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January 11, 2011

Snow predictions for Baltimore are fading

Snow lovers are likely going to be disappointed by this one. Steve Zubrick, science and operations officer at the National Weather Service office in Sterling says warm air is nosing into the region NOAA mapwest of the bay, shrinking the predicted snow totals for the storm.

Accumulation totals for the Baltimore area have dropped from 3-to-5 early this morning, to just 2-to-3 inches by mid-afternoon. Locations south of Baltimore are likely to see a mix of precipitation rather than the all-snow event forecast earlier.

Here's how the new Winter Weather Advisory puts it for locations from Carroll to Arundel:

"ACCUMULATIONS...2 TO 3 INCHES...MAINLY SNOW. A GLAZE OF ICE
  POSSIBLE.

* TIMING...SNOW WILL BECOME MORE STEADY BY EARLY EVENING...AND
  CONTINUE MUCH OF THE NIGHT...ENDING BETWEEN 4 AM AND 6 AM. THE HEAVIEST SNOW WILL BE BETWEEN 9 PM AND 3 AM. AT TIMES SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN OR DRIZZLE COULD BE MIXED IN WITH THE SNOW"

UPDATE, 6 P.M.: for northern Maryland, from the afternoon forecast discussion:

"AMOUNTS OF 1-2 INCHES FORECAST FOR THESE AREAS...WITH HIGHEST TOTALS NEAR MASON DIXON LINE AND AREAS CLOSEST TO COASTAL LOW PRESSURE N/E OF BALTIMORE. FOR METRO DC AND POINTS SOUTH...INCLUDING SOUTHERN MD... NOTHING MORE THAN A TRACE
FREEZING ACCRETION SHOULD OCCUR
."

Light snow was falling downtown at 7 p.m. But, said Zubrick, "For the snow lovers here, this one looks like it will be more north and east of us."

The problem seems to be the late arrival of the low-pressure system coming out of the Ohio Valley. The other low that's been moving up the Atlantic coast today is starting to intensify, Zubrick said. But it will need the Ohio Valley storm to trigger rapid intensification and more snowfall here.

"The surface low coming up the coast is starting to deepen, but it will take the upper-level system from the west to pop that low," he said. Until then, warmer temperatures will seep into Central Maryland from the south and east, and our snow totals will dwindle amid some snow, sleet and freezing rain.

"We really haven't had much snow at all," Zubrick said.

Maybe next time, snow lovers.

Eric the Red has thrown in the towel. Here's his offering at 4:50 p.m. Tuesday:

"Yet again, a forecast goes belly up.  I don't think this storm is happening folks.  The worst-case scenario is unfolding... as the western low remains dominant.  In fact, we're getting snow-sleet mix here at home, indicative that the western low is still very much in control.  The coastal low is a shell... offering little if any moisture to the equation, and it certainly isn't dominant.  We are pretty much relying on some energy with the western low to produce our snow.

"If there's any comfort I take from this infuriating situation, it's that at least I'm not alone in sending out awful forecasts.  Every media outlet and NWS forecast has been on the same page, that we would get our first [significant] snow of the year.  But in the end, I still feel like total crap having these forecasts go awry."

Posted by Frank Roylance at 3:21 PM | | Comments (14)
Categories: Forecasts
        

Comments

Bah...

I'd really like at least one good snow storm this year.

[Shakes fists skyward.]

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Bring on spring.

3 inches is worth city schools closing right? righttttttt? :) :)

Attention, snow lovers: Per superstition, sleep with your pajamas inside out and a spoon underneath your pillow tonight to ensure a snow day tomorrow.

Typical. Spend (literally) tons of money to pre-salt roads, close the schools, have a couple of snowflakes drop, and then...nothing. I think the weather service ought to be held accountable for mis-diagnosing these things: what a waste.

on the FredMo line here in Urbana, it's not snow coming down: it's ice! Our untreated wood is as slippery as glass on the deck. Please, if you're headed for roads, use extra caution. lots of people are good snow drivers, but not many can ace ice.

I have heard all of the excuses meteorologists give for missing forecasts on a regular basis. I know weather is fickle, and that the slightest change in the track of the storm can mean major differences in outcomes vs predictions. I know there are many factors in this section of the country that make predicting these storms an inexact science at best. However, if this is the case, then what is the point of your job? Couldn't the average person just take a quick look at the doppler radar and take a stab at what will happen? This is all you seem to be able to do. In fact, I have been looking at the radar all day saying to myself, "there is no way we will get 3-5 inches."

In the future, why not just say, "you know what, a storm is headed this way. If hits us directly, we could get 6 inches or so. However, it may miss us. We just wanted you to be aware as you make plans that we may or may not have snow at some point over the next few days."

Todd here, your man-about-town, reporting from the Lexington Street field office in downtown Baltimore.

It was "snaining" for the better part of an hour, but precipitation is now full-on snow. Big, puffy flakes are currently falling. There is some slush on the roads and sidewalks, but asphalt and concrete are passable. In fact, I saw several visually impaired pedestrians with canes navigating Charles Street with aplomb.

Marble slabs and metal gratings are somewhat slick and slippery...they're "slickery."

This reporter has just returned from the downtown SuperFresh, where milk supplies are waning. B-B-Q Fritos Twists, however, are readily available.

Now signing off. Good night, and good luck. Report all obscene mail to your Potsmaster.

I'm estimating 4 inches on my weather deck in York, PA as of 10:15 PM and it's still coming down at a steady clip.

No one at my office in Owings Mills is going to believe me when I call to say I'll be in late tomorrow are they?

10:30pm and 3+ inches on the back deck. Snowing hard, but it looks like we'll be done by midnight. Unless there's some sort of backfilling.

Eerik?

Did you miss the word 'prediction'? As in an educated guess?

Do the forecasters always get their forecasts correct?

No, but probably better than the bookies in Vegas get THEIR predictions correct. Remember when the Colts were a 17-point favorite over the Jets in the Super Bowl?

Sigh. I'm setting my hopes on February for some good snow.

Presidents' Day weekend, I'm lookin' at you!

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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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