AOPA Pilot Magazine - January 2015 - 88

P&E

WX WATCH
AOPA Wx Watch coverage sponsored by DTC DUATS

Winter weather bummers
Here they come, like clockwork
BY THOMAS A. HORNE

Nor'easter

Alberta Clipper

L

DRY CANADIAN air masses follow Alberta Clippers, but

they can still yield snow and icing as they push warmer air
ahead of them. Arrow depicts the usual track.

Cutoff low aloft

THE BANE OF WINTER flying weather on the East Coast,

these storms bring deep lows with northeast winds and
plenty of moisture. Expect heavy snows and widespread
icing.

SLD trouble spots
main upper air flow

L

cutoff low

THE ARROW POINTS to pressure pattern typical of cutoff

lows aloft. It's like an island of low pressure, apart from the
jet stream's main route to the north.

LIKE IT OR NOT, WINTER'S HERE. But that
doesn't mean we have to helplessly await
the coming onslaught of rotten winter flying weather. Thanks to the climatological
record of the past 30 years, we can rest
assured of the nature, locations, and travel
patterns of the storms, fronts, and other
mayhem to come in the months ahead.
PACIFIC STORM SYSTEMS. One rule
of thumb holds that most adverse winter
weather systems enter the United States in
the Pacific Northwest. Deep low pressure

88 | AOPA PILOT January 2015

THE SHADED AREAS show the areas apt to experience

large-droplet icing most frequently. As you might expect,
the high water content of the icing clouds here is due
to the circulations over the bodies of water below and
upstream of them.

complexes in the North Pacific ride a conveyor belt of high-altitude jet stream winds
on their way to Alaska, Washington, Oregon,
and California. To see them coming, your
best bet is the Aviation Digital Data Service's
prog chart online (aviationweather.gov/
progchart/high?region=i) or satellite imagery for the telltale counterclockwise cloud
formations that signal well-organized low
pressure circulations. The ADDS satellite
page does a good job as well (aviationweather.gov/satellite/intl?region=i).

ALBERTA CLIPPERS. As the name suggest, these fast-moving fronts originate
in or near the western Canadian province
of the same name. They tend to produce
more turbulence and high surface winds
than dense clouds and snow, but icing still
can be a factor. As they travel in a southeasterly direction, clippers can affect
the central and eastern United States
until warmer temperatures and competing weather systems take the fight out
of them.


http://www.duat.com http://www.aviationweather.gov/progchart/high?region=i http://www.aviationweather.gov/progchart/high?region=i http://www.aviationweather.gov/satellite/intl?region=i http://www.aviationweather.gov/satellite/intl?region=i

AOPA Pilot Magazine - January 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AOPA Pilot Magazine - January 2015

Contents
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - January 2015 - Contents
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