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Big Winter Storm Potential next week

There have been some significant changes in the forecast guidance or models since Wednesday. Some good news, less ice potential, some bad news, lots more snow and maybe near Blizzard like conditions for the mountains and foothills Tuesday into Wednesday next week. Here’s the latest…

The arctic air is the first ingredient for the storm and it’s moving into the Midwest and Ohio Valley today. We are just now seeing the leading edge of this arctic air mass.

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Latest GFS 6Z run for Tuesday night at 7pm.

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Here’s the ECMFW the 0Z run for Wednesday morning at 7am.

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GFS possible snow totals

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Potential Winter Storm early next week could mean more ice

Arctic air is building over a large section of Western Canada, Alaska and now the Dakotas and it’s on the way south this weekend for the Carolinas. This is going to set the stage for a potential ice storm for parts of the western Carolinas starting Monday into Tuesday. Here’s a look at the set-up I’m looking at today.

Here’s the set-up based on the GFS model.

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Soundings look like mostly freezing rain at this point and time.

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Here’s how freezing rain forms, (NC State Climate Office graphic)

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The Big Snow & Ice of January 10-11, 2011

Well we saw this one coming for days but it still ended up being an amazing winter storm for the Carolinas. It started early Monday morning around 3-4am and kept going until mid-day on Tuesday. By the time is was all done a solid 4-6” of snow fell across the area with localized higher amounts. The really damage though was done on Monday night into Tuesday when a .25” of ice in the form of freezing rain fell on top of the 4-6”. Here’s a look at the final accumulation maps from both North Carolina and South Carolina.

North Carolina

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South Carolina

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The amazing shot from space truly shows the reach and size of this storm.

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When it was all said done Charlotte-Douglas International Airport picked up officially 4.1” which is a new daily snowfall record for Jan 10th. The old record was 3.0” in 1962. this is also the first 4” snowfall since 2009. For the whole winter we have officially had 6.1” making this the snowiest winter since 2003-2004 and it’s only early January.

Winter Storm Update 1/09/2011

Winter Storm Update: Saturday 1/8/2011

 

I still like 3-5” for Charlotte with .10” of ice, yuck!

This is our Futurecast Model Snowfall Forecast

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The National Weather Service Forecasted snowfall

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Winter Storm Update

Okay here’s the latest on our mini storm today and the big one for Monday!

Here’s the latest model forecasts, the NAM is just crazy but is usually over does the amounts but is very good with the thermal fields. Basically it does well with the temperatures. The NAM also only goes out through 2pm Monday the heaviest might now be until Monday night. The GFS timing makes good sense but there is some differences in amounts. Then last is out RPM “Futurecast” model it runs only through 8am Monday, but gives you a good idea of what’s coming our way.

GFS

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Soundings from the GFS

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NAM Model

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Futurecast a.k.k RPM

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Here’s my thinking as of 10am Friday Jan 7, 2010:

Mountains:

6-12” maybe more on the back side

Foothills & I-40 corridor:

3-6”

Charlotte Metro and southern Piedmont:

4-7”

Upstate & South Carolina, south of HWY-9:

3-5”

 

Possibilities of a major winter storm early next week.

We’ll it’s hard to ignore with 3-4 straight model runs of not just one model but almost all our weather guidance, even if it’s still 3-4 days out. As usual there is still many details to work out and time for things to change, there clearly will be some wintry weather starting as early as late Sunday, but mainly Monday and Tuesday. Here’s a quick run down of what the guidance says and what might being going on early next week.

Here’s just a few images of the snow output from the models.

GFS 6Z model forecast for snow

CONUS2_GFS0P5_SFC_ACCUM-SNOW_120HR

GEM 0Z or Canadian Model

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GFS Bufkit sounding for Charlotte

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Stay tuned to this one even with light amounts it could have a large impact on travel Monday-Wednesday across the Carolinas.

 

December 2010 2nd coldest on record

Chances are you thought December was cold. Well it wasn’t just you it was absolutely frigid by December standards in Charlotte. It ended up being the second coldest on record for Charlotte in 133 years of records. The total departure from average was 9.6° which will be hard to erase even with a very warm January and February. Below I posted the final numbers for Charlotte as well as a regional map of where other cities ranked as far as cold Decembers. The new year looks to be starting right where we left off with more cold air on the way.

