Overview of the Post-Christmas Blizzard of 2010

Hi everyone! I just want to say thanks to everyone for visiting the blog yesterday, Philaburbia needs all the support it can get. The blizzard has finally pulled out of the area bringing in sunny skies and nasty frigid winds from the northeast. This storm was a little different from the classic Nor Easter. Because there wasn’t a blocking high to the north, more banding occurred with the snow making the totals a little inconsistent in some areas. I would say my forecast, if you take the average snow amounts from each area, is fairly accurate. The storm did go further east than previously thought, which took any mix potential out of the question along the coastline, but overall the totals for the area (not counting the shore) were in the 10-20 inch range.

Here is a radar loop until midnight last night of the storm for your viewing pleasure:

Radar Loop

And now for the snow total recap. At my house I got around 9.5 inches of snow with some higher snow drifts. Snow totals were much higher to the east in NJ and lower to the north and west.

Toms River NJ: 28.0 inches

Princeton NJ: 15.0 inches

Philadelphia PA: 12.4 inches

Doylestown PA: 5.1 inches

Somerset NJ: 22.0 inches

These are just a few of many reported snow totals throughout the area. This storm will definitely be remembered for anyone living in NJ for many years to come. As for Southeast Pennsylvania, I have a feeling that there could be a storm for Monday January 10th (yes I know that’s 14 days away) which could give anyone living north of Philadelphia their blizzard.

Anyway, thanks for keeping with Philaburbia Weather and keep checking back throughout the winter for any snowstorm possibilities!



Updates for Post-Christmas Blizzard

Update 8:00 PM:

Well the snow has finally  reached its peak in many places in the area. It is true that totals won’t be as high for the area as the low pressure system went more east than expected. There hasn’t been an update for the snow totals since 4:30, so I won’t start listing those until after the storm. I did go outside my house and gathered an average of measurements.These averages ended up being around 5.5 inches, which is a pretty substantial amount considering that this storm isn’t close to being finished.

Here is the current radar view. The Nor Easter should continue bringing moisture in as it stalls south of long island and eventually starts to move northeastward.

Current Radar as of 8:00 PM

Update 3:00 PM:

Snow is really starting to pick up here with visibility levels dropping to 1/4 of a mile in places. At my house moderate to heavy snow is falling and I would say a good 2 inches are on the ground as of 3:00 PM. I took a few pictures when I went outside around 40 minutes ago. Since then visibility has dropped and the snow has gotten much heavier. This snow rate should continue over the whole area for the rest of the day into tonight, where the low pressure will stall south of long island and really intensify. The snow should start winding down tomorrow morning and sunny skies should prevail by Monday afternoon. There is still a Winter Storm Warning until 1:00 PM tomorrow.

Anyway, here are the pictures:

View of my Backyard
View of my Street
Another View of the Snow

Update 12:00 PM:

Light snow has started to fall at my house in Bucks County. Snow has started in much of the area and will continue to intensify as the low pressure m0ves northward and strengthens. Over the next few hours, expect 1-2 inches of snow on the ground as conditions rapidly deteriorate.

Right now the heavier snow bands are moving northwestward and will eventually encompass the whole area:

Radar Analysis

Update 9:00 AM:

Hi everyone, the blizzard is currently sitting just south of the Outer Banks and strengthening rapidly. The storm is currently taking a turn to the north which will gradually bring the precipitation up from the south. Snow will start out fairly light later this morning, but will pick up in intensity by this afternoon and evening. During this time, snow rates of 1-2 inches per hour are possible. The snow will wind up by Monday morning leaving a crippling snowstorm in the area.

You can follow the storm on the Radars Page or just keep track with the radar posted below. I will hopefully have some pictures as the day progresses:

Blizzard Radar

Snow Map for Post-Christmas Blizzard of 2010

I have finally come to a conclusion for this snowstorm. Many of the computer models are finally on board with the GFS solution and are showing major snows for the whole Mid-Atlantic and New England region. We are already under a Winter Storm Watch, which was issued by the National Weather Service overnight. In my snow map below, I have put most of the Philaburbia Coverage Area under the 10-14 inch range. If you look at the map, you will see a sharp cutoff in the snow amounts. This is the only thing concerning me right now. If the low pressure doesn’t pick up the trough and ride the jet stream, it will go maybe 100 miles east of the benchmark which would give us much less snow.

