WeatherSnap is Back!

January 29th, 2014

Well WeatherSnap is back!

This time around we are focusing our efforts on our unique text service through Harford county and Lancaster county regions.

We will be focused on:

1. Daily weather forecasts (at 8 pm) to keep you up to date with the day-to-day changes in the weather.

2. Severe Weather Alerts.

3. Answering your questions that you message to us!

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Late March Snow?

March 24th, 2013

Yes there will be snow for our area even though it is late March but how much and when?

As would be expected we are a little skeptical (and little is an understatement) after we were burnt so bad with the storm at the beginning of the month. So what is different between this storm and the no-show on March 6th?

  1. Timing- This storm looks to bring more precipitation into the area during the night time so we can look for less of an issue at the onset of this storm with it being all snow.
  2. Cold Air- There seems to be a better supply of cold air over the region this time around and this would favor more of the white stuff falling tonight into tomorrow.
  3. Wind Direction- THIS is the big reason for there to be snow tonight into tomorrow. The winds with March 6th were almost purely easterly and they were heavy winds, while these look to be coming more from the north. This will keep those pesky warm airs off of the ocean at bay.


4. Sun Angle- The sun angle will be worse this time of year with the sun making it extremely hard for any snow to accumulate during

     the day time.

Whats our forecast?

We believe that the precipitation will start moving in around sunset tonight.  The snowfall will come on moderately for a few hours before slowing down near midnight. The low pressure will regroup and start snowing moderately to heavy around rush hour tomorrow morning.  The snowfall will last into the early afternoon on Monday.

What about the sun angle?

The only way to overcome the sun angle is to have snowfall rates that are moderate to heavy during the day. The best chance for these after sunrise will be from northeast MD to southeast PA to Southern NJ. This could very well be the jackpot area for this storm.

What is the biggest concern?

Our biggest concern is that the heaviest snow will be falling from 5 am right through rush hour. This will make roads slick and dangerous. This will also limit the visibility on the roads. Please be careful.

Snow map below.


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Look Ahead in the Weather

March 8th, 2013

Now that we have gotten that weather system mostly out of the way in our forecast area it is time to take a look to the future!

Temperatures: The upper pattern look like it will allow for a ridge to build over our forecast area for the weekend. This will give us exceptionally beautiful conditions into the early part of the next week with temperatures above average. Then, the temperatures look to reverse into below-seasonable levels for the second half of the week and into next weekend.

Precipitation: There in increasing support for a strong cold front to push through the region during the middle of next week. This will spread showers but the precipitation will be of the short-lived variety as the cold front continues its march towards the coast. Another chance for light precipitation is on the table for the end of the work week as a light disturbance moves through.


Any other questions? Comment below, we love to hear from our followers!

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What happened to the snow?!

March 7th, 2013

Well most places east and north of Baltimore, MD were left wondering yesterday where their share of the snow was. Based on the NWS produced observed snowfall map below, that seems like a fair question.


From this forecaster’s point of view, the problem is that areas east and north of Baltimore should not have realistically been expecting the amounts of snow that were called for. WeatherSnap was far from innocent as our weather maps had 5-8 inches extended up into central New Jersey! So in hindsight (always 20/20) what should have been considered differently?

1. Climatology: As we studied meteorology in college, we were always taught to weigh climatology heavily when basing our forecasts.  A prime example of this is this storm, when we called for 5-8 inches of snow in the DC area from this storm and only an inch or two is on the ground this morning. Historically, the DC area has only ever received 5 decent snowstorms in a similar pattern in March and only one was over 5 inches. A lower forecast would have been a wiser choice because clearly this pattern in March is not the most favorable for snowfall.

2.Temperatures: The air mass that was in place over the region when this storm hit had been in place for a while and the source of the cold air was cut off from the true source over the Artic. Below is an image of the surface analysis for 7 am Tuesday and you can see that the red line illustrates the lack of true cold air being filtered into the area.