December 2010 for Charlotte, NC

Averages, high: 45.5° (-8.5°) low: 24.1° (-10.8°) Mean: 34.8° (-9.6°)


Rankings all time

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RELIMINARY LOCAL CLIMATOLOGICAL DATA (WS FORM: F-6)

STATION: CHARLOTTE NC
MONTH: DECEMBER
YEAR: 2010
LATITUDE: 35 12 N
LONGITUDE: 80 57 W

TEMPERATURE IN F: :PCPN: SNOW: WIND :SUNSHINE: SKY :PK WND
================================================================================
1 2 3 4 5 6A 6B 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
12Z AVG MX 2MIN
DY MAX MIN AVG DEP HDD CDD WTR SNW DPTH SPD SPD DIR MIN PSBL S-S WX SPD DR
================================================================================

1 67 27 47 -1 18 0 0.76 0.0 0 11.4 24 230 M M 5 13 33 230
2 49 23 36 -11 29 0 0.00 0.0 0 2.4 10 350 M M 4 15 300
3 51 24 38 -9 27 0 0.00 0.0 0 2.5 12 40 M M 3 15 20
4 41 34 38 -9 27 0 0.09 T 0 5.0 10 130 M M 9 14 14 50
5 45 25 35 -12 30 0 0.00 0.0 0 6.4 21 320 M M 6 12 28 310
6 38 21 30 -16 35 0 0.00 0.0 0 8.1 20 320 M M 3 25 320
7 36 12 24 -22 41 0 0.00 0.0 0 6.6 16 340 M M 1 22 300
8 37 14 26 -20 39 0 0.00 0.0 0 2.6 8 290 M M 5 12 290
9 44 18 31 -15 34 0 0.00 0.0 0 2.8 8 130 M M 2 12 140
10 47 28 38 -7 27 0 0.00 0.0 0 1.8 8 140 M M 7 12 150
11 50 25 38 -7 27 0 0.01 0.0 0 4.1 9 90 M M 9 18 14 80
12 48 29 39 -6 26 0 0.31 T 0 10.2 23 240 M M 9 12 31 230
13 33 20 27 -18 38 0 0.00 0.0 0 11.2 23 310 M M 3 32 310
14 35 15 25 -20 40 0 0.00 0.0 0 7.3 15 310 M M 0 20 320
15 40 10 25 -19 40 0 0.00 0.0 0 4.5 9 230 M M 6 12 310
16 48 31 40 -4 25 0 0.13 T 0 8.5 21 210 M M 10 1246 26 210
17 53 32 43 -1 22 0 0.01 0.0 0 3.5 13 120 M M 6 128 16 120
18 37 30 34 -10 31 0 0.07 T 0 5.7 12 20 M M 9 148 17 70
19 47 24 36 -8 29 0 0.00 0.0 0 5.3 12 330 M M 2 18 24 30
20 43 18 31 -12 34 0 0.00 0.0 0 2.6 13 20 M M 3 18 70
21 47 31 39 -4 26 0 T T 0 1.9 8 180 M M 9 10 140
22 63 39 51 8 14 0 0.00 0.0 0 5.7 21 10 M M 6 128 28 10
23 47 27 37 -6 28 0 0.00 0.0 0 10.2 21 340 M M 0 26 360
24 48 18 33 -10 32 0 0.00 0.0 0 1.7 9 340 M M 2 14 340
25 42 33 38 -5 27 0 0.25 0.4 0 4.4 12 130 M M 10 1 18 140
26 33 25 29 -14 36 0 0.11 1.6 2 9.9 20 10 M M 10 18 24 20
27 38 24 31 -11 34 0 0.00 0.0 2 8.7 16 320 M M 2 23 320
28 50 17 34 -8 31 0 0.00 0.0 T 3.9 13 230 M M 0 17 260
29 48 20 34 -8 31 0 0.00 0.0 0 2.6 10 10 M M 5 12 20
30 47 24 36 -6 29 0 0.00 0.0 0 1.7 8 130 M M 7 12 130
31 58 28 43 1 22 0 0.00 0.0 0 1.8 8 320 M M 8 18 10 150
================================================================================
SM 1410 746 929 0 1.74 2.0 165.0 M 161
================================================================================
AV 45.5 24.1 5.3 FASTST M M 5 MAX(MPH)
MISC ----> # 24 230 # 33 230
================================================================================
NOTES:
# LAST OF SEVERAL OCCURRENCES

COLUMN 17 PEAK WIND IN M.P.H.

