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Is next winter looking like a disaster?


Ji
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Certainly I can see this as a big player, ( Arctic warming,  but also how computer modeling is really struggling with winter seasonal outlooks ) . It has been a NH Russian Roulette the last few years. Our region was not lucky but memorable severe snow and cold hit many cities during the winter. So many players on the field,  and you have to think extremes are the new normal. 

https://buffalonews.com/2019/09/18/climate-change-likely-to-throw-wrench-into-winter-outlooks/

 

 

      

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29 minutes ago, dailylurker said:

I can breathe easy. Justin Berk is saying were going to have a snowy winter because on sept 24, 2010 it was 95 degrees. It's atmospheric memory. 

Now, the only time that concept seemed to work...was the Super El Ninos of 1965-66, 1982-83, and 2015-16...All of those had very warm (like upper 60s to mid 70s) Christmases that were followed by blizzards less than a month later, lol Otherwise...nah!

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Decent Met read looking at the upcoming winter. 

Courtesy 33andrain 

OHweather

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Playing with some analogs right now...here are some analogs, discussion, and caveats, focused mainly on the U.S....FWIW, my temp map for work is not as cold as this analog composite would imply and allows some risk for a SE ridge to crop up should things trend too far in the wrong direction (read below).

 

Here are my key assumptions when looking for analogs right now...the analogs used to compile the attached 500mb map were found by subjectively rating every possible analog on each of the following criteria. Ultimately I give ENSO, PDO and QBO the most weight along with the solar cycle, though all of these are considered.
  • ENSO: Neutral, though can allow for weak El Nino or weak La Nina if the year featured warmer waters near the dateline. Extra preference if coming off of a weak or moderate El Nino the prior winter-spring.
  • PDO: Neutral or positive (it's positive right now though not strongly)
  • QBO: Positive trending negative, expecting the 30mb winds to flip to negative at some point in the early to mid-winter
  • Solar: Minimum
  • Indian Ocean: Positive IOD in the fall, can trend downwards during the winter
  • Off-equator Pacific SSTs: A positive to strong positive PMM (it's very positive right now), with more weight given if it stays positive through winter
  • Atlantic: Neutral or positive AMO (it is positive right now though not strongly)
  • Tried to find matches based on similar tropical forcing in mid-late summer as this year, though not as strong of a weight.
  • Tried to find matches based on years with significant spring/summer high-latitude blocking, though was not as strong of a weight.
The analogs I went with for this exercise are...1958-59, 1966-67, 1969-70, 1978-79, 1980-81, 1985-86, 1990-91, 1993-94, 1995-96*, 2003-04, 2004-05*, 2013-14*, 2014-15, 2017-18. Stars denote highest scoring matches when considering all of the above and double weighting.
 
ssts.png.5bdffd0f079c19dda9c620d4fb0d3717.png
1818086770_analog500.png.9eeccbcf52fe2bf7a2998c8619169459.png
 
Obviously some of these are very cold winters for the eastern U.S. and the composite look is cold. There is a strong signal for Alaskan ridging and a -EPO, which is not a warm pattern for the central and eastern U.S., though where exactly the cold dives in can make a difference for the eastern U.S. with more mixed signals on an NAO. A neutral-ish ENSO and +QBO to start winter aren't great signals for a -NAO, though the deep solar min is and the QBO will be improving through the winter. The SSTs up there support a -NAO, but aren't a strong forcing mechanism on their own. There is not a strong correlation between negative summertime NAO and subsequent winter NAO and the forcing mechanisms are different, so the persistent -NAO this summer doesn't really help or hurt.
 
In terms of what to watch for in the eastern U.S. in terms of swinging warmer or locking in cold...I'll be watching to see if we hang on to the warm waters near the Dateline in the Equitorial Pacific and the +IOD as we head into fall. If we keep those we are more likely to see convection near the Dateline this winter which usually forces an Alaskan/western Canadian ridge. If we see a stronger push towards La Nina and lose the warmth near the Dateline, the risk for a more amped SE U.S.  ridge increases...we don't need the Nino region 3.4 anomaly to be above 0C to have a cold winter in the east, but region 4 is pretty important and needs to stay warmer IMO.
 
Based on the persistent -SOI and forecast generally weak trades over the central and western Pacific over the next week or so, there won't be a big La Nina push in the near-term, though the recent easterly trade surge did nudge things in that direction over the last couple of weeks and there's still a lot of time for that to resume.  The waters near the Dateline and just west remain fairly warm both at and below the surface, and until that goes away some move back towards a weak Modoki El Nino also can't be ruled out.  As we saw last winter, a SSW can really enhance tropical forcing/convection over the West Pac warm pool (which is usually warm for the eastern U.S.), so an initially +QBO and seemingly low risk for an early SSW may give some margin for error...but if the SST pattern becomes unfavorable between Australia and S. America for convection near the Dateline the pattern more likely supports eastern U.S. warmth this winter.
 
