• Category Archives El Niño
  • A Word (Or Two) On Where We Think This Pattern Is Going…

    Before we get into the updated thinking on the pattern, lets review what we have out:

    • Step-down process to cooler/ colder weather begins in mid-November.
    • Thanksgiving-Christmas period, as a whole, turns wintry and is snowier than average.
    • Our complete 2016-2017 Winter Outlook can be found here.

    The first week of November has featured an incredibly warm start to the month. (Image courtesy of MRCC).

    month-tdevSpeaking of warmth, 2016 has been a very warm year.

    ncep_cfsr_t2m_anom_ytd(The cold of 2014 seems so long ago…)

    ncep_cfsr_t2m_anom_2014Back to present.  We’ve targeted the middle part of November to finally beginning “bucking” the recent warm trend.  This won’t happen overnight and will be a battle of back and forth, initially.  Thus, the “step-down” label.  To be clear, November, as a whole, will finish much warmer than average.  It’s virtually impossible to counter the incredibly warm start.  That said, we do anticipate “jabs” of colder air working in here over the next couple weeks. For instance, this weekend will feature lows in the 20s for most and highs not making it out of the 40s Saturday afternoon.  (The average low and high at IND Saturday are 37 and 54).

    Despite being in a weak La Nina, the pattern is taking a while to respond.  Remember, we’re coming off one of the strongest El Ninos on record.  Until we slow the PAC jet, significant, long-lasting, changes won’t occur.  We can lean on the AAM (Atmospheric Angular Momentum) forecast for clues as to when this may occur.  You can read more about the AAM here.  My fellow local weather compadres, Michael Clark, Ed Valley, and Kirk Hinz have also written/ blogged extensively about the AAM and resulting impacts.


    gfs1When we look at the AAM forecast (above), we note the westerlies may begin to slow (indicative of the negative values) in the 8-10 day period.  This is crucial and, simply put, has to happen for the pattern to begin shifting into more of a position to allow sustained cold to enter the equation.  We want to reiterate that this, in and of itself, doesn’t create the cold, but instead allows the pattern to begin shifting away from the Nino-like (warm) regime into more of a La Nina pattern, as a whole.  – Hey, you have to start somewhere.

    If we can finally get the westerlies to slow, other elements are in play that could (and should) lead to a colder pattern as we move forward.  Our (3) big teleconnections are in a position favorable for cold for mid/ late November, into early Dec.

    cw5yrrsxaaefhiy-jpg-largeAdditionally, the EPO is forecast negative off the GEFS and EPS. (Images courtesy of Weatherbell.com).


    gefs_epo_12Again, this is a cold signal. (Image courtesy of Madusweather.com).

    eponew_neg_11novThe ensemble data is also beginning to key-in on higher heights (blocking) developing over the top.  Notice the significant changes in the overall look to the pattern between now and days 11-16. (Images courtesy of Weatherbell.com).

    cw5qrw0wgaaphxr-jpg-largeIn summary, and in the face of *most* seasonal data that is screaming warm, warm, warm, we still don’t have any significant changes to our overall thinking of “step-down” mid-November giving way to more sustained wintry-like conditions in the overall sense from the Thanksgiving-Christmas period.  Time will tell and only the Good Lord knows what the future holds, but we’ve done far too much work and research to throw the “game plan” in the trash before the game even begins…

  • Saturday Morning Rambles…

    1.) An absolutely stunning late February day is dialed up, with lots of sunshine and moderating temperatures.  We’re going mid 50s this afternoon.


    2.) Though warm (lower 60s), Sunday will offer up showers by the afternoon/ evening.


    3.) Mid and late week remains a challenge.  Do we have a leader-follower situation?  Time will tell.  We’re still leaning mostly wet for the Tuesday-Wednesday storm for now.  The late week system could offer up accumulating snow prospects (ala. ECMWF, GEM).



    4.)  The period opens warm, but we shift much colder than average by the end of the week.

    5 6

    5.) We continue to look into spring and summer.  With the dramatic shift expected to a La Nina, fun times will ensue.  Hot, dry summer around these parts followed by a snowy winter?  Hmmmm….


    Interested in our private consulting services?  E-mail bill@indywx.com for more information.

  • Where We Stand…

    Some are beginning to grow tired of the seemingly unending warmth and lack of snow, particularly with an above normal stretch of weather coming that includes the Christmas holiday (though not nearly as warm as the European suggested as soon as only a few days ago).

