Saturday, February 21, 2015

Snowy Saturday in Washington, D.C.: Summary Overview; Excerpt of Boston's "Winter from Hell" - UPDATED With Significant New Content

Snowy steps of the corner house at 15th and W Streets NW, Washington, D.C., 3:05PM February 21, 2015.

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Rather than posting a new entry on what is essentially the same topic, I am updating this existing one with significant new content including pictures, some of which I took while walking to and from the gym. This update is posted at 9:20PM the same day (Feb. 21st).

Today's snowstorm -- and that's really what it was in parts of the region even if frickin' the frickin' National Airport climate station (KDCA) came in with the usual underwhelming amounts -- is winding down now as a period sleet and light freezing rain.

Sterling (LWX) NWS weather advisories as of 6:15PM EST February 21, 2015.

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The winter weather advisory for the District of Columbia that I mentioned in the original entry was finally upgraded to a winter storm warning around 5:30PM. It was also likewise upgraded in Prince George's and Anne Arundel Counties.

I guess there was a chance of shift among the Sterling meteorologists. Some of them would refuse to upgrade the weather advisory on the basis of some weird appeal to a notion of "continuity" (and maybe even "legacy") along with a pointillistic approach that views the 2.6 inches of snow that fell at KDCA through 5PM EST as "proof positive" that a winter weather advisory was the appropriate advisory even if so much more snow fell in so many places.

Sterling (LWX) NWS radar in enhanced base reflectivity mode, 6:12PM EST February 21, 2015.

Those bright yellow, orange, and even red returns are sleet pellets, which is to say, little balls of ice.

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The composite radar for the northeastern quadrant of the Lower 48 U.S., 2358UTC (6:58PM EST) February 21, 2015.

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About that latter point, there were widespread reports of 8 to 12 inches in the outer northern and western suburbs into Loudoun and Fairfax Counties, Va., and Frederick County, Md., and easily 4 to 6 inches across much of the Metro D.C. area -- and conditions certainly met the criteria of a winter storm warning. Naturally, KDCA had among the lowest amounts inside the Beltway.

A figure carrying groceries walking along the snowy sidewalk of the 1400 block of W Street NW, Washington, D.C., at dusk, 5:53PM February 21, 2015.

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As for the weather advisories and what to issue and when, this raises another issue: Sometimes the LWX meteorologists -- whose "county warning (forecast) area" is quite extensive and varied -- spend so much time fretting about the air temperature or post-frontal upslope snow shower accumulations for the Allegheny Front ridge tops where, like, 10 people live, that they forget they have 9.3 million people in the combined Baltimore / Washington metropolitan area (whatever you want to it in whatever order of names).

It matters not that most of those 9.3 million people haven't a clue whence comes their daily, not-for-profit / not-for-infotainment purposes weather forecast and weather warnings. That's immaterial.

The snowy corner of 15th and W Streets at New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., 5:56PM February 21, 2015.

Actually, it was already sleeting at this point. Also, the building across the street in this image is the Wakefield Hall.

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Updated 9:55AM 2/22/2015: The daily and storm snow totals at the three regional airport climate stations were:

KIAD: 8.9 inches (Daily Record)
KBWI: 6.3 inches
KDCA: 2.6 inches

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OK, a few non-snowy items ...

Yours truly in the elevator of my building late at night, 11:16PM February 19, 2015. I wasn't really that depressed, just tired.

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So I got in an almost complete gym workout today. Only the weightlifting was somewhat shortened (45 minutes instead of an hour) because the gym closed an hour early and I wanted to get into the swimming pool for a bit. I got in the regular 6.6 miles / 66-minutes on the treadmill.

I also wanted to mention that last night, Gary and I went to Trio for dinner. We sat at the small bar in the restaurant. The interior lighting had been changed to be much more subdued from the weird orange light that reminded me of a terrarium nightlight. I am also now fully used to the redesign. Remember that until a year ago, it looked like something out of the early 1980s, and I kind of liked it.

Trio restaurant interior, Washington, D.C., 9:41PM February 20, 2015.

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Trio and Fox & Hound are actually the same establishment, although the two had different entrances (though the staff can get to both through the kitchen). Jamie was actually next door at Fox & Hound and we stopped there for a bit. Thereafter, we went to Larry's Lounge and then returned to go to Dupont Italian Kitchen upstairs bar, where it was the usually karaoke shriek-fest.

As for tomorrow, the Annapolis plans are off, and I'm kind of relieved, except I'm not sure what to do. The only issue for me is that I need to avoid the Shitscars, I mean, Oscars tomorrow night. It is the last of the three frickin' all-devouring, all-smothering meta-events of the American corporate commercial entertainment complex that are bunched up this time of year, the others being the Shitter-Bowl and Grammys.

