Watch Jupiter, King of the Planets

February 1, 2015 Leave a comment

For the next few months, Jupiter will dominate the evening sky.

Jupiter will be obvious as it rises in the east after sunset. Any optical aid is useful to explore the planet more massive than all the other planets put together.

Binoculars will show up to four tiny dots, Jupiter’s four brightest moons, very near the dazzling disk of the planet. A telescope will help zoom in and increase the apparent brightness of the moons, as well as showing the atmospheric bands which have come and gone over the past decade. A larger scope will show the ‘Great Red Spot’ (more like the pale round spot, but still worth seeing) when it’s on the side of Jupiter facing Earth.

What will you discover at Jupiter for yourself?

PS:  If you want directions to Jupiter, look next to the rising moon this week, especially at full moon, Tuesday the 3rd.

– Next, the planets low in the southwest sky after sunset are also worth following. We are attracted there by superbright Venus, brighter than Jupiter and will be a rival for our attention this spring.

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Are they forecasting a lot of snow for you? It could be worse!

January 31, 2015 Leave a comment

And ‘worse’ might mean less snow.

But if you look at the map of snow totals, the NWS appears to be forecasting less snow than they did earlier today for coastal areas.

This is because the computer models used for forecasting have been more recently predicting the storm to track further north, allowing more warm air in above the ground. But the cold air, from the last few days and the snow still on the ground, is likely to keep the ground refrigerated. Forecasting the old-fashioned way, by looking at the data and analyzed maps, it’s too soon to make a good forecast. The NWS says the interaction between systems that will set the table for the storm will not be well defined until late Sunday, so we hope the models will continue to come into agreement on this storm’s track.

Watch for snow starting late Sunday night, which on Monday will change to rain will freeze on the ground for the areas nearest the coast. ‘Lucky’ people further inland will get 8 to 14 inches of snow, but less of the freezing rain. Southern Westchester County is forecast to ‘only’ get 6 to 8 inches, but that’s due to the rain mixing in, some of which could freeze solid while it rains or after it changes back to snow later Monday afternoon.  Temperatures dropping to single digits for Tuesday morning will make whatever falls freeze.

The weather pattern for the rest of the week is still conducive for snow storms. The next chance later is the week. However, the latest model runs have the storm staying well out to sea.

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NWS Explanation for Sunday night through Monday’s snowstorm…..

January 31, 2015 Leave a comment

It’s worth checking the Forecaster’s Discussion for mid-day Sunday (issued two to four times a day) for their thinking on how this storm could go…..oh, and did a mention low temperatures near zero F Tuesday morning?

DO NOT SEE A BIG SHIFT IN THE MODELS THIS RUN...AND GENERAL
AGREEMENT IS NOTED. LOW PRESSURE WILL PASS TO THE SOUTH MONDAY.
ANALYSIS OF LOW LEVEL THERMAL FIELDS SUGGESTS SNOW SUNDAY
NIGHT...WITH A WINTRY MIX FOR THE SOUTHERN HALF OF THE FORECAST
AREA MONDAY MORNING. EXPECT A MIX OF SNOW...SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN
FOR A PORTION OF THE AREA. THE EAST END OF LONG ISLAND COULD SEE A
CHANGEOVER TO PLAIN RAIN FOR A TIME.

OVERALL...EXPECT 6 TO 8 INCHES NEAR THE COAST...AND 8 TO 12
INLAND. SOME LIGHT ICING IS POSSIBLE NEAR THE COAST AS WELL. FOR
LONG ISLAND AND NYC...THESE ACCUMULATIONS ARE A TOTAL. THE ACTUAL
AMOUNTS COULD BE LOWER DUE TO RAIN/FREEZING RAIN CHANGEOVER.

FOR THE COAST...SNOW TO BRIEF PD OF RAIN/FZRA AND IP...BEFORE
CHANGING BACK TO SNOW MONDAY AFTN.

INTERIOR...MAINLY SNOW WITH A PERIOD OF SLEET MIXED IN MONDAY MORNING.

TIMING FOR HEAVIEST PRECIP WOULD BE MIDNIGHT THROUGH ABOUT NOON OR
SO MONDAY.

AFTER COLLAB WITH SURROUNDING OFFICES...A WINTER STORM WATCH HAS
BEEN POSTED. START TIME 00Z MONDAY THROUGH 6 PM MONDAY. THIS CAN
BE FINE TUNED AS WE GET CLOSER TO THE EVENT.

