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2013-2014 winter weather


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2013-2014 winter weather.



Posted in the December Banter Thread 2, Page 25, post 874



State of the snowpack - December 11 2013

Its barely mid December and Woodbridge already has 2 inches of snow and sleet on grassy surfaces. The snowpack is composed of an inch of glaciated snow and sleet, with another inch of compacted, frozen snow on top.

The ground is surface frozen which supports the snow/sleetpack. An anomalous frigid airmass over the eastern two thirds of the US will likely preserve this snow/sleetpack for at least part of the week.

Plows have piled up piles of sleet and snow as much as three feet tall. Tonight these will freeze fairly hard as temps fall to near 20 degrees.

If this anomalously cold pattern continues, we could hold on to snowpack into next week. This is early for northeastern Virginia and is not indicated by climatology. This weather pattern is much more representative of late January.


This is the post to use for the description of the Dec 8-9 2013 snow/sleet/zr storm.


Sunday December 8 2013 snow and sleet storm.


It had two parts. The first part was snow and sleet from 7am to 2pm which then mixed with ZR.

We had FZDZ into the evening then the 2nd part of the storm was freezing rain which steadily fell from 9pm to 5am.

The temperature during the day was in the 20s and rose to 30, where it remained into 4am.

The snow and sleet accumulated an inch. The afternoon ZR then iced up the snow/sleetpack and soaked it.

The ZR lin the evening into the overnight accreted a third of an inch of ice over the existing snowpack. The ice accumulation brought down branches and caused power outages. Pine tree branches were the hardest hit by the ice. I saw pine branches at least 6 inches in diameter that had been snapped off.

The snow and sleet in the first part of the storm readily accumulated on roads as well as grassy areas. The sleet piled up on roads despite initial road temperatures in the low 40s.

Models progged temperatures to rise above freezing at 9Z which is 4am EDT Dec 9. The temperatures stayed at or below freezing until after sunrise.

The high on the 9th was only 34 degrees. It stayed cloudy. Some ice melted but much of it remained on the trees and on roads, sidewalks, cars, fences and bushes well into the day. The third of an inch of ice was difficult to remove from cars, particularly if the snow and sleet had been removed before the nighttime icing started.

I missed getting to go to the R and get my Bailey and opp some lebs. It would have been a very good day to Bailey and get AD cycles because there would have been very few ppl around. Jon said they closed at 3pm Sunday.

Tuesday December 10 2013 snowstorm

Models had indicated 4-6 inches of snow which was supposed to start at 7am, perhaps mixing with sleet at the onset.

The snow started around 7ish. I woke up at 830am and noticed about a half inch of snow on roads and grass, then heard the ping of sleet mixed in with the snow. We also had a period of very light snow and sleet between 830am and 1030am. Then the snow picked up and fell moderately through at least 1130am but the boundary layer temps were marginal, around 32. The upper level low was moving very fast and the snow was over by noon. I slept til 230pm then saw the sun was out, temps rose to 38 degrees and the snow on the roads and sidewalks melted but we had picked up an inch and a half od fresh snow on cartops and on top of the inch of glacier from 2 days ago.

We've had three days of snow cover - The snow/sleet and ZR that fell Sunday Dec 8 stuck around thru Dec 9 into this event which added another inch and a half of snow for three days so far of snow cover. This week is progged to be pretty cold. We might hold on to the snowpack for another few days.

Higher elevations such as where Trixie lives near CharlesTown got 4 inches of snow. FDK got about 5-6 inches of snow. They got more banding, just like the Rap had indicated.

Jan 28 2014

It is like atmospheric magic. A meteorologist could not have co-located everything at once at the same time over one area. Tanking mid level heights with the incoming PV max, the most divergent portion of that upper jet coupling, strong 600-800 frontal forcing, strong low level moist theta-e advection into the frontal circulation, and extreme convergence into the low level cyclone. I am thinking this is going to be ripping heavy TSSN over N IL like nothing before. baroclinic_instability
12/17/13...surprise 1/2" SN
1/3/14...2" SN
1/21/14...5" SN
12 inches of snow 2013-14 season --- 22 days of snow cover



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  • 1 month later...

Surprise 2 inch snow late Jan 28-early Jan 29 2014



A storm was developing along an arctic boundary that stalled in North Carolina. This same boundary extended into the northern Gulf of Mexico and into Texas. There was horrific ice and sleet and snow all along this boundary F from Austin OBX. There was snow farther north as well. SE VA and parts of NE NC got 8-10 inches of snow. Late in the day today, models indicated the precip shield would move farther north into N VA.