PRELIMINARY LOCAL CLIMATOLOGICAL DATA (WS FORM: F-6) , PAGE 2

STATION: CHARLOTTE NC
MONTH: DECEMBER
YEAR: 2010
LATITUDE: 35 12 N
LONGITUDE: 80 57 W

[TEMPERATURE DATA] [PRECIPITATION DATA] SYMBOLS USED IN COLUMN 16

AVERAGE MONTHLY: 34.8 TOTAL FOR MONTH: 1.74 1 = FOG OR MIST
DPTR FM NORMAL: -9.6 DPTR FM NORMAL: -1.44 2 = FOG REDUCING VISIBILITY
HIGHEST: 67 ON 1 GRTST 24HR 1.25 ON 30- 1 TO 1/4 MILE OR LESS
LOWEST: 10 ON 15 3 = THUNDER
SNOW, ICE PELLETS, HAIL 4 = ICE PELLETS
TOTAL MONTH: 2.0 INCHES 5 = HAIL
GRTST 24HR 2.0 ON 25-26 6 = FREEZING RAIN OR DRIZZLE
GRTST DEPTH: 2 ON 27,26 7 = DUSTSTORM OR SANDSTORM:
VSBY 1/2 MILE OR LESS
8 = SMOKE OR HAZE
[NO. OF DAYS WITH] [WEATHER - DAYS WITH] 9 = BLOWING SNOW
X = TORNADO
MAX 32 OR BELOW: 0 0.01 INCH OR MORE: 9
MAX 90 OR ABOVE: 0 0.10 INCH OR MORE: 5
MIN 32 OR BELOW: 28 0.50 INCH OR MORE: 1
MIN 0 OR BELOW: 0 1.00 INCH OR MORE: 0

[HDD (BASE 65) ]
TOTAL THIS MO. 929 CLEAR (SCALE 0-3) 9
DPTR FM NORMAL 274 PTCLDY (SCALE 4-7) 14
TOTAL FM JUL 1 1475 CLOUDY (SCALE 8-10) 8
DPTR FM NORMAL 240

[CDD (BASE 65) ]
TOTAL THIS MO. 0
DPTR FM NORMAL -1 [PRESSURE DATA]
TOTAL FM JAN 1 2130 HIGHEST SLP 30.38 ON 9
DPTR FM NORMAL 449 LOWEST SLP 29.37 ON 12


Top Ten Weather Events of 2010 for the Charlotte Region

 

#10 La Nina Drought conditions

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At the peak of our moderate drought 72.6% of the state was under moderate drought conditions. Even at the end of the year most of the piedmont is still under moderate drought.

 

 

 

#9 July Heat Wave #1 & #2

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July 6-8, 2010 most of the state had the first of 2 extreme heat waves. The worst of the heat was in the eastern part of the state but Charlotte set a record high of 101° on July 8th.

 

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This heat wave was July 23-25, 2010 and had  a larger impact in the piedmont and upstate of SC. This included a record high of 101° in Charlotte on July 25th.

 

 

 

#8 Light December Ice

accum.freezing.20101216

This was an example of how a very cold ground with a very light freezing rain can have a large impact on the region. Almost every school was delayed or closed, except CMS. This became a minor controversy with the new delay policy that wasn’t used during this event.

 

#7 Late September-Early October Nor’easter

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The combination of rain and wind with a stalled front & Nor’easter brought loads of rain for the entire state. With higher amounts and high winds at the coast.

