Monday, January 18, 2016

Winter's Assault Peppered With Storms

I was listening to a local radio station this afternoon on my way home and heard them say the light dusting of snow in Little Rock was a "surprise".  I realize no snow forecast will ever be 100% perfect.  I did call for higher amounts north, but I didn't think they would get 1-2 inches as the weather service reported.  I know some locations did get an inch, but I have not seen any pictures supporting the 2 inches.

Why do I bring this up?  This type of reporting only feeds the perception weather guys are always wrong.  After big tornado outbreaks, how many times have you heard news anchors, mostly national media, say it hit without warning?  I'll never forget Diane Sawyer saying that after a round of January tornadoes a few years ago.  The fact of the matter was they were forecast many days in advance.  

Yes, I have gotten forecasts wrong and I learn from those mistakes.  No one is perfect, but I think we do a heck of a good job as technology continues to evolve and makes forecasting better.

Ok, now let's focus on the weather forecast and the next 2 rounds of wintry weather.

If you have read my blog posts over the past several years, you know I always say arctic air is dense and difficult to dislodge.  It's like trying to move a brick with the force of the water from your garden hose.  As a new disturbance arrives late Tuesday, I think the northern 1/3 of the state may have a round of sleet and freezing rain.  Some snow may fly close to the Missouri border for awhile.  I do not expect huge amounts, but it will be enough to impact travel.  Winter weather advisories will likely be issued in my opinion.

The next system arrives Thursday and that's the stronger of the two.  This will bring a good chance for rain and as it departs and cold air moves in along the back side, I expect the rain to change to snow.  Don't hang your hat on every model run that comes out.  I really think we have a good chance for accumulating snows over northern and MAYBE central Arkansas.

One other item of interest.  The Climate Prediction Center continues to use the red paint bomb all over the United States in their 8-14 day outlook.  It seems they religiously follow the GFS which is usually not all that reliable in that time frame.  I'm a little baffled by their decision to continue that today (Monday) after I looked at the GFS ensemble forecast.  I realize some places may go above average, but I think they are overdoing this! I'll have maps below.

Wednesday midnight to 6AM shows icing likely north.  The solid red line is the 32 degree line and that's running from south of Fayetteville to the northeast corner of the state.  It's a cold rain elsewhere.  I don't expect large amounts, but it will be enough to cause driving concerns and some school cancellations possible up north.

After rain Thursday, it may change to snow Thursday night into Friday morning over the northern half of the state.  Do not take this map literally.  It's from the GFS and it runs 4 times a day and comes up with 4 different solutions, but there is a chance here for accumulating snows.

CPC has a red paint bomb in the 8-14 day outlook meaning they think there's a high chance for above average temperatures for EVERYONE.  I have doubts.

Even the GFS, which they tend to really like, shows average to below average temperatures in that time period over the central U.S.  directly where they think the highest chance exists for above average temperatures.  We'll see.


Anonymous said...

Todd, there were quite a few pictures plastered on TV of 1 to 2 inch accumulations up north. Marshall and Leslie, for one, got that much. Clinton, too. The heavier swath of snow up north was not handled well by the models or by forecasts. A dusting (as forecasts stated) does not close schools. There were schools shut down in northern Arkansas because of the snow. Sorry you disagree with the reports. Reality sucks sometimes.

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing your knowledge and opinions with us. I really enjoy learning about this powerful aspect of nature and feel like I'm always learning on your blog. Let the haters hate, weather can be so unpredictable so even getting close seems a feat. So thanks again for your the time that you take to keep us all informed. Now let it snow!!!

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