 Rates: Therefore, with a lack of true cold air in the region, we were relying on snowfall rates to overcome the marginal surface temperatures. 850′s and 925 temperatures were in line for a major snowstorm, but we needed moderate rates of snowfall to cancel out the boundary layer and surface temperatures. These rates never materialized for the eastern half of the region and thus the snow never fully took control in these areas. An example of the warmth you had to fight off can be found in the image below:


The above image is of the 925 mb analysis midday on Wednesday. It is not very often that you see 925 mb temperatures to the North warmer than it is to the South. This illustrates our point beautifully. The only difference between the two regions is that the snowfall and rainfall rates were not forcing the atmosphere to cool in northwest PA and thus the temperatures popped above freezing.

This is just another opportunity to learn and to increase our meteorological knowledge. Next time we will be more prepared!

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March Lion of a Snowstorm

March 6th, 2013

“March comes in like a Lion and out like a Lamb”

That is how the saying goes and what better depiction of this quote than for this snowstorm we have at our door step. Let’s take a look at radar to get a look at our current situation:


The precipitation appears as though it is approaching slightly faster than expected. The stronger this initial low pressure system can get, the more northerly trajectory the storm path will be.

We wish to keep this storm discussion simple so let’s go through 4 points that we would like to cover:

  • Morning Weather: We believe people will be quite surprised by just how much snow will be on the ground when they wake up Wednesday morning.  We believe amounts will range from 2-4 inches with even isolated spots of 6 inches in the mountains of Western MD! Be prepared and give yourself plenty of time to get to work tomorrow.
  • Snow Bands: This will go hand in hand with the morning weather dilemma. There appears to be the case of snow banding possible tomorrow with snowfall hourly rates in between 1 and 2 inches. The best timing for these bands would favor the 5 am – 11 am timeframe. These bands can appear out of nowhere so be cautious travelling especially tomorrow morning.
  • Concerns: What are the main concerns with this storm? This will be a very heavy, wet snow and will cling to any trees it happens to fall on. Also, if a snow band happens to pop up over your region, there could be significant increases to your totals as snow bands are very hard to predict. Any weak roofs are also vulnerable to the massive weight that even six inches of this heavy snow will apply to the roof. To add to these problems are the 20-40 mph winds that will be blowing these snow-laden tree limbs off the trees.
  • Duration of the storm? This storm should start in the time frame of 10 pm – midnight Tuesday and end in the time frame of 2- 4 am Thursday.
  • How Much Snow? Of course the obvious question on everyones mind is this! So our snowfall map is down below and we want to make sure you know that snowfall banding could raise your totals by a few inches it just depends on where it sets up!


Any questions? We love to hear from our fans so comment below!

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March Snowstorm?

March 4th, 2013

Climatology would say that snow is hard to come by at this time of year. You have to fight many factors such as:

1. Warm surface temperatures lowering the snowfall ratios down to closer to 7:1.

2. Going with number 1, the sun angle is higher this time of year which lends to warmer temperatures and a warmer atmosphere all around.

3. The wetter snow will lead to problems with power failures as the winds lead to snow-laden trees falling down.

With all of that said we appear to have a decent chance at accumulating snow with all of the critical factors lining up for the middle of the week. Snowfall rates will aid in the snow accumulating where the heavy regions could see rates as high as 2″/hr falling from the sky. Stay tuned with WeatherSnap as we keep you updated about this storm!



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Will it be a White Valentine’s Day?

February 12th, 2013

We have a storm that is currently located down in the deep South, pouring rain from Texas into Georgia. This will be our troublemaker that we will have to deal with into the early morning hours Thursday.

What is the set up for this storm?

We have storm that will be sliding just to the south of the Maryland border on Wednesday afternoon and strengthening off of the coast of Delaware. Normally this would be an excellent set up for a quick thump of snow but the issue is that there is lacking an abundant supply of cold air. This will have the storm rely mostly on the dynamics of a strengthening low pressure system to provide the cold air to produce snow.

What is the time frame for this storm?

