Archive for February 1, 2009

AFTER A BEAUTIFUL SUNDAY, THE FORECAST GETS TRICKY AS MODELS WAFFLE BACK AND FORTH ON TUESDAY’S LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM

Sunday will be a fantastic day for the 1st day of February. Temperatures approaching 60 degrees and bright sunshine all day. The only issue might be the gusty winds but by winter standards, even the winds won’t be that bad. After another mild day on Monday, the forecast gets complicated. The computer models that forecasters use to predict the weather have been all over the place with the low pressure area that is expected to develop along the Gulf Coast. Initially, the models all seemed to agree that a major east coast storm was in the offing. Then, on Saturday, some of the models backed off and inidicated a  more out to sea scenario. The early Sunday model runs have returned to their earlier forecast of a major storm… so what to do? Forecasters are proceeding with extreme caution and are not yet buying into the “big storm” option. Over the past several years, computer models have had difficulty with winter storms, especially here on the East Coast. What is strange to me is that the models seemed to perform better in previous decades. For example, back in 1993, there was an incredible winter storm that affected more real estate than any other storm in recorded history. It was the March 13th Super Storm and I was living up in NJ at the time. A very heavy wet snow affected the NYC area and blizzard conditions affected numerous states. Florida had a severe wind and tidal flooding event during that storm. Well, the models predicted this storm from one week out! In 1996, the models did an excellent job predicting a very heavy snow event in the Northeast from about one week out which dumped 30 inches of snow in some spots near Phila and NYC. Even back in 1982, computer models accurately predicted a rare April blizzard for the Northeast that “snowed out” the NY Mets home opener. Why did models do a better job predicting the weather decades ago than they do now? The answer is quite complex but it needs to be addressed soon. So, getting back to the present, it’s still up in the air as to what we will see on Tuesday so I recommend that you monitor your local forecast from the media and the NWS.

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