Sunday, March 01, 2009

From the outside lookin' in....

(Monday update at the end of this post)

Ah, the southern ritual of the Snow Dance...

We jump for joy. We debate. We ask millions of questions. We freak out. We invade the food stores in droves. We stockpile. We wait for 'incoming'. We flip the remote more than ever before checking every station and every forecast and every radar image and every analysis to hear about the potential gloom and doom and certain death that is ready to befall us.

We are Southerners On A Snowy Edge, and we're dangerous.

We're also kind of annoying. Truly.

Alas, there is a lot at stake, especially when it's on a work day...especially in this economy you don't want to miss a day of don't want to have to make up 'snow days' at a later and more inconvenient date...and you don't want to feel forced into driving what could easily be dangerous conditions, all because you were told or made to, which many are.

No, a snow event in the Carolinas is a true two-edged sword, full of the above-mentioned fraughts, contrasted starkly with the joy of freshly falling snow, sledding, building snow people (hey, trying to be politically correct, here...), family fun, and unadulterated joy on the faces of children.

Well, here we are! I'm writing this at supper time Sunday...because I'm not on-air anywhere I'm musing from the 'relaxed' side of the professional weather world. I am part of a strange 'mix' from now through early May (?) ...while I will fill in for News 14 Triad in April a couple of days each week, I will also be filling in for WSOC TV9 (ABC) in Charlotte on Sunday mornings and noon shows. This past weekend I was shadowing WSOC's Keith Monday and right there as he went through his motions for forecasting...and it was neat being able to bounce ideas off of one another.

Typical of almost all snow systems here, models do NOT handle the future in agreement, leaving meteorologists to think above and beyond the data and 'sense' what will come to pass. Some models were very 'hot' with localized and huge amounts of snow, more than a foot...but Keith chose the 3"-6" range for most as a basis to work from, and he/we stuck with that number after every 6-hour model run through the nooner Sunday, for the greater Charlotte market.

One of the quirks with this storm is what SHOULD be a high ratio of snow to water content. Rule-of-thumb is to go 10:1 comparing snow:water...but with the warm air butting up against the cold, we could see up to 15:1 ratios.....same amount of water in the air, just higher 'fluff' count. That, along with the variation of the 'deformation zone' where the heavier snow will fall is always akin to nailing jello cubes to a styrofoam board. We do our best, but chips fall where they will. We would be fools to ever think we can get the upper hand on Mother Nature, Yaweh, The Great Mystery, God, you pick the nomenclature.

For the moment I will draw a line below this last note and then add to this post later as I feel led. Hope you have had a restful weekend wherever you are! Stay tuned - the rain has turned to a very heavy sleet at this time!


Right on cue....

Heavy sleet turned to snow a little while a ago...this, my flute working area for my larger outside tools. appropriately covered!

"Oh shop, where art thou?"

6am update, Monday, March 2

last night's digital forecast model from GSP office

Alas, the early morning shows that here, maybe only 1.5 more inches fell, making for a 2.5 inch snow. Below, I've posted a few older snow reports that give you an idea where the heavier amounts fell, which pretty closely falls in line with the digital forecast run from last night (above).

The GFS model correctly pushed the heavier snow amounts west and north a line from Charlotte to Durham, which the NAM was favoring, with the eastern Blue Ridge picking up some healthier amounts of snow that topped a foot in Saluda (Polk County). Even within given cities like Charlotte and Greensboro there were wide variations in accumulations.

Admittedly, I would have liked to have seen more snow...but with the forecast temps warming later this week, the ol' pre-spring bug is hitting and I'll welcome the quicker exit of the white stuff so I can get back to work outdoors.

NC reports:

12.3" Saluda

10" Flat Springs
9" Kings Mountain
6" Morganton
6" Charlotte
6" Forest City
5" Winston-Salem
5" Greensboro
4" Salisbury
4" Asheboro
3" Asheville
3" Raleigh
3" Lexington
3" Troy
2" Durham
2" Pittsboro
1" Wadesboro

SC reports:

7" Gaffney
6" Simpsonville
5" Anderson
5" Jonesville
4" Greer
3" Easley

No comments: