WEATHER: There's Snow Time Like The Present

January 15, 2019

Illustration (Image Credit: Wix)

 

My daughter had one simple observation: it's too warm to snow.  My wife called downstairs — she thought it was supposed to snow today, Tuesday. 
 
If my immediate family is confused, then I can well imagine the confusion among readers of this article. Moreover, this story maybe overtaken by some news related to colder temperatures recently forecast.  
 
Here's the summary:

 

Strong Gale Warning for coastal and mountain areas (75 to 88 km/h).

 

Flood Risk in mountain/valley and northern areas.

 

Winter Storm Warning for the Golan Wednesday and Wednesday night.

 

Winter Storm Warning for Gush Etzion for late Wednesday into night, for 5-10 cm of snow.

 

Winter Storm Watch for Jerusalem.

 
I received an interesting explanation for why the lower atmosphere is not as cold as originally forecast. Simply put, the position of high and low pressure systems over Europe are somewhat displaced from their previous forecast position, shunting off to the east some of our previously mentioned extreme cold.
 
Nevertheless, we're not out of the woods yet. Currently, our forecast shows 5-10 cm of snow for Gush Etzion and mixed snow, ice, and rain in Jerusalem. The strongest precipitation should fall in Jerusalem in the late afternoon and evening and in Gush Etzion in the evening hours as the coldest air arrives both aloft and in the lower atmosphere.
 
Snow and ice — rather than just ice and rain — should arrive in the evening hours and continue past midnight. Forecast temperatures are a couple of degrees above freezing in Jerusalem and a degree colder in Gush Etzion (depending on elevation). 
 
Hence, the snow is more likely to accumulate in Gush Etzion in the very late afternoon and evening (where 5-10 cm is forecast) compared to Jerusalem where only a coating may occur early in the evening (but melt very quickly). The precipitation should last until morning, and will probably turn back to rain or a very wet snow in Gush Etzion by morning. 
 
Based on an examination of global ensemble forecasts, the range of possible error suggests that there is a 20% chance of several centimeters of snow in Jerusalem. Currently, though, our highest resolution forecast based on the GFS newest version does not show an accumulation of snow in Jerusalem. This could change with the next update as the synoptic conditions are more favorable for snow in Jerusalem. 
 
Elsewhere, a light coating of snow is forecast in the higher mountains surrounding Safed. The lower Golan is forecast to have 10-15 cm, while the upper Golan should have up to half a meter.

 

Check here for further updates as the storm(s) progress. 

 

Jerusalem forecast (click here for updated national forecasts):

 Image credit: The Jerusalem Herald

 

Dr. Lynn is a lecturer at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Earth Sciences Department. He is also CEO of Weather It Is, LTD, a company that specializes in reducing weather risk.  Click here to read more of this writer’s work in The Jerusalem Herald.

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בס"ד

...הָרִימִי בַכֹּחַ קוֹלֵךְ מְבַשֶּׂרֶת יְרוּשָׁלִָם הָרִימִי אַל תִּירָאִי אִמְרִי לְעָרֵי יְהוּדָה הִנֵּה אֱלֹקֵיכֶם! (ישעיה  מ:ט)

...Raise your voice with strength, herald of Jerusalem; raise it, do not be afraid; say to the cities of Judah, "Here is your G-d!"

(Isaiah 40:9)

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