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March 23, 2018 - 7:50 am


Other Winter Precip

48-72 Hrs.   
48-72 Hrs.
3-5 Days 
3-5 Days
6-10 Days   
6-10 Days

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.

Check back.


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 wmayo444@cox.net or see me!

*Models consulted, sometimes used as abbreviated:
GFS -  Global Forecast System - Main US-ran global model - longest range (to 16 days). Recently updated with much higher resolution.
NAM + Parallel NAM -  North America Mesoscale - Regional, not global model.
NAM/WRF + Parallel - High res model (parallel is even higher res)
ECMWF - European model, including ensembles (EPS) and weeklies, etc., 
UKMET - British model
NAVGEM - New Navy model (replaced NOGAPS, older one)
RAP - Rapid Refresh Model (short term run hourly, covers up to 21 hours now)
HRRR + experimental HRRRX - High Res Rapid Refresh (very high zoom, updated every hour, also for limited number of hours projection)
DGEX - an acronym for the Downscaled GFS with Eta Extension.  DGEX has been developed as an interim solution to providing high-resolution forecast guidance for populating the digital forecast database at extended forecast projections.  It is produced by running the full 12-km, 60 level, Eta model from forecast hour 78 to forecast hour 192 using lateral boundary conditions
Canadian GEM and RGEM - Global and regional models. Plus CanSIPs monthlies.
Canadian  HRDPS - very local high res model
SREF - Short Range Ensembles
NDFD - National Digital Forecat Database
FIM9 - New experimental US model using hex high res grid. Supposed to replace the GFS eventually.
There are other models such as the Brazilian, German, French, and Japanese (JMA)
I also consult CFSv2 (Climate Forecasting System) for long range
I do not have BUFKIT.
*Other abbreviations used:
WX - Weather
NCEP - National Center for Environmental Prediction (Nat'l Headquarters of the Nat'l Weather Service)
HPC - Hydrological Prediction Center (National prediction office of NWS)
CONUS - Continental US
PCPN - Precipitation
SYS - System
NE - northeast, SE - southeast, NNW north-north-west, etc.
NAO - North Atlantic Oscillation (negative suggests cold east US)
AO - Arctic Oscillation (negative suggests cold east US)
PNA - Pacific North-Atlantic Oscillation (positive suggests stormier east)
EPO - Eastern Pacific Oscillation
WPO - Western Pacific Oscillation
MJO - Madden-Julian Oscillation (a cycle of precip-temps based on certain trade winds/currents). There are eight phases. Some of the eight may be of different effect, depending on season.
SOI - Southern Oscillation Index
QBO - Quasi-Biennial Oscillation

CLICK HERE for graphic of north Mid-Atlantic snowdepth
CLICK HERE for general USA snowdepth (Air Force)
CLICK for 1-day snow accumulation for Virginia  NC   WV
CLICK for snowdepth for Virginia  NC  WV
CLICK for month to date snowfall for VIRGINIA
CLICK for season to date snowfall for VIRGINIA

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.

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