Friday, March 8, 2013

The Return of Mr. Sun and Mr. Blue Sky -OR- Concluding Thoughts on the Epic D.C. Snow Bust

Hello, Mr. Sun and Mr. Blue Sky: A dazzling Sun in a rain (not snow) washed blue sky fleeced with a few stratocumulus clouds in the sky over L'Enfant Plaza (with the HUD building next to it), Washington, D.C., 11:21PM March 7, 2013.


I'm not feeling at all like updating this blog.

For starters, the chlorine in the swimming pool at the YMCA tonight was a bit elevated and now I have slightly blurred vision and red and itchy eyes. Staring at this computer screen is not helping this situation. As for the gym, it was relatively good workout, although the treadmill cut off (as it sometimes does) abruptly as a bit over 32 minutes or with about 12-1/2 minutes to go. I was up to about 420 calories and approaching 3 miles. I met Tony tonight (my personal trainer). We don't meet that much any more, and it appears to be going down to once-a-week starting next week.

Of note, my weight on the big scale was down to a whisker over 160 pounds -- or 23.5 pounds below the 183.5 pounds when I first weighed myself there shortly after joining on June 23, 2012. In addition, I've added some muscle mass, so I have actually shifted at least 25 pounds out of fat.


A Few Thoughts on the Great D.C. Snow Disappointment of '13

As a follow-up to the epic "Noquester" snowstorm bust of yesterday, I refer you to this Capital Weather Gang entry by Jason Samenow "Snowquester: when forecast information fails" and to this piece "Forecasts and probabilities" by WaHoPo staff writer Joel Achenbach.

Here is an excerpt from the CWG entry:

"Consumers of weather information must also accept that weather forecasts will not be perfect and that there will be cases where we cannot, with high confidence, predict the amount of snow that will fall in their backyard.

Link: Your responsibilities as a weather forecast user

"One of the reasons, as we get closer to the onset of the storm, that we drop some uncertainty information is that some readers want to know the bottom line, without qualification. They view scenarios and percentages as 'cop-outs.'

"Ultimately, there has to be a sweet spot, where we can effectively communicate uncertainty concisely and effectively while also presenting a most likely forecast. We’re constantly working to find that and came up short in this last case."

NWS predicted snowfall amounts across the region for the "Snowquester" storm of  March 6, 2013.


Actual (observed) snowfall amounts for the region from the Snowquester storm of March 6, 2013.


Achenbach, who is normally kind of a jackass in a way special to satirically-minded intelligent writers, wrote the following:

"I am guessing the regulars on the weather blogs understand, and accept, the inherent uncertainties in weather forecasting. Here's the key fact: The weather isn’t a machine. The weather isn't the result of a deterministic process. No refinement of the models is ever going to result in a perfect forecast, because weather is chaotic, particularly stormy weather."

Whimsical weather map showing forecasted snowfall totals for the Snowquester storm of March 6 / 7, 2013 ranging from 0 to 18 inches with pockets of 0 to 30 inches. This is more or less what actually happened.


And here is the source page for the images in this entry showing what was predicted by the National Weather Service versus what actually fell.

A screen shot of the Weather Channel's Jim Cantore in D.C. near the U.S. Capitol Building during what his network called "Winter Storm Saturn" on March 6, 2013. Cantore looks flummoxed and just kind of dumb in what was nothing but a rainy day and thus having trouble maintaining the viewers' interest. The man is the Crocodile Dundee wannabe of the Weather Channel.


For record-keeping purposes, the regional climate stations recorded the following snowfall amounts:

KDCA: 0.2"
KBWI: Trace
KIAD: 3.3"

The current seasonal totals -- which surely will be the final totals -- are as follows with departures both through March 7th and the full season as based on the current NWS 30-year averages (shown in parentheses):

KDCA: 1.7"
-13.0" / -13.7" (15.4")

KBWI: 4.8"
-14.2" / -15.3" (20.1")

KIAD: 8.6"
-11.3" / -13.4" (22.0")

Here is a screenshot of the Sterling LWX/NWS "interactive" map showing CWA-wide snow totals:

Click on map for larger version. Note that there were locations in parts of Virginia in the Shenandoah Valley around Waynesboro and Shenandoah National Park that got up to 20" of snow and even areas around Manassas had 8" of snow.


Of note, the following precipitation amounts were recorded in the storm:

KDCA: 1.03"
KBWI: 0.75"
KIAD: 0.95"

So at least we had a good and welcome rainfall as we head now into spring.


OK, that's all for now. I may not have a Friday Night Musical Interlude entry if another plan involving Andrea's group pans out for me (they're going to Medieval Madness in Old Town and I was trying to go to if I can get a ticket).


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