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    Late in the day on Thursday February 20th I posted a blog on how there could be some insignificant snow flakes mixed with the rain overnight into early Friday morning and that some models were suggesting it would be “Lake Effect” from Lanier. Read that blog if you missed it.  I am not the only one who noticed this. Radar and surface reports indicate that did happen in a few areas but as forecast with no impact. But one of the fascinating scientific questions is whether-or-not all or some of that precipitation was generated because of Lake Lanier!? More on that after I let you see some of the radar snap shots and snow reports from early Friday morning below. NOTE on some of the radars mPING  weather observers were reporting a rain/snow mix or just snow near Peachtree City and between Sandy Springs and Smyrna (see the symbols on the radar). Also the radar precipitation type in Henry County. Plus trace amounts of snow reported by CoCoRaHS observers in Coweta, Fayette and Clayton counties. So clearly there was precipitation overnight as forecast and there was some snow as expected but not enough to cause problems which was my forecast. But it’s not 100% certain it was “Lake Lanier Effect rain/snow”. Why? Because there were other meteorological phenomenon in play on a larger scale we call synoptic. Synoptic as opposed to mesoscale or micro-scale weather systems. Like me this person took notice: An old rule of thumb I learned in Chicago forecasting lake effect snow off Lake Michigan was that at least a 13 degree difference between water temp and air temp in the first mile of the atmosphere was required to generate lake induced snow clouds.  As these former meteorology students from the UGA Atmospheric Science Department noted to their former professor the temperature “Delta” was easily met. But there appears to be an “inverted” trough of low pressure with colocated low level convergence of wind streams (air from different directions meeting up). There were also synoptic scale mid and upper level influences at work over the region in addition to terrain impacts.  Yet we’ve had even colder air pass over Lanier without any distinct Lake Effect observed or indicated by the models so if “Lanier Effect” was real we should have seen it in the past. But perhaps the resolution of the models has finally become fine enough to pick up on it? So it’s an open question for now.  Therefore I think it fair to argue that it may have occurred even if Lake Lanier did not exist. After all, this is a common pattern here on the “backside” of exiting Miller A and B low pressure systems such as the one Thursday that brought 2 inches of snow in the Georgia Mountains and a lot more in SC and especially NC: On the other hand I wonder if the rain swollen lake had higher heat content than normal and larger size which was enough to have at least some added influence on the broader “Synoptics”. Something us meteorologists from Chicago refer to as “Lake Enhancement” or Lake-enhanced snow. So it could have been other factors PLUS Lanier.  It is worth noting that some of the same Hi-Res models were indicating lingering clouds in the same general configuration through much of the day on Friday: And they were right. Here are some actual satellite images during the day Friday with streaks of “fair-weather” cumulus and alto stratus clouds: These daytime clouds match the modeled “lake effect” moisture field, but surely these clouds were not there just because of Lake Lanier the way the broad clouds were far a field from the Lake, another sign that more was going on in the atmosphere than Lanier imo.  By late afternoon the clouds were dissipating and it turned clear Friday evening.  Dr Sheppard and his meteorology students will do a deeper dive into the the three dimensional thermodynamics and physics to see if they can reach a definitive answer. I LOVE SCIENCE! For over a week I was forced to beat back and slap away rumors when out in public and on Twitter about the big snow that was coming to Atlanta because people who don’t know what they’re doing share model snow maps. SMH. I say delete and unfollow those sources in your life. SMH. For more follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • Gradually drying out overnight as the rain leaves and cold air moves in, a few flakes may be seen as far South as a Newnan to Hampton to Monticello Eatonton line tonight but little or no accumulation expected outside the Georgia mountains or Far NE suburban counties.  Anything that occurs will not last or matter and comes to an end by 6am followed by a clearing trend. The window for a light shower or snow flurries 7pm-4am give or take a couple hours. NOT snow that whole time and not everywhere just hit and miss.  