• Category Archives Winter thoughts…
  • Tuesday Evening Rambles: Wintry Weather And More Christmas Week Chatter…

    I.) The pattern we’re currently dealing with is one that presents multiple challenges in the near term.  East-central and northeastern portions of the state have gotten in on the snow act today, but, so far, most of central Indiana has missed out on the snowy goods. With such a fast-paced northwest flow, we have to remain on guard for potential “surprises” in this pattern.  Perhaps the HRRR is beginning to pick up on this.  Latest runs want to deliver a “pop” of snow Wednesday morning, associated with “warm” air advection (WAA).  We’ll monitor tonight.

    9a forecast radar Wednesday

    II.  The northwest flow will continue to provide disturbances plenty capable of producing periods of snow again Wednesday evening through the end of the week.  Are these monster storms?  Hardly, but they can “suddenly” become sufficient enough to create travel problems given the pattern.  For those who live across the northern half of the state, plan to keep close tabs to local forecasts if you have travel plans through the end of the week.

    III.  A period of brief moderation will come in this pattern early Christmas week, but all eyes continue to focus on the period between December 22nd through December 26th for the potential of impactful weather across our region.  For model “worshipers” out there, we suggest paying more attention to overall trends, and a blend of ensemble data, as opposed to specifics associated with operational runs.  It’s a “jailbreak” pattern of sorts as true arctic air will be pouring down the Plains while the southeastern ridge tries to fight for a time.  The resistance from the southeastern ridge and associated tight thermal gradient should promote a very stormy regime for the interior (Ohio Valley into the interior northeast) as we head into the true holiday/ Christmas stretch.  As of now, we favor the idea of multiple waves along the pressing arctic boundary, as opposed to one big storm.  Looking back through the records shows some of the heaviest snows at IND have come from similar set-ups.  Understanding each set-up is unique, the overall pattern does have to raise an eye brow for potential of wintry weather in, or around, our region as Christmas approaches…


  • Digging Deeper As Winter Nears…

    Thanksgiving is only a week away (where on earth does time go?!) and more and more folks are asking what we think winter will hold for central Indiana.  In case you missed it earlier this fall, here’s our official Winter Outlook.

    We’re continuing to dig in and monitor new data that’s streaming into the office, as well as ocean profiles.  With that said, we wanted to share some of our findings with you this morning with respect to how various ocean regions can impact our weather this winter.

    We’re noticing significant changes, particularly in the north Pacific, with the famous “warm blob” emerging (image 1). This is a big factor that aided in persistent cold; wintry weather during the ’13-’14 winter (images 2-3). Notice the difference from last year, too (image 4). This isn’t a full blown cold PDO (Pacific Decadal Oscillation) yet, but trending in that direction and “ups the ante” for cold, wintry conditions, locally this year.

    What makes seasonal forecasting so challenging (and fun :-)) are the multiple features that can impact a forecast.  We’ve talked about the importance of ENSO (various types of Nino and Nina events) in past updates, as well as low solar and QBO.  All of these moving parts and pieces are coming together in a manner that seems to be favoring more of a cold, wintry regime, locally, this year.  Is that us saying another blockbuster 2013-2014 winter awaits?  Absolutely not (there are other differences noted above with the SST configuration).  However, it is suggesting that this winter will be absolutely nothing like the past couple…

    Might want to think about getting the snow blower tuned up!

    More later today on the short-term.  Make it a great Thursday!


  • A Note And Some Perspective On Next Week’s New Warm Surge…

    After a cool, fall-like, weekend, we still expect a new surge of summer-like air to return next week as a strong (and expansive) ridge of high pressure “balloons” over the eastern half of the nation.

    This will be enough to send temperatures into the 85° to 90° range by the early to middle of next week.  To shed some perspective on that, our averages for early October include low temperatures in the upper 40s and highs in the upper 60s.  For at least a couple of days next week, overnight lows will be much closer to where our afternoon highs should be this time of year.

    There are differences on how modeling handles the evolution of things once past midweek.  The European model has been jumping on a potential wet weather maker and much cooler trend in the medium term (late next week), but the GFS is having none of that- keeping us dry and hot.  We’ll keep a close eye on things over the next couple of days and have a fresh 7-day soon!

    Finally, we’re receiving many questions that are centered on whether or not the current overall warm pattern is an indication of what we can expect this winter.  The simple and short answer to that question is an emphatic “no.”  Transitional seasons are fickle, regardless of ENSO state.  Throw in an emerging Nina and all sorts of additional “fun and games” ensue.  With that said, there’s no direct correlation specifically between warm (or cold) patterns this time of year and the winter ahead.  In fact, there’s been many instances where unseasonably warm Octobers give way to cold winters, and vice-versa.

    More later!  Make it a great Friday!


