Typhoon Phanfone hitting Philippines on Christmas Day

Disasters don’t take a break for holidays … Typhoon Phanfone tracked through the Philippines this morning, damaging or destroying hundreds of homes. Here is the estimated damage swath and position as of this morning US East Coast time …

Economic impact is estimated to be on the order of $500 Million to $1 Billion US Dollars, or less than 1% of GDP (which is no consolation if it was your home destroyed).  The Philippines has had a rough year this year, with multiple damaging landfalls.  As you celebrate and enjoy Western Christmas (recalling the traditional Feast of the Nativity is still 13 days off, according to the Julian Calendar in use by the majority of the Canonical Orthodox Churches :O …), please keep in mind those impacted by natural disasters as well as human stupidity and greed like conflict zones, and consider a year-end contribution to one of the many aid agencies that are trying to make the lives of those in harms way better.  Then you can enjoy the holiday in good conscience!

 

ZOMG! There will be actual weather next week!

So there’s already talk of a winter storm sweeping through the nation next weekend (14th or so of December), possibly even the dreaded words “ice storm” that cause Atlantians (the ones in Georgia, not the ones Way Down Beyond The Ocean) to panic and start smashing in to each other on the perimeter and clogging up spaghetti junction with the carcasses of perfectly drive-able automobiles, even if said ice isn’t even going to hit Atlanta.   This is all part of the trend towards sensationalizing marginally bad weather, something discussed in this Washington Post (shudder) article.   While the screed starts of ok, the next to last paragraph is totally wrong.  This has a real economic and physical cost in human stress and needlessly disrupted businesses.  It’s all part of modern American society, which keeps people constantly on edge for marketing purposes.

So what’s the facts in this case?  In short, there will be weather next weekend.  Some of it will be rain.  As it is want to do this time of year, as you move northeastward, at some point that rain will change over to a “wintery mix” of ice and snow, changing over to only snow along the back side of the system as you get further north.   Here’s the current forecast precipitation types from the latest GFS model run Thursday (120 hours) which is about as far in advance as I’m willing to post a picture of …  green/yellow is rain, purple blue is a mix (the dangerous part), white is snow.

When we get closer, if it looks like anything unusual is happening will post more.  As usual with forecasts, don’t believe everything you see from 7-10 day forecasts!  I don’t get too excited until 5 days, since we really don’t have a lot of skill forecasting the exact mix more than 3 days in advance, just the “big picture”.  But that’s fine: you really only need a day or so to prepare for a winter storm.  FEMA took some time off from covering up UFO crashes and building internment camps to post some advice on the subject which is worth reviewing.  So be ready for wintery weather this season, as you should be for other events, and as always don’t panic unless you just need the cardio.  And if you live in Atlanta, by the ghosts of Rhett and Scarlet please learn how to drive …