 The Oscars, or rather, Academy Awards event, is when the good and the great M. WADE Tipamillyun achieves his moral and cultural apotheosis for the year. For him, its Christmas, New Years, his birthday, gay boys night out, a Tysons shopping excursion with a platinum American Express card, and a NEW CAR! all rolled into one big, hyper-annoying ball of narcissistic Hollywood pop cultural Americana effluvia and excreta.

"LIKE, OH MY GAWHD! LIKE, WHATEVAH!"

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From the 2:14PM posted entry ...

View from my apartment overlooking the 2000 block of New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., 1:27PM February 21, 2015.

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It is snowing at a good clip right now even here in the District this afternoon with at least an inch of accumulation, maybe a bit more (as I estimate just looking out of my 5th floor apartment window).  There is also an occasional gusty (southerly) breeze causing the snow to whip around.

The NWS still only has D.C. and points south and east under a winter weather advisory while a winter storm warning is in effect for points north and west as well as for Baltimore. The snow is supposed to change to a wintry mix by this evening and then to rain by tomorrow morning before ending. As of 1PM, it is 23F at KDCA with a dew point of 17F. KBWI is at 21F (air) / 17F (dew point) while KIAD is 18F (air) / 14F (dew point).

Sterling (LWX) NWS weather advisories as of 1:26PM EST February 21, 2015.

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The radar is impressive. The colors in it indicate that sleet must be mixing in already. It can't snow that heavily.

The LWX NWS radar in enhanced base mode reflectivity at 1:20PM EST February 21, 2015.

The composite mode shows even more yellows, indicative of bright reflective returns within the clouds -- which is to say, sleet.

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This snow is coming at an inconvenient time as I really want to go to the gym this afternoon and then do my laundry this evening. I'm concerning the gym might close early, though. In addition, I have people texting me including Gary about meeting up. As for tomorrow, somehow I have plans to go to Annapolis early afternoon with Quill and then dinner with Wendy in the evening. I'm not sure both plans will happen.

The NWS general forecasted surface map for Feb. 21, 2015.

By contrast, here is the surface high-resolution map for the affected part of the country:

NWS surface analysis at 15Z (10AM EST) February 15, 2015 for a portion of the Lower 48 U.S.

There just aren't that many surface features to show. Yet here is the composite radar mosaic for the same swath of the country:

1838UTC (1:38PM EST) February 21, 2015 composite radar mosaic for a portion of the Lower 48 U.S.

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Anyway, here is the Capital Weather Gang blog entry (link embedded): Snow covering roads, moderate to sometimes heavy through afternoon (UPDATES).

Before I sign off, here is a New York Times op-ed piece by E.J. Graff on just how socially and economically terrible have been the consequences for the Boston metro area because of the phenomenal amounts of snow that have fallen this winter (link embedded): Boston's Winter From Hell.

A lone figure walks on the snow-blitzed Massachusetts Avenue Bridge in Boston in a recent blizzard.

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Excerpt:

"You may have seen the funny images as well: the man snowboarding down an all-but-empty major boulevard, pulled by his friend's snowmobile; drunk men diving out of second-floor windows into six-foot snowbanks; windows that merely frame a wall of snow.

But for those of us living here, it’s not a pretty picture. We are being devastated by a slow-motion natural disaster of historic proportions. The disaster is eerily quiet. There are no floating bodies or vistas of destroyed homes. But there’s no denying that this is a catastrophe.

In just three weeks, between Jan. 27 and Feb. 15, we have had four epic blizzards -- seven feet of precipitation over three weeks -- which crushed roofs, burst gutters, destroyed roads and sidewalks, closed schools and businesses, shut down highways, crippled public transit and trapped people in their homes. The infamous Blizzard of 1978 brought around 27 inches of snow and shut down the region for a week. In less than a month, we've seen more than three times as much snow. The temperature has hovered between 5 and 25 degrees, so the snow and ice haven’t melted."

It's ugly. Thankfully, March is quickly approaching and it just starts to get increasingly difficult climatologically to snow, although Boston isn't out of the woods until at least April.

For the record, through yesterday Logan Int'l Airport (KBOS) is at 98.7 inches for the season, of which all but 2.6 inches has fallen since December 1st and the overwhelming bulk of that since January 1st and fully feet of it (61.5 inches) just since Feb. 1st. KBOS is  now within easy striking distance of the 1995-1996 all-time record of 107.6 inches.


OK, let me get my day started, to the extent that I can. I do intend to post a jukebox Saturday night entry.

Updated -- Actually, I've decided to skip the jukebox Saturday night entry for this week.

--Regulus

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