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    While you can’t compare half an inch or snow with 6 inches plus, it is interesting to see how there are limits to what can be done with heavy snow even where they have a lot more equipment, and how hard forecasting snow/ice is even where it happens routinely.  The storm threat was advertised well in advance by several days. But like down here, specifics will always change last minute and ALL forecasts are wrong to some extent, we just notice it more when it’s a winter impact. They got LESS sleet and freezing rain than predicted, and about 4 inches more snow. That’s not a horrible forecast. Although I am told for some areas the forecast was bad, while in other nearby locations it was on the money. (That is normal, people don’t realize it because they are me me me focused). Reminds me of last December when my forecast was a total bust for 3 NW suburban counties, OK for in and near the perimeter, and spot-on for the South and  East suburbs. But the news will always look only at the bad and not the whole picture.  A big problem they had was the RATE OF SNOWFALL, it was coming down at a half to one inch an hour. When that happens NO city or state can handle it, not enough salt and plows in the world.  Typically the politicians always blame the forecast even when the forecast was decent or mostly good, that happened in New York and New Jersey with this storm. We’ve seen it repeatedly here in Georgia.  Take a look at these citizen comments from Twitter: All forecasts called for snow during the rush hour, but like here in Georgia, because forecasts can be wrong, everyone behaved like it would not happen and waited until they could see it with their own eyes. So school and business decide to go on as normal. (Like people standing in their garage during a tornado warning looking for it instead of taking cover) by then it’s too late and it’s time to blame someone else.  I remember reading a research paper in a science journal a number of years ago that pointed out the margin of error for rain vs. snow in the data is only 1%! That’s right, if you’re off by just 1% your forecast can bust. I don’t know about you but I wouldn't want to have to engage in ANY activity with that small a window, when the odds are always strongly against you.  THERMODYNAMIC DIAGRAM SKEW-T FOR THE STORM: Note the circled error. I hate to tell ya folks, but that is a normal routine and to be expected margin of error and not a big bust meteorologically. However, it is in terms of impact. Those two simultaneous truths/facts can not be resolved in terms of the state of the science.  It’s like the “cone of error” in hurricane track forecasts. In ANY forecast there is actually a range of possible outcomes. I’ve made this point dozens of times over the years for my followers. Problem is people demand a yes/no this or that answer because we can’t handle gray areas, but that’s most of life. It’s why we ask for “an estimate” before committing to a home project or an auto repair. Forecasts are BEST ESTIMATES. Weather is a non-linear system but most people have not had enough science and math in school to know what that means.  So we over-react or under-react. I say, there’s less down side to following the old Boy Scout rule: Be Prepared. Plan for the worst hope for the best.  Believe me nobody wants the science and art of forecasting to be better than those of us who try to predict the future with just a fraction of the data needed, and nobody wants the forecast to be right more than forecasters. And guess what? Nobody knows a forecast is wrong more than those who make them, and WE KNOW IT FIRST because we can see when things start evolving away from expectation. So no need to say, hey buddy ya blew it. lol  There’s a good reason so few professions involve predicting the future. Meteorology is one of the few, and the only one to do it publicly under the microscope. The others are barely paid attention to because they are wrong so much more and more often than forecasters people assume they don’t matter. Oh well, mother nature is always fun, exciting and fascinating to watch.  For more follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • Our first widespread hard freeze of the season is actually a little latter than normal this year, although the light frost and freeze we had earlier this month was right about on-time.  Temperatures tonight may drop to near freezing between dark and midnight in some of our Northern and Western suburbs but most areas will drop below freezing between 11 tonight and 9 AM tomorrow with frost. Beware any rogue icy patch tomorrow morning although I expect most roads to dry out today and tonight.  Take cold weather precautions for plants, pets and pipes.  HOURLY TEMPERATURE TIMELINE BETWEEN 8AM TODAY AND 8AM TOMORROW: CARTERSVILLE... DOWNTOWN ATLANTA: LOW TEMPERATURES TOMORROW MORNING (NAM MODEL WxBell): For more follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB. 
