SYNOPTIC CLIMATOLOGY OF HEAVY SNOWFALL OVER THE CENTRAL AND EASTERN UNITED STATES

PAUL A. GOREE National Meteorological Center, Weather Bureau, Environmental Science Services Administration, Washington, D.C.

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RUSSELL J. YOUNKIN National Meteorological Center, Weather Bureau, Environmental Science Services Administration, Washington, D.C.

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Abstract

Verification shows that recent guidance and official heavy snowfall forecasts have achieved only a modest degree of success. Therefore, the synoptic-climatological relationship of heavy snowfall to those, surface and upper-air features which are routinely forecast, is studied in an attempt to improve, operational forecasting of heavy snowfall east of the Rockies. The relationship is modeled in a way suitable for direct use on available circulation prognoses. The models relate percentage frequency of occurrence of heavy snowfall in 12-hr. periods to the initial 500-mb. absolute vorticity maximum, the 500-mb. height contours, the 1000–500-mb. thickness contours, and the surface low pressure center.

Abstract

Verification shows that recent guidance and official heavy snowfall forecasts have achieved only a modest degree of success. Therefore, the synoptic-climatological relationship of heavy snowfall to those, surface and upper-air features which are routinely forecast, is studied in an attempt to improve, operational forecasting of heavy snowfall east of the Rockies. The relationship is modeled in a way suitable for direct use on available circulation prognoses. The models relate percentage frequency of occurrence of heavy snowfall in 12-hr. periods to the initial 500-mb. absolute vorticity maximum, the 500-mb. height contours, the 1000–500-mb. thickness contours, and the surface low pressure center.

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