This is a Colonel Klink moment. I think it was about 4 days ago that I said that the East Coast and particularly the Northeast would be threatened with a whomping of snow. I also kept saying that we’d be colder than the folks on the tube were advertising and I especially couldn’t figure out how we were supposed to get above freezing on Monday. Well, I’ll claim victory on both counts. I subscribe to the Jackson Browne method…”forget about the losses and exagerate the wins.” Really, the Northeast snow was a pretty easy call. The only question was how much because that would strictly be a function of how far off the coast the storm center would run. As it was, the highest snowfall that I found was on Long Island, New York around Setauket where reports of 12-14 inches came in. Central Park in the Big Apple had 8 inches. (Text of numerous snow reports in the region) The majority of the reports are in the 6-9 inch range with some higher amounts. I’ve put a map of the snow totals as I have the preliminary reports. Here is a listing of snow reports by the public and observers in parts of New England.
I’ve been tracking the climate forecasts. Initially, the story was that the Ohio Valley would be warmer than average. Well, let’s explain that again. You will typically hear in the media that an specific area is expected to be “colder than normal” or “warmer than normal.” In fact, when you look at the forecast maps, what they give is a darkened area that has the probability of it being outside the realm of average. I have never seen an area greater than 50%. For the winter, the Ohio Valley had a 40% chance of it being warmer than average, but most of the reports by your favorite media outlet said it was forecast to be warmer than normal. For January and February, Louisville was in the 40% chance of being warmer than normal. The result was a split decision. In January, Louisville had an average high of 38.1 and an avg. low of 21.6. The 30 year average is 41 and 24.9 respectively. So, it was in fact, colder than average and fairly significantly. In February, preliminary analysis shows that the 30 year average high of 46.6 was eclipsed in February 2009 by last month’s 49.2. The average low of 31.1 in Feb. 2009 was greater than the 28.5 30 year average. For March, in spite of the real cold start, we fall under the “equal chances” of warmer or colder or average temperatures. Now that’s a big limb to climb out on. Look to the bottom for the next victory that I may be claiming…and if I am wrong…then I won’t comment.
On This Date in History:
What we have been always been taught in school was that Francis Scott Key wrote the words to the Star Spangled Banner while being held prisoner on a British ship as the Brits fleet In Baltimore Harbor bombarded Fort McHenry for 25 hours. He looked out his small window and saw that the American flag was still hoisted high above the fort with the bombs “bursting in air.”
Well, here’s the real story. Key was a lawyer from Georgetown. He also was the head of peace mission who went to the British fleet in Chesapeake Bay in an attempt to secure the release of a doctor being held as a prisoner. When Frank Key came aboard, the British received him with great courtesy and even agreed to release Dr. William Beanes. But, somethat got in the way. See, while Key was on board, he saw the ships preparing for an attack so the English, not being stupid, detained Key and his party aboard the sloop Minden until the attack was over. It was from the Minden that Key saw that in the dawns early light, the flag was still there. That gave him great inspiration and on the back of a letter, he penned the lyrics. He decided to put his poem to a rather popular tune of the time. That song was “To Anacreon in Heaven” (Here are the Lyrics) and was quite popular in taverns as a somewhat bawdy drinking song composed by John Stafford Smith in 1775. It was the anthem of a London gentleman’s club (not the same thing as they are today) with the name Anacreonic Society derivinig from the moniker of a Greek poet who worshiped “Muses, Wine and Love.”
Francis Scott Key’s version became an instant hit and rose quickly to near the top of patriotic songs, competing with “America the Beautiful” for the top spot. On this Date in 1931, President Herbert Hoover was dealing with a failing economy, a tanking stock market and an oncoming depression. Sound familiar? Anyway, amidst all of the crisis, Hoover somehow found that it was time that the nation had an official national anthem. Perhaps he thought that would prove to be the stimulus the economy needed. So, 78 years ago today, Herbert Hoover signed a bill that made Key’s “Star-Spangled Banner,” put to the tune of a tavern booze song, the national anthem. And people have been butchering it at the beginning of sporting events ever since.
Weather Bottom Line: We started off in the teens on Monday morning and the airport made it to 31 in the afternoon and I doubt if anyone else was that warm. With the wind blowing, I guarantee no one felt like it was as warm as it was. Tuesday morning will find temperatures in the low to mid teens and then we slowly warm up…perhaps low 40’s at best but then we get into the 50’s on Wednesday and pushing toward 70 on Friday. I had told you yesterday that there were indications that not only would we have a long wave ridge building in for the middle of the week, but also that a ridge would be building off the SE coast and that would help to block a front coming in. The data was a bit inconclusive but I suggested that the warm weather would probably persist as I suspected the ridge would indeed build in from the Southeast and hold up any frontal activity.
The only change that I have to my suspicion is that I think that a boundary that had earlier had appeared to want to move through and bring a cold weekend will not totally get held up. The Canadian model has this solution which is to have the boundary in the neighborhood with clouds and perhaps some rain but the really cold air will be bottled up to the north…so upper 50’s to near 60 for the weekend…a bit cooler than the last couple of days of the week but not a big change. Now, keep in mind, the GFS wants to have it be wet from say Thursday through the weekend and holds the front way out of the way and keeps the cold air way north. The European still wants to bring the boundary through and make it colder for Sunday but it only lasts for one day. As I said, I suspect that the Canadian will be the winner…but we’ll see how it shakes out.