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Winter Forecast 2014-2015

Hello everyone and welcome to yet another one of Snow Day’s winter forecast! Last winter turned out rather interesting with brutal cold weather and heavy snowfall for many. In fact, we set many cold temperatures records last winter, especially in early January when we had the so called Polar Vortex shot down from Canada into the United States. Let’s take a look at my winter forecast from last winter and compare it to what actually happened shall we?

Snow Day’s Forecast;


I forecasted much above average snowfall over the midwest into the upper midwest and Great Lakes right into the northeastern United States. I also forecasted MUCH below average temperatures over the northern Plains and Great Lakes to the Ohio Valley.

What actually happened (Temperatures) :


As you can see, my winter forecasted temperatures worked out ALMOST perfectly! Perfectly positioned over the northern Plains and Great Lakes States with above average temperatures over the southwestern United States.

What actually happened (Precipitation) :



As you can see, more areas got average precipitation than anything else, but I can tell you that the Great Lakes and Midwestern United States so PLENTY of snowfall last winter.

All in all, you could say I did a pretty good job. But now we are in a new year, a different climate pattern and a new weather pattern shaping up across the country.

Now what you have all been waiting for….

WInter Forecast 2014-2015

This is a preliminary forecast based off past El Nino’s, NAO forecast as well as the current NEW pattern setting up this month. First off, let’s check out the current drought aspects over the country;

Screen shot 2014-10-16 at 12.03.40 PM

And compare it to last Fall’s;



current drought

MAJOR improvement over the corn belt of the United States over to parts of the midwestern United States! Texas and Oklahoma still are contending with a drought however. Usually the wetter the soil is the more it’ll help in the winter time as storm systems will be able to pull moisture up out of the ground.

Let’s take a look at the NAO forecast and where it is forecasted to end up throughout the winter;


Yes, as we head into late Fall the NAO is forecasted to go positive as we head into November, we should have a warmer month in November before things get really interesting near Thanksgiving and beyond into December when the NAO will really begin to tank.


Negative NAO winters tend to favor a colder eastern United States with the southeast and northeastern United States seeing the brunt of the colder weather and the chance of Alberta Clippers joining team with a coastal low to create powerful Nor’Easters.

Now let’s take a look at the Climate Forecast. Last winter we featured a neutral winter to near weak La Nina, this really emphasized the extreme cold over the northern tier of the country, infact, the most brutal winter they have ever seen in YEARS. Let me explain why that wont be happening this winter. This winter will feature a weak ElNino to near neutral conditions at times with the peak of El Nino in January – Feb by looking at this map;


As you can see on the map we do peak about mid winter across the country.

Let’s now focus on what we have seen so far as major pattern indicators across the country.

Pattern #1;


A MAJOR trough moved in from the Pacific Northwestern United States and a deep low followed to develop over the Texas Panhandle. This low then moved northeast into northern Missouri. Without a substantial cold air source it just sat there and spun around. I do expect this pattern to return. This pattern you are looking at here is probably one of the only two chances the central Plains has a shot at seeing a major winter storm. Depending on the position of it next time and the cold air influence, areas around I-80 and south will experience the brunt of this pattern.

The next pattern that is well advertised on the computer models will be in the form of northwest flow and Alberta Clipper systems. These will have the opportunity to build up steam and create quite a few Nor’Easters over the eastern United States.

And here it is………..the forecast!





Posting this a couple day’s later then I usually do, because I have been rather busy lately with other happenings and well, life. Already over the last month it has proven to be quite a wild month in weather! Many areas have received there first snowfall from the Plains to the Ohio Valley and Mid Atlantic States! While it may have been under and inch it was still earlier than average for snow to fall and the colder temperatures were also way below average. South Dakota and North Dakota and Minnesota as well as parts of Nebraska have also received significant snowfall already and is off to a very fast start!

Honestly not much has changed from the last outlook, therefore I will not go over the same things over and over in graphics that I posted. I will go over a few key factors such as the NAO, climate pattern such as El Nino, La Nina or Neutral weather pattern and of course the current fall pattern setting up and the drought across the country.

Current drought pattern;

current drought

Compare that to what we had in early September;


We have seen HUGE improvement in the Great Plains and Ohio Valley in the last few months! All thanks to large storm systems that have dumped lots of moisture over the same areas! Why does this have an effect on the winter? Because the more wet the top soil is the more moisture will be able to be drawn up out of the ground into the sky. Of course this isn’t everything when trying to ATTEMPT to predict what we will see over the winter but you can generally see the wet pattern across the country and where it might continue over the next winter.

