Browse Tag

December

Winter 2014-2015 (DJF) Forecast

I like to keep my seasonal forecasting short and sweet, so here it is:

Reasoning:
– Latest model guidance and ENSO trends suggest DJF will likely be a weak El Nino.
– +PDO to support ridging in the western U.S. and troughing over the Midwest/eastern U.S.
– +AMO could help keep the Southeast milder (read: less cold).
– -QBO will allow for a greater chance for blocking in the Atlantic (-AO/-NAO) as well as stratospheric warming events. This would promote colder temperatures in the eastern half of the country.
– Drought conditions in the West will promote warmer and drier conditions there.

Risks:
– The western U.S. could go warmer given favorable +PDO and long term drought.
– If -NAO/-AO becomes the main forcing mechanism for the U.S. weather pattern, it could bring colder air into the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast while providing warm and wet risks in New England.
– If a moderate Nino develops, a stronger subtropical jet associated with it could allow for wetter conditions across the southern U.S. and Mid-Atlantic.

A note on my track record… I have been about 50/50 with long-range forecast skill since I started in 2010. There are many others out there with more long-range knowledge, reasoning and a better understanding of how the atmosphere works on a longer timescale. That said, nearly every forecast I have seen so far favors a warmer West and cooler East, so I’m not exactly breaking the mold with this forecast. It looks like we’re all in the same boat with this one. The only thing left to see is if we can sail to victory or go down with the ship in defeat.

As always, the forecast anomalies are based off the latest 30-year normals (1981-2010).

Winter Storm Threat: Dec 8-9 (Final Call)

Not much difference from yesterday’s forecast, with the 1-2″ contour extending further south around DC/MD and a bit further north in central PA. Cut back totals in the westernmost areas in WV and OH. Areas west of I-95 remain at risk for a likely amount of 0.1″+ of freezing rain after the snow falls, with some areas (mostly around I-81) getting into the 0.25-0.5″+ range.

Winter Storm Threat: Dec 8-9 (Initial Call)

So I’m going to just ignore tonight’s snow in the northern areas in order to focus on the Sunday event, which is quite challenging with a strong CAD signal from a 1036+ mb High over PA as the precipitation starts to move in from the south and west. I expect most areas to start off as snow or a snow/sleet mix before changing over to sleet/freezing rain and eventually just rain. There is some potential for significant impacts west of I-95 on Sunday if the sleet and freezing rain persist for awhile, but most/all of the region is expected to be just rain by Monday morning rush hour. The highest freezing rain totals are expected to be around I-81, but even areas just west of I-95 could end up with at least a tenth of an inch of freezing rain. There is still some question as to how much cold air gets locked in east of the mountains and how much QPF overruns the cold air before above freezing mid-levels bring in the sleet and freezing rain.

There’s still plenty of uncertainty and room for change, so stay tuned for updates here and on Twitter! My second (final) forecast will be up tomorrow morning.

Winter Storm Threat: Dec 28-29 (initial call)

Another quick-turnaround forecast as the next system looks to bring widespread 1-4″ totals to the Mid-Atlantic, with higher totals in the central Appalachians. Marginal boundary layer temperatures and initial surface winds out of the southeast makes finding that 1″ boundary a challenge yet again. Luckily, the upper-level temperatures are cooperating more this time around, so if your surface temperature is at or below freezing you’ll almost certainly be getting some accumulation. Mixing areas will mostly be rain/snow, but some sleet is still possible.

I’ll be traveling tomorrow, so if/when I update it will be in the evening. Verifications will come once these back-to-back events slow down!

Winter Storm Threat: Dec 26-27 (only/final call)

Forecast confidence is low as most of the snow falls at the front end of the system before many areas switch over to mixed precipitation and/or rain. Very small changes in temperature at various levels of the atmosphere could lead to significantly different snowfall totals, especially east of the mountains. The northwestern parts of the forecast region could/should stay all snow throughout the event, which roughly matches up with the 8-12+ inch area along and west of the mountains.

There will be some lingering snow in the central Appalachians at the end of the event as cold, northwesterly flow takes over.