Monday, February 7, 2011

Post Snowpocolypse Snow

We managed to escape the Jan. 31 - Feb. 2 massive winter snowstorm which was humorously named Snowcopolypse or Snowmageddon. The freezing precipitation from that storm stayed just north of the Ohio River Valley and we managed to dodge the bullet but did receive some needed rain.

However, the following week, the National Weather Service had predicted that we would receive 1-3" of snow during the morning of February 7th. They were sticking to that forecast in the early morning but by 1 pm, we had received 8" of wet snow! The snow was seemingly magnetic, connecting itself to anything that came across its path.

The next day, the Paducah Sun carried an article explaining the botched forecast. One local meteorologist, who had predicted 2-4" said "Low pressure passing to the region's south combined with other atmospheric conditions to intensify the banding of snow. Banding is when a storm concentrates precipitation in the same area again and again."

The article went on to quote another meteorologist who said, "Snow is notoriously difficult to predict. Meteorologists must keep in mind the temperatures at various levels of the atmosphere-and on the ground-as well as how much moisture is in the air, where the fronts are located and how they are moving."

It is somehow comforting that in spite of all of our powerful tools used to predict the weather, there are still surprises. We enjoyed the day at home.

Update: Two days later received another 3" under much colder temperatures. This time the meteorologists warned that "certain areas might receive more snow due to banding". Temperatures dropped down to -6 °F. Two days later, we had a high of 70 °F. Bizarre.