Here is the precipitation anomalies from September through October this year just to show you where the wet pattern has set up this Fall!


The wet pattern has generally set up shop over the drought areas! (Positive blue ranges) How about that! That is why they are recovering so well! I included some of this area in my winter forecast graphic. Notice the southeast United States hasn’t seen much in the way of precipitation lately most likely due in part to a southeast ridge.



This is a VERY hand forecast graphic for predicting the NAO over the next several months into winter time! As of right now you can see that we are in the positive range and that we are about to take  a sharp drop into the negative range later on this week. And because of that an arctic outbreak will be likely across the Great Plains on east to the northeastern United States! Take a look beyond that time frame on that map…you can see that most of the range goes into negative range with a HUGE drop in early January. Usually a negative NAO means  frequent cold air arctic outbreaks and plenty of cold air available for some snowfall!

Typical NAO jetstream;


As I described above this is what the most likely result would be. Several arctic blasts likely over the eastern 2/3rds of the nation!



As I have been saying all Fall so far, looking like this winter will feature a neutral state in the climate! Earlier in the summer it looked like we might make a run at an El Nino but things quickly changed as they do, because its the weather but of course! We even have quite a few members in the negative range would maybe indicate a very weak La Nina? That would be very interesting! The southern jet looks to be active but not too active this winter as such an El Nino would be.



I have NOT changed the forecast too much, slightly move the above average snow further east in the Ohio Valley and the Great Plains but pretty much look’s the same. I highly expect this winter too be very interesting with extreme wild swings in temperatures, more than average. I also expect a few severe cold air outbreaks from the Missouri river on east to the northeastern United States, with Alberta Clippers becoming plentiful and dropping a quick 3-6″ here and there. Larger storm systems will take shape and pound parts of the Plains and Great Lakes as well as portions of the Ohio Valley. The storm systems look to really get going and bomb out as they head towards Michigan . Lake effect snowfall will be rather extensive this winter. The deep south will experience a couple really good cold snaps along with icing potential for a couple major storm systems especially later in the winter time!  All in all we will continue to take back what a horrible snowless winter it was a couple years ago when the temperatures I can recall were in the 60s in January! Well the final winter forecast has been issued so please share along with your friends and have a great week!


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Second surge of cold air / frost/freezes and severe weather

  • Frost/Freezes for Upper Midwest and Great Lakes
  • Scattered flurries for northern Minnesota
  • Possible severe thunderstorms for the northeastern United States
  • Cooler High Temperatures from the northern plains east to the northeast

GFS valid Saturday;

NAM valid Saturday;


As you can see both models have a rather strong trough digging south into the upper midwest and Ohio Valley with the 850mb freezing lining through northern Iowa. Area’s north of that are expecting to see frost/freezes Friday and Saturday night mainly from northern Iowa and southern Wisconsin on north. Also another thing to note that more thunderstorms will be likely across the northeastern United States along the rather strong cold front. Once again severe thunderstorms capeable of damaging winds will be most likely.

Temperatures Friday Night;

Saturday Night Temps;


So until next time…….have a great day!




Relationship between ENSO, the QBO, and the longwave regime over the lower 48.

I am having trouble posting links to the NOAA Climate Division Plot/ESRL page so this will be quite brief. I’ll see if I can fix the problem later on.
The climate system is a complex machine with large scale governing factors intertwined in a sea of spatiotemporal chaos, but that doesn’t mean we cannot isolate larger scale external forcing mechaisms from this sea of chaos. For the most part I believe the QBO needs to be singled out in it’s specific phase from the kinetic system state (ENSO) which appears to be asociated with the solar wind. A +QBO (westerly) is marked by anomalous westerlies downwelling through equatorial stratosphere, visa versa applies to the -QBO (easterly) phase. These winds pose significant consequence with variations in tropospheric circulatory functions, namely the crazy relationships (both direct and indirect) between the NAM, Walker Cell, etc. These connections can be explored and singled out to some extent.

I am having some trouble posting the images/links I want to, but to get a general idea of what I look to discuss, here is a paper by Labitzke and Kunze, “Interactions Between the Stratosphere, the Sun, and the QBO during the Northern Summer.

I hope to share my ideas on the topic of the upcoming pattern this SEP-OCT-NOV period, and how the most important drivers going forward include the solar wind/ENSO, QBO downwell rate, and resulting variations in the NAM (North Annular Mode).