Sunday, March 02, 2008

Winter's final tease

The big upper low we talked about has shifted west -- according to the models. That puts us on the warm side of the storm which means no snow. This is not a big surprise, but hope springs eternal.

Which brings us to winter's last hurrah.

The 0z run of the GFS model -- remarkably, really -- shows a lovely snowfall for N.C. at the end of the week. The previous two runs of the model had taken a system that it originally showed missing us way to the south and gradually creeping it northward.

Now, it shows a direct hit.

Check out these maps:

Here we are early Friday afternoon. Low pressure forming in the Gulf. As you can see, strong high pressure is located over the Great Lake (not over New England and getting ready to slide off the coast which has been this winter's pattern).
Now, we skip ahead to the wee hours of Saturday morning. The storm is now crossing the Big Bend of Florida. Cold air is settling in as precip breaks out. High pressure in great spot.
By dawn Saturday, low is cranking off the coast, cold air funneling in. Snow falling.
Finally, the prettiest map of them all, early Saturday evening. A solid swath of 2-4 inches of snow.
And another inch or two late Saturday night/Sunday morning.

So will this happen?
Of course not!

Seriously, LOTS of thing working against this storm:
1) This winter's pattern. So far, virtually every storm has tracked to our west, even when models showed a near perfect track in the days prior to the storm. The only exception is the "non-snow" we had a few weeks back when the cold air didn't make it here in time.
2) The time of year. It's simply more difficult to get March snows than Dec. through Feb. One reason is the angle of the sun, which makes it harder to cool down the atmosphere.
3) We're still 6 days out -- hardly the model sweet spot.
4) We're talking about 1 run of 1 model -- not exactly a consensus.

On the positive side?
1) We're due! I mean, it's got to snow some day, right?
2) The Euro has the storm missing us to the south which means the inevitable northern trend would be our friend.
3) The main ingredients are in good position -- the 0z run shows sprawling strong high pressure positioned well to our north and the track of the low pressure through the Gulf and off the SE coast is PRIMO!

So, we're still talking about a very low odds event, but it's worth tracking and is our last real show, in all likelihood, until next winter.

Anyway, if you don't see any update, it means this one is fizzling like all the rest -- hopefully, though, lots of posts!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just stumbled across your Blog Skip. I have been a weather nut my entire life - but I work in banking in Charlotte (go figure)!!

I would love to see one of those big March snowstorms like I remember as a kid growing up in Kannapolis, NC. I can remember one year (probably back in the mid 80's) when the weather was a lot like it is now - it appeared that spring had already sprung and then bam - we got about a foot of snow.

In fact it was 80 degrees one Monday and the very next Monday is when the storm hit.

Anyway, I now live in Fort Mill, SC with my wife and our two children Brianna (3) and Michael(1). I wold love one good snow to play with them in before spring officially gets here.