3/1 Storm Recap


Recap!
Can’t help but do a recap on yesterday’s storm!

Make no bones about it, I busted big time! I did end up with 5.5 inched in
Sterling and some areas did alright. Big snows occurred in the higher
elevations, which was expected, especially southwestern Virginia. BUT, I was
off by about 3 to 4 or even more inches in many areas.
Some thoughts:
1. I wish I had gone with my first guess map. It was somewhat
closer to what was forecasted. 3-6″ in the piedmont with 4-8″ in the
immediate piedmont would have been a better call.
2. There were a few interesting things: First, we had
convective snow bands, though none produced thunder, there were indications
this could occur with such a rapidly intensifying low pressure. The Severe
Storms Prediction center noted the convective nature of the snow yesterday
early afternoon and had a discussion about this. Also, I had a sense that we
would have a regeneration of snow later in the day/evening after a lull. I
will admit, it did much better than I thought it would, but helped me get
closer to the range forecasted. Lastly, what a warm boundary/surface layer
we had. Seriously, a month ago 3-4 more inches of snow would have been on
the ground due to the long duration of the melting that occurred yesterday
before true accumulations. If the storm had started during the overnight
hours like the did in Southwestern Virginia, I strongly believe snow totals
would have come in pretty close to forecasted! Spring storms always have the
possibility of a large portion melting, and the last 2 storms really show
just what a higher sun angle and warmer ground can do!
3. The storm itself was actually very interesting. There were
things that just did not happen that meteorologically one would expect. The
lower level jets, or channels of streaming winds, with moist ocean water,
did not get going until later than what I thought! A very powerful low off
of Cape Hatteras usually has this possibility. I think the lack of a strong
cold high to the north made this slower and the low taking a wider run off
the coast. Anyways, I expected (and as you see from the National Weather
Services posting a heavy snow warning) that this would have happened!
4. Final note, adjusting the forecast. Honestly, I did want to
adjust the totals down, but felt a final call was a final call. Best
forecast would have been 3-6 for the Piedmont and 4-8 inch, Immediate
Piedmont with some higher elevations approaching a foot. Could have
accounted for possible thundersnows with isolated 8-10 inches. Of note, the
forum is helpful for a running dialog during the day as it is easier for me
to update. http://www.midatlanticweather.com/bb/

So with the next storm I will take into account the sun angle and warmer
boundary layers and hopefully get it right.

Forecast out in a bit, and yes, there are chances of more snow, which
actually is starting to stink as Spring weather is starting to sound
inviting!

All for now!