Thursday February 2 2012

Updated:
2:30P.M. Thursday February 2, 2012

Welcome to Kingston Snows!!

School Forecast For:
Friday February 3, 2012
Two-Hour Delay Cancellation Early Dismissal
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At 7:25AM Punxsutawney Phil officially saw his shadow. According to legend, this means that there will be six more weeks of "winter."

How accurate are Phil's predictions?
Well, generally predictions form Phil are considered to be about 40% to 90% accurate, depending on who is doing the evaluating and where they are.

Since 2005, Phil has seen his shadow 6 out 0f 8 times.

2011: No shadow (early spring)… six weeks later, Kingston was still getting snow and cancellations.
Accuracy: failure.

2010: Shadow (More Winter)… we picked up 15 inches of snow in the following month.
Accuracy: moderately accurate.

2009: Shadow (More Winter)… we only picked up 3.5 inches of snow in the following month.
Accuracy: failure.

2008: Shadow (More Winter)… between three snowstorms, we received an additional 9.5 inches of snow by the beginning of march.
Accuracy: moderately accurate.

2007: No shadow (early spring)… not only did we receive an 11 inch snowstorm on Valentines day, and a 16 inch snowstorm on St. Patrick's day, but we also received 1.25 inches of snow on April 15th.
Accuracy: complete failure.

2006: Shadow (More Winter)… we only had two four-inch snowstorms in the following four weeks.
Accuracy: somewhat accurate.

2005: Shadow (More Winter)… we picked up 37 inches of snow over the following 7 weeks.
Accuracy: very accurate.

Overall, Punxsutawney Phil's track record here in Kingston over the last few years has been a bit less than impressive, and seems about the same as chance… go figure. Perhaps it is time to invest in a more reliable rodent.

The rest of this winter.
This winter is unique in that we have been experiencing one of the strongest positive Arctic Oscillations ever observed. Positive AO's keep cold air trapped up north over the arctic, leaving us to experience warm temperatures. Unfortunately, our ability to forecast its changes is very low… just one of the many natural climate phenomena that we have yet to truly understand.

Over the last decade, every single winter has recorded its last snowfall in either March or April.

The season that I most associate this winter with is winter 2006-2007. That winter we only had 3.5 inches of snow by Groundhog's day, compared to our current 12.2 inches thus far this winter (6.5 inches excluding the October storm). And as I mentioned above, 2007 went on to experience a February 14th and a March 16th "blizzard."

While I can't say the rest of this winter will be that intense, I do think that we will see a couple more minor snow events with at least one or two more decent storms (4+ inches) before the end of this winter… probably towards the latter half of February/first half of March. This is similar to a blend between February and March of 2006 and 2008
or a less intense version of 2007.

Needless to say, I am counting on the unseasonable pattern in the current forecast to weaken some during the next two to three weeks.

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Image via the National Weather Service in Albany

As is always the case, time will tell.

Next Update:
Sunday Afternoon.

History of Kingston Snowstorms

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