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The winter of 2012-2013 is nowhere near last year in terms of storminess, cold, and pattern set up. While Maryland remains in a snow drought, parts of New England are well above normal for the season. The complexities of weather continues to plaque us and pinpointing the right storm several days out has become an arduous task any forecaster for anyone!
My point is going forward from here until Spring we can identify the set up yet, the overall storm track will be nailed down only a few days prior to a storms arrival. This has not been an easy year for our computer forecast models.
SO what makes this new pattern any different then the one(s) so far this winter?
Well, for starters we have lacked a true negative NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation). This is our block we need to keep winter storms along the coast preventing them from escaping off shore. So far we entered this new current pattern with two MAJOR storms, 1 bringing historic snows to CT, MA, NY and another that narrowly missed New England as it exploded last weekend.
It is my opinion we are NOT done with this storm track and this type of storm track will deliever at least a couple more GOOD storms. Back to my point it maybe a situation where Maryland misses out entirely for the winter or we get clocked before the winter ends.
If you look at the speghetti plots of our synoptic 500MB pattern you will note a deep trough tries to setup over the east coast with a ridge over the west coast. This would cause any storm to dig into the Gulf of Mexico, load up with juice, and make a run for the eastern sea board.
This is the height anomoly map showing a clear picture of just that. This would be next week. So next week the potential for a storm is on the table.
AND jumping ahead into March we see another storm potential.
It is quite possible every week we see a large storm on the east coast however, the question is will it be snow?
A few things going on now that we are rounding the corner to March.
1. Stronger sun angle. Meaning the I 95 cities will always start as rain if it's a daytime event. A night time storm will be needed in order to secure a mostly snow event.
2. What works in our favor is temperatures high a loft. With the March sun angle coming into play our ground temperatures will naturally warm. However, that warming will be a shallow layer meaning temperatures are very cold aloft and strong precipitation can drag that cold air to the surface rapidly. This process is called dynamic cooling and is a key to late winter snow events.