CONTEST STATUS - Updated: SAT ... 17-APR-21 @ 5 PM EDT

Winter '20 / '21 - Snowfall Forecast Contests
22nd Annual 'Snow Storm' Snowfall Forecast Contest
FINAL results here

20th Annual 'Season-total' Snowfall Forecast Contest
FINAL results here

DEC snowfall totals here
JAN snowfall totals here
FEB snowfall totals here
MAR snowfall totals here

Winter '19 / '20 - Snowfall Forecast Contests
21st Annual 'Snow Storm' Snowfall Forecast Contest
Season ended as quickly as it started.
No winner this go'round ... too few storms (minimum of three required)

19th Annual 'Season-total' Snowfall Forecast Contest
FINAL Results here

Friday, February 27, 2009

Snow Storm #8: Call for Forecasts

Multi-day event at hand offering early spring snows to mid-Atlantic and coastal New England stations. HPC/s "Heavy Snow / Icing Discussion" indicated poor consensus on the details among the NWP solutions such that this event could go either way.

The forecast contest for Snow Storm #8 may be cancelled if forecasts from the next couple model runs suggest strongly the synoptics are unlikely to produce contest-worthy snows.

Cancellation notices will be posted on the web blog and the Contest/s web site only.

Deadline: 10:30 PM EST SAT...28 FEB 2009

Forecast element: storm-total snowfall
Verification begins: 12:01 AM EST SUN...01 MAR 2009

Enter your forecast here.
Follow the link from 'Enter Storm Forecast.'

Make the best forecast and you/ll win one month of FREE access to StormVista GOLD.
Details here.

More prizes will be awarded at the end of winter for the best over-all forecaster.
Details here.

As always...there/s no cost...or fee...or annoying requests for personal information to enter.

If you are making your first forecast this year or you entered the 'season-total' forecast need to create an account (user name / password / valid e-mail...if you want a copy of your forecast sent to your Inbox) before entering a forecast.

Image: Winter on 5th Ave. (NYC) - Alfred Stieglitz (1892)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sudden Stratospheric Warming - Effect on the Arctic Oscillation

Deep-layer above normal geo-potential heights (GPH) indicated by red shading in the plot area...began during the third week of JAN at the start of the long-duration SSW event.

Image courtesy CPC.

Snow Storm #8: Preview Redux

Today/s 12z NWP solutions in strong agreement with their depiction of cyclogenesis along the SE CONUS coast on SUN.

The image loops today/s 72-hour forecasts from the 12z runs of the ECMWF... UKMET...GFS...and GEM.

The upper LOW isn/t all that cold; however...strong HIGH pressure parked over eastern Canada will be needed to maintain low-level cold air. Synoptics also suggest a threat for freezing rain...especially coastal stations in New England and the mid-Atlantic/s inland stations.

NAM time-height x-sections suggest ~9 stations could be in play...more than enough to get #8 finally off the ground. After a healthy pace during the first two months of winter...FEB has turned out to be a big disappointment. Not a single contest-worthy storm. Snowfall climatology favors FEB as prime-time for most mid-Atlantic stations.

Should this scenario still seem likley tomorrow...a call for forecasts will come Friday evening with an entry deadline several hours earlier than usual Saturday evening so as to include snowfall in Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Alps-like Mountain Range Under E. Antarctic Ice Sheet

"...the mountains the size of the European Alps but they also have similar peaks and valleys”... “...this adds even more mystery about how the vast East Antarctic Ice Sheet formed.”

"...“if the ice sheet grew slowly then we would expect to see the mountains eroded into a plateau shape. But the presence of peaks and valleys could suggest that the ice sheet formed quickly-we just don’t know. Our big challenge now is to dive into the data to get a better understanding of what happened” millions of years ago."

Full report here.

Cosgrove the Examiner

Blogging as Houston/s Weather Examiner.

Oriented toward KIAH / KHOU / KEFD / KGLS weather. Same detailed imagery as his weekly newsletter (which is posted...too).

PDO - JAN '09

17 continuous months below zero.

"The Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) Index is defined as the leading principal component of North Pacific monthly sea surface temperature variability (poleward of 20N for the 1900-93 period)."

Image courtesy Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean

Cooler PAC favors more la Ninas and weaker el Ninos.

Coastal Teaser - FEB '09

PhotobucketECMWF up to its old tricks...again?

Last TUE/s prog has a similar look to today/s 12z offering. An arctic HIGH pushing a strong cold front into the northern Gulf states where a low-latitude LOW would form and leave a deep carpet of snow in its wake as it climbed the coast. that turn out?

Only a handful of stations located in the extreme northern portions of the forecast area saw any snow. BGR observed +16"...CAR 10"...BTV 8"...CON ~8"...and PWM 7.8". Not all that far away from the action center...ORH measured 1.8".

Hoping for a better outcome this time and the start of a late winter rally. Set-up is not yet perfect...which is a good sign at this distance from VT. Today/s model run forecast the LOW to hug the coast and flood the zone with warm maritime air...all but killing snow chances for all but those stations farthest inland.

