WALLY'S WINTER WEATHER PAGE 2016-2017
CLICK HERE for official (National Weather Service) forecast.
March 23, 2018 - 7:50 am
S = snow showers F = snow flurries
We are nearing what is likely our last significant snow of the 2017-18 season. It is mainly an Alberta Clipper, but with a little more guts. Clippers tend to be light snow events with fluffier light snow. But, we are seeing a good swath of snow across the region with some respectable amounts.
The trick is that the swath is narrow and has a very high gradient on its edges. See the big stripe coming down from the northwest. We know that snow does not like to cross the mountains. But, it certainly can very easily, IF, the storm (low pressure area) actually tracks SOUTH of us. What you are seeing below is the snow band north of the low pressure track.
Models had trended for this swath to be more south or southwest. But, that trend has finally stopped, and may have edged back a little.
But, here's the latest areawide snowfall prediction by the local NWS office.
Hmmm. For Roanoke (see the white point with 1-2") it went down from 2-3". Close to a nothing burger for a snow in March.
I just don't quite see it that way. Models show a good bit more snow possible.
The high res NAM and WRF models are more optimistic showing 10" and 6":
In fairness, the GFS and Euro both show just 4", but that's still up from 3" last night.
I'm just sayin' ... we still have a decent chance for something more than an inch or so.
In fairness again, the verbal point forecast, does mention 1-2" Sat. night, and 1-2" Sunday. That means 2-4". Not sure why that is so different from the "custom" map at the top.
Anyway, my shovel is ready.
Oh, my op-ed (editorial) in The Roanoke Times came out a while back. You can see it here:
This forecast is given as is ... with no warranty of any kind. It is for entertainment purposes only. Any action regarding life or property should be contingent on the official forecast of the National Weather Service, an agency of the U.S. Government. Only the National Weather Service is the source of official forecasts ... not the Weather Channel, Accuweather, Weatherbug, WSI [which many TV stations use] or any other private group.
CLIMATE NOTE - Kinda for fun. Just givin' some facts.
In the "what if" department? (Ya gotta know once you hear the question)
What if EVERY roof (feasable) in America had solar panels covering them (exluding roofs that have problems like total shade or too small, north facing only, etc.). Every factor such as sun angle, % of sunshine, etc. was determined and calculated by an outfit called the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory. It was a curious question, but somebody really wanted to know. I mean wouldn't it be wonderful if we could simply go that route and toss the fossil fuel power companies?
Yes, it was a herculean task, but it was actually and meticulously done, even breaking it down by state. The article reports:
"They estimate that there are a little over 8 billion square meters of suitable roofs in the US. Cover that in solar panels, and you would produce about 1,400 terawatt hours of electricity each year—about two-thirds of which would come from small residential buildings. The total production is equal to nearly 40 percent of the total electricity currently sold by utilities in the US.
A simpler 2008 National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimate came in at just 22 percent of electricity—the new estimate shows a higher percentage partly because solar panel efficiency has improved but also because new sources of data made a more accurate estimate possible.
Apart from the big numbers, there are some interesting details at the state or local level. States with strong sunlight and plenty of roofs obviously have the most potential—California, for example, could supply 74 percent of its total electricity use by covering its buildings with solar panels, while Wyoming could only get to about 14 percent.
But that’s partly because of different electricity use. New England doesn’t have the sunniest skies, but the limited need for air conditioning in the summer helps keep electricity use down. As a result, that region could produce about half its total electricity from rooftop solar. And if you consider residential buildings separately, they can produce about as much electricity as people use in their homes. [I see Virginia is at about the 30% level]Overall, the all-in scenario of slapping solar panels on every single building wouldn’t be enough to replace all our power plants, but 40 percent ain’t bad."
Unfortunately, some states do make out better than others. And then, there are two other problems: 1) Solar panels lose their efficiency after 10-20 years, so you have to keep replacing them. If you pay them off over such a time frame, then you really haven't gained any financial advantages, not that that is the main driver (though many ads tout that). 2) The disposition of used panels is not good or clean. It already is a problem in that there is no recycling, and they have bad chemicals in them. Going up by a power of 10,000 to 100,000 of units to put into the trash could be a problem. That's not to mention all the megatons of lead-acid batteries used in the solar systems (gotta have 'em or it won't work).
Actually, I was rather saddened by the low number. The article admitted that future studies would probably have a lower number than 40%.
Of course, realistically, we could never achieve 100% of eligible rooftops. Some businesses could not afford it, and low income citizens would never consider it (not counting general skeptics). So, if an ambitous 50% did, then 50% of 40% equals about 20%, probably less, of our energy needs.
I actually own solar panels, but on a small scale and mainly for emergency power. So, I don't decry their use. It just can't be a core solution to our power needs. Yes, we could add solar farms like the one near Apprson Drive and Peters Creek intersection. But in many areas of the northeast US, that is not very practical. And, yes, windmills are also a help, but they are way, way too variable in power output depending on the changing wind, and also cannot be a core basis for power generaltion that HAS to be rather steady.
Next time - We hear about it in the news: I have stunning new information about sea level rises, is it really rising as some have warned, rapidly threatening to inundate coastal cities, Pacific islands, naval stations in the near future? You may be surprised.
You can send any comments to email@example.com or see me!
SREF - Short Range Ensembles
DICLAIMER AND COMMENT: This page is just for fun, and my forecast, may vary from the National Weather Service by quite a bit a times. There is no liability assumed for anything resulting from this page. Do not use this page to plan anything. Refer to official National Weather Service forecasts for responsible action. I studied some meteorology at The Florida State University School of Meteorology and do study various models and internal weather service discussions, and was fully trained in surface weather observation as an ASOS augmenter in preparation for working at a surface weather station. In any case, any forecast on this page which is more than 8-12 hours old should be disregarded as out-of-date. If you have any comments, leave me e-mail.