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In character to the end...

As years go, my 2009 has had a significantly higher level of uncertainty than is the norm for my adult life. A good couple standard deviations and then some. So I guess it's fitting that the year end with what may be the most uncertain storm of the decade. It's just not that often that you see National Weather Service meteorologists doing this much arm waving a mere 24-48 hours out. Here are a few of the highlights from their forecast discussion:

THURSDAY NIGHT...
PLENTY OF MODEL UNCERTAINTY BEGINS AT THIS POINT IN THE FORECAST AND
CONFIDENCE BECOMES LOW.

LONG TERM /FRIDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY/...
THE MAIN FORECAST CONCERNS DURING THE LONG TERM PERIOD REVOLVE AROUND
THE POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT SNOWS FRIDAY NIGHT THROUGH SUNDAY. ONE
THING IS FOR CERTAIN...IS THAT CONFIDENCE IS VERY LOW.

WITHOUT GOING INTO PAINFUL DETAIL ON WHAT OUTCOMES WILL BE POSSIBLE
GIVEN A PLETHORA OF SCENARIOS...

FOR NOW...THE UPSHOT IS THAT WE ARE FORECASTING A PLOWABLE SNOWFALL
FOR MAINLY THE EASTERN HALF OF THE CWA DURING THE LATE FRIDAY NIGHT-
SATURDAY-SATURDAY NIGHT PERIOD. HOWEVER...AS MENTIONED
ABOVE...CONFIDENCE IS QUITE LOW...ESPECIALLY B/C A LOT OF THE
SNOWFALL POTENTIAL WILL PROBABLY DEPEND ON MESOSCALE FORCING
MECHANISMS WHICH ARE NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE TO FORECAST AT THIS RANGE. TO
BE PERFECTLY HONEST...I COULD SEE BOSTON GETTING A FOOT OF SNOW OUT
OF THIS OR JUST AN INCH OR TWO.

(Sorry for the ALL CAPS text. That's what they generate.)

Tomorrow, there's going to be snow, or rain, or both, and either a little of it or a lot. Then we have one and a half days where the sky keeps spitting out whatever it decides to, whenever it wants. Supposedly that won't amount to a lot here in Massachusetts until it either does or doesn't start snowing like crazy on Saturday afternoon, complete with high winds. Oh, joy.

One of the parts that I find bewildering is that they're forecasting both snow and rain during some of the same time periods Thursday afternoon and early evening, but no freezing rain at all. Likewise on Saturday. How does that work?

And Accuweather...they're sounding far more dramatic and certain that the incoming Snowpocalypse will stretch down to Boston's North Shore and into the city itself. They're also predicting 30 mph sustained winds with gusts up in the 45-55 mph range. And oh, joy, up to 67 mph in Framingham right around the time I'm now due to be driving through there Saturday, having had plans to stay over until Sunday canceled due to the storm I'll supposedly be racing home to avoid. Only it looks like I could well be racing through it, which isn't my idea of how to start 2010. One can only hope it can only get better from there.

Okay, the weather will be what it is. I'll do what I can to make safe choices and decisions in the face of it, just as I have with all the other financial, health, and weather-related storms the year has brought. What I am certain of is that:

1) the lobster, bacon, ranch pasta salad I'm taking to share with friends tomorrow night is currently settling into its flavors in the fridge, and

2) I'll be seeing the old year out and welcoming the new year in with people whose own generosity of spirit and hand helped me get through this hard, uncertain year.

And those two things are mighty fine things, indeed.

Onward!

(And for those of you further north in these here parts? Please pay attention to Uncle Jim's sound advice).

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
elisem
Dec. 31st, 2009 08:33 am (UTC)
Man, I love forecast discussions -- and that's a rare specimen indeed, as you say.
jcbemis
Dec. 31st, 2009 02:30 pm (UTC)
New Years' in Middleton?
tagwn
Dec. 31st, 2009 04:04 pm (UTC)
Do be careful out there.
randy_byers
Dec. 31st, 2009 06:30 pm (UTC)
Man, that salad sounds delicious. Stay safe, and have a great one. Here's to more fun in 2010.
malkingrey
Dec. 31st, 2009 06:48 pm (UTC)
You've got to love a weather alert discussion that actually uses the word "plethora".

Himself got the notification on that one yesterday, because he's on the community emergency preparedness team (I forget what the official acronym is) for Columbia NH, which is the wide spot in the road (really; if Colebrook at pop. 2500 is a small town, I'm not sure what to call a place that makes Colebrook look big) about 3 miles south of here.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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