OF COURSE ANY SHIFT IN TRACK NORTH OR SOUTH WILL MAKE A BIG
DIFFERENCE AS OUR AREA WILL BE DEALING WITH THE RAIN/SNOW
LINE...WHICH IS ALWAYS DIFFICULT TO FORECAST.
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A typical storm this time, for New York City through Boston

January 31, 2015 Leave a comment

After ‘that really big football game in Arizona’, the New York through Boston area gets a more typical snow storm than last time, with the amounts determined by how much rain mixes in, which will be based on how close to the coast you are located.  This is a storm forecast for 6 to 8 inches along the coast, 10 to 14 north and west, not much for southern NJ and Philadelphia.

Here’s the link to the snow amounts – all subject to change, based on the usual factors, like how close the storm comes to us.

http://www.weather.gov/okx/stormtotalsnow

When you go to the web site, the NYC map links to the other nearby cities’ snow.

Here’s a sample for NYC picked up at 12 noon Saturday morning….StormTotalSnowRange

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Really bad, catastrophic or apocalyptic?

January 26, 2015 1 comment

Based on recent weather models, a major snow storm will engulf the Philadelphia – Boston Washington corridor on Tuesday.

No matter what the final snow totals will be – you and your family need to be a safe, secure place by Monday evening.  Snow, cold, and high winds will be terrible tonight through Tuesday. Give yourself a margin of safety to be in a safe place and ready well before the heavier snow starts.

Listen to National Weather Service forecasts as they refine the time when the snowfall will start to increase.

If you want good news, the computer forecast models have reduced the amount of precipitation over us from the storm, but it would still mean a foot and a half of snow for the NYC-Boston coastal area. There is still a worrying amount of inconsistency among the models, so close in time to this event, so stay tuned for updates.  Remember that events predicted to be extreme are extremely difficult to predict precisely.

Be safe!

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Simple ‘clipper’ storm strives for historic greatness later Monday through Tuesday

January 25, 2015 Leave a comment

1030am Sunday update….NYC NWS map projects 18 to 24 as far south as Central Park. Scary. Updated map is below……

Clipper storms generally skip down from western Canada through the midwest; some strengthen and drop six to twelve inches over a small band before merrily going out to sea.

For a moment, this clipper looked like it was going to stay to our south and not bother us, but it was a fake out.

The clipper is moving south to gather moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, all the while collecting upper air energy impulses before setting a trap off the eastern coast of the US over the warmer Gulf Stream waters; waiting for the final upper air kicker to complete the modest clipper’s transformation into an historic coastal snow storm.  It will have more energy than it knows what to do with, so it will modify the air high above it, making an upper air low pressure system, grinding to a halt and spinning down to a shell of its former self.

So many things the previous storm didn’t have, this one has available to it – like a source of significantly cold air to mix into the developing storm.

At least, that’s how it might unfold.

See the maps from the National Weather Service.  http://www.weather.gov/okx/winter

Watch for updates from the NWS or your favorite weather forecast provider.

Here’s the NYC office’s estimates of snow amounts as of Sunday morning’s forecast….see the web site for updates and links to maps for other areas in the northeast.

StormTotalSnowRange

Click to enlarge, use back button to come back to this page.

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One more shot oughta do it…. then a clipper aspires to greatness on Monday

January 24, 2015 1 comment

Based on info talked about in the NWS weather discussion and Washington Post’s Capitol Weather Gang: (I’ve also been looking at weathernj.com.)

Models show indications of a new band of snow forming west of the Hudson River and moving east from 1pm to 3 or so. We could get a quick 1 to 3 inches out of that.

Then, this storm continues to develop as it moves away from us, bring very cold air to the east coast. Low temperatures will be in the 0 to 10 range this week.

Monday’s storm is a clipper from Canada.  Clippers generally skip past us quickly, sometimes developing bands of heavy snow, but rarely do they stop and develop off shore into major nor’easter.  Monday’s clipper has the potential to be a big storm. The stronger the storm, the better the chance of a right turn up the coast to torment us with the possibility of heavy snow.

If it doesn’t get strong, it is likely to skip off well to our south. Then we’ll stay in the deep freeze for the rest of the week.

So keep any eye out for a strong band of snow this afternoon; freezing of slush and snow; and keep your ears open to listen if Monday’s storm overachieves.

Categories: Uncategorized
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