But, as of right now, I am expecting one of the most brutal Nor Easters (competing with last years storms) of all time. Winds will range from 30-50 mph during the height of the storm (Sunday Night). And we will probably see a Winter Storm Warning followed by a shorter range Blizzard Warning during the evening on Sunday. Do not travel on the roads or in the sky from Sunday Afternoon to Monday Evening. Conditions will be on the deadly scale for anyone stranded on a deserted road.

I am also concerned for the EaglesVikings game tomorrow night. Anyone that is going to that game, be wary that you will be driving in blizzard conditions and sitting outside in blizzard conditions . It’ll be fun to watch on TV, but not as fun for the people going to the game.

Snow Map for Post-Christmas Blizzard of 2010

I will come out with the time frame of this storm as the details become more available. Otherwise, haul your shovels out and prepare for a nasty storm.

Update for Post-Christmas Storm: Good News for Snow Lovers!

Well, this storm has really been quite challenging for many weather forecasters and enthusiasts alike. The weather models have been all over the map for this storm, switching from an out to sea scenario to a big coastal storm. I have great news for snow lovers (like myself). The GFS model, which many forecasters rely on for their predictions has been showing a large scale snowstorm for our area. Three straight runs have shown at least a foot of snow for most of the I-95 corridor.

As of right now however, the GFS is the only model that is showing this solution. I am still uncertain about the track of this storm and how much snow we are going to get. Therefore I will not make a snow map until most of the models are in some sort of agreement with each other.

Here is the blizzard scenario from the GFS:

GFS 0z Major Blizzard for Major Cities

Preliminary Snow Map for the After Christmas Storm

It is looking right now that a major blizzard is coming to the area for December 27th. We will not be having a white Christmas, but, may have a white New Years. Since my last post, there hasn’t been much change with the model consensus. The European Model continues to show a major blizzard and has been showing one for the past 3-4 days now.

The most recent run of the GFS model shows the storm just grazing our area with 3-6 inches of snow. It’s a better solution than what the GFS had in previous runs, but still no blizzard.

Most of the other models have the storm in between the European and the GFS. Personally, I think the European is the right solution. It is known as the most accurate model in the world, and has been showing a blizzard for the Eastern seaboard for a long time. Also the NAO is going to tank, which means a snowstorm is more likely than not.

I have decided to make a very preliminary map for this storm. It outlines the places where a major snowstorm is possible. I don’t want to come to conclusions at this point because the consensus between the models is still very poor. Once the GFS and Euro are on the same page about things, I’ll post a more detailed map with actual snow totals.

Preliminary Map for 12/27 Snowstorm

Adios till next time

After Another Bust, A New Storm is on the Horizon for Christmas

Well, the storm that I talked about earlier this week that had some potential for snow turned out to be another bust for the weather models (specifically the European). BUT!! We have another storm that has a decent chance of at least giving us at least 1-3 inches of snow.

A clipper is expected to pass through the area on Christmas Eve. This would give us a base total of 1-3 inches. The big question is whether this clipper will ride the trough and blow up into a major snowstorm. The unreliable GFS model has been showing the clipper turn into the nor easter for maybe 6-8 runs now. Many other models are starting to show it as well.

Here is the GFS 12Z from today:

Christmas Storm Speculation

And here is the European Model:

EURO Christmas Storm

Right now, it is looking very favorable for snow. The pattern is looking very good and the upper atmospheric troughs seem to support a Clipper transitioning into a Blizzard. I will not be announcing snowfall total estimates until Wednesday.

I will say that we will get snow Christmas regardless of whether a Nor Easter forms or not. The Clipper will still move through, but the question is whether this Clipper rides the coast or stays out to sea.

A storm (maybe) this Sunday (maybe)

As I have been telling people this whole week, meteorology is just  bunch of maybes.

After one of the most epic busts in recent memory from the last storm, we look ahead to our next snow chance: Sunday the 19th. Yes, the best case scenario (if you want snow) would be a 15-20 incher with a full blown blizzard. I’d say the chance of this happening is fairly low at the moment. Right now we are looking at a 6-10 incher with less wind.

One thing is for sure: WE WON”T GET RAIN!! The setup of this low pressure with blocking highs in Onterio prevents this thing from going inland. Like always we have TWO scenarios. The first takes the low up the coast as a nor-easter snowstorm giving us a good deal of snow. The second scenario sends the low out to sea, giving us a bright and sunny Sunday.