We expect precipitation to move into the area tomorrow in the form of light rain during the late morning hours. As colder air is wrapped into the storm expect the precipitation to change over to snow in a north-to-south orientation. The heaviest period of snow should fall from 9  pm – midnight as heavy snow bands start to set up across the region.

What are the primary hazards with this storm?

The primary hazard is for heavy snow bands to establish themselves and drop snow at 1 – 1.5 inches an hour. We think this storm has the potential for this and that is the reason the dark blue area has isolated spots up to 6″. The snow will drop fast as it will only have a 5- 7 hour timeframe to work with.

How Much Snow?


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Blizzard in Boston…. How About Down Here?

February 7th, 2013

Here we can see the current radar shot of the two storms that will be impacting our region Friday into Saturday:


The northern piece of energy is currently spreading 6-12 inches of snow throughout Michigan, while the southern piece of energy is delivering a downpour in the Southeast. To have that much moisture diving down from up North indicates that there is a powerful driving force behind it. This upper level energy will make its way East and will go to work strengthening our system to the south. These storms will eventually merge tomorrow afternoon, and from after that the coastal storm will really start cranking into a blizzard for the Boston area.

How will all of this play out tomorrow?

We can split this storm into two portions:

A. Light rain and mixed precip will slide into our area in the early morning hours of Friday. This light precipitation will last into the early afternoon. Traveling hazards can be expected for the northern half of our forecast region. This precipitation will die down for a few hours of reprieve.

B. The low pressure will start to strengthen off the coast and the moderate-to-heavy snow will start to dump on our region around 6 pm. This snow will last into mid-morning Saturday as it tapers off into snow showers and heavy winds.

Here is our WeatherSnap official Map:


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When Will the Thunderstorms get Here?

January 30th, 2013

Below is a visible satellite image, as of 9 am this morning, and you can notice the western edge of the cold front that will impact our region currently located in eastern Texas. A better image to show the copious amounts of liquid being pushed in front of this cold front can be seen more clearly on the water vapor imagery, for the same time, located below the visible satellite image.


This is a more complex situation than a simple cold front sweeping across the region and sparking up showers. The reason for this is that the current cold front is forecast to stall out as it reaches the Appalachians and proceed in a South-to-North trajectory along the mountains. A secondary cold front, associated with a secondary low pressure, will bump into, and merge, with the current cold front as the low pressures merge together. This is the reason the heaviest rain will take so long traversing from Pittsburgh to the coast. This new cold front is expected to form in the late afternoon… then it is off to the races!

Occasional scattered showers will pop up across the region ahead of the cold front but the map below maps out the path of the cold front, thunderstorms, and the heaviest rain. The main threat with these thunderstorms is heavy, potentially damaging winds. The threat will increase the further south you go in our WeatherSnap forecast area.

When will this rain start?

With the passage of this cold front, high pressure will slide back into our area and filter back in cold air from Canada. This means the rest of the work week and the weekend will see us return to seasonably chilly temperatures. There appear to be a few upper level disturbances that may pass through our area as this cold sticks around. More about that in later posts!

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Rush Hour Snow? More Snow on Friday?

January 21st, 2013

There is a pocket of upper level energy that will be swinging through the region this afternoon into this evening. This will touch off scattered snow showers throughout the area. This is the radar shot as of 11:30 am today.


We expect these snow showers to spread light accumulations throughout our forecast region, with a more defined line of snow forming near rush hour. This line will race to the east as isolated spots may see up to an inch of snow from this line.  We also expect snow showers to lead to accumulations around 1″ in Northeast Pennsylvania. These snow showers will die down for the most part by midnight.

What is in store for Friday?

We are seeing general agreement between model guidance on a storm moving through our region late Thursday night into Friday. There are a lot of variables with this storm that can drastically change the results. These variables include the storm track, how much this storm can tap into the moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, and how quickly (or if) this storm intensifies.

This storm is still far out for anything definite to be determined but it bears watching as we get closer to the timeframe. Stay with WeatherSnap for updates!

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