Friday, February 21, 2020

Some Late Night Weather Notes During This Functionally Non-Existent Winter -OR- How High Is My Arctic Oscillation Index?

The District of Columbia War Memorial,
Washington, D.C., 1:33 p.m. Feb 17, 2020

This memorial is located in West Potomac Park and is to the citizens of Washington, D.C., who served in the Great War -- World War I.

West Potomac Park, Washington, D.C.,
1:33 p.m. Feb 17, 2020

The pictures in this entry are from my Monday walkabout. I had the day off for the Washington's Birthday federal holiday (a.k.a., "Presidents Day"). I had just gone to see my new primary care physician at the MedStar facility at Lafayette Centre (i.e., on 21st Street near my new apartment) and was just walking about -- down to the Mall and over to Georgetown. 

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Late night at home in my apartment. (I'm so glad to be out of that other horrible building.)

I'm back from the gym, where I had a decent workout -- after a very crappy one on Tuesday night, but I was in a hurry to get home and do laundry. This followed a busy day at work.

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, Washington, D.C.,
1:39 p.m. Feb 17, 2020

What an awesome memorial to one of history's great figures.

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I'm watching the late night TV shows that I typically watch on MeTV, Antenna TV, and Cozi TV. Following Perry Mason, the episode of The Twilight Zone was one of my favorites ("The Changing of the Guard"). (This episode, which I cannot watch without really crying, and "Nothing in the Dark" are my two TTZ favorites.) Becker is also very funny, and I just enjoy Dear John.

A large, spreading, lovely elm tree near the Potomac River, Washington, D.C., 1:57 p.m. Feb 17, 2020

What a beautiful tree.

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This entry is mostly about the weather …

Our winter continues to be functionally non-existent, although occasionally there are days when the temperatures are approximately normal -- today, for instance, the afternoon temp was around 41F -- and combined with overcast skies, it actually "felt" a bit winter-like.

One of the overpasses by the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C., 2:08 p.m. Feb 17, 2020

I think the road above is Parkway Drive NW and on which are the Arts of Peace sculptures just beyond the Watergate Steps. This is right where Rock Creek Parkway starts. The whole roadway system here is way too confusing and high-speed. It should not have been built that way.

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What's more, tonight is a cloudy, north/northeasterly breezy, and sufficiently cold (36F at the 10 p.m. hour) as a weather system bypasses us well to the south that you need to be reasonably bundled up including a hat and gloves.

However, snowfall remains virtually non-existent this winter with only 0.6 inches so far at snow-shitty National Airport (KDCA) and one year since the last meaningful snowfall (that is, since Feb 20, 2019 when 2.6 inches fell at always snow-shitty National Airport).

All three airports -- KDCA, KBWI, and KIAD -- may end up with zero snow this February, which is unusual.

In fact, the last and only other time there was zero snow in February was in 1977.

If no more snow falls this season, it will tie for the second least snowy winter on record -- after the twin least snowy winters in 1972-'73 and 1997-'98 when 0.1 inch fell.

For more information, see this CWG entry:
A year has passed since Washington’s last inch of snow.

At present, KDCA is 12.2 inches below the normal season-to-date total of 12.8 inches. The current 30-year annual average is 15.4 inches.

The new normal values should be coming out early next year (1991 - 2020, replacing 1981 - 2010), and the total should drop, I estimate, by 1.6 inches to 13.8 inches. I haven't estimated the KBWI and KIAD changes.

Their current seasonal totals are 20.1 inches and 22.0 inches, respectively.

12Z 20 Feb 2020 HRRR 3km showing composite reflectivity radar and precipitation type for a portion of the Southeastern U.S. centered on the Carolinas looped hourly through hour 36 ending 0Z 22 Feb 2020; source here.

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Speaking of snow -- and as the above radar and p-type forecast animated loop image shows -- there is actually a storm bypassing us to the south that is dumping heavy, wet snow on parts of eastern North Carolina tonight with amounts of up to six inches possible, but nothing here in D.C. … just Trump the would-be fascist dictator and his syphilis plus his GOP cult.

The Raleigh / Durham (RAX) NWS radar in standard composite mode looped 9:51 p.m. - 10:35 p.m. Feb 20, 2020

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The Newport / Morehead City (MHX) NWS radar in standard composite mode looped 9:58 p.m. - 10:44 p.m. Feb 20, 2020

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Jet stream level winds (streamlines) showing a nearly perfectly symmetric Arctic polar vortex,
on or about Feb 10, 2020

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The polar vortex remains anomalously strong and almost perfectly symmetrically centered right around North Pole itself with outright record high Arctic Oscillation index values -- and so winter is effectively shut off this year for much of North America outside of the sub-Arctic. Fuck the polar vortex.

12Z 18 Feb 2020 ECMWF ("Euro") ensemble forecast system ("EPS") of the Arctic Oscillation (AO) through March 4, 2020 as constructed by WeatherBell.com

I think the numbers on the y-axis are in standard deviations, so six is an enormous amount.

The AO Index reached 6.34 on Feb 10, 2020 -- a record surpassing the 5.91 set on Feb 26, 1990.

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The above and below images are taken from his CWG entry: The polar vortex is approaching record strength. That’s not a scary thing.

0Z 19 Feb 2020 ECMWF Ensemble (EPS) showing average mean sea level pressure (MSLP) [in hPa] valid for the five-day period 0Z 19 Feb 2020 - 0Z 24 Feb 2020

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As it is, I don't even know what I want.

For starters, snow here is just a big pain in the ass in that it is ALWAYS a disappointment tally wise thanks to that frickin' arrogant, VERY OLD man (I won't name him) whose been overseeing the KDCA weather observations since 1979 has put it imprimatur on all big storm tallies.

I'm convinced his central purpose is that the 1979 Presidents Day storm tally of 18.7 inches never surpassed. Consider that in intervening years, there have been 6 major snowstorms -- each of which just managed to just miss the 18.7 inch figure by no more than 2.3 inches -- while KBWI and KIAD set 5 and 6 new records, respectively.

Top 10 biggest snowstorm totals for KDCA, KBWI, and KIAD through the last major snowstorm
(Jan 22 - 23, 2016)

Of note, in the Jan 2016 storm, the snow ruler at KDCA "went missing" during a two-to-three hour period of moderate snowfall -- and would have almost certainly rivaled the 18.7 inch figure. Instead, it got "stuck" at 17.6 inches. I'm convinced he did (does) it deliberately.

Anyway, the month-to-date temp anomalies for Feb 1 - 20 are as follows:

KDCA: +6.5F at 44.8F
KBWI: +7.9F at 42.9F
KIAD: +7.2F at 42.6F

For January, the full monthly anomalies were:

KDCA: +6.4F at 42.4F
KBWI: +7.3F at 40.2F
KIAD: +5.7F at 38.9F

For December, the full monthly anomalies were:

KDCA: +2.4F at 42.2F
KBWI: +3.2F at 39.9F
KIAD: +2.4F at 39.0F

KDCA and KBWI were both warmer in January than December.

Looking ahead for the next 9 days of the month (it's a leap year month), I would give a rough preliminary estimate that February will end up +5.5F, which will result in a full climatological winter (DJF) will average about +5.0F, which would put the winter in the top 10 (maybe top 6) warmest on record.

OK, that's all for now. I was going to include some political commentary, but instead I'll just end the entry.

--Regulus

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