Monday, September 16, 2013

Official 2013 - 2014 Active Winter Storm Tracks Forecast

          Here is our official 2013 - 2014 active winter storm tracks forecast. In this discussion, we will detail the expected popular storm tracks this upcoming winter. This analysis will feature the impacted areas of the track and what the storm typically brings with it into the effected regions. Some people think we are very far out from winter, but in a month and a half, we could possibe see snow if the yearly late October storm comes, so this is the official forecast. Lets get started!

Nor'easter

          A Nor'easter is the strongest impacting storm type, that can hit the US during the winter time. This storm typically forms in the Central Pacific, and moves to the northeast. After over land, the storm slams the effected regions with large amounts of precipitation. It commonly first hits the Northern Baja California Coast, and continues to move northeast for a few hundred miles, before making a turn to mainly to the east. It continues on the Mexico, US border until going back into the Western gulf of Mexico. Here, the storm strengthens by pulling in any gulf moisture it can get, before making a northeastward turn into the Northern Florida area. From here, it dumps heavy amounts of mainly rain across Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, before making a northerly turn. After this act, it continues up the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic Coastlines, grabbing more moisture from the Atlantic and at the same time, impacting the states of South Carolina, North Carolina, and the Southern Virginia area. But during this time, the low pressure travels over a sea surface anomaly off the coast between Myrtle Beach and Ocean City, Maryland. This rapidly strengthens the storm system into a powerful winter storm. During this time, it tracks just off the Mid-Atlantic Coast, and dumps mainly rain in Eastern and Central North Carolina.

          Also, depending on the pattern situation, the precipitation type could transitions from rain to ice in Southern and Central Virginia. Now, at it's maximum capability, it slams the Del-Mar-Va with a mix of rain and snow, and hits inland portions of Northern Virginia, Central and Eastern Maryland, Central and Eastern Pennsylvania, all of New Jersey (Southern part could have mixed precipitation depending on temperature), Southeast New York, and Southern New England. The snowfall totals are usually significant in the range of 6 inches plus, depending on a few factors. Sometimes, this system can phase with a weaker low from the inland areas in the Mid-Atlantic, thus strengthening the system, and normally not throwing the main storm off track. Another factor is the temperatures, which could vastly impact the snow ratios, thus changing snow totals.

          The heaviest amounts of snow are normally in Southern New England. But sometimes, the heavier amounts can be further south. This is because there could be an intense trough that protects New England from seeing heavy precipitation from the system, and the storm could be shunted off the New Jersey, or Long Island Coast, with minimal effects on Southern New England. If the storm continues up the Northeast US Coastline, which it most of the time does, Central and Eastern Northern New England are also effected by heavy snow and blowing winds. Although the snow totals are still heavy in Northern New England, the area that normally sees the most snow out of Nor'easters is the Worcester Hills of Massachusetts. The lifespan of this severe winter storm normally is around 6 - 10 days, depending on speed and motion of the low pressure. There are about 2 or 3 of these type of storm systems per winter. This is the lifespan of the most famous and greatly impacting winter storm, the Nor'easter.

Total amount of expected Nor'easters for the upcoming 2013 - 2014 winter: 3 to 5; Above Average Activity

Alberta Clipper
       
          The Alberta Clipper is a common winter storm, but definitely not the most severe out of them all. The Alberta Clipper is what it sounds like, it typically originates in Alberta, which a region in the west part of Central Canada. After forming, it moves southeast, into the Northern Plain states. Here, it brings a light to moderate snowfall on our standards, meaning around 4 - 6 inches of the good stuff. After that point, the storm track usually bends more towards the east-southeast. The next cities in line are Milwaukee, Chicago, and Indianapolis. Precipitation type at this point typically remains primarily all snow, and drops around 3 - 5 on the stated cities. Although, sometimes in Indianapolis, ice is a factor in the forecast. This is what I would call, "The Halfway Point," in the storms life.

