although I didn’t hear about this on the news stations, it must have been both their fault and that of the National Weather Service. Both of these organizations hype up snow. The t.v. stations you know about. News about snow attracts lots of viewers, and lots of viewers = more money. As for the National Weather Service here, I think that they get giddy when it comes to snow. I actually read an article in a magazine that there is a dispute in the way things are forecasted between Cliff Mass in the UW and the National Weather Service office in Seattle, with Cliff going with near 100 percent model output and the National Weather Service adding in human elements where they deem necessary. Just two different views on forecasting, and I believe both have their ups and downs. It is very important that a minimum amount of human bias is incorporated into forecasts in most situtations in my opinion, but if a storm is developing differently than the models show it, you obviously can’t rely on them.

Ok, let’s talk weather. What we have is a large ridge of high pressure containing modified, continental arctic air dropping down from the north. The air coming into Washington, due to the rules of adiabatic warming (air warms, dries, and compresses as it decreases in altitude), will be toasty compared to what it once was, but it will still be pretty chilly here. Bellingham will have highs in the low 30s pretty much all next week, while the Puget Sound area will see highs in the low to mid 30s from Sunday to Tuesday and highs in the upper 30s tomorrow and moderating to the mid 30s later next week. Although it’s not frigid, and defintely not as cold as last year, that’s some pretty cold weather. But most of you guys aren’t checking this blog to find out how cold the weather is. You are checking it to find out if it is gonna SNOW!!!

Unfortunately, I’m not seeing any real possibilities of snow over the next couple days. As the shot of arctic air comes down from the north tomorrow, we could see some showers associated with a arctic front Saturday night, but accumulations, if any, will likely be light. That said, the weather will be cold after that, so if there are any accumulations, there could be significant icing. An arctic front event happened in late November 2006, and even though snow amounts in the Seattle area generally amounted to an inch or so, the cars melted the snow as they drove over it, with the frigid arctic air freezing the ice to the roadways shortly afterwards. So, if we do see significant snowfall with this feature (which is possible – these fronts, which often exhibit convergence-zone like properties, can be very hard to forecast correctly), we could see some late starts next week. But don’t get your hopes up.

More significant moisture arrives next week, with the ECMWF painting a possible snow scenario Thursday or something like that. It brings a system to our south, which would give us moisture to work with while drawing winds from the north so that we don’t warm up. However, the GFS keeps us dry. We’ll see what happens.

Stay tuned, fellow weather enthusiasts! I’ll keep you posted! And I’ll also talk about how this cold snap compares with the one last year in my next post.

Thanks,
Charlie
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