  • The Week Opens Quiet Before More Unsettled Times Return…

    High pressure will remain in control of our weather pattern through the early portions of the new week.  This will supply continued dry conditions, along with plentiful sunshine.  Humidity values will remain comfortable as we open the work week before turning increasingly muggy as midweek nears.

    High pressure will keep us dry through early week.

    As high pressure moves off to the east, a southwesterly air flow will help moisture return to the state by mid and late week.  As a cold front enters the picture, overall coverage of showers and thunderstorms will increase and become scattered to numerous.  We’re not expecting any sort of all-day rains, but chances of getting wet from time to time will go up Wednesday through Friday.

    Thunderstorm coverage increases mid and late week.

    Rainfall totals should fall in the 0.50″ to 1.00″ range for most, but there will be a few folks who pick up locally heavier amounts the second half of the week.

    As of now, we think the cold front will pass Friday evening and set-up another pleasant weekend with seasonable temperatures.  The stretch of gorgeous August weekends’ appears to roll along.

    What else we’re working on:  With us about to flip the page to the second half of August, thoughts continue to shift to the upcoming meteorological fall and winter seasons ahead.  Early data paints an “intriguing” look, complete with high latitude blocking and neutral ENSO look.  Winter enthusiasts should like the look overall as this will have an impact on the prospects of cold getting going earlier than recent years past.  Much more on fall and winter in the weeks ahead…  The other big item of interest has to do with the tropics.  A new disturbance will traverse the MDR (Main Development Region) this week and given the overall upper level pattern over the CONUS, we’ll have to keep an eye on the East Coast Weeks 2-3.


  • Sunday Afternoon Rambles…

    1.) January, month-to-date, is running slightly above normal at IND (+1.2 F) and nearly 1″ above normal in the precipitation department.  Keeping true to the winter, overall, greatest cold departures are centered over the northern Plains and northern Rockies.

    conus_mtd_t2max_anom_20172.)  Showers will creep north overnight into Monday morning, but shouldn’t amount to much.  They will be scattered in nature across central Indiana.

    hrrr_ref_indy_183.)  More widespread rain and embedded thunder will develop Monday night into Tuesday morning.  This should amount of widespread half inch to one inch totals across the viewing area.

    hires_ref_indy_37

    hires_ref_indy_404.)  A moist southwest flow will help push a warmer regime northward for the second half of the week.  Though warm, we’ll also have to deal with periods of rain as disturbances track northeast.  We circle Friday and Sunday as the wettest days and remain optimistic Saturday will feature dry and unseasonably warm conditions (lower-middle 60s).  Between the rainy days Friday and Sunday, additional rainfall totals of 1″-2″ seem like a good bet.

    SW Flow

    D75.)  The evolution of the pattern just beyond the 7-day period we’ll begin to take on an increasingly wintry look and we remain confident on a flip back to wintry conditions as we roll through the last week of the month.  We’ll have to keep a close eye on a storm system in the 8-10 day period.  It’s obviously way too early to discuss specifics, but this will be the time the pattern is beginning to turn back towards a wintry regime…

    ecm_eps_z500a_noram_11

     


  • Quick Friday Evening Notes…

    1.)  While we’re still expecting freezing rain across central Indiana tonight into the early morning hours Saturday, dry air will really limit totals.  Instead of the 0.10″-0.20″ of glaze per our first idea, we’ll cut that in half and say anywhere from 0.05″-0.10″ possible across central parts of the state tonight into Saturday morning.  This, obviously, won’t be enough to create power concerns or downed tree limbs, but could be sufficient enough to create slick spots in places.  Light freezing rain should increase in coverage across central IN from 10-11p.  Allow extra time to reach your destination tonight and early Saturday and slow it down.  All in all, this is not a significant event for central Indiana.

    Additional waves of light precipitation (rain mixed with freezing rain, primarily north of I-70) will be with us for the weekend, but similar to tonight, this won’t be a big deal and shouldn’t result in any need to cancel your weekend plans.

    2.)  A more significant surge of moisture will come out Monday night into Tuesday as low pressure (finally) pulls northeast out of the central Plains into the Great Lakes.  Localized amounts around 1″ will be a good bet, along with a warmer southwest flow.

    3.)  We’ll turn briefly cooler (still above average) mid week, before a stronger push of mild air late week.  Widespread highs in the lower-middle 60s seems like a good bet heading into next weekend and a rare January White Leg Alert may have to be issued.  😉

    4.)  Enjoy the January thaw while we have it.  Guidance continues to align and suggest winter roars back with authority to close January (last week of the month) before potentially locking in as we move into February and well into March.  More on this later this weekend.

    Complete updated 7-day will be published late tonight or early Saturday!


  • Would You Rather Be In The Game Fighting To Win, Or Sitting On The Bench?

