Let’s Catch Up

Hello there. Long time no speak. It’s been well over four months since I last published some sort of relevant post on here. Long story short, my summer was a thrilling/busy/exciting tiring/amazing one. I was a intern with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs baseball team working in creative services. I could go on and on about the times that were had, but you have no time and neither do I.

I’m still with the Crabs as the community relations coordinator now, and with offseason upon us, I can give this site some attention it’s earned.

I gave this site a little facelift and will be trimming some ‘fat’ off it, making it what it’s been meant to be all along: Simple. Facebook and Twitter will get brought back up again. Forecasts will hope to become more frequent and dead air less frequent. I’m working towards gaining a few folks to work along side on the site as well, we’ll get to that eventually.

With that said, one item I’d like to discuss in the winter. I have full expectation to do normal forecasts for winter events, however I am on the fence about a seasonal forecast. MWC suffered a hit in ‘staffing’ I guess you could say as Mark Gonzalez moved on to sunny Florida as the summer started. He is well and has continued his love for forecasting on his new Facebook page.

Mark had the long term forecasting knack down. It was great and it’s what MWC has had its foundation set on around Thanksgiving every year. We ditched the forecast for outlooks about two years ago because we didn’t want to put a flag in the ground with a “HEY LOOK THIS WILL HAPPEN!” kind of mentality. Weather does not work like that, it changes, it moves, it flows and doesn’t give a second thought to a blog’s forecast. The outlook was a snapshot as to what things were looking like at that moment. Just pure relay of what the data was saying, nothing more or less. This year with Mark gone, we’re changing it all. No choice, honestly.

We’ll post what some other reliable weather outlets think about the winter ahead, but for us its day-to-day forecasting we’ll stick to, with peeks as to what the models are saying near term.

I’m posting this purley to hit “refresh” on a page and site that needs it. Those who have been following us for years are the best and you guys have deserved at least one more push at keeping this thing alive and well.

Thanks for the support. – Josh

Weather Underground, Intellicast ‘Storm’ the Mobile Weather Market With New App

If you pull up the iTunes App Store and look at the Weather category,you will see a bevy of apps. Storm_800x1020You can spend here, download there, but in the end the majority of apps seen are a repackaging of each other. There are exceptions, however, to this. James Spann is most popularly known for his discontent towards “Crap Apps,” or apps that use the same computer generated forecast and muted radar to give you an inaccurate forecast at times.

Weather Underground (WU) has done a good job to get past this “stereotype” of weather apps. Their “Weather Underground” app has been a go to for me in looking at maps and forecasts. The app features their “BestForecast™” but also the NWS forecasts.

Sidenote: That sounds like an advertisement for the app, and if you want to call it a cheap plug for the product, then go for it. I do recommend the app to all I come in contact with looking for a good weather app.

Moving on, the company announced the debut of its latest app called “Storm.” WU and Intellicast, a Boston based weather company who is owned by The Weather Channel along with WU, teamed up to make “a highly advanced app for weather enthusiasts and storm trackers alike.” That quote intrigued me, mainly because this kind of venture is seen by smaller groups or people who want to make an app that breaks past the status quo that had been set. Apps like “RadarScope”, “AeroWeather”, and “Storm Shield” do that job well. Specializing in high quality radar, data, showing model data, or giving forecast info, and do well at their own specialization.

So I looked into “Storm” to see if the big companies can make and provide a detailed specialized app. What I’ve discovered it similar to the original WU app, just re-designed and with more detail. It’s not for your average person who wants to just check a forecast, but if you’re a more expected person in the science or want more detail, this app is worth the look.

The app opens up with a map and a row of “tiles” at the bottom. The first is alerts, showing if any advisories active. Following it is the “Current”, “Daily”, and “Hourly” with some settings and support tiles after. The hourly and daily tabs hold the forecast to the location selected. Charts and a list option are available, allowing the user to dive in and see details of a forecast.

The map allows a myriad of layers to be selected and added. This is an observation, and not confirmed, but it looks like Weather Underground is in charge of layer design, while Intellicast’s radar is used.