As for lived up to its namesake.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Friday, February 20, 2009

Snow Storm #8: NO SHOW

(updated below - Update2)

Originally posted MON...16 FEb 2009

12z progs were not at all encouraging.

Their portrayal of the storm complex continued essentially as a cold rain-maker for much of the forecast area with a sliver of decent snows falling beneath the northern edge of the precipitation shield.

Only four...maybe five...stations appear to be good candidates for more than a nuisance snowfall late Wednesday into Thursday. Favorable antecedent arctic air mass with dew points in the teens...breaks down quickly with the on-set of widespread veering...SE-to-SW wind profiles which are expected to dominant the storm environment.

GooFuS depicts better chances in the medium range with another potential forecasting opportunity next weekend.

Snow storm #8 awaits another day.

02/17/00z progs indicate little...if any significant change to the 12z suite of solutions other than to delay on-set of precipitation by ~3 hrs at most forecast stations. Initially cold boundary layers warm to above freezing in response to unfavorable warm air advection vertical wind profiles which strongly suggest little...if any potential for a contest-worthy storm.

Verification of US model guidance of expected snowfall over the forecast area was +/-reasonable...

Storm Total Precipitation (inches observed)
CON - 7"
CAR - 4.7"
BGM - 3.8"
PWM - 3.5"
BGR - 3.4"
BTV - 2.1"
ALB - 2.1"
ORH - incomplete data (>= 2.3")

Elsewhere...plenty-o-trace amounts and < 1" reports.

Another good fall for up with that...anyway?

74" YTD. +31" departure.
Same time last year? 88"!

CON/s '08 total snowfall barely set an all-time record. LR progs suggest little change in established storm more snow to come. Winter '09 could very well make it into the Top-10.

Image: Niagara Falls

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Late Winter Rally

PhotobucketWhat could portend the start of a late winter rally and extra innings into March...the global models today were again dangling shiny objects before our eyes in their medium range forecasts.

Today/s ECMWF depicts an amplifying long-wave pattern over the CONUS beginning in a few days...with low-latitude cyclogenesis occurring ahead of a positively-tilted trof...and a potent nor'easter attending arctic HIGH pressure in the chamber for the last week of meteorological winter.

GooFuS offering up a similar idea...albiet a different well.

Last snowfall forecasting event was almost three weeks ago. High time for another.

Once the storm passes...NWP suggests another arctic outbreak in the offing.

Note the deep-layer easterlies at high latitude (negative zonal wind (u) at 500 mb ==> flow into the board)...evidence of a very weak / non-existent polar vortex...and an easterly arctic jet at 10 m/s...both of which indicate favorable conditions for an arctic outbreak into the mid-latitudes.

Is this the manifestation to the sudden warming of the stratosphere observed at the end of January? If so...the timing would be right on schedule.

Also interesting is the ~10 m/s west wind over the equator in the 30 / 50 mb layer...evidence of QBO-west maintaining its strength.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sudden Stratospheric Warming - 1985 v. 2009

The most recent SSW of similar magnitude to the one occurring far as depth of penetration toward the troposphere was 1985. That event started late DEC 1984 and persisted for about 4 weeks.

Here/s how the 10 mb level looked that go'round...


The anti-cyclonic circulation dominated for all of two days.

Contrast and compare to current events...


The 2009 event is much more robust than what happened in 1985....lasting at least 7x longer. Remember also...the on-going SSW is happening while QBO is west (positive) and the solar cycle is at minima...a rare convergence of events...indeed.

Previous posts on the 2009 SSW event here.

VCP 32 - Hard Work and Originality

Pattern Change Ahead?

The predominant storm track this winter has been up the spine of the Appalachian Mountains with a secondary axis established in DEC a bit farther north and west from MO through MI.

NWP has been advertising a change in recent runs...shifting the axis to the south and east...possibly the result of a robust -NAO state suppressing the storm track toward lower latitudes and offering the prospect of winter weather for the snow-starved mid-Atlantic region. The forecast for change dove-tails nicely with the climatological peak for snowfall in this area.

The first...and a series of waves is progged to move through the southeastern states this weekend...primarily as a rain maker with some snow under the northern edge of the precipitation shield...followed by a second...stronger LOW southern portions of the mid-Atlantic early next week...followed by another... stronger wave a few days later. Going beyond that is getting deep into fantasy-land; however...the models currently show two more storms to round out the month.

Trends have shown better cold in the lowest layers and HIGH pressure positioned north of some surface LOWs. The fact that the models aren/t showing 'perfect' setups at this time-range is all the more reason to be optimistic.

While we wait for events to unfold...give a read to the post by Baltimore Sun/s Frank Roylance about the historic Blizzard of FEB 10...1899.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Sudden Stratospheric Warming - Mother Lode of Cold

Vortex reversal @ 10 mb was observed around JAN 27. Easterlies propagated steadily through 30...50...70...and close to 100 mb at post time. Warming has reached the tropopause near 300 mb.

Given there/s ~3-4 week lag between SSW-onset and its effects affecting the troposphere...LR progs are beginning to suggest the magnitude of the cold mother lode and the location where it will be observed.

