Once again an arctic high has nudged south and clipped us with frigid air that it didn’t seem possible could get here, even two days ago. This time I’m ready for it, and have three stoves burning wood tonight, as the full moon beams in a wintry sky.
It is interesting to compare these two maps, the first from two days ago, and the second from tonight. (Click to enlarge or, preferably, open to new tabs so you can click to and fro and compare the maps.)
In the first (left hand) map you can see the last cold high fading away to the east, but when you look west there seems to be no oncoming arctic high to replace it. To the west you see nothing but benign Chinook air. However two days later, in the second (right hand) map, you can see a rather solid looking arctic high pouring cold air down on me and making me light three fires. How is it possible to see such a high pressure coming?
It has happened before, so I should know better. In fact it has happened something like four times in a row, but I remain mystified. These arctic high pressure keep appearing out of the blue. I would assume I am just ignorant, but the billion dollar American GFS computer also fails to see them coming. Over and over it looks at that first map and predicts the obvious warm up I assume would be the inevitable result of such a map, and despite a billion dollars is as wrong as I am for free. Meanwhile, for the price of a cup of coffee, my subscription to Weatherbell gets me Joseph and Joe, who somehow see these things coming. Mr. Bastardi, in an aside, mentioned the four high pressure systems something like eight days ago. I said to myself, “What the bleep is he talking about?” After all, if I can’t even see the next high pressure system, I sure as hell can’t see four.
In the same way, I didn’t see that Thanksgiving storm coming. It came. Nor can I see the storm about to hit us, looking at tonight’s map. Let me print the map again, and ask you to see what could give us gales in 48 hours.
When I look at the map I look west for the next storm, at that low atop North Dakota. A piddly 1013 mb low? Way up there? Where can that go? It doesn’t even have an arctic high behind it.
Even if you look down the coast, you only see a weak 1010 low out past Bermuda, too far out to come back west, right? However actually that low is not an ordinary low rippling along a front, but is the first dimple of a complete collapse of isobars along the USA east coast, which meteorologists jokingly call “bombogenesis.” In essence a storm appears out of nowhere. The Canadian model shows it well, with nothing apparent after 24 hours, and a gale appearing after 54.
The fact I can’t see the storm coming, while Mr. Bastardi could see it last week, involves a difference in depth, which becomes a difference of opinion, and perhaps even a difference in prayer. Although we both go to church and pary to the same God, Mr. Bastardi likely prays his forecasts are correct, while I disloyally pray his forecasts are wrong. (I have enough troubles without a storm.)
The wonderful thing about meteorology is that differences are resolved, unlike the differences that manifest in politics and some marriages. They are resolved by a simple thing I will look out my window and see 48 hours from now, called Reality.