          Continuing on, the storm moves through the eastern sections of the Midwest, and enters the Ohio Valley, still holding a good 3 or 5 inches of snow. When the storm finally gets to the Northeast, it has weakened slightly, and sometimes only produces 2 - 4 inches in the Southern half of New York, Pennsylvania, Northern West Virginia, Northern Maryland, most of New Jersey, and far Southern New England. On occasions, the system will be stronger, and possibly produce upwards of 5 or 6 inches. This whole process generally takes about 5 days. Just to say, sometimes the storm system can be related with a cold front. The snow produced by this system is generally on the fluffy side, which is easier to shovel. There are normally around 3 to 5 Alberta Clippers every winter, Now you know as much as you need to know about the Alberta Clipper.

Total amount of expected Alberta Clippers for the upcoming 2013 - 2014 winter: 3 to 5; Average Activity

Colorado Low

          The Colorado Low is a storm that is beginning to become a bit more well known. What it is, is a storm that's forms in the Central Pacific, and moves directly east into the San Francisco area. Of course the precipitation type is all rain, until in moves into the higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada mountain ranges. This is where moderate to heavy amounts, usually about a foot of snow falls. It continues it's long lasting journey into the Nevada - Utah region. Here, it rains in the lowlands and snows in the highlands, which are mainly located in the Northern Arizona and Southern Utah locations. The snowfall amounts there usually total around a foot, depending on elevation. After that, the system moves into Southern Colorado, impacting the Central Rockies with heavy amounts of snow, normally the precipitation type is this area is all snow, just because the Colorado area is made of highlands and full of mountains. During this time period in the storms life span, it intensifies into a strong winter storm, which it why it's called a "Colorado Low." The snow totals are normally around 8 inches to a foot in the Colorado Springs, Denver region. Obviously depending on temperatures, which is associated with elevations.

          Next, the low pressure system travels into the Central Plains, and sometimes can be a wintry mix by now. This is because of the drop in elevation. For cities like Wichita and Kansas City, it can be an icy/snowy mix, depending on temperature. They normally see around 6 inches of snow and up to a quarter of an inch of ice! Then, the storm continues it's intense rage into the Midwest, where locations such as Chicago and St. Louis are impacted. Usually, Chicago sees mainly snow, while St. Louis could be having mixing issues. Snowfall totals in Chicago normally exceed 10 inches, and in St. Louis, as much as a half and inch of ice can accumulate, and then on top, another 2 to 6 inches of wet snow. Next comes the Ohio Valley, where things really get interesting. Heavy amounts of blowing snow are found in the Northern Indiana and the Northern Ohio areas. But when you move south into the Central And Southern portions of Indiana and Ohio, a common event for these people plays out. A major ice storm hits Indianapolis and Columbus with nearly an inch of ice. Meanwhile, Cincinnati is having mainly rain, with some mixed in ice. Totals here are not as significant, but still notable.

          The final step of this great winter storm now plays out as it moves into Central West Virginia, Northern Virginia, and Northern Maryland. Significant amounts of heavy snow pound Northern and Central Pennsylvania, Southern New York, and into Northern New Jersey. Snowfall totals here are close to 1 foot. But as you get down into Southern Pennsylvania, to Central and Southern New Jersey, mixing issues become a small problem. In South Central Pennsylvania, typically the precipitation type is mainly snow with a little sleet or ice. Snowfall amounts here are generally around 6 to 8 inches. As you head over to Southeast Pennsylvania, and over to Central and Southern New Jersey, it becomes more of a half an half deal. Now of course all of this depends on temperatures in the area at the time, but this is what will usually happen. In cities like Philadelphia and Atlantic City, snowfall totals are limited to about 3 to 5 inches. Sleet amounts are not much and rainfall amounts are around a quarter of an inch, depending on the intensity of the storm. But this is where things upset snow-lovers in New England. At this point, generally there is nothing to steer the low, and it goes out to sea. There are around 2 to 4 of these systems per winter, but some recent winter seasons saw more. This is the life cycle of the Colorado Low.

