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December 2010

What to Watch Fore(cast) – Dec 6-13

Doing this Monday to Monday now…


Cold and windy in the East – Much below normal temperatures will sit over the eastern U.S. throughout the week. Combined with windy conditions Mon-Wed, it’ll be a bitter start to the week.

The lake-effect continues – The cold air and stiff westerly/northerly winds has caused lake-effect snow storms in the Great Lakes region, and should continue through the first half of the week.

Warmth in the West – On the flip-side of the coin, the western U.S. will be relatively warm as an upper-level ridge sits over the Southwest.

Weekend storm in the East – While the details are far from certain, there is a strong signal that a storm system will rapidly develop over the mid-country around Friday and will move into the eastern U.S. Sat-Mon. This system has the potential to provide a healthy dose of wintry weather to parts of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.


La Nina is starting to really show its form this week as it has over the last several days. A cold connection with western Canada will stretch across the Northern Plains and into the eastern U.S. through most of the week, with a slight alteration in the East over the weekend as we see a new storm system develop. The cold air will be trapped over the eastern half of the nation, with some areas in the Midwest and Southeast seeing -10F to -15F anomalies through Friday. This cold air will be accompanied by brisk westerly and northerly winds Mon-Wed, which will make conditions pretty raw. It will also keep the lake-effect machine cranking as the Great Lakes sits under lake-effect warnings as locally significant snowfall is possible. A clipper system will bring some additional snowfall to the northern U.S. during the second half of the work week.

Meanwhile, an amplified upper-level ridge will reside over the Southwest throughout the week, which will keep the Southwest in the above normal temperature category. It will also keep the southern border states very dry as storm systems track across the Pacific Northwest.

A significant pocket of upper-level energy is expected to dive into the mid-country around Friday and rapidly develop into a strong low pressure system over the weekend. This will bring rain and snow to the eastern half of the nation. The models are having a tough time getting a handle on this system, so I will post an update on the event when it gets closer (Thu/Fri). It looks like a big rain producer for the East Coast, with a wintry mix over the Appalachians and snow in the Midwest. It’s looking like it will track over the Midwest and Southeast Saturday, moving northeastward into the Mid-Atlantic Sunday and into Monday. There is also a chance for this system to be a severe weather producer, so that will have to be carefully monitored for the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic as the situation becomes clearer.

Mid-Atlantic – The Week Ahead (Dec 5-12)

The word of the week is “COLD” as we get through the next week. Highs will struggle to hit 40F today and tomorrow, and highs will generally be in the 30s mid-week. Temperatures will warm back into the low to mid 40s, but that will still be below the normal temperature of 49F. Lows will bottom out in the low to mid 20s this week, which will be our first real taste of the cold this season (climo is 32F).

What will make the cold worse is the wind. Monday through Wednesday looks to be windy, so don’t go out without some protective clothing to keep your head, neck and hands out of the biting wind chills, which will be approaching single digits.

Towards the end of the work week, a clipper system will move over the Great lakes and into the northern Mid-Atlantic. Northern Maryland and northern Virginia could get some rain/snow showers from this system, which could mean light snow accumulations. This system helps set the stage for possible coastal storm development, which has had a relatively good presence on the GFS (and now the Euro) models over the last day. A second system is expected to form west of the Appalachians immediately following the clipper system, and a coastal low will develop off of that storm’s fronts. Should this be the storm that actually forms along the Coast, things could start to get interesting for the region as early as next Sunday. The rain/snow line will be a huge player in this potential storm, and right now the models are indicating 1-3 inches of snow for areas north of D.C.

Given how early the potential coastal storm follows behind the clipper system, there won’t be enough time for a nice blocking pattern to form in the Atlantic, which means the storm will likely move out of the region before we can get a cold-air lock into place. Without this lock, it will be hard to get big snowfall amounts south of Pennsylvania, and instead we’ll just get a rain event. However, seeing as how this storm is still a week+ away, this is all just speculation on the models. I’m not one to lock into any winter storm until it’s just four days out or less, so let’s just say I’ll believe it when I see it.

First big lake-effect event of the season

The Buffalo, NY area has been getting slammed by lake-effect snow over the past two days, with totals currently maxing out around 2-3 FEET. The winds out of the southwest are maximizing the fetch over the lake and creating a narrow band of intense snowfall.

Here is a radar grab from Thursday afternoon:

The bulls-eye on the image is the location of the KBUF ASOS.

Snowfall rates were in the 1-3 inches per hour range, which were sustained over a relatively long period of time. Some places will end up with over three feet of snow!

Statement as of 4:45 PM EST on December 2, 2010

The following are unofficial observations taken during the past 6 hours for
the storm that has been affecting our region. Appreciation is extended
to Highway departments… cooperative observers… Skywarn spotters and media for
these reports. This summary is also available on our home Page at

********************storm total snowfall********************

Location storm total time/date comments
snowfall of
(inches) measurement

New York

… Erie County…
West Seneca 32.0 424 PM 12/2 cocorahs
West Seneca 29.0 400 PM 12/2 Skywarn
Lancaster 27.0 300 PM 12/2 NWS employee
West Seneca 23.0 330 PM 12/2 spotter
West Seneca 22.4 300 PM 12/2 spotter
West Seneca 22.0 330 PM 12/2 NWS employee
Williamsville 2.5 229 PM 12/2 NWS employee

2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season – IR Satellite

The NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory has released a full June 1st – November 30th IR satellite loop of the 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season, and it is truly fun to watch.

You might want to pop in your own music to follow along as it runs…

The 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season

Imagery was taken from the GOES-13 satellite. This video is also handy to watch regular storms impact the U.S. east of the Rockies.

Tornado Thursday – 17 June 2010 Albert Lea, MN

This week’s video is a time-lapse made by Skip Talbot, which shows the amazing structure and evolution of a long-lived tornadic supercell that rolled through southern Minnesota on June 17th. Please visit His personal storm chasing site as well as Convective Addiction, which is a group chaser site that Skip contributes to.


Skip also has a new DVD and Blu-ray available with raw footage and time-lapse video from the 2009 and 2010 seasons. It’s called Storm Lapse, and you can head over to his Storm Lapse order page for more details and purchase information.