Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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                   Tuesday, March 10, 2009 - 7:11PM

Not looking good for winter!

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We're close to the 4th inning now, and spring is in the lead. Winter has not been playing well and their star batters have been shutting down. Now with Wednesday on the horizon of the GFS model's (slightly more reliable) 7-day forecast, I was pleasantly surprised to see what it was depicting regarding the big trough (that both the long-range GFS and the European model were showing). The big trough is shown developing/deepening over the eastern US on Tuesday/Wednesday, rather than being an already-established system moving in from the west. What that means is that the trough will not have enough time to pull very cold Canadian/Arctic air down into the mid-latitudes of the US before it moves off into the Atlantic. A typical upper trough moving in from the west will have established strong, northwesterly winds on its back side, which usually is able to pull lots of cold air down from Canada by the time it reaches us (WV and the east coast/northeast). This trough, by contrast, is shown as being 'brand new' so to speak, meaning it isn't going to be able to get much cold air over us before it moves off to the east.

Not only that, but the GFS model shows that there isn't much cold air up north to be pulled down in the first place! The surface freezing line is shown not even getting down into the conintental US, let alone close to us in West Virginia.

So that trough means cloudy, cool and rainy - with maybe a few snowflakes up above 3,500 feet - but no snow or icy roads to be dealt with anywhere.

The GFS and Euro don't show any other significant troughs all the way to 2 weeks out. Now I've said 100 times before that long-range models are to be taken with a few *large* grains of salt. But the period that the models go out to is getting close to the end of the winter weather season, with nothing obvious on the horizon in the way of snow or ice for us here in WV. By April 1, climatology does not favor more than one final snowfall before the season is done for good - and the typical April snowfalls can't overcome the warm ground/surface layer temps to cause any road problems.

So take heart - we may actually be done with winter!! As always, with weather, you can never say it with 100% certainty this far out, but it definitely looks good for spring 'winning out' from this point further.

Yay for spring!!!
- Posted by Katie from Melrose, MA

I second that!!
- Posted by Beth from Raleigh, NC

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