Last night, and early on the 28th at 3am I saw this SW to NE line of snow form from DC to the TN/NC state border. It was not snowing but the radar indicated it. It first showed up at 8pm on the 27th, then again at 3am the next morning. By 5am the line had gotten wider.


By noon there was rain, sleet, freezing rain and snow bands down in NC, SE VA. There was a band of snow over C VA and another over N VA.


It was cloudy all day here with highs only around 14 degrees. The wind made it feel like -5. It was very COLD. Mid level clouds lowered and thickened all afternoon.


By 6pm the band over N VA had expanded in areal extent. At that time the temps were 13 degrees with dewpoints near -8. I thought it would not snow because of all the dry air. In fact I made a ridiculous statement on American to the effect that we would not see snow because of the dry air. Well, I was dead WRONG.


Models had shifted the precip north some, and a shortwave was set to move across VA overnight, and though we only had a tenth of an inch of water equivalent to work with, it did snow, beginning at 930pm. The snow stuck, from flake 1. The ground was frozen and roads were cold. Snow fell for five hours, moderate at times. The dewpoint rose to 6 above zero while the dry bubd temps fell from 12 degrees, to 9 degrees. This is the first time I have ever seen snow fall at 9 degrees. It was a historic moment.


We ended up with 2 inches of fluffy, glittery snow that turned the lawns white again and covered the roads and all surfaces. It was 9 degrees and 20 to 1 snow to water ratios were in play which meant that one tenth of an inch of water translated to 2 inches of fluffy snow. The winds were light. The snow was easy to measure.


I had not expected snow from this SE VA storm. It was a total surprise. It was fun to watch the snow fall and accumulate at only 9 degrees. It brought my seasonal totals to 12 inches. That surpasses the 2011-12 and 2012-13 winters, and it is about the same as the 2010-11 winter when we got around 12 inches on the season.


The snow ended at 245am. The low was 8. There were a lot of happy people in northern Virginia, Maryland and Delaware from this snow. Many of us had not expected it, though we wanted it.


The day after this snow, some of it melted, it was only a fluffy 2 inch snow, it was in the teens but it still blew or melted. The day after that more of it melted. The north facing lawns looked spectacular with over three inches of snow ( they had snow from the last 5 inch snow on Jan 21). Even the Glendale Valley sidewalks stayed snow covered.


Wed Jan 29 we hit 24, low 8

Thursday Jan 30 we hit 31, low19.

On Fri Jan 31 more areal snow melted because we hit 45 degrees but the ground was still so cold and frozen that snow held on in shaded places and to the north of sun blocking objects like houses. We pulled out at least three days of snow cover after this 2 inch snow, today Jan 31 being the 3rd day.





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5 inch snow Tuesday January 21 2014


I am writing this on Jan 31. We have seen 11 days of snow cover since this snow fell. It has been very cold since.


In the morning, temps fell to 29 degrees from the night before. The snow may have started at 9am. I did not wake up til 1030am. I saw some light snow that briefly became moderate. We picked up half an inch by 1030am that accumulated to an inch then we got stuck with pixie dust that fell thickly. Temps fell through the 20s all afternoon. The only reason the pixie dust did accumulate as much as it did, was because we had such COLD temps throughout the snow. By 2pm it was 25 degrees, by 5pm it was 22 degrees. We got pixie dust for hours this afternoon. Maryland got snow bands all afternoon because most of the frontogenetical forcing was over them, just as models had indicated about 6 hours before the start of the snowstorm. The RAP and HRRR tend to pick these details up very close to the start of a storm. The green banding over Maryland finally expanded and became a green blob that started to move southeastward. We finally got a green band with pretty sick rates around 645pm. Snow became outright heavy with 2 inch an hour rates. By the time the green band finally hit us, the pixie dust had accumulated to 2.5 inches with 20 degree temps by 630pm. When the green band hit us, temps fell to 17 degrees with 15 dewpoints. By 815pm when the band went by and snow tapered off, we had gotten 5 inches of snow. This is the biggest snow we have seen in three years, since the psuhoffman snow in Jan 2011 which dumped 5.5 inches of heavy wet snow on us which broke a lot of pine branches and left many pine saplings forever bowed over. This was one of the coldest snows we had seen since the 1980s, until a surprise snow on Jan 28-29 which snowed at 9 degrees which is the coldest snowstorm I have ever personally experienced.


This snowstorm had some winds as well. Not only was it running in the low 20s for much of the storm but we had N winds which gusted to 37 mph which blew much snow off the roofs and along the ground which produced drifts and near whiteout conditions at times. It was like a milkshake froth lol. That made this particular storm very fun.