  • Pictured above is the surface weather map for Thursday November 15, 2018. It shows the incipient Nor’easter storm leaving our area and heading up the Atlantic Coast. If you’ve been paying any attention at all you will have noticed how frequently we’ve had low pressure systems traveling across the deep south from Texas to the East Coast either just North of Georgia or along the Gulf Coast to the GA/SC Coasts and sometimes coming Northeast out of the deep Gulf of Mexico.  It’s almost as if mother nature is trying to tell us something about the pattern for winter.  Many of these systems have been either a “Miller A” or a “Miller B” type low pressure system (extra-tropical cyclone).  These systems usually bring Georgia bad weather, rain or snow/ice if there’s a strong wedge, and sometimes severe thunderstorms if there is no wedge or a wedge breaks down as the cold front arrives.  Our wet weather this week has been thanks to “the Millers” and our temperatures have been at January levels thanks to “wedges” (CAD events). Regardless of what type of weather Georgia gets from one of these, they often become much stronger as they reach the Mid-Atlantic and New England states producing major wind, rain, flood, wave, beach erosion, and snow.  Depending on whether you like or hate snow or ice these type systems can be your friend or your enemy. They have been described by various NWS offices in the charts that follow. See below for examples: Keep in mind no two Miller storm systems are ever alike. Here are some real life examples from the past: If you read my winter forecast blog back in mid October you know I showed expected storm tracks and the higher odds for “The Millers” to visit the Southeast states in the coming winter.  Another point of origin for the Millers is just off the Texas coast: For more FOLLOW me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • The latest round of rain does not look as bad as what we experienced Monday, but with soggy soils and high creek and stream levels already in place the National Weather Service continues the FLASH FLOOD WATCH for the entire area and most of Georgia for that matter until 7AM Thursday. Keep in mind with the soggy root zones trees can fall even without a strong wind causing damage or an isolated power outage.  Upper level low pressure to our Northwest will spin up surface low pressure in the Gulf of Mexico which will head Northeast up the Atlantic Coast the next few days while another “wedge” pattern (CAD event) develops over Georgia. Temperatures have been well below-normal this week and will remain so through the weekend. A wintry mix is even possible briefly in the higher elevations of the Northeast corner of Georgia Thursday.  The axis of heaviest rain looks to run from Columbus to the Athens area. The lightest amounts will be in the far Northwest suburbs of Atlanta with the heaviest rain South and East sides of Metro Atlanta the next 24 hours. But stay tuned for updates in case this changes.  RAP SURFACE WEATHER CHART PIVOTAL WEATHER 7PM WEDNESDAY: Notice the winter precipitation on the cold side of the low pressure system shown above.  FLOODING RISK ZONES WEDNESDAY/WEDNESDAY NIGHT: 24-HOUR RAINFALL ESTIMATED AVERAGE: ICE ACCUMULATION AREAS TONIGHT/THURSDAY: SURFACE WEATHER CHART WEDNESDAY NIGHT: SURFACE WEATHER CHART THURSDAY AFTERNOON: NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DISCUSSION PEACHTREE CITY OFFICE: ESTIMATED RAINFALL AVERAGE AMOUNTS THROUGH 7AM THURSDAY: But as I’ve been saying since Monday the weekend weather looks beautiful for November dry with temperatures close to normal for this time of year. 
  • The Flood Watch has been canceled for today as rain today is expected to be less persistent and much lighter. However, a new FLOOD WATCH is probable for Wednesday as heavier rain is expected to return. Scattered flooding occurred mainly North and West Monday as creeks and streams rose as expected.  RAIN AMOUNTS FROM TUESDAY: TUESDAY LATE DAY SURFACE WEATHER CHART: WEDNESDAY SURFACE WEATHER CHART: THURSDAY MORNING SURFACE WEATHER CHART: WEDNESDAY FLOOD RISK AREAS: TUESDAY MORNING ESTIMATED RAINFALL AVERAGE: WEDNESDAY ESTIMATED RAINFALL AVERAGE: TOTAL ADDITIONAL AVERAGE RAINFALL ESTIMATE THROUGH THURSDAY MORNING: SATURDAY SURFACE WEATHER CHART:  Dry high pressure builds over Georgia for the weekend For more follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • Chilly temperatures along with the umbrella grab a jacket or sweatshirt. In fact, there will not be much change in temperature all day long on Monday with fog and rain likely.  No widespread flooding is expected, but creeks and streams will be on the rise over the course of the week. A “relative” pause in the rain is possible Tuesday night into first thing Wednesday but the weather looks unsettled until Friday. At least the reward appears to be that a dry weekend will follow. 3-day rainfall amounts expected to average 3-4 inches with isolated higher totals possible.  High temperatures in the 40s and 50s through the week with lows in the 30s and 40s. Highs on the weekend in the 50s with lows in the 30s.  THURSDAY SURFACE WEATHER CHART MORE SHOWERS: FRIDAY SURFACE WEATHER CHART DRYING OUT: FLOOD RISK ZONES MONDAY/MONDAY NIGHT: FLOOD RISK ZONES WEDNESDAY/WEDNESDAY NIGHT: 24-HOUR RAINFALL ESTIMATE MONDAY: 24-HOUR RAINFALL AVERAGE ESTIMATE TUESDAY: WEDNESDAY RAINFALL ESTIMATE AVERAGE: For more follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB. 
