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Southern Plains Winter 2021-2022


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I'm starting this early, even though that the frost & freeze has not came in yet, it's time to prepare


Last winter was HARD! The Historic 2020 October Ice Storm, the Triple Snowstorms in December (Including the Surprise Snowstorm on December 30th), the New Years Day Winter Storm, the Extreme cold & Snow in February with 18 inches of snow, -22°F Temperatures at the lowest, & even tried to snow in April . . . 


What will this Winter hold? It appears that unfortunately that this winter is likely going to be as bad or worse than last winter . . . This Summer was cooler than normal, & I have yet to reach 100
°F at my house, which has never happened before in my lifetime, OKC has not yet reached 100°F either, it would be the first year since 2003 that it happened . . . 

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16 minutes ago, Iceresistance said:

I'm starting this early, even though that the frost & freeze has not came in yet, it's time to prepare


Last winter was HARD! The Historic 2020 October Ice Storm, the Triple Snowstorms in December (Including the Surprise Snowstorm on December 30th), the New Years Day Winter Storm, the Extreme cold & Snow in February with 18 inches of snow, -22°F Temperatures at the lowest, & even tried to snow in April . . . 


What will this Winter hold? It appears that unfortunately that this winter is likely going to be as bad or worse than last winter . . . This Summer was cooler than normal, & I have yet to reach 100
°F at my house, which has never happened before in my lifetime, OKC has not yet reached 100°F either, it would be the first year since 2003 that it happened . . . 

I'm with ya I think this winter has the potential to bring some memorable events despite La Nina. Am I fully confident on that? Not at all but early prospects imply it's a possibility. Recent NMME plot for DJF shows cold anomalies over Alaska. I made a post on twitter but with the right synoptic setup, SSW or strato stretching event we could see some of that cold spill south into the Plains. That's not to mention SEAS5 forecast showing potential precursors to a strato stretching event, which based on a recent study have been increasing over the years. Stretching events are known to help usher that anomalous cold further south (similar to the Big Freeze in February). Personally I don't put a lot of credence in La Nina for here. You can have a warm winter overall but it just takes the right setup to get a cold snap here.

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Severe cold snaps tend to occur within a year of the most powerful Gulf Hurricane landfalls. Typically after. Some periods in 1964-65, 1965-66, 1969-70, 1961-62 and 1967-68 are stupid cold in the Plains relatively near Hilda, Betsy, Camille, Carla, and Beulah. Similar to how you had stupid cold after Michael (2/2019) and Delta (2/2021) last year. We'll see how that goes. The other recent monster storm years like 2005 and 2008 and even 2012 had pretty severe cold at times (and snow too). It's just something with the MJO and how the subtropical highs setup in the Atlantic I think.

The overall pressure pattern last year was kind of like a blend of 1959-60 (x2), 2007-08, 2008-09, to get the La Nina, warm North Pacific, super +WPO, and net -NAO. It's not an easy thing to replicate historically, but I sort of had the right idea in October with my blend of 1995-96, 2003-04, 2007-08 (x5), 2012-13 (x2), 2019-20. Point is, I'd look hard at the big Gulf years in the 1960s, and then some of the very weak and cold-Neutral years with the warm North Pacific. I already have some pretty solid analogs but nothing definitive yet.

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8 hours ago, raindancewx said:

Severe cold snaps tend to occur within a year of the most powerful Gulf Hurricane landfalls. Typically after. Some periods in 1964-65, 1965-66, 1969-70, 1961-62 and 1967-68 are stupid cold in the Plains relatively near Hilda, Betsy, Camille, Carla, and Beulah. Similar to how you had stupid cold after Michael (2/2019) and Delta (2/2021) last year. We'll see how that goes. The other recent monster storm years like 2005 and 2008 and even 2012 had pretty severe cold at times (and snow too). It's just something with the MJO and how the subtropical highs setup in the Atlantic I think.

The overall pressure pattern last year was kind of like a blend of 1959-60 (x2), 2007-08, 2008-09, to get the La Nina, warm North Pacific, super +WPO, and net -NAO. It's not an easy thing to replicate historically, but I sort of had the right idea in October with my blend of 1995-96, 2003-04, 2007-08 (x5), 2012-13 (x2), 2019-20. Point is, I'd look hard at the big Gulf years in the 1960s, and then some of the very weak and cold-Neutral years with the warm North Pacific. I already have some pretty solid analogs but nothing definitive yet.

1983 had a very inactive Atlantic hurricane season (Except Alicia in the GoM) & had an exceptionally powerful Arctic Blast that was reinforced by Several Cold Fronts in December . . . 

January 2017 was insanely cold, it got down to 1°F at Town, & -3°F in OKC . . . 

