• Category Archives Arctic Cold
  • Potential For Late Winter Rally, But No Getting Around This Dumpster Fire…

    “Dumpster fire” is defined by Urban Dictionary ūüôā as a complete disaster. ¬†Simple. ¬†Right to the point, and sums up our forecast period of Feb. 1st through March 6th perfectly.

    Long time followers of IndyWx know that I’m not one to usually wad up a forecast and throw it in the trash until the end of the given forecast period, but there occasionally (thankfully, few and far between) are times that call for it, and this is one of them.

    While this certainly isn’t a “winter’s over” post, it is one to set the record straight on calling our forecast for the aforementioned time period a bad one…very bad. ¬†When we first published our expectations for the Feb. 1st through March 6th period of 15″-20″ and at least (1) night of double-digit below zero lows, I honestly thought that was conservative. ¬†There’s no reason to rehash all of our thinking behind those numbers (you can read those for yourself at the link included above). ¬†While places like Chicago and Detroit have cashed in on winter’s return after our January thaw, Indianapolis has watched one storm after another pass by just to the north. ¬†On February 12th we sit here with 1.4″ at IND and temperatures that are running 5¬į below average.

    The primary reason for waving the white flag has to do with the MJO and it’s reluctancy to rumble out of Phase 7. ¬†As of late January, models projected the MJO to be entering Phase 8 now.

    As we look at today’s MJO plot note how we’ve meandered about Phase 7 much longer than initially expected. ¬†Also (still) note the attempt to move into the colder phases towards the end of the period, which we’ll talk about here in a bit.

    The result has been a cold north-central that has “bled” into the Ohio Valley, while the immediate eastern seaboard and especially southeast has already gotten off to a warm to blow torch start to the month.

    Looking ahead, there’s no denying the overall warm pattern (relatively speaking) over the upcoming couple weeks. ¬†Phase 7 will continue to do work on the pattern.

    Obviously this is right in the heart of when we thought the colder MJO phases would combine with favorably cold teleconnection signals to produce a period of frigid weather.  Instead, cold shots will be fleeting and any sort of winter weather threats of significance will be few and far between over the next 10-14 days.  In short, Phase 7 will overrule the colder teleconnection signals that will evolve over the period.

    Does this mean winter is over? ¬†Not so fast. ¬†While we’re going to be much slower to bite on the MJO swinging into the colder phases, there are indications it will at least attempt to do so once again as we close out February and head into March. ¬†Additionally, the large majority of teleconnections remain bullish for cold as we head into early March, locally. ¬†Perhaps fittingly, some of the data (will be interesting to see what the European Weeklies say later tonight) is trending colder as we open March. ¬†Maybe it’s a “delayed, but not denied” situation that will evolve, but considering we’re heading into March, the potential of severe wintry conditions to the magnitude we outlined in late January will be greatly reduced.


  • Heavy Snow Up North To Close The Work Week; Wintry Weekend…

    Areas of light snow and flurries will impact north-central Indiana Thursday morning, especially north of Indianapolis. ¬†This won’t amount to much and most of our Thursday will be free of snow, along with continued unseasonably cold temperatures. ¬†Speaking of the cold, Indianapolis is running 7¬į below average, month-to-date.

    Looking ahead, a rather prolonged and significant snow event is setting up shop across northern Indiana.  We forecast snow to begin falling Thursday night before becoming heavy at times Friday.  A tight thermal gradient will aid in the combination of ingredients to produce hefty snowfall across far northern IN and also provide a brief break from the cold, locally, Friday afternoon (forecasting highs into the 40s here).  With that said, if your travels take you north, prepare for significant travel disruptions with the heavy snow.

    A cold front will drop south into central Indiana overnight Friday into Saturday.  At the same time, a couple of disturbances will ride northeast along the front.  This will result in periods of light wintry precipitation across central Indiana over the upcoming weekend.  Initially, this should be rather insignificant with a mix of light rain and perhaps some light sleet or light freezing rain Saturday.

    However, as our airmass becomes progressively colder Saturday night into Sunday things will become more interesting. ¬†At the same time, a final wave of energy will lift northeast, spreading moisture into the colder air mass. ¬†We forecast more widespread wintry precipitation to engulf central Indiana Saturday night into Sunday. ¬†A wintry mix of sleet and snow is possible early on before transitioning to all snow Sunday morning. ¬†A period of accumulating snow is expected Sunday and we’ll fine tune numbers as we move closer.

    Looking further ahead, an active time of things will continue as the battle remains between cold centering itself across the northern Plains into the Lakes and Ohio Valley and resistance from the southeast ridge.  This will continue to lead to a busy period of weather across the region, including storm systems that will come along every couple of days.

    We continue to think things are aligning in a fashion that should result in a significant period of cold developing during the second half of February into March this year.  We note the teleconnections continue to trend in cold directions and the MJO is also rolling along into the colder phases.  We have a long, long ways to go this winter and think some headline events remain on the table as we close the month and open March.  Time will tell.


