Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Weather It Is (Winter Storm Watch)

Good Afternoon:

There are those who might look forward to our first snowstorm of the year and those who do not.

This part of the blog  is for those who do not.  These are the kind of people who think of an accumulating snow as something to be gotten rid of, like  unleavened products ("Chametz") before Passover (Pesach).

The weather during the next few days will be quite unusual -- that is atypical.  On the other hand, atypical is good because it's unusual.  That is, it doesn't happen very often, and when it does its a "here today and gone tomorrow" sort of thing.  What am I speaking about?  Of course, I am speaking about a storm that will move southward from Turkey, move just west of Cyprus, and then swing around right through our (relatively speaking) little state of Israel.  Do you know what the chances of this are?  It's simply minute.  Yet, sometimes bad things happen (although we hope not too bad) and the unlikely becomes likely.  This means that there should be heavy rain on Thursday, strong winds, and hail, and then snow late Thursday night into late Friday.  Unlike the previous storm, there just might be enough cold so that snow actually accumulates.  However, don't worry, even if the city of Jerusalem comes to a complete stand still on Friday and travel is limited in many mountainous areas, Shabbat should be a bit warmer and Sunday even more.  In addition, the latest forecast suggests that precipitation could continue long enough to completely wash away the snow. True, there may be another storm early in the week, but it will probably be rain and be sure to wash away any of the white stuff that survives the rain and not-so-winter sun of Israel.  In any case, if you live in the mountainous areas, you can always go to the sea for a soaking rain or to Eilat for sunnier and warmer weather.

This is for those who might actually look forward to snow.  This would include myself, and our children, our dog,  but not our cats or my wife.  My wife does not want it to snow, and if I really could control the weather I would surely stop the storm west of Cyprus, and return it safely to the frozen northern reaches.

In a winter that has fortunately seen many storms, our next arrival will be different.  Rather than transversing the relatively warm waters of the Mediterranean (which warms the lower atmosphere and brings us a good soaking rain or just hail in thunderstorms), this storm should arrive from the frozen northern reaches.  It should swing just west of Cyprus and then barrel into our area with strong winds, heavy precipitation (hail on Thursday), and most likely a change over to snow Thursday night.  Temperatures should be between -1 (or -2 C) at 850 mb, -11 or even -13 C at 700 mb, and -25 to -30 C at 500 mb -- temperatures cold enough for snow. By mid Friday afternoon, the temperatures at 500 mb should become close to -30 C, which should lead to convective events that could bring hail or snow.  As the evening arrives, the latest GFS (single deterministic forecast) is suggesting. however, a change over back to hail and rain.

Even with rain, hail, or snow, the cold weather should remain with us into Shabbat morning.  True, temperatures should warm early in the week, but Friday and perhaps Shabbat should provide plenty of time to play in the snow, assuming that snow accumulates late Thursday night and Friday. Based on the GEFS,  before any changeover to rain there is a 70% chance of a light to moderate coating of snow, and a 40% chance of even heavier amounts, Wednesday's forecast should help us clarify just what kind of snow event we'll be having, and whether there will a light or more heavy accumulation.
In the meantimes, we look forward to welcoming visitors from warmer and rainier areas to our soon to be snowy landscape.

There is even a chance of another storm, but most likely rain, early next week.

Barry Lynn

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