Winter Forecast 2012-2013 – A Return to Winter!
PLEASE SEE THE FINAL WINTER FORECAST HERE : http://snowday1.wordpress.com/2012/11/16/final-winter-forecast-2012-2013-winter-returns/
Hello everyone and welcome to the official first installation of Snow Day’s winter forecast 2012-2013. First off before getting into this years winter forecast, I would like to talk about last winter and what went wrong. Almost everyone predicted another blockbuster winter and we all know that didn’t happen. The NAO along with the AO turned sharply positive through the winter and that in turn created warmer conditions over the winter with blocking patterns keeping the cold air bottled up in parts of Canada and ESPECIALLY Alaska, they had a record breaking winter with excessive snowfall while nearly the entire United States experienced record warm temperatures, very little snow and ice and unhappy school children that received no snow days. In fact, I remember a few days in early January walking around outside in shorts and a t-shirt with temperatures approaching 70 degrees, that is just not right! Now let’s get into the winter forecast with first explaining what climate we are experiencing and heading into…EL NINO!
Winter Forecast 2012-2013 – EL NINO…EL NINO….EL NINO!
El Nino conditions are considered a warm ocean current that flows along the equator from the date line and south of the coast line.
The above graphic shows ocean temperatures during a La Nina and during an El Nino. The right portion of the image shows warmer waters along the equator while the left side shows colder temperatures over the same area showing a La Nina pattern. El Nino’s and La Nina’s are rarely ever “normal” as last winter was an La Nina and barely even resembled a typical one with above average temperatures across most of the country.
Let’s compare the current sea surface temperatures over the Pacific;
There is a warm band of water over the exact area, where it should be for an El Nino, but it is not as warm as you would expect, so its looking like a extremely weak El Nino by the looks of the current sea surface temperatures. Taking a look at the latest CFS climate model forecast showing us how strong the current El Nino could be;
As you can see we are at a weak status for an El Nino right now, and as we even approach the heart of winter, it begins to weak into an extremely weak El Nino and maybe even to a neutral state!
One thing that will have a small impact on the weather this fall and potentially winter is the dry soils across the central Plains and Ohio Valley;
Soil moisture DOES have an impact of the climate over the seasons, though the wet soils over the Ohio Valley last fall didn’t do much for them during the winter and spring and summer months as the temperatures continued to warm and the storm systems and rainfall avoided them, so I would say that soil moisture has little to do with the following season, but certainly has an effect on storm systems in the summer time with less moisture in the crops causing less transpiration into the atmosphere.
One thing I talked about last fall was the LRC weather cycle theory, a new unique pattern that sets up every October 1st through early November and keeps cycling over and over through the next fall, it was developed by Gary Lezac of Kansas City, so will be paying attention over the next several weeks as a brand new pattern starts to set up and cycles on through the winter time.
Another thing that may have some impact is the current solar maximum, which is almost non existent right now, with very few sunspots making this the least active solar max’s in quite some time, so the effects wont be much as it would normally be.
Ok….your here for the winter forecast right? Let’s get to it!
Winter Forecast 2012-2013 – Winter Analogs
As you can see there are some notable winters in that list, with 2009 standing out the most and the most recent. 2009 was an epic winter for much of the eastern and central United States with several blockbuster winter storms and blizzards with a blizzard striking the entire central plains during Christmas eve and Christmas day. Here is a list of the winters I picked with the strength of the El Nino next to it;
2009-2010 winter / Moderate El Nino
1976-1977 winter / weak El Nino
1977-1978 – Weak El Nino
2000-2001 winter – Weak La Nina
Basically I am leaning heavily on 2009-2010, 1977-1978 as well as 1976-1977 winter as they were either weak El Ninos or borderline moderate as well as because the correlation with the ocean temperatures. Looking at the NAO graph now, It seems to be following the winter of 2009-2010 more closely. Now predicting whether the NAO/AO will be negative or positive is extremely tough but I am leaning heavily towards a negative NAO/AO winter but time will tell of course. Anyways, the coldest air that came up with the analog system was over the eastern 2/3rds of the country with the western United States seeing above average temperatures, basically a flip flop of weather patterns for the country.
Winter 2012-2013 Temperatures
As you can see, I am predicting below average temperatures over much of the eastern 2/3rds of the country with the heart of the cold air staying put over portions of the Great Corn Belt states, Upper Midwest and through the Ohio Valley, this will be a much different winter then last winter I will tell you that. I am thinking there should be persistent blocking over Green Land and with a ridge over western Canada promoting this area for extended periods of extreme cold. The cold will be more intense starting in December and January and start to subside as the winter progresses but will still be overall below average temperatures wise. The area that experienced below average temperatures last winter will experience ABOVE average temperatures this winter with persistent ridging from this area all the way into western Canada.
Winter 2012-2013 Precipitation
Winter precipitation will be plentiful from southern California through the desert southwest and through the southern plains, southeast and eastern United States with above average moisture especially over southern California and the southeastern United States. Precipitation will be below average over parts of the Ohio Valley and with average to slightly above average precipitation totals over the central Plains with a little more active jetstream going through this region then last winter providing more storm systems. The southern jetstream will prove to be more active this winter as well with several storm systems crossing the deep south and heading up the eastern United States coastline.
Winter 2012-2013 SNOWFALL – What you’ve all been waiting for!
I am expecting above average snowfall from parts of the southeastern United States straight up the coastline of the eastern United States. This will be due in part to the strong southern jetstream El Nino’s normally create. Apart from that, I am expecting the snowiest conditions from North Carolina up north through Maine as several Nor’Easters will lash the coast line with strong winds and heavy snowfall like systems. Another area I am expecting average to slight above average snowfall will be over the central Plains states, otherwise known as the corn belt. I am expecting a few big storm systems to land on shore of southern California and attach themselves to the cold air over the central Plains creating the potential for some significant snowfall, I am more hesitant on this area and I will become more confident in the Winter Forecast update in October and November on the central Plains prospects. Due to the colder then average temperatures over the central and northern Plains, I am expecting quite a few Alberta Clippers this winter delivering with it several quick hitting moderate snowfalls, windy conditions and colder arctic temperatures. I was going to slide this area into the Great Lake’s state but will wait until the next winter forecast update to do so.
Overall I am expecting a much more harsh winter over the central and eastern United States with those area’s receiving payback due to the lack luster winter last year. I know I have lots of the viewers from the Ohio Valley so I would be calling for average snowfall, a couple medium sized ice storms and below average temperatures for this winter with the bulk of the storm systems going just south and east of the area as well as just north, but during the big arctic blasts, the Alberta clippers may reach as far south as the Ohio Valley. The central plains will experience below average temperatures, average to above average snowfall with the most snowfall falling over the upper Midwest. The southeastern United States will experience quite a few ice storms and winter storm systems dumping heavy wet snowfall and stronger then normal surges of arctic air. The eastern United States should experience quite a few Nor’Easters with heavy blinding snowfall and strong winds with at least one or two storms producing blizzard conditions. This winter outlook is more preliminary then the next two winter updates so as we get closer to winter time, the winter forecast will become more clearer and I will be able to make changes to it as the new pattern begins to show and more data begins to show. One thing I am worried about is if the NAO/AO stay negative through the winter time or if they go back to where they were last winter and the entire winter just changes once again, but I have enough evidence that the current pattern is going to take us into a much more snowier and colder winter for folks! Please feel free to comment inside here with any questions and please share this link with your friends on facebook as well as emailing anyone would be helpful. Thank you for viewing Snow Day’s winter forecast and I hope you stay tuned for the next winter forecast update on October 16th!