Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Snow: Happy rumor season

Like Christmas decorations, snow rumors no longer wait for the season.

Snow: Happy rumor season

As our online story mentions, for the first time since the uneventful winter of 2012-13, the word “snow” is making an appearance in forecast discussions.

At the outset, we invoke our first law of weather, which is: What might happen is almost always more interesting that what is happening. That is especially true during a weather period as dull as this one.

We also note that while the longer-range forecast business has made strides in recent years, it’s not there yet, particularly when it comes to messy details, such as tracks of storms, temperature boundaries, precipitation types, etc.

But the speculation business has never been brisker, thanks to the quantity, quality, and frequency of computer-model runs from all over the world -- the United States, the European Union, Canada, and elsewhere.

In fact, some meteorologists complain that they have too many models to analyze.

Using “initial” observations of the state of the atmosphere, the computers solve equations to project how the physical state of the atmosphere will change over time in six-hour intervals.

Naturally, if the atmosphere plays out differently in the shorter terms, the longer-term solutions aren’t going to be out to virtual lunch.

With those caveats, this is the AccuWeather take on the possibilities for a winter storm the middle of next week.

The New York wing of the American Weather Forums chat board already has started a storm thread.

In its morning discussion, the local National Weather Service's long-term discussion was circumspect, citing “way too much uncertainty with this system.”

For now, the official weather service forecast for Wednesday calls for “partly cloudy” skies; AccuWeather sees a chance of rain.

Finally, we’ll note that as recently as Monday morning, the Commodity Weather Group, in Washington, was mentioning a potential warm-up in the East for next Monday through Friday.

In short, don’t be shocked if the word “snow” quietly vanishes from the discussions in the days to come, but we will go out on a limb and predict that actual snow will be no match for virtual snow threats this winter.

 

Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
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Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
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