From the ABC 7 Weather team

Adding to the chatter of a weekend snowstorm

February 15, 2012 - 07:22 AM
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All it took was a few long range model runs to start the buzz and get folks worried about a weekend storm. So, how likely is it that we'll see a good dose of snow this weekend? ABC7's Adam Caskey urges you to pump the brakes.

How likely is a wallop of snow this weekend? Adam Caskey isn't too optimistic. (Photo: ABC7)

Here we go again. All it took was a few long range model runs to start the buzz and get folks worried about a weekend nor’easter. Don’t get me wrong, I like the chatter about weather and enjoy a challenging forecast, however, it remains too early to have a good idea of what will happen.

Nevertheless, provide an adequate degree of certainty regarding the possibilities.

Let’s not forget history too as this scenario has been the story of our winter due to our given weather pattern. There have been several could-be snowstorms, and what do we have to show for it? Only a mere 2.0” at Reagan National Airport (DCA) and 3.7” at Dulles Airport (IAD) so far this winter.

I am an absolute snow lover, and I’d love to put snow in the forecast for the weekend, but I simply can’t do that yet because it’d just be a “wishcast,” which does no good. I do think snowfall is a slight possibility this weekend in the D.C. area, however, I currently believe it is unlikely.

It’s possible but not probable. As frustrating at it may be, it's too soon to tell. The ingredients are there, they just have to be perfectly mixed, which has proven difficult this winter. As a matter of fact, I think it’s irresponsible to start talking about the snow potential for Sunday as early as Monday or Tuesday in the given weather pattern this winter.

Our path of uncertainty given the current model tracks

That said, I still think it’s too early, but I’ve fielded too many inquiries to wait. Two years ago it was a different story as the prevailing pattern was more predictable and model guidance had a good track record over the course of the winter. Ah, the good old days! 

As WTOP/ABC7 meteorologist Chris Naille, put it, "There are more questions than answers at this time especially considering we are talking about a system that is over 4 days away.

"At this stage, no one can responsibly forecast this potential event beyond stating that Sunday looks to feature mostly cloudy skies, gusty winds and cooler temperatures."

I’ll try to give you a quick rundown of a few model trends without getting too complicated. First of all, the ECMWF (Euro) model was recently gung ho about a nor’easter hitting Washington over the weekend but has since laid off that solution as of the 12z Tue and 00z Wed model runs, which now keep the storm track and all precipitation to our south.

Typically this is a fairly reliable model, but has proven otherwise this winter. The 00z Wed GFS came into line with previous ECMWF runs by phasing two systems and slamming us with the storm, but this also had a big spread in the ensemble mean, which is fairly common this far out. Not to mention the GFS indicated a higher chance of rain than snow.

Now the latest (06z) GFS is trending farther south and looks less ominous. So far it seems as though the CMC (Canadian) has been the most consistent indicating a southerly storm track and just a glancing blow or a close call with little to no impact. Due to persistence, I’m not holding much stock in any individual solution at this time and have very little confidence in a snowstorm despite desperately wanting a whopper.

As of now, I’m keeping my weekend travel plans but also closely watching the trends.

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