 

#6 January Winter Storm

29-30_january2010

This was one of several storms that blanketed the Carolinas but seemed to just barely drop snow in Charlotte. Totals from 6-12” fell across the I-40 corridor. In Mecklenburg Co. 6” fell in Huntersville but only about 1-2” fell in and around Uptown Charlotte and points south. Seemed like every storm went north or even south of Charlotte. Smile

 

 

#5 Palm Sunday Tornado Outbreak

photo

photo-126

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This was a very active tornado day in the Carolinas. Two tornadoes touched down in our area one near Belmont. With another very well photographed tornado near Spencer in Rowan Co. The Spencer tornado was captured by several motorists as it crossed over as it I-85. (photos above)

 

 

 

#4 Vale Tornado October 26, 2010

house gone

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A very strong tornado struck Vale as well as parts of Catawba Co. The damage was rated as EF-2 with border line EF-3 damage with winds estimated near 125mph. This was one  tornado that was part of tone of the largest 2 day tornado outbreaks in a many years in the Carolinas. In total 12 tornadoes touched down on October 26-27, 2010.   More information from my previous blog post.

 

#3 Early and Late Cold

snapshot

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The year started with the coldest winter since the 1970s as January saw a week where we barely got above freezing for 6 straight days. It had been 2 generations since we had seen cold like this in the region. Then in December we had the coldest December in over 72 years. This December will go down as either the 2nd or third coldest on record once the final numbers come in at the end of the month.

 

#2 Mountain snow and ice that never ended.

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Between the snow of last winter and the snow of this December. the mountains have had some of the coldest and snowiest weather in over 32 years. Already this winter just one month in Beech mountain has almost reached it’s average annual snowfall. The school districts of Avery, Ashe & Watauga counties have been closed 10 days already this winter. Last year they lost almost an entire month to snow days!

 

#1 First White Christmas in 63 years

accum.20101225-26

While this is the freshest in our memories it’s also by far and away the most amazing and memorable event of the whole year. It is extremely rare to get snow on Christmas day, this is just the 4th time it’s ever happened in 132 years of records in Charlotte. Many locations like Colombia, SC saw their first white Christmas ever. Most of the snow fell in the mountains and foothills Christmas day, but the rest fell Christmas night and the day after for much of the the rest of the state. The chances of a white Christmas in Charlotte are just 2%, making this statistically a once in a lifetime event.

These are just my top ten what are your? Please fell free to post your feed back and opinions in the comment section. Or via Twitter or Facebook.

Snow covers impact on temperatures

Snow cover can have huge effects on daytime and nighttime temperatures. It’s not often we get a lot of snow cover in the Carolinas but when we do it can help to keep daytime highs down and make overnight lows drop to record levels. The reason this happens is something we call Albedo which is the reflection coefficient of snow. Basically this is the amount of solar radiation that the snow reflects. Fresh snow happens to have an albedo of 80-90%. Which means during the day 80-90% of the sunlight is reflected straight back up not allowing temperatures to warm.  this also is why if you ski when the sun is out you can get a pretty good sunburn because you are getting solar radiation from above and below. Normally minus snow cover the sunlight would be absorbed by the ground which then would heat the air.

During the night time this same albedo helps to cool the ground very fast allowing for temperatures to plummet especially under clear skies. Some of the coldest low temperatures ever recorded in the history of Charlotte have come after a snow storm. When the ground was covered with fresh snow and arctic high pressure built in and cleared skies out. The most recent snow cover is a good example.

accum.20101225-26

Visible

This snow cover from the Christmas weekend storm is visible from space. This same reason we can see the snow through the visible spectrum of light is the same process reflecting all our incoming solar radiation.

Even as temperatures begin to warm the next few days the afternoon high temperatures and the nighttime low temperature forecasts have to be adjusted for the snow cover. This is not only due to the albedo effect but because more of the sunlight’s incoming energy will be going into melting the snow and not heating the air. This is something that no weather model will forecast because they don’t take into account what type of ground cover there is. So watch as the next few days where the snow is the deepest that the high temperatures and low temperatures will actually be a few degrees below what many people think. Just one more impact of the historic Christmas weekend snowfall.