Temperatures fall near freezing or slightly below 4am-9am Friday give or take a couple hours especially North.  Patchy black ice possible mainly bridges and overpasses mainly in the mountains and Far North suburbs. Widespread ice is not expected as most roads dry out. Lows by sunrise 27-32, back above freezing all areas after 9am. Highs only in the 40s Friday afternoon followed by a hard freeze Friday night-Saturday morning with lows of 24-28, sunny Saturday high in the mid 50s and lows in the low 30s. Looks like we stay dry Sunday with some clouds with rain returning late Sunday night and Monday. ******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************* SOMETHING FASCINATING IF it happens... A couple of our Hi-resolution models are hinting at 'lake-effect snow' generated off of Lake Lanier later tonight or early Friday morning. Lake Effect is normally associated with the Great Lakes up North. IF this were to happen it would be a FIRST for me in over three decades of forecasting here. I have serious doubts it happens! I don’t think the air will be cold enough to generate it off the lake. But we could have some simply as a result of the backlash behind the North Carolina snowstorm as colder air overspreads our area and some left-over energy aloft squeezes out any residual moisture in the clouds before they clear away. More details on lake-effect snow. Some of the virtual reality FORECAST SIMULATED RADAR  charts from those model equations:  Again those simulated radar forecasts are virtual reality not gospel valid late tonight-early Friday morning. DO NOT take them literally at face value.  For more follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB. NWS ATLANTA SPECIAL STATEMENT:
  • Rainfall amounts the next 24 hours 1-2 inches on average with isolated amounts over 2 inches possible.  RAIN not snow is the focus of my forecast for Metro Atlanta today and tonight. SOUTH of the mountains and the northern fringe of the Far North suburbs little or no accumulation of snow sleet or graupel is expected as of now. Check back for updates in case things change.  Precipitation diminishing late afternoon and evening. Roads expected to dry out in most areas of Metro Atlanta before temperatures drop to near or below freezing so widespread black ice is NOT expected outside of the mountains or Far North suburbs northern fringe.  The significant snow and sleet stays in the mountains. Winter Weather Advisory in the purple, Special Weather Statement NW, Flash Flood Watch in dark green: ONE MODEL SIMULATED RADAR 5PM GIVE OR TAKE A COUPLE HOURS: SIMULATED RADAR 7PM (PivotalWeatherCharts): MODEL SIMULATED RADAR 1am FRIDAY: MODEL SIMULATED RADAR 7am FRIDAY: MID-DAY TEMPERATURES THURSDAY: TEMPERATURES 7PM THURSDAY: TEMPERATURES 7AM FRIDAY: Most people know things can and do change in weather so check back for updates here and on 95.5 WSB. For more follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • The 7AM Wednesday Surface Weather analysis chart ABOVE. A relative “lull” in the rain today, more dry than wet but still a few hit and miss light showers in the region at times as a cold front moves through it stays gloomy. Heavier and more widespread rain returns overnight and tomorrow diminishing by tomorrow evening. Rainfall amounts today only a tenth of an inch on average. Then tonight and tomorrow additional rainfall of half an inch on average with higher totals in some areas. Any snow or sleet tomorrow afternoon or night not expected to be a problem for Metro Atlanta as I write this, but stay tuned and check back for updates in case that changes.  1-3 Inches snow/sleet in some of the Georgia Mountains Thursday. Either way everyone dries out with sunshine returning for Friday and Saturday.  A small chance of rain during the day Sunday but rain more likely at night. Could be heavy again Sunday night and Monday. FREEZING temperatures Thursday night but I think most roads will dry off before there can be much black ice outside the mountains, but I’ll update tomorrow. Sunshine returns Friday into Saturday with a HARD FREEZE Friday night.  The active jet stream storm track I’ve talked about in the past couple blogs is still overhead: RAINFALL AMOUNTS THE LAST 36 HOURS 1-3 INCHES COMMON: 8.5 inches officially at Hartsfield for the Month putting us in a top 10 wettest February as Lake Lanier is close to an all time record high level dating back to the last high in 1964. MODEL FORECAST SURFACE WEATHER CHART TODAY: MODEL FORECAST SURFACE WEATHER CHART TONIGHT: MODEL FORECAST SURFACE WEATHER CHART 7AM THURSDAY: MODEL FORECAST SURFACE WEATHER CHART 7PM THURSDAY: ESTIMATED RAINFALL AVERAGE TODAY: ESTIMATED RAINFALL AVERAGE THURSDAY: MY SNOW/SLEET MAP: MOST of the accumulation in the Mountains.  