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Jason Foster

Snow looks to be on the way

Looks like I’ll be eating my own words about not expecting much snow for the DC area from this system that the models haven’t been too much in agreement on. But now, Friday evening into the early, early morning hours of Saturday, many forecasts are saying there is a higher potential. Of course, reading MAD US Weather’s own Mark Ellinwood (see previous blog post) looks to have been a best bet. TV and government forecasters aren’t talking snow totals yet, but Mark’s numbers don’t seem to be too far off what the ‘inside’ word is. It may be a west to east pattern this time around. Basically, what I mean is that the snow totals won’t measure highest to lowest in bands that increase and decrease horizontally, but vertically. Areas to the east, closer to the ocean may see the higher totals, and less toward the mountains. This isn’t uncommon for these coast storms. But still tons to determine yet, and I’m going to get some extra sleep in preparation for covering the event if it pans out. (

Very cold start this morning

We are getting quite a blast of arctic temperatures in late November. Temperatures this morning are into the low 20s in and around the DC region and below freezing temperatures as far south as central and North Carolina. Interesting, it is warmer along the Canadian border in Minnesota than it is in the DC area. Some slightly warmer temperatures are on tap today and tomorrow, but not much above normal (50°F). Mark will elaborate more on the meteorological side of things today or tomorrow.

Other things on tap are early initiation of the Great Plains Storm Chase Expedition 2011 which both myself and Mark will be going on this year. This will be Mark’s inaugural central plains chase and my seventh overall (going back to 1997 and since 2006). Most of the planning pages will appear on my subsite ( which is part of my main site at WeatherWarrior.Net. The first page so far is a base Cost Worksheet using some past years data and current information to help properly budget for this trip.

The good thing about chasing this year is that MAD US Weather will be a source for following us with daily logs, forecasts, nowcasts and more being posted here in the blog. You’ll also be able to easily link to the live video stream when we are actively chasing, and track us even live even on down days.

Tropics still running hot and heavy

As of the 11am update (AST & EDT) The National Hurricane Center has reported that invest 97L is strong enough to get Tropical Depression status, becoming the twelfth system in 2010 so far.  Tropical Depression twelve is yet another Cape Verde system & another that has been part of this long tropical train. This is also just the peak of the season, with a few more weeks left for more storms to come.

Additionally, Hurricane Igor, which reached Hurricane status just last night at the 11pm update is now, 12 hours later being upgraded to Category 2 status. Igor, having overcome the hurdles earlier with shear is now looking at continued growth over the next few days and the NHC is expecting Igor to become a major Hurricane within that time frame. Of course with many strong early systems, whether or not Igor can maintain that status and will be a risk to any land areas. Models are also not great at that long range on the certainty of the path Igor will take. Expectations are that it will be a ‘fish storm’, staying out to sea, but too many factors that have not evolved yet will make that determination.

Lastly, the continued system that has basically stalled over the lower southeast Caribbean region is actually a little less organized, but is still showing about a 50% chance (according to NHC) of tropical development. This at the moment is the system to watch since it is surrounded by land areas. Forecast models to trend toward moving the system in some sort of westerly direction which is the most favorable for residents in the greater Caribbean region, but threats are still there.

Tropical Storm Igor forms as Hurricane Season Peaks

Tropical Storm Igor has formed in the eastern Atlantic Ocean not far from the Cape Verde Islands. As the hurricane season enters into the statistical peak activity, we see that overall activity is fair. This has been quite an active season overall, but has spared many humans and land areas.

In addition to Igor, there are small areas of activity being monitored by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) among others although they have a very low to zero potential for development at the moment. One area is right next to (northeast) Igor. Two other areas are Caribbean region, one near Trinidad & Tabago while the other is south of Hispanola.

Hermine is still on the map, although barely…as it is all the way up in central Texas as a Tropical Depression. However, responsibility of this storm has been shifted over to the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center.

Tropical Storm Igor is in a slight sheared environment which will suppress development beyond Tropical Storm status for a few days. However as the system moves west, it should encounter less shear and begin to intensify. Both forward motion will increase, thanks to a trough that is to the west, and the intensity should increase into hurricane strength further out in the forecast period. Overall motion, according to the plots will be either west to west-northwest. Overall impacts to land is unknown at this point.

The next few days will tell a better story as models grab the system better and more anaylsis is done.  For now it’s just another storm in this active season.