Total amount of expected Colorado Lows for the upcoming 2013 - 2014 winter: 3 to 5; Slightly Above Average Activity

Panhandle Cutter

          The Panhandle Cutter is a storm that does not have an impact on our region directly, but is a branch off of a storm track that does effect us. But lets go in detail about the Panhandle Cutter. The original storm forms in the Pineapple Express, an area around Hawaii that creates a storm about once a month during the winter. Then, the storm moves northeast, to the Northwest United States Coast. Here, the storm dumps heavy snow in the mountain areas of Oregon and Washington, and produces mainly rain in Portland, and sometimes a mix in Seattle. After this act, the storm changes movement to the southeast, and plows it's way down the center of the Rookies. During this time, it dumps as much as 3 to 4 feet of snow on the Rockies. Continuing on, the storm makes it's way down to the Texas Panhandle, where it throws as much as 8 inches of snow at cities like Amarillo. This is where sometimes the storm system can cut to the northeast, and make it's way through the South Central Plains.

          After hitting Southern Oklahoma and Dallas with mainly rain, and possibly some ice, the storm makes it's way through Arkansas. Here, an icy mess can occur depending on the temperature, in areas such as Little Rock, and sometimes Memphis, Tennessee. After that, the storm can impact St. Louis with a mix of ice and snow, snow totals are normally held to only about 4 - 6 inches around the southern Illinois and East Central Missouri area. But this is where things can get fun. The storm barrels it's way through the central part of Illinois, and into Chicago. In Chicago, strong winds and snowfall totals in excess of a foot are common. This is the end of the storms life cycle. Each year, we typically see around 1 or 2 or these type of storms. The snowfall produced by this storm is generally on the wetter side south, and the direr side near Chicago. Now you know everything you need to know about the Panhandle Cutter.

Total amount of expected Panhandle Cutters for the upcoming 2013 - 2014 winter: 2 to 3; Slightly Above Average Activity

Appalachian Runner

          Appalachian Runners are the last common storm to take place every winter. The take the same path as the Panhandle Cutters, until the Texas Panhandle. Here, they continue on with their journey and not travel into the Midwest US. They continue on their way through the southeast, laying mainly rain down for cities such as Jackson, Birmingham, and Atlanta. Sometimes in Atlanta and especially to the north of the city, some ice and snow can mix in, depending on temperatures at the time. After this occurs, the system moves up the eastern side of the Appalachian Mountains. This spreads heavy snow into the Appalachian Mountains of extreme Northern South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia. Snow totals normally amount to as much as a foot on the highest peeks of the mountains. The normal snowfall on about a 3000 foot mountain in this area is generally about 8 inches, depending on the temperature, which would control snowfall ratios.

          Precipitation type is normally rain for cities like Raleigh. For Roanoke, a mix of snow and ice is often expected out of an Appalachian Runner. After this, the storm moves northeast into West Virginia, Central and Western Virginia, Central and Western Maryland, and Central and Western Pennsylvania. The average snowfall in the mountains of these areas is around a foot. In the regions where the elevations are between 400 - 1000 feet, snowfall around 4 - 8 inches is generally expected, for cities like Hagerstown and Harrisburg. For Baltimore and Washington DC, normally rain is the overall precipitation type with some mixed ice and sleet for a short period. Then, the storm moves north into Northern Pennsylvania and the highlands of Central and Eastern New York. In these regions, all snow is the usual precipitation type because of high elevation and great snowfall ratios. Snowfall totals are typically between 12 and 18 inches in this storm. The snowfall is usually a drier snow, except in the lower elevations of South Central Pennsylvania, where a normal, slightly wet snow would be expected.  These storms usually occur around 1 time a winter. These are all the details about the unique Appalachian Runner.

Total amount of expected Appalachian Runners for the upcoming 2013 - 2014 winter: 1 to 2; Slightly Above Average Activity

          So you have just read all of the details about what we should expect the most active storm tracks to be for the upcoming 2013 - 2014 Winter. I hope you managed to read at least a few sections of this forecast if not the entire article. Here is our official 2013 - 2014 Winter storm Tracks graphic. The lines are colored as the titles of each storm are. Thanks for reading and have a great, safe rest of your day!


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