Remember as I’ve pointed out a million times, those lines are for reference as a guideline only. They are not magic walls in the sky, a normal and expected margin of error would be 23 miles North or South on average of the estimated line. (This is why some people think snow they get was un-forecast and a surprise, no they just didn’t understand they were covered by the range zone associated with all snow/ice/rain forecasts anywhere in the world). BLEND OF MULTIPLE MODELS TEMPERATURE OUTPUT: Check back for updates to the blog and on-air forecast. For more follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • [9:27 p.m.]: A flash flood watch was issued for 57 Georgia counties, including most of metro Atlanta’s Southside, for Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. An additional 1 to 2 inches of rain is possible south of I-20, according to Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Brad Nitz. The counties under the water include Clayton, Coweta, Fayette, Henry, Newton, Spalding and Troup counties. For a full list of the counties affected, click here. UPDATE [2:47 p.m.]: A winter weather advisory was issued for 10 far North Georgia counties ahead of expected snow Thursday morning, according to the National Weather Service.  The advisory will go into effect at 5 a.m. Thursday and last until 1 a.m. Friday. The counties under the advisory are Dawson, Fannin, Gilmer, Habersham, Lumpkin, Pickens, Rabun, Towns, Union and White. Higher elevations could get up to 2 inches of snow, while lower elevations are expected to see up to an inch. ORIGINAL STORY: With all the rain from the past few weeks, this month is shaping up to be the 10th-wettest February on record. There’s more than a week to go before the end of the month, and Atlanta has already recorded more than 5 inches above average rainfall, according to Channel 2 Action News. That’s not including the additional 2 to 3 inches still expected to fall this week. Nearly 8.5 inches of rain have fallen in Atlanta since Feb. 1, Channel 2 meteorologist Brian Monahan said. Nearly 2 inches have fallen in the past 24 hours. “The average to this point in February is about 3 inches of rain,” he said. “We are way above that, and we're going to add more rain here over the next couple of days.” Showers Wednesday morning are adding to the rainfall totals. The rain is light and should move south by midmorning, but Monahan said it could amount to an additional half-inch to an inch of accumulation. “We're going to keep those roads wet for the morning drive,” he said. “A slow morning commute. Leave plenty of following distance between you and the car in front of you.” It looks like North Georgia will get a break in the wet weather this afternoon, when Monahan said temperatures are forecast to rise into the upper 50s and some infrequent sunshine breaks through the clouds. The respite will not last long. Another round of rain is 100% likely for Thursday morning, according to Channel 2. “It’s just going to be rain early tomorrow morning, but we're going to go from 50s down into the 30s and 40s as that rain moves in,” Monahan said. “Everybody is above freezing as that rain starts to fall around metro Atlanta, and then temperatures start to drop.” By early afternoon, he said there is an increasing risk of a mixture of rain and snow in the northeast Georgia mountains. In metro Atlanta, it should just be a cold rain. “That will move out, and drier and colder weather moves in for (late) Thursday afternoon,” Monahan said.  Thursday is not expected to get out of the 40s, according to Channel 2. Friday should see more of the same with subfreezing morning lows and a projected high of 46 degrees.  The biggest difference is the sunshine. Friday is the first day this week without a chance of rain in the forecast. The dry spell continues only until Saturday, with a 20% chance of showers moving in Sunday, according to Channel 2.  Despite the wet pavement, WSB traffic reporter Mark Arum said there are no major issues in and out of Midtown on Wednesday morning. No major crashes have jammed up the interstates, the WSB 24-hour Traffic Center reported at 6 a.m. With all the wet weather, flooding is ongoing at local rivers and streams and it is possible trees will come down. In Coweta County, a fallen tree was blocking Martin Mill Road north of Gordon Road, the Traffic Center reported. Drivers are advised to avoid the area.  » For a detailed forecast, visit The Atlanta Journal-Constitution weather page. » For updated traffic information, listen to News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB and follow @ajcwsbtraffic on Twitter.  » Download The Atlanta Journal-Constitution app for weather alerts on-the-go.