    Month-to-date, December has been a warmer than normal month for most of the country. Source: Weatherbell.com
    Month-to-date, December has been a warmer than normal month for most of the country. Source: Weatherbell.com

    Our winter outlook stated we thought we’d get off to a warmer than normal start, but we were also very clear in stating we thought a rather marked shift to more sustained wintry conditions loomed for mid and late winter.  That period is drawing closer by the day and it’s time to “put up or shut up.”  By “mid winter” we mean mid January.  Yes, that means three weeks out.  Without holding back any punches, we’re fully expecting a colder than average period developing by then (and with staying power), along with plenty of opportunities for wintry precipitation.

    You can read our full winter outlook (published in October) here.

    The reasoning for our thinking has been outlined in previous posts and in our winter outlook, but, in short, it’s built on the idea of a weakening El Nino and a mean winter upper air pattern that includes W NA ridging (positive PNA regime).  Later in the season, a more sustained negative AO and NAO should establish itself that could carry the wintry regime into meteorological spring.

    Current Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies
    Current Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies

    We think we begin to progress into a “step down” process to the pattern explained above through the early stages of January, and the ensemble data is beginning to support this.

    GFS ensembles for early January. Source: Tropicaltidbits.com
    GFS ensembles for early January. Source: Tropicaltidbits.com

    The modeled W NA ridging is a far cry from what we’ve been dealing with over the past month.

    Now we caution that the initial step down to a more sustained wintry pattern won’t occur overnight.  We label it “step down” for a reason.  All the while, it’s a start in shifting away from the anomalous warmth we’ve been dealing with through the month of December.  Initially, cold air will only be marginal, but as things align into the mid/ late winter pattern and we expand snow cover, arctic air will grow in a more widespread fashion.  Something else we’ll begin to have to keep a close eye on?  A potentially active NW flow that features several clippers plenty capable of producing accumulating snow.  We note central-based Ninos are notorious for the clipper parade during the mid and late winter stretch.

    In the shorter term, a rather unsettled Christmas week looms.  Modeling will continue to “sure up” the handling of a rather complex storm system after Christmas, as well.  We note runs that have pumped out copious rain numbers and others that suggest wintry precipitation may fall as the cold upper low ejects northeast.  We’ll continue to monitor.

    In the meantime, gear up for a rather wet Monday.  We think one half inch is a good bet across the area, with locally heavier totals.  Our updated 7-day in the morning will be a rather busy one.  Talk with you in the AM!


  • El Nino Update; Updated Winter Thoughts…

    As we rumble closer to the start of meteorological winter, we wanted to provide some updated thinking around what lies ahead.  Before we dig into some of the latest data and dissect the updated SST profile, here’s a recap of our winter outlook posted 10.17.15.  You can read the complete outlook here.

    • Worst of winter, from a cold and snow perspective, is during the back half of the season.
    • Colder than average winter ahead by 1 deg. (F) on average.
    • Slightly less snow than normal at 20″ (first flake to last flake).

    At first glance upon looking at the latest SST profile, there aren’t many huge changes from (6) weeks ago.  However, there are some interesting trends, mostly pertaining to El Nino region 1+2 versus 3.4.

    SSTUpdate1114151.) In the most recent El Nino monthly recap, Region 1+2 cooled .09 degrees (F) from September to October.  Meanwhile, Region 3.4 warmed .32 degrees (F) during the same period.  This trend is interesting and something we think continues looking over the data.  Central-based, Modoki El Nino events argue for a colder east across a more widespread basis.

    2.) The warm, or positive PDO, continues.  This argues for eastern cold.  Remember the past two winters that ran colder than normal across our region?  The positive PDO played a big role in powering those.

    3.) Though admittedly much more of a wild card, the current SST configuration in the northern Atlantic continues to argue for a developing negative NAO as mid and late winter arrives.  Personally we feel the NAO impact, locally, is felt more in the later winter period.  A negative NAO would also argue for colder than normal.

    The latest Sea Surface Temperature Constructed Analog (SSTCA) model is in and remains firm on the idea of a cold east and south.

    The warm PDO continues through winter and the warm PAC anomalies continue "spreading" west.
    The warm PDO continues through winter and the warm PAC anomalies continue “spreading” west.
    The central and eastern regions are favored for colder than normal temperatures through meteorological winter.
    The central and eastern regions are favored for colder than normal temperatures through meteorological winter.
    The predominant upper air pattern shows central and western Canada ridging with southern and eastern troughiness- also a sign of an active southern stream (storm track).
    The predominant upper air pattern shows central and western Canada ridging with southern and eastern troughiness- also a sign of an active southern stream (storm track).