Right now most models are going with a coastal solution, hence the reason I am writing this post:

GFS 12z: This model is showing a major snowstorm (12-20 inches) for our area:

Major Snowstorm Solution

There are many other possibilities for this storm. The image above I would call the best case scenario for a snowstorm.

Here are the two possible tracks:

Two Tracks for Upcoming Storm

Betting for Snow Would be Against the Odds at the Moment

I have concluded that all the computer models are going out of their minds right now. Every run seems to be drastically different from the rest.

It seemed throughout the day today that we would be definitely having a rainstorm. The 18z runs changed this prediction. They showed a more snowy solution, which shows that anything could happen with this storm at the moment. I have made a preliminary track map of the storm (Don’t criticize my lack of Photoshop experience) that shows the two possible tracks of the storm:


Prelim Map

Right now I would say there is a 70% chance that this storm will take the rainy track and 30% chance that this storm will take the snowy path. The numbers are subject to change as we get closer to the 13th. These tracks are the outliers for the models, a most likely track would come in between these tracks; giving us snow at the onset, then changing to rain before changing back to snow at the back-end.


My current prediction: I will not make a prediction until Thursday because of the great uncertainty at the moment. I would say that the big blizzard solution is pretty unlikely right now, but you never know what could happen over the next few days.

I’ll be updating tomorrow on the progress of this storm


Many Questions Need to be Answered

This upcoming storm could be one of the largest snowstorms ever in December history, or it could be one of the largest rainstorms in December history. My job is to try to decipher which one it will be. Many people have asked me if 12-15 inches is a realistic estimation for this storm. As of the computer model trends right now, this is DEFINITELY NOT a realistic estimation. Most weather models seem to be in consensus with each other for a storm that’s 7 days away (which is pretty ridiculous if you ask me).

They are showing a low pressure system chugging along the jet stream and riding it into the Great Lakes, bringing in warm air from the south and making this snowstorm a gigantic rainstorm (2-3 inches of rain). I know this won’t excite many people and will probably be a big disappointment, but right now that’s how this storm is being portrayed.

Here is a latest weather model (18z GFS) from today. It is showing the storm riding the jet and bringing snow to Chicago and rain to the Philaburbia area:

Dec 13 Storm

Do not lose hope on this storm. It is a week away; I have seen plenty of storms go from a Great Lakes Cutter to a gigantic Nor-Easter on the weather models (example last December 19th). As we get closer to Dec 13th, the trends of the weather models will give us a better prediction of what this storm is going to turn out doing. Right now the trend is west, but in a few days it could shift 500-600 miles east (I’ve seen it before!) and turn into the 12-15 incher I was talking about yesterday. I will post again tomorrow and talk about the trend and whether we still have a chance at this storm.

We May Have A Snowstorm on the Horizon!!

Hi everybody. I’m sorry for the lack of updates recently, I feel I have let my readers down. 😦

Ok let’s get to the weather. I have been telling a few classmates at school this past week about a snowstorm/pseudo-blizzard that will hit next Monday (December 13th). I am extremely excited about the latest computer model run from today showing our area getting 12-15 inches of snow Sunday night into Monday night.

18z GFS computer model, at 216 hours (Around 4 PM Monday afternoon):

This model run is very important for the future of this storm. Many experts have been calling this storm for the past week hence the reason I have been informing a few of my classmates about it. This is the first model run from the GFS that is showing a full-fledged storm hitting our area. We have a negative NAO (North American Oscillation) predicted for that time frame. Negative NAO values generally indicate some kind of low pressure crossing the country or a nor easter. The large rainstorm we just had earlier this week made the NAO values tank. What intrigues me about the December 13th storm is the abundance of cold air that will be in the area during that time frame. The last storm didn’t have enough cold air associated with it hence the reason we received a ton of rain.

For this upcoming storm, everything is seeming to fit together perfectly, which doesn’t happen too much in the weather world. We got neg NAO, cold air, a storm system, and some model agreement 9 days out.

On a more serious note, weather is very unpredictable; we are relying on a bunch of computers to predict the future. There is always room for this storm to be a bust.

I will post a prelim SNOW MAP(!!) by midweek if the models are still showing the storm. If this storm DOES come through and we get a snowstorm, I would say 6-15 inches would fall on the area guaranteeing 1 or 2 snow days for many schools.