Today the kids have a snow day from school. I was planning on working from home grading anyway, so it isn’t such a big deal. We didn’t get a lot of snow in the Toledo area. It rained and then snowed on top and then everything froze yesterday. Then, we got another 2-3 inches (5-7.5 cm) on top of that that then blew into drifts because of the strong winds.
Some of you may have a snow day today as well. This storm covered a large area. Today, Monday, December 14, there is a lot of blowing snow and also some strong lake effect snow coming off of Lake Michigan into Indiana, off Lake Erie near Cleveland and north of Buffalo, New York off of Lake Ontario.
Mike Hedley who works with me with teachers and the GLOBE program tells a story about her students when she taught at Central Catholic High School in Toledo, Ohio. The students were taking observations each day for the GLOBE surface temperature field campaign. One day, school was closed for a snow day. The students went to school anyway and got a janitor to let them into Mrs. Hedley’s classroom so they could get their infrared thermometer and take their observations for the day. Now, that is dedication!
Our dog Tifla (means little girl in Maltese) out in the road. You can’t really tell too well but the drift is about 12 inches (30 cm) deep just to the right of her. The wind chill was pretty brutal in the road. Tifla turned around and ran right to the house.
Snow blowing across our road in front of my house.
It looks like everyone is getting in on the act this winter. New England had been left out of all of the snow for the most part. Most years they have a lot. But, the storms were going to the south. Well, this week, they will get it from Albany, NY to Vermont to New Hampshire. There are a series of coastal lows that will form and bring moisture into New England. Along the coast it is going to be too warm to snow; it will be rain. Also, you can see that there is another system moving across Texas. This one will go quickly across the south and produce a little snow but then when it hits the coast it is going to come up the coast to hit New England again. Finally, there is a storm coming into California. This one has the potential to produce a snowstorm for New England next Tuesday.
I’m getting jealous of Washington DC. They are going to get their 3rd snowstorm in a week. In Toledo, we don’t even have a full inch of snow on the ground. In fact, this winter I have not even shoveled the driveway. I haven’t had a chance to go cross country skiing because there hasn’t been enough snow. OK, time to stop complaining.
This is a storm to watch. It is a Nor’easter that is going to explode once it hits the ocean. The ocean acts as an energy source. Once the low pressure system hits the coast, the central pressure drops which causes the winds to blow stronger and which causes moisture to be pulled in off of the Atlantic Ocean. A Nor’easter is called a Nor’easter because the wind comes around the low pressure system and from the Northeast off of the ocean.
I have been in a couple large storms in the DC area. The top 5 storms in DC on record are:
1. January 27-28, 1922 – 28 inches
2. February 11-13, 1899 – 20.5 inches
3. February 18-19, 1979 – 18.7 inches
4. January 6-8, 1996 – 17.1 inches
5. February 15-18, 2003 – 16.7 inches
This storm has the potential to make the top 5 snow storms in DC.
For the 4th heaviest snowfall, I lived in Odenton, MD which is outside of DC. I worked at the University of Maryland. The 17.1 inches of snow parallized the area for an entire week. No one had shovels. I shoveled my car out with a small garbage can. But, I could not get out of my apartment complex parking lot because no one plowed the parking lot for 5 days. It was great staying home from work. I love a snow day, always have.
In 1995 I was driving from Ann Arbor, MI to Annapolis, MD to see my wife. It was our first year of marriage and with lived in different cities because I was still in graduate school at the University of Michigan and my wife had a job in DC. I thought I was going to beat the storm being a meteorologist and all. It normally takes 8 hours to make the drive. But, when I got into the mountains of Pennsylvania, the snow started to come down. I had white knuckle driving for he rest of the trip. It took me a total of 13 hours. I arrived in MD just as the sun was rising. I was almost out of gas and all of the gas stations were closed. It was pretty scary. But, I found a gas station and made.
Another time I was in the DC area for a meeting and stayed at Kathleen’s Uncle and Aunt’s house in Annapolis, MD. I was planning to leave in the morning. When I woke up, the snow was pounding down. I hurried up and got in my car and started to drive. Luckily I did. Annapolis got 17 inches of snow. I would have been there for another 3 days. On that trip, the snow was pounding down on the ridges as I drove through Maryland. On one, cars and trucks started to slip and had trouble making up the hill. I was lucky that some of us were able to get traction and get by. I love winter weather!
Sometimes a Nor’Easter will produce a pretty good amount of snow in Toledo. But, from this storm, I don’t think we will. It looks like this storm is going to move out to sea and not hit the Northeast much either. And, sometimes in Toledo we will get lake effect snow off of Lake Erie from a Nor’easter. But, this time, Lake Erie is pretty much frozen over.