Archive for February, 2008

February Daffodils
February 26, 2008

American Corner Feb Daffodils

George Jackson, a weather observer over in American Corner, MD, checks in regularly here at WBAL-TV with reports from Caroline County. In George’s words,

“It is a miserable, gloomy, windy, and not to pleasant day. So I went outside and took these photos to brighten the day. Yep, I took the photos at 4:20PM today on front of my porch.”

The photos were of the daffodils blooming on his front porch! I have posted one of George’s pictures here with the hope that the bright yellow of a February daffodil will brighten your day too. Perhaps a needed reminder that indeed there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. And…spring is just 23 days away (March 20th, 1:48am EDT).

Tom Tasselmyer

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Thunder From Above
February 25, 2008

Mali_Tstorm_from_ISS

The website SpaceWeather.com posted this spectacular picture of a thunderstorm in Mali, West Africa. The flat, anvil shape to the top of the thunderstorm is indicative of a storm that has pushed all the way up through the troposphere and is now bumping up against the very stable layer called the stratosphere. According to the website, the picture was taken from the International Space Station on February 5, 2008. The Space Station was 200 miles above Earth, moving at 17,000 mph when the astronaut snapped the picture. The picture is amazing enough, but to me the awesomeness lies in the fact that this sort of beauty, power and complexity is on display day after day, all over the world, whether we stop to notice or not.

Tom Tasselmyer

More Storms Needed!
February 25, 2008

Now there is a headline that needs explaining.

Simply put, we need more precipitation in the Mid Atlantic region. We are on the extreme northern fringe of the much publicized drought that has hit the southeast states. Technically, northern Maryland is “abnormally dry”. That is very evident if you take a look at any of the reserviors around Baltimore.

2007 experienced a 6.42 inch shortfall of precipitation at BWI-Marshall Airport. So far this year the numbers are running .83 inches short of average. Factored into that number is the 1.17 inch surplus of precipitation this month.

March is coming up and the weather is typically unsettled. This winter the Western Hemisphere has been under the influence of a La Nina weather pattern. A series of storms have hit the central part of the country and the Mid Atlantic region has not yet really been a prime target.

This weekend storms began hammering the west coast again. A number of storms are lined up in the North Pacific and taking aim on the west coast of the U.S. and Canada.
North Pacific Sunday
Long range computer models show a persistent pattern that takes storms off the Pacific and moves them eastward toward the Mid Atlantic and Northeastern U.S. The first of those is slated for Tuesday.
Tue 26 Feb 2008 gfs
Another, weaker system, is slated to move across the area late Friday and early Saturday.
Sat 1 Mar 2008 gfs
Longer range model forecasts show activity beyond next weekend but are subject to considerable timing and intensity errors. That is understandable. These storms don’t exist yet and are based on the probability that atmospheric physics will allow for their development.
Wed 3 Mar 2008 gfs
Wednesday, March 3

Tue 11 Mar gfs
Tuesday, March 11

The best way to look at these long range models is to take the specific date, position and intensity forecasts with a grain of salt and to concentrate more on the fact that the models are showing a probability of a series of storms in a broad time frame. If the storms do develop, early March will live up to its’ reputation for being stormy and the Baltimore area could do some catching up on some much needed precipitation.

John Collins

Clipper or Eclipse?
February 20, 2008

Lunar Eclipse 20feb2008

The last total lunar eclipse until 2010 will occur Wednesday evening but the Alberta Clipper forecast to be moving through the mid Atlantic states might spoil our view, if it doesn’t move fast enough. Clouds and snow showers from the Clipper are expected to begin moving out of the area between 7pm and 10pm. The eclipse begins at 8:43pm EST, reaches the start of totality at 10:01pm EST and finishes just past midnight. So, if the Clipper keeps clipping along, we should have clearing skies in time to see the best part of the eclipse. For details on the eclipse, check out NASA’s Total Lunar Eclipse website.

Tom Tasselmyer

President’s Day Storm 2003
February 18, 2008

The President’s Day snow storm of 2003 was a record breaker. The snow was spread out over 4 days and within those four days there was a 30 hour period in which it snowed continuously. The region was crippled by 18 to 28 inch snow accumulations.
President's Day 2003 Snow Storm
One of the biggest casualties of the storm was the Roundhouse at the B&O Railroad Museum. Roughly half of the roof collapsed under the weight of the snow. The building has been repaired but the restoration work continues on the damaged railroad equipment that was inside.

The President’s Day storm contibuted to some impressive numbers for the winter of 2002-2003.
Winter 2002-2003
Weatherwise, this winter has been an active one across the nation but major storms have skirted around the Mid Atlantic region so far. That active weather pattern will continue into the near future and a significant storm would not be out of the question.

John Collins

Little Snows and Big Snows
February 15, 2008

tt_low_offshore

A fast moving area of low pressure tracked from Atlanta to Charlotte, NC to Cape Hatteras during the pre-dawn hours of Thursday, brushing southern Maryland with a light snowfall. Reports from Calvert and St. Mary’s Counties indicate 1-2″ was common with slightly more on the lower eastern shore. Just a few flurries fell around Baltimore as the system stayed well south.

