Dr. Call’s Winter Weather Blog

An Impressive Plains Blizzard

Posted by on 12:31 AM in Blizzards and Snow Storms, Winter Weather | 0 comments

While the Iowa caucuses and other news have dominated headlines this week, the winter storm that affected the Great Plains (and Iowa) had a major impact on residents of Nebraska and nearby states.  Businesses, universities, and schools closed, and road conditions were so hazardous that long stretches of Interstate highway were closed. (Graphic from The Weather Channel) As best as I can tell, places in light violet had more than 6″-9″ of snow, those in light purple had 9-12″, and the dark purple areas exceeded 12″. ...

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Typical Iowa Blizzard May Have National Effects

Posted by on 11:45 AM in Blizzards and Snow Storms | 0 comments

Last week’s Nor’easter was a fairly typical “East Coast blizzard,” where incredible amounts of snow fell but few places actually experienced a true blizzard.  That’s because a blizzard is defined as a snow storm where blowing or falling snow reduces visibility to <1/4 mile and winds frequently exceed 30 kts (35 mph) for 3 hours or more.  Source.  Notice that snowfall accumulation is not part of the definition — in fact, no new snow needs to fall for a blizzard to occur. Blizzards are dangerous.  Due to...

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NESIS for the Blizzard of 2016

Posted by on 12:18 AM in Blizzards and Snow Storms | 0 comments

NESIS (Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale) was developed by Paul Kocin and Lou Uccellini to help quantify Northeast snowstorms.  It’s a fairly simple calculation combining snowfall amount with population data.  As a geographer, I love that it uses GIS and includes a non-meteorological factor (population) in the analysis.  Learn more about it here: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/snow-and-ice/rsi/nesis As for the storm that just ended — it will be near to the top of the scale.  There is a very large area of 20″+ accumulations in highly...

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Mid-Storm Thoughts

Posted by on 11:28 AM in Blizzards and Snow Storms | 0 comments

This storm reminds me a lot of the Blizzard of January 1996, and things seem on track for a similar accumulation map.  That means heaviest amounts will be along the ridges east of the Appalachians, more or less along the I-81 corridor in PA/MD/VA and south of I-78 in PA/NJ.  Southern York County (PA), where my parents lived in 1996, experienced around 3 feet and 2-3 feet seems likely again.  Farther south, dry air is starting to reduce the snowfall in DC/VA and the final total there will probably be around 18″, similar to 1996.  ...

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Challenges of Forecasting Snow Amounts

Posted by on 10:08 PM in Blizzards and Snow Storms, Winter Weather | 0 comments

The meteorological forecast models continue to predict a significant winter storm for Baltimore-Washington area.  But how big?  This post will elucidate some of the issues that plague this (and all) snowstorm forecasts.  Heavy snow is often a mesoscale (mid-size) phenomenon, and all mesoscale phenomena  are notoriously challenging to forecast, because the rules of meteorology start to break down.  We know that SOME heavy snow bands will affect SOME people.  But we don’t know exactly WHERE those bands will develop and exactly WHO will...

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So, what’s this blog about?

Posted by on 4:59 AM in Blizzards and Snow Storms, Ice Storms, Storm Chasing, Winter Weather | 0 comments

Greetings, readers!  I am Dr. Dave Call, an Associate Professor at Ball State University, a Certified Broadcast Meteorologist, and someone who loves talking weather and science.  Welcome to my first blog post!  What’s this blog about, and why should you read it? This blog will focus on my area of expertise: winter weather.  I’ve lived it, forecasted it, and I research its effects on society.  I grew up in Pennsylvania where Nor’easters sometimes gave us several FEET of snow.  After getting my meteorology degree from Penn...

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