Mar 1, 2014

Good-bye (meteorological) winter Hello (meteorological) Spring

Ahhh March 1st...the start of Spring! Well at least to meteorologists. Meteorologists divide the seasons of the year into quarters for ease of bookkeeping. Thus the months of December-January-February comprise Winter and the months of March through May make up Spring.

February 2014 recap for Albany:  February was one of the colder months that we have seen a long time. The average monthly temperature was was 21.9°, that is 4° BELOW normal.  Again another below normal month (4th one in a row) for Albany. Again way below for February, but NOT a top 10 Coldest February. All 28 days had low temperatures at or below 32° and 3 days had nights at or below 0°. Eighteen days had a high temperature of 32° or lower. As for snowfall it was way above normal during this past February: 28.1" the 7th snowiest February on record for Albany; snowfall records go back to 1884. The complete (preliminary) monthly summary for Albany, NY can be found at this link Feb 2014 Monthly Summary

Winter 2013-2014 summary for Albany:  The average winter temperature for the period 1 December 2013 through February 28 2014, was 23.1° or 2.5° below normal. It was a wetter than normal winter too with total precipitation of rain and the water equivalent of the melted snow totaling 9.17"; that's almost an inch and a half (1.45" to be exact) ABOVE normal. As for snowfall the 1 Dec through 28 Feb saw 63.1" of snow fall. This is above normal for this three month period by 19.4". Including November's snowfall the seasonal snowfall for Albany is 65.2". Normal snow fall for Albany is 59.1"  A more detailed (preliminary) Winter 2013-2014 summary for Albany NY can be found here: Winter 2013-2014 Seasonal Summary for Albany

March Climate preview for Albany: For starters the hours of daylight increase! :-) The average high and low temperatures are 39° and 21° respectively for the first few days of the month but for the last 4 days of the month the average high is 50° or 51°! The minimums by month's end are 31°.  March as we all know can be a fickle month for sure with weather extremes of cold and snow to warmth. Of Albany's top 20 snow storms 3 have occurred during this month with the first and second most snow fall ever from one storm having happened during this month. (#1 The Blizzard of 1888 and #2 The Storm of the Century or Superstorm of March (13th) 1993).

The warmest month of March on record was just 2 years ago when the average monthly temperature was 45.9 degrees, a staggering 14.9° ABOVE normal. We'll see what this March brings. As of now it looks like a colder than normal start with temperatures moderating by the end of the first week to at closer to if not AT normal.

For additional climate information not only for Albany, but for Glens Falls, Poughkeepsie, Bennington and Pittsfield is another link: Climate Data

Feb 28, 2014

Sunday Night-Monday's Snow Threat

We're going to see snow during this time period, well at least some of us will. Latest data continues the trend of suppression of the area of precipitation toward the south. Cold arctic air is the reason why the area of wintry weather will more south versus north.

Right now most of the deterministic models bring measurable precipitation up to an approximate Buffalo-Saratoga Springs-Arlington, VT line. The image below is from the Weather Prediction Center's Winter Weather page. I tend to be in fair agreement with their forecast as it relates to the forecast probability of 1" snow fall by 7AM Monday morning 3 March. The area in green has a < than 30% chance of seeing 1" snow, the three blue bands are probabilities ranging from 40-50% across the CD, to 50-60% just to the south of the CD and 60% or better in the aqua blue across the central and southern Catskills Mid Hudson Valley east to the southern Berkshires.

What the above map also indicates is both the very sharp cutoff between accumulating snow and little or no accumulation and that areas to the south of Albany have a better chance of seeing more snow accumulation.

The snow probabilities for snow fall exceeding 4" range are shown below.
 The greatest probability for snow exceeding 4" is about 20% or so along the NYS Thruway-Mass Pike (I-90) increasing to 30%-50% across the Southern Catskills-Lower Hudson Valley- southern Litchfield County CT line.

Again any shift north or south of the lows track by as little as 30 miles will alter these above (threshold) probabilities either up (low tracks more north than forecast) or down (low tracks farther to our south than forecast so lesser snowfall).

While it is still way too early to come up with numbers, my confidence is growing that in terms of a general accumulation:

1)  areas now north of a Buffalo-Saratoga-Arlington line snow amounts will be very light and this area may not see anything at all.
2) Working south from this line at least a few inches will fall

3) with the potential for a moderate perhaps marginally heavy snow of  > 8" but less than a foot for the southern Catskills-Lower Hudson Valley, Southern Taconics

Needless to say things can change, regardless I and my colleagues will keep you posted on this system throughout the weekend.

Feb 26, 2014

Winter 2013-2014 compared to winters past

So far much of the nation has been experiencing a good "Old Fashioned" winter.

First when meteorologists talk about seasons, for bookkeeping purposes we divide the year into 4 quarters, with each of the respective seasons being three months long. Thus Spring is comprised of the months of March, April and May; Summer: June, July and August; Fall: September, October and November; Winter: December through February.

Since November of 2013 Albany's average monthly temperatures have been below normal. The monthly departures from normal are: Nov -2.5°, Dec -0.9°, Jan -2.9 and so far for February (through the 25th) -2.7°

The last time Albany had four or more consecutive months of below temperatures spanning the Fall and Winter months was for the period from October 2002 through February of 2003. A span of 5 months. So far for from November 2013 through February 2014 we are below normal for 4 straight months.

So far Albany's average temperature for this winter (through February 25th) is 23.3° The normal winter temperature is 25.6°

From the NWS Albany climo site here are the Top 10:

The winter thus far, while colder than normal, is not even in the TOP 10 coldest. Another note, as cold as it has been NO record low temperatures have been set either!


For February 2014 (through the 25th) Albany's monthly snow fall is now 27.9" this is now the 7th snowiest February on record for Albany below is the current top 10 snowiest Februaries. Snowfall records go back 1884

The seasonal snow fall total so far is 65". The normal snowfall for Albany is 59.1"

On Saturday March 1st will start "meteorological" Spring. Here are some weather stats for the month:
Monthly Average Temperature 35° Precipitation:3.21" Snowfall: 10.2" Just an aside on March snowfall of Albany's Top 20 Snowstorms on record 4 have occurred in March.
We'll see what March brings as far as the weather goes. In looking at the long range weather data it does look like the month will start a lion along with more BELOW normal cold.