Southern Maryland
Early Morning Thursday Snow:

Lusby, MD (Calvert Co.): 1.4″
Ridge, MD (St. Mary’s Co.): 1.8″
Church Creek, MD (Dorchester Co.): 2.0″
Salisbury, MD (Wicomico Co.): 1.5″
Berlin, MD (Worcester Co.): 2.5″
Ocean City, MD (Worcester Co.): 1.5″

While light snow was falling on southern Maryland, the upper midwest continues to set records for cold and snow. On Monday International Falls, MN plunged to a record low of -40 and yesterday Madison, WI set a record for the snowiest winter ever. When you set snowfall records in Wisconsin, you know the snow is coming fast and furious! Here’s the record report from the National Weather Service in Milwaukee:

Madison Sets All Time Seasonal Snowfall Record

…MADISON SETS ITS ALL TIME SEASONAL SNOWFALL RECORD…

THE WINTER SEASON OF 2007 TO 2008 HAS BEEN QUITE SNOWY ACROSS
SOUTHERN WISCONSIN. IN FACT…MADISON HAS SET ITS ALL TIME SEASONAL
SNOWFALL RECORD FOR A WINTER SEASON. AS OF 12 AM ON FEBRUARY
13…DANE COUNTY REGIONAL AIRPORT IN MADISON HAS RECORDED 79.2 INCHES
OF SNOWFALL. THIS AMOUNT RANKS HAS MADE THE 2007 TO 2008 WINTER
SEASON THE SNOWIEST ON RECORD IN MADISON.

BELOW IS A LIST OF THE TOP 10 WINTER SEASON SNOWFALL AMOUNTS FOR
MADISON…

RANK AMOUNT SEASON

*1* *79.2* *2007-08*
2 76.1 1978-79
3 75.9 1885-86
4 73.7 1993-94
5 72.4 1985-86
6 71.2 1992-93
7 70.9 1909-10
8 70.7 1897-98
9 67.4 1970-71
10 67.3 1958-59

So, while snow lovers around here are still hoping for at least one big storm this season, the northern tier of states from the upper midwest to New England are shivering and digging out from a cold and snowy winter.

Tom Tasselmyer

Slippery, But Beneficial Soaker
February 14, 2008

The storm that created all the icy problems late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning also brought some needed rain to the area. As of 7:00pm on Wednesday, the two day (Feb. 12th and 13th) storm total precipitation at BWI-Marshall is 1.44″. That brings the total precipitation for the winter season (December, January and February) up to 8.76″, which is .61″ above normal.

Unfortunately, the rain fell onto frozen surfaces at ground level creating an icy mess for many areas early Wednesday. Here are some ice accumulations reported to the National Weather Service:

Crofton: .25″
Cockeysville: .35″
Westminster: .10″
Baltimore: .10″
Frederick: .30″
Columbia: .15″

As the icy, wet storm pulls away from the area tonight, a new storm will be developing over North Carolina and tracking northeast. This second low is expected to brush Maryland with snow showers overnight. A light accumulation my combine with temperatures dropping into the 20s to create slippery conditions again on Thursday morning.

Tom Tasselmyer

Another Arctic Blast
February 11, 2008

The Mid Atlantic region is taking another hit of arctic air. Strong northwest winds on Sunday quickly took temperatures from the upper 40s in the early afternoon to around freezing by sunset.

A potent jet stream at 18,000 feet was packing winds of 155 knots (178 mph). At 3,000 feet winds were running at roughly 60 mph and at 1,500 feet winds were kicking at about 52 mph. These winds translated to the surface with gusts ranging from 40 to 60 mph.

The map below lists a sampling of wind gusts recorded around the Baltimore area Sunday afternoon.
Sunday Gusts
The jet stream is bringing in some very cold air from the arctic regions of Canada. Temperatures never rose above zero in parts of Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota on Sunday. Readings will not be as extreme in the Baltimore area but it will be cold. Monday morning lows will be in the teens and afternoon highs are expected to be close to but generally short of the freezing mark. It will be a breezy day on Monday and wind chill values will make it feel like the teens. Bundle up!

John Collins

Temperature Rollercoaster
February 9, 2008

Temperatures are riding a rollercoaster and winter is starting to re-establish itself in the region.

Last Wednesday temperatures hit record levels with a reading of 72 at BWI-Marshall. This weekend winter returns with a shot of cold air coming in from central Canada.

The graph below shows the swing in temperatures between last week and the coming week.
JC_DataFeb8
Don’t put the sweaters away yet.

John Collins

Happy Weatherman’s Day!
February 5, 2008

February 5th is National Weatherman’s Day…or so I’m told. A search for information on the net reveals this explanation on the website holidayinsights.com:

“According to the Air Force News, Weatherman’s Day commemorates the birth of John Jeffries, one of America’s first weathermen. Jeffries was born on Feb 5, 1744. He kept weather records from 1774 to1816.”

This morning on Dave Durian’s morning show on WBAL Radio, Dave used the occasion to ask me the top 5 questions or comments I hear all the time! Here’s my top 5:

1. “You’re a lot shorter in person!”
2. “Are those your twins?” (It seems everyone still thinks of our 18 year old twins as babies.)
3. “Can’t you do anything about this…?” (heat, rain, cold or current bothersome weather)
4. “Is this because of global warming?”
5. ” Did you predict this?”

Dave also wanted to know the top 5 weather events I’ve covered since returning to my hometown of Baltimore in November of 1989…here they are in chronological order:

1. March 13, 1993 … The Blizzard of ’93. 12-16″ of snow, 52 mph gusts, record low barometer (28.52″), state record 47″ of snow in Grantsville.

2. January 19, 1994 … Bitter Cold. BWI-Marshall: high +5 low -5. Owings Mills: high 0 low -10. Manchester: high -2 low -14.

3. January 7-8, 1996 … The Blizzard of ’96. 22-36″ snow, part of a record 62.5″ of snow in the winter of ’95-’96.

4. September 18, 2003 … Tropical Storm Isabel. Chesapeake Bay storm surge of 6-8 feet above normal tides. BWI-Marshall wind gust of 55 mph, 2.13″ or rain.

5. February 15-18, 2003 … The Blizzard of ’03. Record single storm snowfall, 28.2″ at BWI-Marshall.

Tom Tasselmyer