  • Sunny & Frigid Start; Snow Overspreads The Region Tonight…

    Sunshine is greeting us out the door this morning, but, boy is it cold! ¬†Once again this winter, we’re dealing with “number busting” cold, or temperatures that are MUCH colder than guidance suggested. ¬†Several central IN communities are awaking to temperatures below zero this morning.

    As we look ahead, our next fast moving weather maker will lead to increasing cloudiness this afternoon and snow will overspread the region tonight.

    We forecast snow to arrive in the city, itself, around 8-9p and snow at a steady clip for a few hours before ending during the overnight. ¬†By the time things wrap up, we forecast 1″ to 2″ for most of central Indiana.

    Another snow maker will arrive on the scene Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. ¬†From this distance, this looks like a light snow event for the region and we’ll have updated thinking around this event later tonight or Tuesday morning.


  • Cold Close To The Week; Snowy Pattern Ahead…

    Arctic air is pressing into the state this evening. ¬†As we type this (just after 6p), wind chill values are already plummeting into the single digits across central Indiana. ¬†Those values will turn even more frigid overnight- dropping to below zero towards midnight. ¬†This is “number-busting” cold as many central Indiana communities will wake up Friday to the single digits (it was only this morning when the majority of model data suggested lower teens). ¬†Obviously, wind chill values will be flat-out bitter, as shown below:

    Arctic high pressure will result in a cold, but dry (and sunny) close to the work week.

    As we move into the weekend, our weather will begin to turn more active. ¬†This will be the first of a series of snow systems over the upcoming 7-10 days. ¬†While this initial event won’t be significant, it’ll get the ball rolling on (at least what we believe will be) another extended stretch of wintry conditions. ¬†We forecast a couple periods of light snow (“light” being the key word) this weekend: Saturday evening and again Sunday evening. ¬†It appears as if the energy will remain very disorganized over the weekend and the result will be light snow accumulations during the Saturday through Sunday period.

    Again, this is only the beginning of a very active pattern; one that will shoot snow systems at us in an “every other day” fashion over the upcoming 7-10 days. ¬†We’ll keep close tabs on last minute adjustments that may be needed with such a pattern. Often times modeling will struggle with the fast-paced northwest flow and models will have to “correct” last minute towards a more significant event.

    Our next snow maker approaches Monday evening into Tuesday. ¬†This would seem to be a more important event and one capable of depositing heavier snow across the general region. ¬†We’ll monitor things this weekend, but the pattern is such that this looks to be more of a central or northern Ohio Valley hit. ¬†Solutions painted of suppression look suspect to us from this distance given the look.

    Additional opportunities for accumulating snow lie ahead, including:

    • Thursday night – Friday
    • Next Saturday – Sunday

    This is all part of the equation we’ve had in thinking that the big story, at least initially, is a very active pattern (snowier version of what we dealt with late December through mid January) before the truly severe cold can get involved mid-and-late February. ¬†On that note, the pattern, as a whole, looks much colder than normal from late February into March this year, as well.

    As for snow, the majority of these events will produce light to moderate amounts, but the active nature of the flow will likely allow things to stack up. ¬†We have no changes to our thinking that the period Feb. 1st through March 6th yields between 15″ and 20″ of snow at IND. ¬†Let’s just remain on guard for the potential of one or two of these systems to potentially lead to heavier totals along the way.

    Make it a great evening!


  • Bet On The Cold…

    During wholesale pattern transitions, operational data will struggle at times, including some wild run-to-run swings. ¬†Earlier this week, the European wanted to put early¬†next week in the lower 50s. ¬†At the same time, the GFS suggested lower single digits. ¬†Precisely, it was a difference of 46¬į between the two models for a high?! ¬†ūüôā

    We note the teleconnections (in particular, the EPO) are aligning in a manner conducive for widespread cold.

    The GEFS might be a bit quick on dropping the arctic hammer, but the consistency of the model is impressive. ¬†Meanwhile, the European (even it’s ensemble data) has been much less consistent and has really been struggling the past couple of winters, overall, as a whole.

    While we can argue as to just how cold it’ll get through the early part of February, the overwhelming message is that a prolonged colder than normal pattern will develop during this time period.

    Let’s also keep in mind that the initial cold onslaught is coming in the face of the MJO still rumbling through the warm phases. ¬†We note the European is consistently having to correct towards a more “amped up” MJO- swinging into the cold phases as we approach mid-month. ¬†And it’s mid-February that continues to have us concerned for the potential of truly nasty, severe cold.

    As for snow, it’ll come in this pattern. ¬†Again, don’t get caught up in the operational output, but understand that the pattern over the upcoming 7-10 days favors numerous fast-moving snow systems. ¬†While most of these will be light, we’ll have to keep a close eye on things as the potential exists for one of these waves to spin up a moderate event.

    As we look ahead to Week 2, the potential is there for a more widespread significant phased interior threat prior to the dumping of the bitterly cold air for mid-month.

    As it is, both the GEFS and EPS “mean” paint a bullish signal for piling snow up over the next couple weeks…


  • VIDEO: See Ya’ Later January Thaw…

    Here’s an update on the next couple of weeks. PS: Bo (bottom left in the video towards the beginning ;-)) is our 3rd and youngest Goldendoodle; he was (obviously) trying his best to get in on this evening’s video update…