The analogs that have an Aleutian low in October generally had much colder subsequent winters than the ones that have an Aleutian high and subsequent trough over western Canada in October. I'm aware of what the longer range guidance hints at to start October up there, but wouldn't lock it in yet. A continued drop of the QBO heading into the fall is also important for increased high-latitude blocking prospects as we head into winter and a lower risk for the Pacific jet to be too strong/zonal into the west coast, which would likely result in quite a bit of warmth for North America given how mild the entire Pacific is.
 
An additional caveat is the northern hemisphere water temperatures from the tropics up to the polar regions where there was another near-record sea ice melt are ON FIRE. Do older analogs break down as we continue to warm? If so, how do things change? The warming baseline gives less margin for error (you probably don't luck into below-average or even average temps, you either have cold signals or you torch).
 
Lots of food for thought...I definitely don't hate the prospects for a snowy winter from the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes into the Northeast, and the warm PMM and any remaining warm ENSO influence can bring some snow prospects to the mountains out west, but the pattern can turn warm quickly if we lose the warm equatorial waters closer to the Dateline.

 

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And it begins

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
National Weather Service Great Falls MT
223 PM MDT Tue Sep 24 2019

MTZ009-010-044-046-048-049-251200-
/O.NEW.KTFX.WS.A.0010.190928T0000Z-190930T0000Z/
Northern Rocky Mountain Front-Eastern Glacier-Toole-
Eastern Pondera-Southern Rocky Mountain Front-Eastern Teton-
Including Logan Pass, Marias Pass, Browning, Heart Butte,
Cut Bank, Shelby, Sunburst, Brady, Conrad, Bynum, Choteau,
Augusta, Fairfield, and Dutton
223 PM MDT Tue Sep 24 2019

...WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM FRIDAY EVENING THROUGH
SUNDAY AFTERNOON...

* WHAT...Blizzard conditions possible. Total snow accumulations of
  18 to 36 inches, with locally higher amounts in the mountains.
  Record or near-record temperatures in the teens and 20s with
  wind chills zero to 15 above zero. North to northeast winds 15
  to 25 mph with gusts as high as 40 mph.

* WHERE...Northern Rockies, Rocky Mountain Front, and adjacent
  plains of north-central Montana.

* WHEN...From Friday evening through Sunday afternoon.

* IMPACTS...Extreme impacts possible, including to power
  infrastructure including power lines resulting in widespread
  power outages, agricultural interests; outdoor recreational
  interests including camping and hunting activities; and travel.
  Widespread significant tree damage is possible with heavy wet
  snow and strong winds impacting trees with foliage.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...This early-season winter storm and/or
  blizzard has the potential to set a new benchmark for snow
  accumulations, cold temperatures, and resulting impacts for
  parts of the Northern Rockies and the Rocky Mountain Front. A
  similar storm in 1934 produced prolific amounts of snow in late
  September over north-central Montana. An extension and/or
  expansion of Winter Storm Watches are likely.

* CONFIDENCE...High on accumulations, winds, and expected impacts.
  There is low to moderate confidence on the timing of onset and
  end of this winter storm event.

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
National Weather Service Missoula MT
203 PM MDT Tue Sep 24 2019

MTZ002-252015-
/O.NEW.KMSO.WS.A.0008.190928T0000Z-190930T0000Z/
West Glacier Region-
203 PM MDT Tue Sep 24 2019

...WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM FRIDAY EVENING THROUGH
SUNDAY AFTERNOON...

* WHAT...Heavy snow possible. Total mountain snow accumulations of
  1 to 3 feet possible. Total valley snow accumulations of 3 to 9
  inches possible. Winds could gust as high as 40 mph.

* WHERE...Bad Rock Canyon, Essex, Highway 83 Bigfork to Swan
  Lake, Marias Pass, and Polebridge.

* WHEN...From Friday evening through Sunday afternoon.

* IMPACTS...Travel could be very difficult to impossible.
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Hoping the QBO continues its decline, seems it may have stalled out in September, possibly related to the SH SSWE and the BDO.

Something like this happened before and it then resumed its decline by year end. However, this is a negative at this time, and it really needs to resume its decline to have an effect for the upcoming winter. 

 

   

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    It could be on delay yes, but there’s still a bit of time for it to drop sharply to end the year. In theory, it would be better for winter blocking if it drops sharply (with solar min)

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24 minutes ago, psuhoffman said:

Is it just me or does that seem a bit early for a storm that doesn’t start until Friday night and mostly is over the weekend?  