    The pattern over the upcoming 10-15 days presents a whole slew of challenges, but has the potential to be one winter enthusiasts remember for a long time.  Arctic air is beginning to press and will eventually overwhelm the pattern by the end of the week.  Additionally, a second and third surge of arctic air will be inbound next week.  Each arctic plunge may become more severe as we go, especially if we can get a snowpack down.  The potential is on the table for sub-zero temperatures (not even counting wind chills) by mid-month.  That, my friends, is not normal for December, and is in stark contrast from Decembers of recent memory.  Whether or not we get one “big ticket” event, or deal with a parade of storms that lay snow down is up for debate and will require burning the midnight oil in the good ole weather office as we progress through the next couple weeks.

    mid-dec2016The overall set-up is certainly an intriguing one.  Cross-polar flow seeds pressing arctic air into the pattern (again, it comes in “waves” over the next couple weeks, each subsequently stronger).  What’s of particular interest is the battle that develops between a tag-team of ridges- SW and SE (at times these will put up more resistance than the other).  Long-time Hoosiers know that when cross-polar flow gets involved it can “suppress” storms, but rest easy in knowing that the SE ridge will provide resistance.  In fact, some across the lower Ohio and TN Valleys may eventually complain that the southeast ridge is providing too much resistance.

    As confident as we are in the overall dramatic flip in the pattern to one capable of producing severe winter weather over the next couple weeks, per usual, the devil is in the details.  Expect a tight gradient between areas where heavy snow begins to stack up and little to nothing- at least initially.  Additionally, depending how things evolve, icing events may eventually require attention for portions of the lower Ohio Valley and TN Valley as that shallow arctic air “oozes” south over what may become quite the impressive snowpack north.  This will require further attention in week 2.

    At the end of the day, there will be “haves” and “have nots” when it comes to storms (always are) and each will require our attention and fine tuning.  However, if you’re a lover of winter weather, it’s hard not to sit back and smile at what’s in front of us over the upcoming couple weeks, especially compared to the past couple Decembers.

    Needless to say, we’re on the field and in the game…


  • Winter Ideas…

    We continue to finalize our winter forecast, which will be posted, as always, here later this month.

    As little as only a few months ago, data suggested a major La Nina for the upcoming winter season.  That data has since backed off significantly.  In fact, some runs suggest we’re back into a weak-ish El Nino state by spring.  At the very least, we are confident on avoiding a strong La Nina this winter and lean more in the direction of a weak Nina, at best, to neutral signal.  The CFSv2 is interesting, as always, with the spread in region 3.4.

    nino34monadj

    sstanimIn addition to the central PAC anomalies, we also are keying in on some other items of interest in the overall SST configuration:

    I. Warmth in the GOA (Gulf of Alaska)

    Argues for central cold this winter, spreading east with time.

    II. Warmth off the eastern seaboard

    Will likely serve to limit the ability for the cold to spread east early on in the season

    92916sstThe SST CA model is quickly becoming one of our more trusted seasonal forecast models.  We note how it becomes increasingly bullish on a central and eastern trough as winter wears on (by the way, this is likely to go deep into spring this year, too).

    screen-shot-2016-10-02-at-10-52-54-am

    screen-shot-2016-10-02-at-10-53-04-amCold overwhelms the pattern and when you combine it with the active storm track (noted by the green hues, suggesting above normal precipitation through our neck of the woods), confidence is continuing to grow for an above normal snow season.

    screen-shot-2016-10-02-at-10-58-16-am

    screen-shot-2016-10-02-at-10-58-05-amThe SST configuration on the JAMSTEC would suggest a cold, stormy set-up, locally.  That said, while it sees the above average precipitation, it’s awfully warm at the surface.

    ssta-glob-djf2017-1sep2016

    tprep-glob-djf2017-1sep2016

    temp2-glob-djf2017-1sep2016The NMME (to no surprise…) would suggest a very warm, wet winter.

    screen-shot-2016-10-02-at-11-08-26-am

    screen-shot-2016-10-02-at-11-09-00-am

    screen-shot-2016-10-02-at-11-08-47-amAs a reminder, our complete and final annual winter outlook will be posted here during the second half of October.  That will include additional model data, along with several other points behind our reasoning for our winter forecast.  As we always do, we’ll put “pen to paper” when it comes to our winter forecast, including our expected temperature and snowfall anomalies.  Given the data above, including the warm JAMSTEC and NMME, it’s going to be very, very hard to see a warm winter here.  In fact, our idea is for the exact opposite, given the SST configuration, and lines up more closely with the SST CA idea at this point.  We’re also in the camp of a very, very active storm track through the Ohio Valley.  “Big-hitter” potential is present from a winter storm perspective, especially given that we are likely to see resistance from the SE ridge.

    Much more later this month…