Tuesday, March 25, 2014

(Very) Early Tuesday Morning Update Including Preview of the Big Nor'easter to Bypass Us

The front entrance to St. Dominic Catholic Church in the strangely isolated part of Southwest Washington, D.C., 1:37PM March 21, 2014 (the first full calendar day of spring).

I work a few blocks from here, and every once in a while, I walk over there at lunchtime. It's always so peaceful. Of note, the same guy I vaguely knew from 15 years ago in my rightwing Catholic days around Tim A. is there in the nearly otherwise empty, vaulted interior at that early afternoon hour. He has been there almost every time I've gone for the past nearly 4 years, which is to say at least since I have worked in my current job and probably longer. I don't think he remembers me, which is which is just as well.

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Too late to blog tonight, but here I go anyway.

I'm home having some dinner that I just made (the usual Thai jasmine rice / steamed broccoli and carrots / meat combination with tonight's choice being pork chops). I'm also TV watching my usual late night sitcom reruns.

The off-ramp (left) and on-ramp (right) to I-395 in front of St. Dominic Church, Washington, D.C., 1:37PM March 21, 2014.

I-395 (Southeast - Southwest Freeway) severs the bulk of the small Southwest quadrant of D.C. from the rest of the District of Columbia. The quadrant-severing highway and the numerous architecturally hideous mid-20th Century "urban renewable" buildings have created an inner an yet quite isolated Modernist purgatory that is Southwest D.C. today.

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I had a decent gym workout tonight that included another six mile treadmill jog, a shortened weightlifting, but 35+ minutes in the pool. I've gone two days in a row, and so I plan to take the next two days off and go on Thursday. My work day was OK as I started a compliance case in Henry County, Georgia (more on that in a later entry) even as I continued with my Hawaii work.

The interior of St. Dominic Catholic Church, Washington, D.C., 1:38PM March 21, 2014.

The early afternoon light flooding through the stained glass windows combined with the vaulted, nearly empty interior and the endlessly rising and falling, mournful swooshing sound of the passing freeway traffic all combine to make the place quite sublime. There is a noon mass, but by the time I get there, it's well over.

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Oh, yes, I also e-filed my Federal taxes with that Free Fillable Forms site, and it was amazingly fast from (re)creating a user name and password to submitting to IRS acceptance. (Unlike last year, I didn't get a rejection email the following day, but this year my taxes are simple enough to do the 1040EZ.) I think I can use the same site (or a variation of it?) for my D.C. taxes, which I'll try to do tomorrow. As it is, I printed out / wasted FAAAR less paper forms than in all my other tax-paying years. In general, I've been trying to cut back on printing out things -- and ending my obsessiveness in that area.

Turning to the weather ...

The NWS advisories for the Sterling (LWX) county warning area (CWA) updated at 1:11AM March 25, 2014. It shows a general winter weather advisory in effect for the immediate region.

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The National Weather Service (Sterling LWX) has put much of the D.C./Baltimore area under a winter weather advisory for Tuesday, and the latest operational model runs -- the 0Z NAM and GFS -- are both wetter with approximately 0.5 inches liquid equivalent, and at least initially it will be cold enough for snow.

Sterling LWX CWA "most likely" snowfall forecast map generated at 10:43PM March 24, 2014 through 8AM March 26, 2014.

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However, the combination of the strong late March Sun angle and wind increasing from the east are forecasted to turn the snow to rain in the I-95 corridor and points east to the Delmarva. Snow totals of 1 to 2 inches are possible, though that is more likely well to the north and west. Very little is likely in the immediate D.C. area except on grassy surfaces.

In this way, the CWG downplaying the event for days is probably correct -- and it will most likely be the last accumulating snow event of this season here. (I'm not going to link to the CWG entries -- you can find them yourself if you're so inclined.)

The 0Z 3/25/2014 GFS showing 850mb temperatures, mean sea level pressure (MSLP), and 6-hour precipitation (legend not included) valid at hour 45 / 21Z (5PM EDT) March 26, 2014 focused on Eastern North America and the adjoining Atlantic waters. The low has bombed out to just under 960mb (28.35" Hg -- about as strong as a Category 3 hurricane).

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As the upper level trough deepens across the Ohio River valley, energy rotating through the base of it will combine with a surface low developing off the Georgia / Florida coast. As a result of the phasing of the northern and southern jet stream branches along an intense baroclinic zone over the Gulf Stream, a major nor'easter is expected to develop in a classic case of explosive cyclogenesis.

However, as the image below shows, the low will be far enough offshore to avoid a classic Northeast blizzard (the sort that buries Boston in 2+ feet and blankets New York City in 10 to 14 inches; snarls Philadelphia in 6 to 8 inches; coats the northeastern suburbs of Baltimore in 2 to 4 inches and even gives BWI Airport 1 inch but TOTALLY misses D.C.). However, eastern Massachusetts (Barnstable County) and far eastern Maine are under blizzard watches, and Nova Scotia could really get walloped.

NWS Eastern Region map showing weather advisories in effect as of 12:56AM March 25, 2014.

The crimson / brick colors off the coast of New England are those highly confusing "hurricane force wind warnings" that the NWS foolishly issued during Hurricane Sandy once the storm was north of Cape Hatteras on the grounds that the system would transform from a tropical to an extra-tropical cyclone -- and thus there was no need for the National Hurricane Center to issue tropical cyclone warnings. It was a very dumb decision, and in the event of a land-falling system in a similar situation (a tropical cyclone being captured by a mid-latitude trough and transforming into a sub-tropical / extra-tropical one even as it strikes the coastline), NWS won't repeat that mistake.

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The Boston (BOX) NWS CWA advisories updated at 1:27AM March 25, 2014. The light yellowish-green is a blizzard watch that is in effect for Barnstable County, which includes the entire Cape Cod peninsula. Snow totals of 5 to 10 inches are forecasted with winds to 65MPH on Wednesday.

There is a winter storm watch for the adjoining counties. As for Boston proper, there are presently no weather advisories in effect (although 2 inches of snow are forecasted).

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OK, I'm going to bed. But one last picture ...

This was my remaining Brady the adorable puggle picture that I took late last Tuesday (well, actually, Wednesday by that point) at Chris's apartment. I'm on the left (with Brady's fur on my fleece hoodie) and Chris on the right.

He's such a wonderful little dog.

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OK, that really is all for now. I probably won't update the blog tomorrow night and possibly not even Wednesday night. In fact, it may not be until Thursday night that I update it.

--Regulus

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