AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 92

P&E 

WX WATCH

Cold
conveyor
belt

Dry
conveyor
belt

Warm
conveyor
belt

CLASSIC FLOWS AROUND surface systems are often called " conveyor

LIGHTNING RETURNS FROM thunderstorms, as seen from space.

THE DECEMBER 1 GOES-16 satellite's visible imagery channel gives a more

SURFACE LOWS TYPICALLY form east of well-defined troughs aloft,

belts. " Compare this illustration with the imagery on page 90 to see
the concept of warm, cold, and dry conveyors. The dry conveyor belt
is frequently called the " dry slot. "

detailed look at the cumulus buildups circulating around the surface low
pressure, as well as the dry slot being drawn into New England.

92 | AOPA PILOT February 2021

around the area circled in red.

were widespread damaging winds and
power outages.
But wait, there's more. What's known as
a " conveyor belt " of cold air aloft wrapped
around the surface lows and dumped snow
in an arc ranging from New England to Ohio,
and down the Appalachian Mountains. This
wraparound snow and other precipitation is
common in many well-developed low-pressure systems. For many, it was the first snow
of the season. As you might suspect, airmets
for icing and instrument meteorological conditions went into effect from Michigan to
Maine, and as far south as eastern Tennessee.
Although the National Weather Service

doesn't give hurricane-style names to winter
storm systems, The Weather Channel does.
It called this storm Dane.
One week later, the mid-Atlantic and
northeast states experienced another winter storm-dubbed Eartha-but this one
was a nor'easter that began in the Gulf of
Mexico. It may seem counterintuitive to
have a snowstorm with origins in such
sunny latitudes, but with nor'easters-
so called because of their strong winds
out of the northeast-it's common. Once they
form, they track up the eastern United States.
The Cape Hatteras area is another
prime breeding ground for nor'easters.

TOP LEFT: STEVE KARP

The surface lows (there were a pair)
were over southern Virginia and the
Chesapeake Bay. An especially strong
north-south cold front ran all the way
to Florida, and a pair of warm fronts
extended into the Atlantic Ocean. There
were severe thunderstorms ahead of
that cold front, fed by a 70-knot " warm
conveyor belt " of southerly winds.
Directional and speed shear-changes
of wind direction and velocity with
altitude-set up enough rotation that
tornado watches were issued. Two tornadoes touched down in Maryland, and
one in eastern Pennsylvania, and there

This system essentially was the last gasp of the warm season
being overcome by a Canadian low that migrated from Manitoba.



AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021

Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - Intro
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - Cover1
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - Cover2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 4
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 5
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 6
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 7
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 16
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 112
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - Cover3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - Cover4
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