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).
Speaking of warmth, 2016 has been a very warm year.
(The cold of 2014 seems so long ago…)
Back 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.
When 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.
Additionally, the EPO is forecast negative off the GEFS and EPS. (Images courtesy of Weatherbell.com).
Again, this is a cold signal. (Image courtesy of Madusweather.com).
The 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).
In 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…