Note the cold temperatures at 90°N in the D+10 latitude-height cross section. Top-o-world 1000 mb temperature -30°C! (-22°F) Coldest forecast temperature this winter. The warm bubble over 90°N @ 200 mb is the remnant of descending warm stratospheric air. Note the slope of the temperature gradient between 80°N and 90°N near 500 mb...evidence of an arctic jet.

The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) plunges...accordingly. 5 to 7 standard deviations below normal. Wowser! Should NAO come anywhere near those would be abso-fookin' historic. The lowest daily NAO value from a CPC dataset beginning in 1950 is -3.254.

The always reliable D+14 GooFuS blocking forecast suggests mega-blocking over Baffin Bay / Greenland....with significant winter weather implications for the eastern CONUS.

Apparently...Meteorlogix in Woburn...MA didn't get the memo until today.

From the JAN 28th edition of the Nashua Telegraph...

"I do not see significant changes in the overall pattern we've had," Doug Webster of Hudson, senior meteorologist with Meteorlogix said.

If that's the bad news for the rest of winter, the good news is that Webster doesn't see us having another "severe cold snap" like the one that hit last week."
Different story today...

Doug Webster...
"The outlook for the remainder of the winter and early spring could hinge on recent events many miles above the polar landscape. During the end of January, an event known as Sudden Stratospheric Warming took place.


"Past history (ed. Is there any onther kind?) shows that when strong SSW occurs, wintry weather expands southward into the mid latitudes around the globe for a one- to two-month period.


"Given these possibilities, wintry weather could again become a fairly big story across much of the nation later this winter and into the spring.

"Past research (ed. Is there any other kind?) shows the lag time for the start of the more wintry weather regime is apparently on the order of two to three weeks after the SSW event. So enjoy the milder weather of the next week or so, because winter may return with some force during the second half of February and beyond."

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sudden Stratospheric Warming - Update

A negative zonal wind is an east wind...flowing into the board. It reflects the anti-cyclonic circulation aloft...and at post time...there/s evidence of a polar surface well.

Temperature time-height section reveals the depth of stratospheric warming anomaly has reached ~300 mb...a reasonable approximation of the tropopause. Wiki.

SSW can lead to arctic outbreaks ~4 weeks after the event...which would happen around the third week of February. The ECMWF puts the cold air over the prime meridian in 10 days. Question is...where will the brunt of the cold set up in the days to follow and will significant disturbed weather ensue?

With a low tropopause height...tropopause folding could cause a surface cyclone to really spin-up as stratospheric vorticty becomes entrained into the storm complex.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

NOAM Temperature Departures - January '09

The negative temperature departures observed in December sagged south and east from south-central Canada into the Great Lakes region and New England in January. Warm anomalies switched coasts in response to higher 500 mb geo-heights in the west and lower heights in the east along the predominant storm track. A number of high-profile seasonal forecasts expected mild temperatures in the east...highlighting the difficulty of beating the house.

Positive precipitation departures were observed over Canada/a west coast and along the spine of the central Appalachia.

Cumulative temperature and precipitation anomalies...season-to-date.

Plots courtesy ESRL - Physical Sciences Division

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Snowfall Summary - January '09

January/s storm track continued to favor New England/s coastal and piedmont stations.

Concord (CON)...ranked first among all contest forecast stations...measured 186% of their monthly normal (17.8")...just shy of the 193% relative to normal snowfall observed in December. January/s 33.1" snowfall is 57% of their total winter snowfall (D-J-F-M). So far this winter...CON has 60.7" in the snow bank.

Boston (BOS) was second again in January...with 185% of normal monthly snowfall (12.8"). Boston ranked second in December with 316% of normal (8"). 58% of their normal winter snowfall occurred in Janaury. BOS two-month total stands @ 49".

Other notable monthly snowfall were Bridgeport (BDR) with 13.7" (183% monthly normal) and Bangor (BGR) with 175%.

Fifteen stations observed more than their normal monthly snowfall for January...including Raleigh (RDU) @ 125%.

Biggest losers were in the mid-Atlantic region again this month...and as was the case all of last season.

Green => Top 25%
Red => Bottom 25%

WFO Monthly/Daily Climate Data

NCDC Period-of-Record Snowfall Climatology

Monday, February 2, 2009

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Interim Standings

After seven snow storms... donsutherland1 holds the lead... shanabe moves back into second...and Donald off two straight wins...advances to third.

Several forecasters ranked in previous Interim Standings had not entered at least five forecasts and were not eligible for this summary under the ‘two-thirds’ rule.

Full interim forecaster error statistics table and charts here.

Forecaster storm summary data here.

SUMSQ errors for each contest snow storm are normalized with a 'Z-score'...then averaged to compute the standings. Forecasters who have entered at least 2/3 of all snow storm contests are included in the standings.

If a forecaster has participated in more than two-thirds of all snow storm contests...then Z-scores from two-thirds of their best forecasts are used to calculate Interim and Final standings. Same idea as dropping the lowest quiz score before the final grade is computed.

Previous Interim summary here.