Weather Blog

Update: The models have spoken...

Update: The models have spoken...
Normally as weather forecasters, we root for severe weather just a little bit as it certainly makes the forecast interesting, but after the last two weeks, I think we'll be OK with a pass.

If you read my blog entry from earlier Tuesday, I highlighted the stark differences between the main forecast models with the incoming storm on Thursday night.  One said very windy and warm, the other was weaker and cooler.

Well, the late forecasting models from Tuesday night are in and the winner in this blind taste test appears to be the cooler, weaker solution.  The GFS version has completely changed its tune and is now agreeing with the NAM version that the storm will be much weaker and move inland around the central coast. (Actually, it's now forecast to come in as sort of a dual-storm center. If you read Cliff Mass' blog, he details how original dire predictions from the models were based on two weather disturbances phasing into one, but now it looks like the phasing part won't be a perfect mesh, and we'll end up with sort of two storms right next to each other.  In these cases, the storms fight for energy with each other -- much like how two people side-by-side would bonk into each other if they tried to spin with their arms out -- and thus you don't really get the right mechanics for a big storm.)

What it appears we'll be left with is an awkward two-headed storm, with the first one coming inland around early Thursday afternoon and perhaps making it a little breezy to 20-30 mph, then the second low center around midnight.  This second low center is the stronger of the two, and might still kick up some noticeable winds -- especially along the south and central coast and southwestern Washington, but nowhere near the levels we were fearing with the original storm track.

This storm scenario also keeps snow levels down to where this would all be snow in the mountains, and thus river flooding would not be a concern.  Instead, expect heavy snow in the mountains again Thursday into Friday.

Another trade-off, since this storm is now expected on a more southerly track, we'll stay on the cool side of the storm, and the post-storm northerly winds on Friday could cool us down to knock the snow levels to a few hundred feet.  So now we would have a greater chance of some scattered snow showers for Friday and Friday night -- especially above 500 feet and in the Convergence Zone area.  It's a bit early to really try and nail this down yet -- let's see how this first storm(s) play out.

And, of course, all the models can change their mind on Wednesday.  We'll keep you posted :)