NLCS: Weather is great in Los Angeles; in Philly, not so much

Posted: October 14, 2009

The workouts today in Los Angeles probably will be washed out, thanks to an early Pacific storm, bringing heavy rain from last night through most of today.

But the weather for Games 1 and 2 will be a 9 on a scale of 10. The rain will scour away the smog, and the views of the San Gabriels from Dodger Stadium should be awesome.

However, there are lots of potential problems when the games shift to Philadelphia on Sunday.

A huge trough will set up in the east and three different storms will rotate through. The first, roughly tomorrow and Friday, will be a coastal Nor'easter with windswept rain through the Delaware Valley. An upper-level vort max (pool of cold air) will follow, and Penn State could play Minnesota in a heavy, wet snow that will be a headline maker because of the tree damage and power outages that will occur as trees still in full foliage are weighed down with wet snow.

The models are split on a second coastal event riding up from the southwest Sunday. But it's a given it will be cold as hell and windy at game time - probably mid-40s and dropping to levels similar to last year's Rays series.

The arctic cold in Denver and this trough coming across the country have nothing to do with global warming or cooling. It has everything to do with weather typical at the outset of what is forecast to be a moderate to perhaps strong El Nino.

A moderate El Nino causes the southern branch of the jet stream to phase frequently with the northern branch. The so-called polar jet transports cold air southward. The so-called subtropical branch transports moisture-rich warm air from the southeast Pacific. It is nature's conveyor belt and the result of this particular phase is wetter Pacific Coast, warmer and less snowy Great Lakes Region and colder and snowy Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.

The jet stream sharpens in the East and transports storms laden with Gulf moisture into a quasi-stationary high over New England that promotes coastal storms and gives us most of our classic winter weather.

When the NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation) is pushed westward by high pressure over the eastern Atlantic, cold air from eastern Canada becomes the match that lights the fires.

Result: A miserable, cold winter that typically reverses toward the end as the El Nino begins to move toward more of a neutral condition.

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