Thursday, December 18, 2014

Icy prospects

Freezing rain, sleet, snow possible Sunday.

Icy prospects

In the last several weeks the computer models have shown a disconcerting volatility, one day foreseeing a cold spell, only to flip the pattern the next day.

Tony Gigi, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Mount Holly, who follows all this closely, said with all this back-and-forth,  it’s almost as though the models are  playing a tennis match.

He also is the author of this afernoon's forecast discussion that warns of "a potpourri of preciptiation types for our entire coverage area on Sunday."

Right now the models are suggesting ice and/or snow at the outset before a changeover to rain. Obviously, timing issues aren’t even close to resolution.

And given what we’ve seen thus far, we are willing to predict only that the forecasts you see, hear, and read tonight and tomorrow will be substantially different from what’s available Saturday – not to mention what actually happens Sunday.

We have started keeping track of various forecasts to monitor the evolution, and we already are seeing it.

Yesterday, the AccuWeather forecast for Sunday mentioned rain or snow showers; today, that changed to snow or possible flurries.

Yesterday, the Weather Channel had no precipitation in the Sunday outlook; today, it added possible rain or snow showers.

Incidentally, the Weather Channel has taken to naming winter storms, as we noted in this article last year, and we wonder if the next logical step might be to name storm threats.

Computer models have enriched the lives of many a meteorologist and weather enthusiast by seeing threats several days in advance and providing opportunities to speculate, analyze, and dispute. They can be more fun -- and way less trouble -- than the real things.

The Weather Channel has opted for a classical approach, for the virtual threats, we’d vote for reaching into the fiction hall of fame, where the characters often beat the hay out of reality, for our names.

Since next up for the Weather Channel would be “C,” we’ll call the current virtual threat for us “Dorian,” as in Dorian Gray.

Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
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Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
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