There is a lot of functionality within the program and it’s free. For a app called “Storm,” the sun shines bright.

 

2014-2015 Winter Outlook

Forecast by Mark Gonzalez. Editing,Opening Statement, and MWC graphics by Josh Owens

Dec. 1st marks the start of winter, and the season always carries lots of anticipation and expectation for all. The MWC winter outlook is now in its fourth year of publishing and over those four years Mark and I have worked hard to look at all the factors and ingredients to make a snowy winter a reality and non-reality in Maryland. Of course, no outlook or forecast is perfect on a long range scale. You can get it close, but not truly correct. We flubbed badly like many in 12′-13′, we took notes and did our homework and came back in 13′-14′ with a surprisingly better forecast. Not perfect, but close. We hope to carry that trend into 14’15’.

This is not a perfect science, so we don’t officially do a “forecast” for the season. The idea behind the “outlook” is primarily to give our thoughts on what the season might hold, knowing that things change. We will come back with a update on this in January. In the meantime, enjoy the holiday season. Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and we hope you have a safe and fun season. Now, enough from me, here is the outlook! -Josh Owens, MWC Short Range and Severe Weather Forecaster

Maryland Weather Center 2014-2015 Winter Outlook

by Mark Gonzalez, MWC Long Range and Winter Weather Forecaster

Month By Month Preview

December

As November ends cold, the first part of December will start w/ some average cold. We may have some mild spells return through mid-December. But due to factors (weak El Niño, building snow cover to our north) looking at a colder and snowier pattern as we head into the 2nd half of december towards the New Year.

  • Temps: Around normal to slightly below
  • Snowfall: avg. to slightly below avg. snowfall

January

Could see more sustained cold than December and could be even colder for longer periods than January 2014 (which was cold). May see a few brief periods of mild weather, but less

  • Temps: Below to well below normal cold
  • Snowfall: Normal to slightly above normal snowfall. An increasingly stormier pattern sets up in the second half of the month.

February

Cold pattern could continue into the middle of the month and could be stormier than January. More info on February to come for our Winter Outlook update released sometime in early-mid January.

Science To The Forecast

El Nino

  • Weak El Niño is developing in the Pacific. This usually leads to stormier patterns which mean its snowier for most of Maryland. El Niño’s, warmer than normal waters in the equatorial pacific, cause plumes of moisture coming in from the southwest off the pacific. This allows the jet stream to dip further south towards the gulf and steer storms up the east coast. If the El Nino is too strong, then we are stormy but not as much cold air is allowed to feed south. Whereas weak El Ninos are still characterized by storminess and coupled with cold air intrusions. The last weak El Nino winter we experienced was 2009-10 winter which experienced historic amounts of snow and below average cold. Not saying this winter will be an exact repeat of that historic winter, but winters such as 1976-77, 1977-78, 1993-94 and 2002-03 brought prolonged periods of cold and snowier patterns to Maryland. For more in depth discussion on the impact of strong versus weak El Nino on Maryland’s winters please see: http://www.weather.gov/lwx/research_dcbalt_elnino

 

Weak El Nino Developing
Weak El Nino winters are characterized by colder and snowier pattern in Maryland

NAO and AO

 

Graphic explaining the positive and negative phases of the AO

 

The pattern set-up in a negative NAO phase.

SNOW COVER

  • Snow cover in the arctic regions of Northern Canada and Siberia play a major role on the arctic intrusions of cold into the United States. We did not see much of a snow/ice melt over the arctic regions this summer and snow cover quickly spread south towards the US border in the fall. Research has suggested that deeper snowpack to our north cause a higher frequency of negative Arctic Oscillations and colder and more powerful arctic highs to dip down into the lower 48. This can certainly play a factor this winter.

 

Snow growth from Nov. 5 – Nov. 23

 

A follow up to this outlook will come after the new year. It will feature a wrap up of the 2014 portion of winter, along with a preview of the rest of the season.