Sunday, January 9, 2011

Where Will This Week's Low Pressure Make Landfall?

Steam venting off of Mt. Baker, John Stark

Lovely day in Bellingham after those dark days in the field this week. Sun on fresh snow. The calm air allowed John Stark to catch steam venting from the Sherman Crater area on Mount Baker east of Bellingham. Reminding us that there is some heat down below and that the mountain is cooking itself into a mass of mush. 

The weather models have been teasing us about a possible very big snow mid week. Lots of cold air entering the area. But the models keep shifting the location of the track of the low pressure system that will bring the moisture. Different models had the low track route over a range of about 500 miles from landfall in Oregon to the northern tip of Vancouver Island, but the most recent runs have all the models routing the low to the north meaning snow early turning to rain. The model run below from the UW has the low right on the US-Canadian border. The Fraser valley outflow wind of cold might maintain enough cold air in the Bellingham area or a little to the north to keep it in the snow, but it is a close call and the models seem to be trending the low center more to the north. Cliff Mass did a nice write up on the model variables including bias of weather folks wanting a big snow event. I am in the big snow camp - but then I got my field jobs in last week and I walk to work.  I always wonder what the different model teams are thinking when the model solutions are so divergent. Do they cheer for their model like Seattle's 12th Man in the wildcard playoff game? 

  model run for late Tuesday January 11

I noted a bit better snow removal on sidewalks this morning relative to the snow we had in late November. Still a minority are clearing snow before it gets packed into hard ice, but maybe there is the beginning of an attitude shift in Bellingham.

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