Sunday, February 2, 2014

February 9-14 Potentially Significant Snowstorm

It's looking like we'll be seeing another snowstorm between the February 9-14 period, and some indications are that this could be a rather significant snowstorm.

Above, we see the 500mb height anomaly forecast for the evening of February 3rd. We see a strong trough digging southeast towards Japan. The arrow I drew gives you an idea of where the storm system goes in the couple of days after this forecast image. The storm then continues to dig before it is a fully negative-tilted storm, indicating the system has reached peak maturity and strength. Then, the system cuts north, as the arrow shows you. Using Joe Renken's idea that a storm system over Japan correlates to a storm system in the United States 6-10 days later, we can project that a storm system will hit the United States around a February 9-13 time period. This fits almost completely inside the timeframe I put in this post, with the one day extension to February 14th brought in to account for any delays model guidances may encounter, since model guidance can have a bias that results in forecasts being too fast with storm systems.

The curve in the East Asian storm system suggests that the eventual storm system in the US may also curve north. This includes a variety of possibilities, including a Colorado Low storm, a Panhandle Hook storm, an Apps Runner storm, or even a Nor'easter.

Also supporting this potential storm system is the Lezak Recurring Cycle. The Lezak Recurring Cycle, or LRC, is a tool developed by meteorologist Gary Lezak that, in essence, can enable forecasters to predict the overall weather pattern months in advance. The gist of the LRC involves a cycling weather pattern that develops in October and November of each year; no pattern is the same from year to year. Around mid November, the LRC begins to repeat, meaning we start to see a similar weather pattern in mid November that we saw in early October. This means that the cycling pattern has begun, and it will continue to cycle on a regular (non-changing) 40-60 day interval for the next ~10 months before it dissipates over the following summer.

This season's LRC cycle is on a 57 day cycle length, meaning the weather we saw in December can be expected to "come back" as we enter February. The image above shows the surface condition map on the left and 500mb map on the right from December 14, 2013. If w extrapolate that date out 57 days, we come to the February 9th mark. As the 500mb map above shows, we have high pressure over the West Coast, with only slight ridging in the Southeast and the storm system easily working its way across the Plains. Based on the pattern I'm seeing to start February, I'm thinking a storm track similar to the one this system took in mid-December could very well be in the cards. If you read my February 4-6 posts, you may recognize this storm, as I talked about how it would correlate with that storm system. It seems I miscounted a bit, and the 57 day period from December 14th goes out to February 9th, rather than 7th. Therefore, this December 14th system looks to correlate with the February 9-14 storm threat.

Now, I named off a few possibilities for this system's track, which included a Colorado Low track, a Panhandle Hook track, an Apps Runner track or a Nor'easter track. If the LRC is to be believed, we could narrow down the track possibilities to a Colorado Low track or Panhandle Hook track. It's too far out to nail down exact probabilities of these tracks, but the two aforementioned tracks may be more likely than the other two tracks.

The 12z GFS actually showed a solution not unlike the one being printed out by the LRC and East Asian correlation.

In the 12z GFS model, we saw a storm system dig southeast into the southern Plains before going negative tilt, and eventually closing off as it began to move north. This forecast scenario looks rather similar to the one we're seeing with the February 4-6 system, though this forecast is certainly much more ominous than the February 4-6 forecast.

Just for a little eye candy, here's the snowfall forecast from that 12z GFS model run. Please note this is not my forecast, nor do I endorse it- just showing you what this beast could become if it really is as strong as projected (though the probability of such an occurence working out is rather low).



Anonymous said...

I'm not really great at reading maps, but I'm getting better (GPS is a life savor let me tell ya)!.
I looked at the last map you have on this post (February 9-14) & for the love of God Andrew I about choked on my potato chip!
While cleaning up my coughing fit & all the while starring at that map, I'm thinking to myself he's got to be kidding????
I have to say this winter will go down in my book as the worst ever! I will be keeping a very close eye on your post Andrew, if it comes to fruition on the potentially snowstorm Feb,9th -14th, I am so getting a Motel room with a pool & kenneling my dogs!
Thank you for your post, I think!

Anonymous said...

the 2 storm tracks that you are saying is most likely then Philly would get no snow yet on December 14 we had a snow storm and the GFS model is saying that the storm on FEB 9 will have a secondary low that will form off the coast which according to the GFS model will take over the first low and the secondary low will go up the coast

Anonymous said...

Well I dont think it will happen to many people r saying its going to but I say it want but we will see cause the forcast for dayton tn is saying just rain

Anonymous said...

I've got to say, by far your information on these snow storms have been magnificent. Keep up the good work Andrew!

TheDudeAbides said...

Skilling (Chicago) is saying no snow for us this weekend - aside from trace amounts. Looks like it's either not as strong as it was looking like it would be or it's just taking a southern track, missing NE Illinois. Or both.

Justin B said...

Please please please make an article on the storm on the 10th- 13th. I live in southern va and this could be the storm for us!

Shawn said...

We got 8 inches of snow yesterday through this morning. That would be awesome if this storm pans out. I hope it's actually stronger than that!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Ya but that's the 9th. 9th is Sunday and this storm can hit 9-14th not simply just on the 9th.