    As we move into the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons, rest assured we’ll continue to keep close tabs on the “sensible” weather the evolving pattern will deal the region.  As a whole, we feel confident we remain on the right track and think plenty of wintry “fun and games” lie ahead this year.

    Here’s a photo from Christmas 2007 out in Breckenridge, CO with my brother.  Could this be the scene for Christmas this year here?  “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas…”


  • Very Windy Today; Next Big Storm Next Week…

    Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 7.17.23 AMHighlights:

    • Very strong winds
    • Dry times return
    • Big storm next week

    A cold front swept through the state during the predawn hours.  While a few breaks of sunshine may be seen early this morning, low clouds will quickly spread back over the region.

    Wind will be the big story today as we still think gusts over 50 MPH are a good bet throughout central parts of the state.  Note the tight pressure gradient that remains in place across the region today into Friday.  Friday won’t be AS windy as today, but still quite blustery.


    gfs_ptype_slp_conus2_7Our next big weather maker will arrive during the early to middle portions of next week.  Model consensus continues to highlight a hefty rain event and thunderstorms.  Early numbers would suggest 2″-3″ potential.  More details on our next storm tomorrow and on Twitter (@IndyWx).

    Before we close this morning, we wanted to post the updated JAMSTEC seasonal outlook for the upcoming winter.  As a whole there aren’t a lot of changes from previous runs.  (We like to see consistency :-)).



    JAMPrecipOverall, it agrees with our forecast and strongly disagrees with any of those warm winter forecasts out there for the south and east.  One note, just because the drier anomalies show up over the Ohio Valley (what you would typically expect during a moderate to strong El Nino event) doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be a lower than normal snow season.  Keep in mind, moisture content in snow is much less than rain.

    After taking a look at things, I like where we stand with our Winter Outlook.  One thing’s for sure, time will tell!

  • Still Eyeing Mid Week Storms; Windy And Colder To Close The Week…

    Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 7.07.33 AMHighlights:

    • Wednesday night storms
    • Very windy to close the week
    • Colder Friday

    The overall set-up over the next couple days will feature a strong autumn storm coming off the Rockies (today), crossing the Plains (Wednesday), and heading northeast into the Great Lakes to offer up some “fresh water fury!” (Thursday).

    Here’s the track of our storm, courtesy of Weatherbell.com.



    ThrEveningWe still need to monitor things closely for the potential of severe weather Wednesday evening, but latest data would suggest a lower chance of severe, overall.  Certainly not worth letting your guard down, but the lack of moisture return and timing are both on our sides in this particular event.  Localized damaging straight line winds are still of greatest concern of any of the severe elements across central IN and this would be for Wednesday night.

    Here’s a look at the latest simulated radar for 10p Wednesday.  As we always say, don’t pay particularly close attention to the precise time.  This should be used as guidance as what the radar may look like Wednesday evening.

    10pradarWedAs mentioned above, the speed, timing, and lack of moisture return strongly argue against significant rainfall with this storm.  We’ll forecast around 0.25″ with locally heavier totals in storms.  Not a big deal from a precipitation perspective.

    What is a big deal is the wind on the backside of the low as northwest gusts really crank in the Thursday-Friday time frame (30-40 MPH).  Needless to say, Thursday isn’t a day to wear a hat. 🙂

    Longer term, data continues to argue against any sort of sustained chill through the rest of November.  We note the SOI is actually positive right now.  This is certainly unusual with the ongoing El Nino and well above the base state (a warm sign).

    Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 6.55.51 AM




    The MJO is also projected to rumble through the warm Phases of 2 and 3 over the next few weeks.  Note these are overall warmer than normal phases in November.

    Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 6.59.42 AM













    Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 6.57.56 AM

  • I Like It Euro…

    We posted our annual IndyWx.com Winter Outlook last Saturday.  If you haven’t read it yet, or want some good material to put you to sleep :-), feel free to click here.

    Tonight we see the latest seasonal long range European model shifting the Nino to more of a central-based El Nino as we rumble deeper and deeper into winter.  This is another indicator that mid and late winter could be cold.  In any event, here you go:

    Nov, Dec, Jan

    Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.45.13 PMDec, Jan, Feb

    Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.45.28 PMJan, Feb, March

    Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.45.39 PMThere sure have been a lot of comparisons of this El Nino to that of ’97-’98.  That’s fine in talking strength, but the overall SST profile both in the Pacific AND Atlantic is vastly different.