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20 hours ago, raindancewx said:

Severe cold snaps tend to occur within a year of the most powerful Gulf Hurricane landfalls. Typically after. Some periods in 1964-65, 1965-66, 1969-70, 1961-62 and 1967-68 are stupid cold in the Plains relatively near Hilda, Betsy, Camille, Carla, and Beulah. Similar to how you had stupid cold after Michael (2/2019) and Delta (2/2021) last year. We'll see how that goes. The other recent monster storm years like 2005 and 2008 and even 2012 had pretty severe cold at times (and snow too). It's just something with the MJO and how the subtropical highs setup in the Atlantic I think.

The overall pressure pattern last year was kind of like a blend of 1959-60 (x2), 2007-08, 2008-09, to get the La Nina, warm North Pacific, super +WPO, and net -NAO. It's not an easy thing to replicate historically, but I sort of had the right idea in October with my blend of 1995-96, 2003-04, 2007-08 (x5), 2012-13 (x2), 2019-20. Point is, I'd look hard at the big Gulf years in the 1960s, and then some of the very weak and cold-Neutral years with the warm North Pacific. I already have some pretty solid analogs but nothing definitive yet.

That's a very strange analog lol. I'm not discounting your findings and this may come off as ignorant but I just find it hard to believe tropical systems in the Gulf are correlated with wintertime cold snaps. If anything, it seems more like a coincidence to me. To your last point, it could be something with the MJO/ATL subtropical high orientation though. I honestly haven't looked. My focus usually lies more on the happenings in the upper latitudes & stratosphere when it comes to predicting cold for the south but the atmosphere certainly works in strange ways.

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I wasn't making some detailed observation based on any research, but I would bet on a relationship. Quite a few of the ten coldest Februaries in the past 90 years show up for sure (1933, 1936, 1949, 1989, 2019, 2021) for various spots of the US.

Look at the fours / fives to hit the Gulf Coast since 1930. https://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/hurdat/All_U.S._Hurricanes.html

1932, (1935), 1948, (1960), 1961, 1965, 1969, 1988 (Gilbert s. of TX), 2004, (2017), 2018, 2020

You can debate if 1935/1960/2017 (SW FL/Keys), 1988 (not US), should count, but you definitely have a lot of cold in those years of cat 4-5 Gulf landfalls. 

February 1936, February 2019, Jan 1970 are cold to stupid cold after the cat five hits (all El Nino / near El Ninos btw with the fives).

 

Severe cold in Dec-Mar after a 4-5 landfall on the Gulf:

December (8/12):  1932 (West), 1935 (East), 1948 (NW), 1960 (SE), 1961 (everywhere), 1965 (west coast), 1969 (east), 2017 (Lakes/NE).

January (9/12): 1933 (West), 1936 (all but west), 1949 (west), 1961 (SE), 1962 (everywhere), 1966 (everywhere), 1970 (everywhere), 1989 (west), 2018 (SE)

February (10/12): 1933 (West), 1936 (all), 1949 (West), 1962 (north), 1966 (everywhere), 1989 (everywhere), 2005 (sw), 2018 (N Plains), 2019 (Plains), 2021 (Plains)

March (7/12): 1949 (West), 1962 (all but NE), 1970 (all but west coast, 1989 (N. Plains), 2005 (NE), 2018 (NE/Montana), 2019 (Plains) 

 

Summary of Severe Cold Signal:

1932-33: D-F (West)

1935-36: D-J (East), F (all)

1948-49: D-M (NW, then west)

1960-61: D-J (SE)

1961-62: D-J (all), F (N. US) M (all but NE)

1965-66: D (W), J-F (all)

1969-70: D (East), J (all)

1988-89: J (West), F (all)

2004-05: F (SW), M (NE)

2017-18: D (NE), J (SE), M (NE/Montana)

2018-19: F-M (Plains)

2020-21: F (Plains)

 

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This is how my analogs did last year for anyone curious. I was trying to create a +WPO La Nina based on how similar the Nino 3.4 data in 2021 was to 2007. But I also expected more blocking than that year, with the Apr-Dec NAO correlation (r-squared) around 0.2-0.3 in La Nina years. The -NAO in April was quite strong in 2020, like this year. It's freaking hard to get a major +WPO in a La Nina, but the tendency is that the WPO goes positive in the lowest sea ice extent years, and I knew that heading into last year.

Screenshot-2021-09-09-7-50-46-PMScreenshot-2021-09-09-7-50-10-PM

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28 minutes ago, raindancewx said:

This is how my analogs did last year for anyone curious. I was trying to create a +WPO La Nina based on how similar the Nino 3.4 data in 2021 was to 2007. But I also expected more blocking than that year, with the Apr-Dec NAO correlation (r-squared) around 0.2-0.3 in La Nina years. The -NAO in April was quite strong in 2020, like this year. It's freaking hard to get a major +WPO in a La Nina, but the tendency is that the WPO goes positive in the lowest sea ice extent years, and I knew that heading into last year.