  • The above map is a bit esoteric, it’s a map of average “Heating Degree Days” for December through March. It’s used in the energy industry to measure heating demand for the coming winter 2018-2019. Blue areas indicate HIGHER than normal energy demand and the yellow to red indicates BELOW NORMAL demand for heating during the winter.  If you missed my first issuance of the winter outlook in the early autumn I discussed all the factors of science investigated to estimate the coming winter. I will not going over it all again. Suffice to say that ocean temperature patterns across the northern hemisphere play a large part in the assessment along with the solar cycle. Indications point to a +PNA +TNH  and a neutral to +NAO style winter with an active sub-tropical jet stream pattern. I found slightly over 30 “analog years” that were a match in some way or another to various signals from the past and present that may point to the future going back to 1888 and as recent as 2016 and 2017. I subjectively weighted those to find the strongest consensus and best matches to come out with composite outlook maps.  For those who have been silly enough not to be following my outlooks for over a decade you may not be familiar with all the research that goes into finding analog years or what that term means. To simplify it, it assumes what’s past is prologue. Of course mother nature never repeats itself exactly, but like history while it may not repeat precisely it does often rhyme.  I add the caveat that long-range forecasting is still in its infancy. It has been measured as better than a guess but only by a little. Like they say in the financial investing world: “Past performance does not guarantee future results”. All signs point to a winter in Atlanta that will feature below-normal temperatures on AVERAGE (not every day or every week) and precipitation above-normal on AVERAGE (not every day or every week). The odds of significant snow and/or ice this winter look well above-average.  If anything has me worried it’s about how consistent the signals are. Usually there are many conflicting indicators.  The outlook is versus the climatological period 1981-2010. WINTER TEMPERATURE AVERAGE ANOMALY DECEMBER-MARCH: WINTER PRECIPITATION AVERAGE ANOMALY DECEMBER-MARCH: MONTHLY BREAK DOWN OF TEMPERATURE AVERAGE ANOMALY: DECEMBER... JANUARY... FEBRUARY... MARCH... APRIL... For updates Follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • Say so long to the mild weather for a while. As seen in the map above a “wedge pattern” or CAD event is developing--cold air damming.  So we get below-normal temperatures with scattered light showers. Then a cold front brings more rain on Friday followed by chilly high pressure for a dry but cold weekend with a frost or light freeze. Then a more widespread and harder freeze next week after more rain Monday-Tuesday.  TOTAL RAINFALL AVERAGE ESTIMATE THURSDAY-FRIDAY: Atlanta NWS discussion:  TOTAL RAINFALL AVERAGE ESTIMATE MONDAY/TUESDAY: GFS AND ECMWF MODEL ENSEMBLE TEMPERATURE OUTPUT(WxBell): But the cold snap is replaced by above-normal temperatures again by the end of the month, this is supported by both numerical equations and signals from the Pacific Ocean (MJO) for upper level ridging to replace the cold trough that comes in the next 5-13 days. 7-DAY TEMPERATURE ANOMALY WEEK ENDING NOVEMBER 29TH(WxBell): For more Follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • A jet stream pattern change will be whisking away the mild weather and ushering in the coldest temperatures of the season as a mild ridge is replaced a cool dip or trough in the jet stream bringing in a new air mass from Canada starting this weekend but increasing next week.  JET STREAM (500MB LEVEL) NOVEMBER 11-15TH: I have been a little skeptical that temperatures will be quite as extreme as being depicted by the European Model which IF correct shows the freeze line dropping way South next Wednesday but the evidence is mounting this is real: But if the ECMWF is right there will be some record low temperatures set in parts of the Southeast next week, before then frost is possible this weekend then a freeze next week in parts of Georgia even a hard freeze possible.  16-DAY GFS ENSEMBLE ABOVE OR BELOW NORMAL TEMPERATURES: GFS AND ECWMF 16-DAY ENSEMBLE TEMPERATURE GUIDANCE: But the November cold blast is not expected to last the rest of the month, as yet another jet stream pattern shift is expected by the end of the month to return a milder ridge pattern, probably extending into the start of December: Given the wild swings in jet stream pattern we will have to monitor the potential for a big storm system of some time to blow up somewhere in the South or East, although none is shown as of this writing that could change.  FRIDAY SURFACE WEATHER CHART: WEEK ENDING NOVEMBER 22ND: WEEK ENDING NOVEMBER 25TH: WEEK ENDING NOVEMBER 29TH: WEEK ENDING DECEMBER 6TH: 6 WEEK TEMPERATURE AVERAGE ANOMALY: 4-WEEK AVERAGE RAINFALL ANOMALY:  4-WEEK AVERAGE SNOWFALL: For more follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • A TORNADO WATCH until 9am greets election day in far North Georgia, but for the Atlanta area just a brief period of rain and isolated thunderstorms expected today with improving weather this afternoon. The risk of severe weather in the metro area is only marginal (1/5). The risk of rain will go down after the lunch hour with decreasing clouds late afternoon. A few scattered light showers possible Wednesday and Thursday with some heavier rain and thunder possible again Friday as a cold front arrives. The weekend looks dry and chilly.  SEVERE WEATHER RISK AREA ELECTION DAY: ELECTION DAY MORNING RAINFALL AMOUNT ESTIMATE: ELECTION DAY RAIN AMOUNT ESTIMATE AFTER 2PM: For more follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.