On Monday Jan 27 we had a warm spike. That morning at 5am it rose to 36 degrees. Later that morning we hit 55 degrees, probably around 930am or so until the polar front smashed into us around 1030am from reports and we fell to 41 degrees by 1230pm when I woke up. It got most of the areal snowpack, about 75 percent of it. By 330pm we had fallen to 31 degrees with 5 degree dews and NNW wind gusts to 35 mph.


The Jan 21 5 inches and Jan 28 2 inches tended to overlap somewhat with limited snowpack areal coverage by the time the Jan 28 2 inch surprise hit us but those 2 new inches reestablished the snowpack for at least another day.


By Jan 31 we had had 11 days of patchy to full areal snow cover, with a total of 23 days including Jan 31. We just might manage to pull out one more day tomorrow.









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  • 3 weeks later...

Review of the Feb 12-13 2014 snowstorm


The experts like Bob Chill on the forum were watching this storm on the models from about a week out. The Euro showed the storm at least 5 days out. We had been burned by the "big snow" the weekend before, the unicorn snow, which turned into three inconsequential pieces of energy that ended up breaking our hearts. Thus we were honestly skeptical of this developing storm. We regularly get our hearts broken as storm appear on the models then they always find a way to screw DC.


The models showed this storm from five days out. We remembered that all the big storms that hit DC had always been shown from 5 days out. This made some of us begin to hope, but there was always this strong healthy skepticism that comes from getting screwed over often by snows in DC winter after winter after winter.


By Sunday night, three days out from the start of the event, I was watching the models too. I was avidly reading the forums. I forgot everything else in my life for about 4 days lol.


Monday night the models were coming up with fantastic solutions for DC and vicinity. It was 'happy hour' and incredible euphoria reigned on the forums as we all imagined what 2.5 inches of water and two feet of snow would look like in our backyards.


Of course the 12z runs brought us back to hard reality as they showed not so enthusiastic solutions. By Tuesday night we were all adjusting our expectations hard, zwyts setting the bar at 5-6 inches of snow.


We were absolutely livin' and dyin' by model runs. We were high on cocaine then out on the ledge as the models thrashed out a solution. The damn good for shyte gfs was an outlier that we were all concerned might well turn out to verify.


In the end the moderate solution worked out. By Wednesday afternoon we could see that we would get about 6 to 10 inches. Warnings were hoisted from Georgia to Maine. Over an inch of freezing rain fell in Georgia and South Carolina where civil emergencies were declared.


NWS was uncertain about pulling the trigger on warnings for the lwx forecast area. The Nam won them over by 10pm Wed night and they hoisted warnings for 6 to 10 inches of snow. At one point they increased the forecast to 10-14 inches. DT and Justin Berk developed fantastic snow maps that verified! I wa sso impatient and fed up with the NWS being reluctant to hoist a WSW for my county that I posted a sarcastic message in the forums concerning NWS about sadistic forecasters holding back our winter storm warning but NWS warning everyone else, that was promptly removed by a mod since we were in storm mode lol.


I was so concerned about heavy wet snows on cold roads that I rushed thru my workout Wednesday afternoon and missed several lebs as well as missing lots of exercises. My friends watched with amusement as I thoroughly panicked because I was scared to death to be caught out on the roads in heavy wet snow on cold roads. By 5pm I had fled home in total fear, because I had had my head so deep up the models' a$$ that I totally failed to realize that the 25 degree high temp on Wednesday would keep the snowfall from being wet lmao. Between 4pm and 430 the dewpoints suddenly increased from 8 degrees, to 15 degrees. My panic intensified. The column was moistening and tons of heavy wet snow would suddenly hit the roads - and I was still out on them!


My panic increased as I saw virga moving over Dale City as early as 330pm. OMG it's gonna hit EARLY! I went out in the back yard and set up rulers and one MASSIVE snow stake with inches marked out in three inch increments with bright colored duct tape. I set duct tape up at the one foot level on the chain link fence posts and also made thick black marks at the 12 inch level on the front yard fence posts. I measured features in the back yard and noticed that the car undercarriage was 7 inches above the driveway, I oiled all my square edged construction grade shovels. I devoured an entire carton of soft chocolate chip cookies to pile on the carbs since I was about to dig Dale City out of the snow all by myslef. Well, the cookies promptly put me to sleep and I damn near missed the beginning of the storm at 7pm lmao.


The damn snow finally reached the ground at 706pm in Dale City. Twenty minutes before, everyone in the lwx cfa was reporting snow and I was close to panic.


The temps fell to 22 degrees. The roads were cold as hell. Every flake stuck. Roads and sidewalks turned instantly white. Light snow continued for a couple hours.










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