Wonder if maybe the advance posting of the Watch is related to the wording,  given the focus on the possible extreme severity of the storm's potential and the wording about setting a new benchmark. Of note to campers and hunters maybe getting caught off guard. Pretty crazy wording ! 

Extreme impacts possible, including to power
  infrastructure including power lines resulting in widespread
  power outages, agricultural interests; outdoor recreational
  interests including camping and hunting activities; and travel.
  Widespread significant tree damage is possible with heavy wet
  snow and strong winds impacting trees with foliage.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...This early-season winter storm and/or
  blizzard has the potential to set a new benchmark for snow
  accumulations, cold temperature

 

 

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, frd said:

Wonder if maybe the advance posting of the Watch is related to the wording,  given the focus on the possible extreme severity of the storm's potential and the wording about setting a new benchmark. Of note to campers and hunters maybe getting caught off guard. Pretty crazy wording ! 

Extreme impacts possible, including to power
  infrastructure including power lines resulting in widespread
  power outages, agricultural interests; outdoor recreational
  interests including camping and hunting activities; and travel.
  Widespread significant tree damage is possible with heavy wet
  snow and strong winds impacting trees with foliage.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...This early-season winter storm and/or
  blizzard has the potential to set a new benchmark for snow
  accumulations, cold temperature

 

 

 

 

 

Think a big part of the early warning is to give a heads up to the ranchers. Don't know how many times in the 70/80's you heard about live stock out there getting decimated by these early winter storms. Now not so much as they are getting early enough warning to move their herds to safety.

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Dry Sept -vs- snowfall amount:

I investigated the 8 years mentioned by LWX in the AFD today regarding driest Septembers. (5  Driest Septembers BWI, DCA, IAD)
Using BWI annual snowfall records, (normal 20.1 inches), I checked the following winters of each year for either normal, or above normal; rounding to the nearest inch. So basically, if a winter was 20" or higher it makes the winner's circle. (2005 wouldn't have made it without the rounding to 20, but eh, close enough)

So, I was a bit surprised that only 2007, at 9" was below normal.  Here's the years and following winter snowfall (Balto snow data):
1884 - 31"
1906 - 31"
1967 - 23"
1977 - 34"
1978 - 43"
2005 - 20"
2007 - 9"
2014 - 29"

avg = 27.5

The 1977 was only at DCA; 1978 and 2014 only at IAD. Otherwise pretty good mix.
Hope we don't see another 2007/8 winter; or worse.

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4 minutes ago, GramaxRefugee said:

Dry Sept -vs- snowfall amount:

I investigated the 8 years mentioned by LWX in the AFD today regarding driest Septembers. (5  Driest Septembers BWI, DCA, IAD)
Using BWI annual snowfall records, (normal 20.1 inches), I checked the following winters of each year for either normal, or above normal; rounding to the nearest inch. So basically, if a winter was 20" or higher it makes the winner's circle. (2005 wouldn't have made it without the rounding to 20, but eh, close enough)

So, I was a bit surprised that only 2007, at 9" was below normal.  Here's the years and following winter snowfall (Balto snow data):
1884 - 31"
1906 - 31"
1967 - 23"
1977 - 34"
1978 - 43"
2005 - 20"
2007 - 9"
2014 - 29"

avg = 27.5

The 1977 was only at DCA; 1978 and 2014 only at IAD. Otherwise pretty good mix.
Hope we don't see another 2007/8 winter; or worse.

Interesting stats. I wonder how it fares for wet Septembers. I remember September 2011 being particularly wet, and look what happened there.

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6 minutes ago, Cobalt said:

Interesting stats. I wonder how it fares for wet Septembers. I remember September 2011 being particularly wet, and look what happened there.

Hmm, just glancing over it quickly, you may have a point. 2011 is still record wettest Sept at 13.32".  Looks like 2010 and 1979 were on the wet side. Both produced about 14.5" snowfall following winters. 1985 almost same. Outlier is 1966 with 43" snowfall following.  I recall 1985 was very warm Sept also.

Not real analysis, but just looking at a few that jump out at me. Now that you bring it up.

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37 minutes ago, GramaxRefugee said:

Hmm, just glancing over it quickly, you may have a point. 2011 is still record wettest Sept at 13.32".  Looks like 2010 and 1979 were on the wet side. Both produced about 14.5" snowfall following winters. 1985 almost same. Outlier is 1966 with 43" snowfall following.  I recall 1985 was very warm Sept also.

Not real analysis, but just looking at a few that jump out at me. Now that you bring it up.

From a simply persistence point of view,  you would have to think the boring and dry period we are having would likely reverse in time, and hopefully coincides with the colder months ahead. 

 

  

 

 

 

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