Monday, March 4, 2013

Marching 4th Toward a Late Season Snowquester

View from my 5th floor apartment in the Hampton Courts overlooking my little section of Washington, D.C. with the much more upscale Brittany (OK, ignore the porta-potty) prominently visible, 12:22PM March 4, 2013.

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I wasn't feeling very well today because some food I ate last night didn't agree with me plus I felt a bit feverish. So I am taking the day off as a sick day, although I should get a hair cut and will try to go to the gym tonight. I will also try to do some work today on a report / case study I am writing.

The weather today is sunny and kinda blustery for March with temps in the 38F to 41F range and a gusty northwesterly wind to 25MPH (so there is a wind chill in the 20s). Dew point are also low (15F or so).

The Sterling LWX County Warning Area (CWA) map showing weather advisories -- a wide-ranging winter storm watch -- updated at 12:47PM March 4, 2013.

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Today is also (I think) the proverbial calm before the storm with the potentially major winter weather event still very much "on" for tomorrow into early Thursday.

A winter storm watch is up for the entire region including here in D.C. proper (only the second one this winter and the first likely to "verify").

The 12Z 03/04/2013 NAM valid at hour 54 / 18Z 03/06/2013 showing MSLP, 6-hour precip, and 850mb temperatures.

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Today's 12Z NAM and GFS continue the consistent trend of a strong coastal storm impacting the region with rain changing to snow, possibly heavy for at least 6 hours on Wednesday afternoon into evening. I think the ECWMF ("European") model is showing the same thing but it's output is harder for me to get (the 12Z data is not yet available in the panel format).

The 12Z 03/04/2013 GFS valid at hour 54 / 18Z 03/06/2013 showing MSLP, 6-hour precip, and 850mb temperatures.

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The 0Z 3/4/2013 European model valid at hour 72 / 0Z 03/07/2013 showing ensemble mean MSLP and normalized standard deviation over North America.

For the European model, this is a decent East Coast weather event.

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At this point, the issue is the position of the rain/snow line (which is another way of saying the track and intensity of the storm). The QPFs are certainly high enough -- with the NAM amounts (shown below) probably overdone through some feed back mechanism.

Left: The 84-hour cumulative precip total for today's 12Z NAM for the U.S. East Coast through 0Z 03/08/2013. It thus covers the NAM's full 84 hour run. The legend is not included in this image but the totals run from 1.50" (light purple) to 3.00" (crimson red) in increments of 0.50".  This suggests KDCA itself will get about 1.50" (you need the MOS data to get actual station numbers).

Owing to the marginal temperatures, the snow-to-liquid equivalent is probably going to be under 10-to-1 during the storm for much of the areas that do get snowfall. Sterling LWX mentioned a 7 or 8-to-1 around the immediate D.C. area).

In terms of the paramount question for everyone -- How much snow will fall? -- at this point, I'm not sure and I don't think anyone else really is.

Left: Today's12Z GFS 84-hour cumulative precip totals through 0Z 3/8/2013. The amounts are somewhat less than what the comparable NAM output shows (see above), although KDCA is about the same (1.50").

The LWX snowfall map page only runs through 6AM Wednesday at the time I write this (quarter to 1PM on Monday), and so it is not capturing the bulk of the snow. The winter storm watch means at least 5" of snow for here, and if it were to be a heavy snowfall on Wednesday into Wednesday night, we could easily have at least 10" and maybe over 12". However, any deviation of the rain/snow line along the coastal plain and over the I-95 corridor will greatly reduce the totals.

Above is an snowfall forecast map that is the first cut estimate from the CWG site. Looking at the two bands, this would give D.C. about 6" of snow -- but it could easily vary significantly from that either way (i.e., greater or lesser).

Anyway, for updates, go to the Sterling LWX NWS webpage and click on various links or to the Capital Weather Gang site and read the various entries of the past few days.

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Sunday Funday ...

A diminutive Asian guy with a big camera takes a picture of one of the two imposing-looking Sphinx-like sculptures outside the imposing Masonic Temple* on 16th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 3:53PM March 3, 2013.

*Or rather, the Supreme Council, 33°, Southern Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. Got it?

 
It's really cool looking inside that place and the Freemasons are kind of interesting with a fascinating history. (Now I do live in Washington, D.C, but let's not get into any conspiracy theories or issues about Masonic "symbology" in the layout of the District's "inner core."

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As for yesterday, I made it to the gym and jogged a bit over 4 miles on the treadmill with a "Cascades / Level 8" total climb of 610 feet and about 630 calories burned (if the displays are correct). I also went swimming but didn't do any of the weights.

Last night, I went to Larry's Lounge, where owner Ron and his partner Gunther held the public reception for their customers. They were formally married here in D.C. last month. I went with Gary and Kristof and Jamie showed up as well, except he has given up drinking entirely for the year (and maybe for good).

The guests of honor, Ron and Gunther, at Larry's Lounge, Washington, D.C., 10:49PM March 3, 2013.

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There was only one sliiiight issue for me (but you know me, when isn't there??): This guy who used to be my neighbor in this building -- I'm not sure if it was when I lived in apt. 414 or since I've been in apt. 504 -- was there and he was making fun of me to someone else. I'm not exactly sure why but I think it may have been something to do with noise from my apt. (presumably during some fit or outburst -- yeah, like I'm the only person on this planet who has done that). Anyway, I said to him, "I heard what you said." (Actually, I didn't hear, but I could see by how they were looking at me, especially his fat friend.) His "response" to me was a sort of "oh, well" shrug, to which I replied, "Why don't you go to hell" and walked away.

Four gyrating spotlights on the back of a small flatbed connected to a pickup truck placed in front of Larry's Lounge, Washington, D.C., 9:10PM, March 3, 2013. Alas, there were no clouds in the sky last night so no dancing circles of light were visible on a cloud "ceiling" deck.

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This guy moved out of the building some years ago, and I see him occasionally walking around, and I always say hi to him. I thought he was nice but it turns out he's just another feckless and wussified gay male sorority girl with nothing meaningful to offer the world.

Anyway, I should get Ron and Gunther some sort of present.

Beams of light shine up past some intervening trees that line 18th Street and into the dark eternity of space above Washington, D.C., 11:05PM, March 3, 2013.

Gary and Kristof and I were leaving Larry's Lounge at that point.

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OK, that's all for now. My planned updates for the next few days will be driven in large measure by whether we get a snowstorm or not. If we do not, then I'm probably not going to feel like posting a whole lot of content. But regardless of what happens this week weatherwise, in a few weeks spring warmth will be here and we will start out journey into another torrid Washington, D.C., summer.

--Regulus

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