We got about three inches of snow at my place before it changed over to sleet around 1am. It later changed over to a sleet and freezing rain mix. I’m not ultimately sure what type of ice accretions we got because I had to go to work early in the morning, but it was glazing badly as I left in the 6:00 hour. Seeing reports from around the area, this was a bust for most everyone in terms of snowfall and only out towards Fredneck did any real snow fall. My place seems to fall in line with those who are just northwest of I95 and those directly on it seemed to get 2.5 inches. The biggest bust in my forecast was northeastern MD, which seems to have only got about four inches. FAIL.
Here’s the low as it fully formed:
— NOAA Satellites (@NOAASatellites) March 14, 2017
As for the reason for the bust, the storm formed and tracked further west still from where both I and the models thought it would be and it tracked through eastern North Carolina and over the Norfolk area. In the morning it went just west of the mouth of the Chesapeake and on up over top of the Delmarva before exiting off the Delaware coast. Later in the afternoon it crossed Long Island. My understanding is that this was a bust for Philly to NYC to Boston too due to this track. I believe official forecasts were for snow to be measured in feet for those cities. FAIL.
Here’s what was the official forecast for New York City:
Here’s what it had changed to all of five hours later:
As for model performance, none of them got it right, but last night’s 0z NAM and Canadian forecasted the track correctly, but the storm had basically formed at that point so it shouldn’t have been that difficult. Not surprisingly, the 0z GFS still tracked the storm wrong and incredibly, so did the 06z GFS after the coastal had definitively fully formed. The fairly reliable (in the fist eight hours) HRRR indicated a colder solution in the middle of the night last night and that the mix would change back over to snow early in the morning and this was wrong too. The track on some model runs only a couple of days ago that took it well east were very wrong inside a time frame that is supposed to see improvement and further proof there’s still a long way to go to perfect the models. This after additional data from flights in the Atlantic were ingested into the models over the past couple of days to ensure forecast track and I’m sure additional weather balloon data too. FAIL.
The temperature did stay below freezing at my place for the duration of the precipitation heavy enough for accumulation, so I’ll give my forecast (and the models) that. It went below freezing at 9:05PM last night and went back above at 11:05am. Win.
Also to note: In one of the most perplexing things I’ve ever seen our local National Weather Service do, they dropped the Winter Storm Warning and put in a Winter Weather Advisory around 4:30am. I’ve never seen this in my ~32 years of watching the watches and warnings when there is ongoing heavy precipitation and the temperature is below freezing and not expected to go above, although they do it all the time when temps go above freezing. A winter storm warning is supposed to be 5 inches or more of snow or sleet within a 12 hour period, or enough ice accumulation to cause damage to trees or power lines, or a combination of both snow, ice and wind. We were certainly getting the combination of snow, ice and wind and were forecasted to through at least mid-day (the five inches of snow requirement has never counted when there’s mixing of icing). It was so odd, I had to go to the local NWS page to make sure they hadn’t changed the definition (they haven’t): http://www.weather.gov/lwx/WarningsDefined. I was completely baffled, but then I saw this article here and am thinking since they already had decided it was a fail before the storm started, they just went ahead and downgraded it regardless.
Later during the morning, tree limbs being down were reported everywhere. Here’s one in Canton that is on my drive to work:
— Torbin Green (@Smalltimore) March 14, 2017
Also to note: Only two weeks ago it was loudly declared by the CWG spring had arrived way early and that it could/would be an early record breaking cherry blossom year. A conveniently non-paywalled Washington Post article highlights this:
A couple of days later the NPS officially said the festival will kickoff tomorrow:
Now they’re saying they could be 90% dead:
LOL. Oops. FAIL.