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Old 04-12-2007, 12:47 PM   #53
CanisLupusArctos
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Default Storms and iceout

There is apparently more cold air over us than the computers have been able to measure. My first clue was when I talked to a friend of mine in Wakefield Massachusetts about an hour ago and he said it was sleeting heavily - the radar shows all rain over him. The second clue was this quote from a NWS Forecast Discussion from Gray, ME:

CONTINUING TO MONITOR THE DEVELOPING SITUATION. AT THE MOMENT...NO
CHANGES TO CURRENT FORECAST...BUT THIS MAY CHANGE SHORTLY AS THE
DEPTH OF THE WARM LAYER IS BEING EVALUATED. REPORT OF SLEET IN
KEENE IS PUTTING A MONKEY WRENCH INTO THE FORECAST...AS NO MODEL
SOUNDINGS ARE SHOWING.

So apparently, there is a layer of cold air over us that has managed to go undetected. The models are seeing a lot of data that seems totally out-of-line to them. When they get into non-traditional situations, they are outside their comfort zones and they start making all kinds of wacky calls the way your calculator flashes an "E" when you exceed its capabilities. The models are great but in the grand scheme of things, they are still just oversized calculators and nature likes to make them "flash an E" occasionally. Today is one of those days. Actually, this whole month is.

It's snowing occasionally heavy at Black Cat now. We've only got an inch or two but it's seriously weighing on the pine branches. As R2B mentioned, this is *heavy* snow - weight-wise.

R2B is right about the snow reflecting the sun's radiation. That's the biggest melter at this time of year. Without the sun (or with white to reflect it), our temps in the 30s and low 40s are not going to melt the ice very quickly by themselves.

I'm guessing that the ice between Black Cat and Steamboat is quite thick. This is from checking the weathercam view and daily time lapse - even on the warmer and windier days I have not seen the edge of the ice push back noticeably during the day. It has melted *very* slowly. Therefore I think it's still pretty thick.

About the late-weekend storm... It does look like a history-maker, IF all the ingredients come together as currently forecast. Many forecasters are already using superlatives to describe it. This one would cause problems regardless of rain or snow. Where it snows, it'll be deep snow. Where it rains, it'll be flooding rain. I guess the saving grace would be that anyone on the snow side may go without electricity but their homes would stay dry. The storm's rainy side would also cause power outages but there'd be flooding to go along with it.

There isn't much certain about that storm yet... we're still trying to get through this one first. One thing I am noticing is that forecasters at the NWS are starting to express their thoughts and feelings (bewilderment, excitement, etc.) in their forecast discussions that are normally data-focused and devoid of all emotions and thoughts. When the NWS Technical Forecast Discussions start to sound more like magazine articles and less like notes from a math class, something funky is brewing.
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