  • Surface weather chart ABOVE for Tuesday and Tuesday night. Over the next three days depending on where you live in North Georgia the forecast has rain, thunderstorms, sleet and snow or some of each. South of the airport just rain.  The rain will add up over the next few days but no flood watches posted as of now. 3-day rainfall totals of 2 inches on average with higher totals in some spots.  Best chance of snow accumulation in the Far North mountains Thursday.  Notice we have a good “Miller A” pattern on low pressure track but means nothing if insufficient moisture or depth of cold air.  IF any flakes make it into Metro Atlanta they are not expected to matter the way it looks as of now. But we all know (most people do anyway) that weather and forecasts can and do change so check back for updates just in case.  TUESDAY SEVERE WEATHER OUTLOOK: ATLANTA NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FLASH FLOOD WATCH: SURFACE WEATHER CHART WEDNESDAY: SURFACE WEATHER CHART THURSDAY 7AM: FLOOD OUTLOOK: ESTIMATED RAINFALL (AVERAGE) TODAY AND TONIGHT: JUST ONE MODEL PROJECTION THURSDAY 1PM: MODEL OUTPUT 7PM THURSDAY: MODEL PRECIP TYPE OUTPUT 10PM THURSDAY: Folks, I am showing you just ONE model here. ONE out of 7-8 dozen. They all show different things. But models are virtual reality, not actual reality. No one model is the answer key. In fact all the models can be wrong but in different ways. Models are guidance NOT gospel. Mother Nature will do what she wants. If the job was easy we’d always be right.  There is not just one forecast delivered by different sources.  BEST THURSDAY SNOW AMOUNT ESTIMATE ANALYZING MORE THAN ONE MODEL: Our crazy temperature roller-coaster ride continues along with the active jet stream pattern I showed you in my past blog post Monday morning.  It is too soon to focus on any snow accumulation amounts, but I will say that as I write this early Tuesday morning I think any real accumulation stays in the Mountains where I don’t forecast. But stay tuned in case that changes. (Some people think parts of the mountains are “Atlanta”) MODEL BLEND TEMPERATURE GUIDANCE: For more follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • The fog today signals how moist the air mass is, but rain-wise more dry than wet today. Surface weather chart above valid today. We’ve been stuck in this basic pattern for months now and it looks like it will continue for another 1-3 weeks at least.  So only a couple dry days in a row at best most of the time, maybe 3 if we’re lucky. We continue to be in the squeeze play between a cold snowy low pressure trough to our North and a hot dry high pressure ridge to our South with an active jet stream storm track in-between overhead: ESTIMATED RAIN AMOUNTS TUESDAY: ESTIMATED RAIN AMOUNTS WEDNESDAY: ESTIMATED RAIN AMOUNTS THURSDAY: The general storm track upper-level pattern doesn’t change much the next 10-15 days: The yo-yo of mild and cold coming and going coming and going will also continue in this stuck pattern.  I’ll keep an eye out for any winter precipitation mischief, as of now nothing WORTH reporting. Remember I don’t worship models. Models are tools of the trade. Like the tools of other professions in untrained hands they do more harm than good, and I don’t cover rumors.  For more follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • Don’t dress yourself or the kids for yesterdays high in the low 70s or for the temperatures today that start in the upper 60s at 5am, temperatures fall during the day.  Widespread severe weather is NOT expected today, but an isolated damaging thunderstorm is possible this morning. But thanks to our soggy soils it will not require severe weather for a tree to fall down. Even outside of a thunderstorm winds will gust to 30 MPH or so as a strong cold front sweeps through the area and sweeps the unseasonably warm air out in rude fashion. The surface weather chart above is valid this morning.  Temperatures will fall into the low 50s this afternoon and the 30s tonight.  Sunshine, that’s right SUNSHINE returns Friday at the price of sharply colder temperatures with highs of 47-52 afternoon and lows at night 25-30 for a sold freeze.  A decent amount of sun for Saturday as well before more clouds Sunday with a chance of a light shower Monday with a warming trend and temperatures back above normal Monday and Tuesday before more rain and colder temperatures return as the roller coaster continues.  SURFACE WEATHER CHART 1PM: SURFACE WEATHER CHART 7PM: MODEL SIMULATED forecast RADAR (VIRTUAL NOT EXACT): 9AM: 11 AM: NOON: 3pm: 7pm TEMPERATURES: For more follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • Yes it certainly has been wet lately. In fact, not just lately but especially the last 120 days. The dry pattern switched 4 months ago and we’ve been on the wet side wiping away the Drought except in far South Georgia. SOILS ARE SOGGY: Wet across much of the Southeastern U.S. precipitation 130-150% of normal: Solidly wetter than normal for plants and streams in many areas even before the latest round of heavy rain made things worse: In Georgia over the past 3 months rain amounts months 3 to 12 inches above-normal before this weeks heavy rain added more: For more follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.
  • The Flash Flood Watch has been CANCELED.  Some time and space gaps in the rain today but scattered showers at times none-the-less, tapering off further tonight and tomorrow before coverage and intensity pick up again tomorrow night into Thursday morning, some thunderstorms here and there along the way as well with an isolated strong storm possible.  Another tenth to quarter inch on average today but with isolated higher totals possible.  Unseasonably warm into Thursday then the price to pay for the return of sunny dry weather will be a couple days of below-normal temperatures Friday/Saturday.  Radar rainfall estimated amounts so far up to 3 inches far North Metro to half an inch far South Metro: ADDITIONAL RAINFALL NEXT 24 HOURS: STORM PREDICTION FOR TUESDAY (2/11): RAINFALL ESTIMATE WEDNESDAY/WEDNESDAY NIGHT: STORM PREDICTION FOR WEDNESDAY (2/12): RAINFALL ESTIMATE THURSDAY: MY EXCLUSIVE 5-DAY FORECAST. For more follow me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB.