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We Give Thanks for Paul Kocin

Matt Ross @ 1:00 AM


We will see rain showers ending this morning. Winds will become very gusty from the northwest in the afternoon as temperatures hold fairly steady in the mid 40s. The combination of colder air and wind will be easily felt after dusk as temps drop into the 30s with a stiff breeze. The favored areas well to our north and west will see snowshowers tomorrow. Someone may see a flake or two in the more immediate metro area, but any realistic chance for snow will have to wait until Wednesday night. See more below.

Paul Kocin Interview

I have always enjoyed Paul's appearances on The Weather Channel over the last several years. More recently after purchasing his seminal book on Northeast Snowstorms, I became better acquainted with Paul via occasional email and was privileged to meet him in person this past summer. As I expected, he gave a great interview. I think you will find his answers to be forthright, provocative, and insightful. Enjoy.

Here are some highlights from's interview with The Weather Channel's Winter Weather Expert, Paul Kocin. The complete interview in its entirety can be found in our features section, here.

Regarding Paul's favorite weather event from his childhood:
The winter of 1960/61 probably did it for me. I grew up on Long Island, NY and the 3 storms of December 11-12, 1960, January 19-20, 1961 and February 3-4, 1961 made the winter great....I don’t think there was one event that spurred my interest in weather. It was probably all those great snowstorms in the 1960’s that probably did it for me.

About where Paul would like to live:
It's not Atlanta! Since I grew up in New York, the main reason I loved the weather of Long Island was the combined heavy snows and high winds of Nor’easters. To me, there was nothing better than see these storms combine 1 to 2 feet of snow with winds that gusted over 50 miles per hour, it was an awesome spectacle that was rare enough to be special and occurred often enough to be something realistic to look forward to......I would love to live northwest of Boston! And I wouldn’t mind experiencing a winter in Newfoundland! Some of the pictures I’ve seen look like heaven.

When asked about "busted" forecasts:
Do I bust? I hate it but it happens and happens more often than many of us like to admit. There have been times where I’ve really gotten depressed seeing a forecast go down the toilet. That said, it’s important to remember that this is a field in which it is only a matter of time before you will bust, no matter how good you are or how confident you are. Some of us learn to be humble that we don’t know it all while there are some of “us” who seem to never learn. This is a field where anyone who allows themselves to brag and claim superiority (you know who you are!) will ultimately be on the short end of the stick.

Regarding seasonal forecasts:
And, when it comes to the winter forecast, I am just not a believer, period. I can go and write an entire article (and I won’t) but it’s another case of shooting dice when there’s just not enough information – although lots of people are looking at lots of things and that’s good. Understanding El Nino is great (especially when the signal is strong) and I’m a big believer in the NAO – I’ve done a lot of research there myself – but predicting these and other factors that are presently poorly understood makes these predictions not very useful to me. So, no, I don’t know how this winter will turn out and that’s fine by me

Regarding Paul's favorite snowstorm:
I have several as you can imagine. As far as Northeast snowstorms go – there is the Blizzard of 1888 (I wrote an article in the Bulletin of the AMS on it back in 1983 – the ultimate winter fantasy for NYC – not a typical Northeast storm), the Lindsay storm in 1969 (of course – 2 feet of snow and increasing winds – forecasts couldn't keep up with it), February 1961 was a beauty (classic surface high and a rapidly deepening coastal storm) and February 1978 is simply a classic with an incredible upper-level development. The Appalachian storm of November 1950 is simply the most incredible storm development I've seen – even though it didn't dump snow on the big cities – I always bring it up in my talks for bizarre development (such as winds shift to south in Pittsburgh, the snow gets heavier and the temperature falls from 20 degrees to 9 degrees; Detroit gets a warm front passage from the east, followed by a cold front passage from the east). As far as bizarre, March 1942 dumped over 3 feet of snow in Pennsylvania (22” in Baltimore) with a very non-classic surface low evolution (just doesn’t look like a snowstorm)– another favorite.

Snow Lover's Crystal Ball

Next Chance of Snow: Wed, Nov 23 -- Thurs, Nov 24
Probability: 40%
Potential Impact:
Commentary: A very strong clipper will move down from Canada and approach our region late Wednesday. Most of the ingredients that typically give us snow from a clipper will be to our North. At this time it does look like we will get some precipitation from this event. We could see an outbreak of snow or a rain/snow mix as early as Wednesday evening. Overnight Wednesday, snow will likely change to rain or a mix in the Eastern portions of the Metro area while remaining snow well North and West. There could be a change back to snow or flurries on Thanksgiving day, but most of the moisture should be out of here before any significant impact. Warm surface and ground temperatures should keep any accumulating snow well to our North and West and on grassy areas. Most likely many of us will simply see the 1st innocuous flakes of the season as the coldest air of the fall is ushered in for the weekend. Stay tuned for updates as the event nears.

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