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February 4, 2009

Cold Thursday, then a big warmup


We may even see some more snow showers tonight before all these little disturbances clear away. But forecasters at Sterling don't think any snowfall we see will amount to even as much as we had this morning.

Then big-time high pressure moves in strongly over the eastern half of the nation, with cold air pushing south tonight and tomorrow. Check out Atlanta's conditions. And Mobile's.

Temps won't reach 30 degrees here Thursday, if the forecast holds up. But as the weekend approaches and the high moves off to our east, we'll come into a return flow from the south, warming things up sharply for the weekend and into next week.

Highs should settle in the 50s by Saturday, and hold there through mid-week. That's about 10 degrees above the norms for this time of year at BWI-Marshall. Nighttime lows won't even reach freezing.

Forecasters see no prospects for snow in the long-range forecast with those sorts of temperatures. Friday through Wednesday should remain largely sunny.

That said, we are still in February, and as I keep repeating, half of Baltimore's 10 biggest snowstorms ever have struck between Feb. 11 and 18.

In that vein, here is a link to the Eastern US Weather Forums site, where Jim Hughes has been holding court on his predictions for a snowstorm on Valentine's Day. Hughes is a former DC-area (now West Virginia) resident and amateur weather analyst who has made some accurate predictions based on ocean temperature and solar activity patterns. He's also struck out a few times, as all forecasters do. See what you think.    

Posted by Frank Roylance at 6:21 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Forecasts


Cool weather forum. I wish I understood half of what he said though. I got the NAO but that was it.

Predicting that far ahead is very interesting, and gives me a lot of suspense, but I feel like its almost pointless to continue to check. Most of the time the forecast at the end is extremely different, and you could've just looked at a model two days in advance. Its kind of like a love-hate relationship.

Why is that 5/10 biggest snowstorms have hit between that time period??

FR: I've asked meteorologists the same question. It's a time of year when there are still arctic outbreaks sending cold air down our way. At the same time, the lengthening days are warming the subtropics to our south. And when that moisture and energy get wound up around a Gulf low, it tracks along the edge of the cold air and sweeps lots of moisture into the cold air mass, and it falls as snow. Lots of it. It's a clash of cold and warm, lingering winter and the approaching summer.

What on earth happened in Cecil County this morning? We live in Perryville where the skies are clear and the roads are dry. First public schools were 2 hours late and now they're closed.

Thanks for your insight.

FR: There was a snow streamer - a narrow line of snow showers - that crossed the extreme northeast portion of the county overnight. Not sure how much it dropped, or how the roads were affected, but you can see it in this radar loop, ... which shows snow in the air over several hours this morning. Looks like there was none in Perryville. (Not sure the loop link will preserve the image all morning, so if you don't see anything, that's why).


The atmosphere is somewhat unpredictable but it is not as chaotic as most people think. And I'm even talking about those from within the science community as well.

Things happen for a reason and the earth's climate system has a balancing act. But it can be thrown off kilter by certain elements, like by space weather, and volcanic eruptions, just to name a couple.

But even these variables can be brought into the forecasting formula sometimes depending upon the type of forecast that you are making.

And I've been doing this for almost fourteen years now, and I've gained the respect of many people within the long range forecasting community, so please don't let the amateur status get in the way. And the only thing that stands in the way of me being tagged a "professional" is a piece of paper.

Here's a link to another discussion that I wrote earlier this winter which might help you or some others see things more clearly. Or at least shed some light on some things.

It deals with the different atmospheric waves and how this plays into the timing of certain teleconnection anomaly phases. Like with the NAO, which you seem to know about already.

So it is very possible to come up with a fairly accurate long range picture, within reason, if you incorporate this method, with some other important factors.

And this is why I am certain about the positive PNA being in place around February 22nd. And this points toward a colder pattern setting up, first in the north central, and then toward the east.

All I ask is for you to keep an open mind to all of this. Because it has merit.

I believe I can add links to these comments. Maybe Frank can fix it if I can not.

"TWC Wave Discussion"

Thanks so much for the response Mr.Hughes. Im really sorry if I offended your work and what you do.

I would love to have an open mind to everything you have said, but I don't really understand some waves you mentioned.

The reason I made the statement of why I thought the long range may be useless was because of what some meteorologists, mainly on accuweather, have predicted in the past, and said they have had a high confidence level in what was going to happen. I realize this isn't there fault but the models fault because they rely on the models.

I know not to trust any of this because I don't think anyone can predict the exact weather for days in advance. They can predict trends yes but not exact weather.

Another reason as why I am frustrated is I am not nearly as intelligent as you are (I am a highschooler and haven't looked deeply enough into some of the stuff you say) and I understand you have all these waves that you can see for the future, but me not understanding what these different trends are, just confuses me.

If there are any sources I could read from to learn about these I would love to read them because of my interest in weather, and my hope to become a meteorologist.

(Sorry Frank, I know this doesn't have much to do with your blog, but Jim's weather forum wouldn't let me become a member, and I couldn't find a way to get in contact with Jim.)


I was not offended by your comments, nor your skepticism. And no forecast is always going to be perfect. Especially those from way out.

But strides are being made in the long range part of the game in much the same manner as it has during the past 15-20 years with the 4-7 day outlook. And the latter has improved even if most do not think so. Since most people tend to remember the busts only.

As far as not being able to join easternuswx. I am not sure why this happened since new members join all the time from what I hear. Maybe you should try again.

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About Frank Roylance
This site is the Maryland Weather archive. The current Maryland Weather blog can be found here.
Frank Roylance is a reporter for The Baltimore Sun. He came to Baltimore from New Bedford, Mass. in 1980 to join the old Evening Sun. He moved to the morning Sun when the papers merged in 1992, and has spent most of his time since covering science, including astronomy and the weather. One of The Baltimore Sun's first online Web logs, the Weather Blog debuted in October 2004. In June 2006 Frank also began writing comments on local weather and stargazing for The Baltimore Sun's print Weather Page. Frank also answers readers’ weather queries for the newspaper and the blog. Frank Roylance retired in October 2011. Maryland Weather is now being updated by members of The Baltimore Sun staff

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