LOCAL VIEW —The Worst—(updated)

I looked out the window this morning, and there it was: The worst.

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The blue on the radar map is snow to the north of us, and the greens, yellow and reds are rain to the south of us. We are at the southern edge of the purple, which represents glop.

There is enough glop to call this weak low Winter Snow Event #8. We had roughly an inch of snow, compressed to a half inch by sleet, which has been further compressed to a quarter inch by freezing rain.  The warm air was forecast to surge north and change the freezing rain to rain, and get temperatures up to around 43 today, but temperatures have been reluctant to budge above freezing. I keep looking out the window, waiting for the sight of the glaze of freezing rain falling off branches and power lines, but so far it hasn’t happened. I think the air might have just nudged above freezing now, at noon, but the melting is so slight the power lines still wear their rows of tiny icicles, as if decorated for Christmas.

It is a good thing I got the wood on the porch yesterday. This is the worst sort of weather in which to attempt doong anything outside. All the firewood is glazed, so not only is it so wet that it drenches you, but also it is so slippery you inevitably drop a log, usually one of the largest, onto your big toe. Therefore I’m staying in. Later I may go do some work repairing the interior of the stables, which the goats have once again trashed. However right now a nap sounds like a good thing. I need to recover from my cold, and have had a large dose of post-Thanksgiving stew, and the tryptophan is inducing a siesta.

I need to rest up, as a major storm next week is looking more and more likely. The question now seems to be whether we will get snow or rain.

The map shows storm #8 as a disorginized collection of centers, the closest slipping south of us, and moving to the east. It doesn’t look like it will explode into a gale and bring the arctic air down on strong winds, but the cold air is seeping south nonetheless. Yesterday the arctic front was up on the southern coast of James Bay at the very bottom Hudson Bay, but now it has snuck down to Lake Superior. It doesn’t look like our promised “warm up” will be all that warm.

Next Wednesday’s super-storm is in that tangle of low pressure currently navigating its way through the Rocky Mountains. It may not look like much, but that is because the energy that is going to generate the storm is up in the upper atmosphere, which is another way of saying it is above my head (and pay grade.) You can see the thicker, higher clouds are to the north. As that energy comes over the top of a ridge and swings south it will “dig” further south than the jet stream is currently curving, and become so pronounced it may even become a cut-off-low in the upper atmosphere, which generates super-storms. However that is still five days away, and much could change (and I hope it does.)

Joe Bastardi has an interesting 15 minute video about the coming storm, and why the American GFS model fails to see the storm until only a few days before it arrives, at the Weatherbell Site. It is in his “Saturday Summery,” which is for the general public and is free.  [Over on the right hand side of the screen.] http://www.weatherbell.com/

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Just as the precipitation ended, we received a quick blast of snow.

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This storm was a close call, as the temperature never got above 36.  Later in the winter, with the surrounding landscape colder, it likely would have been all snow. The pressure never fell that much, and is currently at 30.25 (1024 mb) . We received roughly an inch of rain, judging from what I poured from the goats food dishes, where they were exposed. The goats looked disconsolate, as they don’t like rain but it is getting muddy under the barn. They may even decide moving indoors isn’t such an imposition. I worked at fixing up their stables, my hands clusy in the raw cold.  (I intend to have the stables strong enough to hold an elephant before attempting to coral the goats again.  What a total mess they made of things, last time.)

The map shows the resurgence of warmth was largely deflected east, and the arctic is coming south. If you compare this map to yesterday’s you can see the cold air has pressed back towards the Canadian Rockies across Alberta to the west, and has come down from Hudson Bay to the St Lawrence Valley to the east. The high pressure area following our current storm and warm resurgence has pumped up to 30.40 (1029 mb) and now holds less Chinook air, with arctic air sweeping south in its eastern side.

If this was an ordinary year, this would be a wintry map, for this early in December. The very fact people are calling this a “warm-up” and speaking of winter “backing off” shows how very cold November was. Ordinarily this is when winter is just starting to come south, with maps that look like this one.  However we know this is no ordinary year. This is the start of the worst winter ever.

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(As always, click these maps, or open them to new tabs, to clarify and enlarge.)

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