    Hmmm…time to go dream about snow storms.  – Combine a positive PDO with a central-based El Nino and there could very well be plenty of wintry “fun and games” in the months ahead.

    Click here for more from the fantastic European Centre For Medium Range Forecasts site.

  • Looking Back At Summer And Ahead…

    Meteorological fall began September 1st, but astronomical fall begins tomorrow.  When we look back at summer, we note that it was a cool, wet summer with bookend dry periods. June and August were dry, overall, but we made up for it (and then some) in July.

    The mean ridge position was located west for summer.

    Many, many questions continue to pour in concerning our thoughts on the upcoming winter and you can read our early thinking in the archives if you haven’t already.

    The SST profile continues to suggest a very interesting winter is ahead, with a strong El Niño and a thick warm “blob” in the eastern Pacific (officially known as a positive PDO). It’s a conflicting look between the warm and dry pattern, locally, found with strong El Ninos and a cold, snowy regime with the positive PDO. Which driver will take control?! Needless to say, you certainly can’t broad brush the winter seasonal outlook with such a SST profile…


    The CFSv2 continues to turn on the blow torch this winter.

      BUT…the JAMSTEC sings a MUCH different tune.


    And it has support from the SST constructed analog model.


    In the shorter term, ridging and an associated warm and dry pattern will prevail.

    Long term modeling suggests the ridge continues into October, but we note the PNA trending neutral to positive in the mid range.


    Furthermore, keep an eye on the western PAC tropical activity. You know the deal by now and to be on the look out for a cool down 6-10 days after a recurve.


  • Updated JAMSTEC…

    6:51a, 9.16.15

    I tried my best to stay up late enough last night to post this update, but decided to finally turn in after nearly two collisions with me falling asleep with my iPad in hand (talk about a rude wake up)!

    In any case, the updated JAMSTEC is in and suggests colder, wetter than average times ahead as we progress deeper into fall and winter. Our official IndyWx.com Winter Outlook will be posted in mid October, but we wanted to show this in stark contrast to the CFSv2 (blow torch look) and other seasonal outlooks that seem to lean heavily on the strong niño, and only the niño.

    Note how the JAMSTEC shifts the warmest SST anomalies into Niño 3.4 as we progress into winter.

    Sept, Oct, Nov

    Dec, Jan, Feb

    March, April, May

    See how the initial central “pool of cool” expands to more of a coast-to-coast colder than normal pattern during winter. 

    Sept, Oct, Nov

    Dec, Jan, Feb

    The model is also bullish on a wet pattern shifting north to include the Ohio Valley and Mid West, with expected dry and warm winter conditions across the Pacific Northwest.

    Needless to say, this model (and there are others out that support it) is very much not in the camp of a warm winter upcoming. 

    Let the fun and games continue…

  • Monday Morning Weather Rambles…

    September is still running much warmer than normal, despite the recent well below average regime.

    See the temperature anomalies over the past (7) days:

    and the month-to-date:

    It’s also been a dry month. Officially, IND is down nearly 1″ month-to-date. For the year we’re still running wetter than normal, powered behind a wet start to the year and wet July.

    After a dry August and first half of September, some “abnormally dry” areas have kicked in on the drought monitor around the region.

    The fall feel of late last week and the weekend will begin to moderate this week as ridging develops. 

    The PNA, or Pacifc North American pattern, can be a huge help in forecasting patterns in the mid to long term. The state is one that screams warmer than normal (predominantly negative PNA), but not to the extent of the early September persistence. Note the return to neutral over the weekend. This will be associated with cooling after a front moves through Saturday.

    Speaking of that front, the GFS sees it moving “limping” through Saturday with little moisture followed by cooler high pressure building in Sunday.

    But, as shown above, the cool won’t last as the PNA takes another significant nose dive. Ridging will follow.

    The tropics are beginning to show some life as we’re in peak season now.

    The latest SST anomalies remain bullish on the strong El Niño signal, but we note recent cooling in Nino 1+2. Is this just a temporary thing or more of a trend towards a central-based Nino (modoki)? An El Niño with warmest anomalies in 3.4 argues for colder and snowy times compared to normal for our region, versus a warmer, drier regime when located in 1+2.

    Also note the central and northern PAC warm anomalies. This is also crucial to our winter pattern.

    The latest CFSv2 says lovers of winter shouldn’t get too excited for the upcoming cold season.

    BUT…the CA model and JAMSTEC paint a much different picture.

    Note the JAMSTEC really likes the idea of a modoki El Niño coming on as the warm anomalies shift west as we progress into winter.

    Stay tuned as we have a long way to go…