Screenshot-2021-09-09-7-50-46-PMScreenshot-2021-09-09-7-50-10-PM

Are there any similarities from last winter to this winter or do you expect a different outcome? Various models show various possibilities for this winter so far. Most teleconnections are hard to predict more than two weeks out, as you know 

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38 minutes ago, raindancewx said:

This is how my analogs did last year for anyone curious. I was trying to create a +WPO La Nina based on how similar the Nino 3.4 data in 2021 was to 2007. But I also expected more blocking than that year, with the Apr-Dec NAO correlation (r-squared) around 0.2-0.3 in La Nina years. The -NAO in April was quite strong in 2020, like this year. It's freaking hard to get a major +WPO in a La Nina, but the tendency is that the WPO goes positive in the lowest sea ice extent years, and I knew that heading into last year.

Screenshot-2021-09-09-7-50-46-PMScreenshot-2021-09-09-7-50-10-PM

Those links aren't working for me.

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I know I just made a huge post on the strongest landfalling Gulf Hurricanes, but it's not something I weight highly. It's more that given a choice between a year like 2010 without relevant Gulf hits, and a year like 1961, I'd pick 1961, if all other factors were equal.

I do think it's interesting that the stronger La Ninas tend to not see major Gulf hurricanes though (2010, 1973, 1975, 1955, 1998, 1999, lack big hits).

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Does this work for you Mr. Sunshine? I don't have a forecast for this year yet. My general view is there is blocking this year, but the timing will be a lot different than last year. I don't expect a record, or near record +WPO like last year for the 1950-2020 period. There were countless storms <1000 mb by the southern tip of Kamchatka which is the Bering Sea rule "translation" spot for where I am, at 17-21 day leads, and it's a pretty relevant feature for late season blizzards in the SW & tornadoes in Spring. My hunch is the PDO will start to flip pretty hard late winter. Most of the local data implies a wetter/warmer winter than last year. The true dog-shit winters in the Southwest tend to see very wet Septembers in La Nina / cold ENSO years. Look at 2005, 2008, 2013, 2017 in September v. 2007, 2011, 2012, 2020 in terms of recent years. I'd be happy with an inch of rain this month (about average) at this point.

If you look compared to last year, the Indian Ocean Dipole is also more of a thing this year. So I'd expect different tendencies for where the MJO amplifies or de-amplifies.

ImageImage

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17 hours ago, raindancewx said:

Does this work for you Mr. Sunshine? I don't have a forecast for this year yet. My general view is there is blocking this year, but the timing will be a lot different than last year. I don't expect a record, or near record +WPO like last year for the 1950-2020 period. There were countless storms <1000 mb by the southern tip of Kamchatka which is the Bering Sea rule "translation" spot for where I am, at 17-21 day leads, and it's a pretty relevant feature for late season blizzards in the SW & tornadoes in Spring. My hunch is the PDO will start to flip pretty hard late winter. Most of the local data implies a wetter/warmer winter than last year. The true dog-shit winters in the Southwest tend to see very wet Septembers in La Nina / cold ENSO years. Look at 2005, 2008, 2013, 2017 in September v. 2007, 2011, 2012, 2020 in terms of recent years. I'd be happy with an inch of rain this month (about average) at this point.

If you look compared to last year, the Indian Ocean Dipole is also more of a thing this year. So I'd expect different tendencies for where the MJO amplifies or de-amplifies.

ImageImage

Raindance, do you think the Pacific was pretty hostile last winter or it could have been colder? How do you see the IOD playing out with the mjo or is it still too early?

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September is the month I use for testing analogs I come up with in Summer. The way the month looks like it will finish does match one of the weightings I like. But still want to see how the month finishes before I go into detail.

There are some unusual features I don't like for this winter, mostly because I don't know what to do with them. 

The level of June-July heat in the West in a cold ENSO year is hard to find. But it's pretty similar to 1961. The four years I like most right now are 1961-62, 2001-02, 2017-18, 2020-20 for the winter. You can roughly re-create the four Nino zones each month of 2021 blending 1961, 2001, 2011 together.

I'm trying to decide which extra years will be in the blend at the moment. There are a lot of "B" tier analogs this year, by the system I use:

A analogs - generally strong matches for temp/precip patterns in the US over long time frames.

B analogs - generally strong matches for temp OR precip patterns for long time frames. Or good matches for both in short periods (can beat A analogs in small periods)

C analogs - generally strong matches for temps or precip for short periods.

D analogs - consistently "off" but vaguely similar.

"B" analogs for me right now are 1938, 1960, 1967, 1973, 1977, 1979, 1988, 1995, 1998, 2000, 2005, 2008, 2011, 2013, 2016. I'm most tempted by 1960, 1967, and then all the years I listed from 1998 on. I'm very hesitant to use the years after the biggy-El Ninos though (2016, 1998, 1973). 

Pending more information, I like some kind of weighted blend of 1961, 2000, 2001, 2011, 2017, 2020 for the Fall. That's a similar QBO/AMO/PDO/ENSO/Solar/Hurricane landfall/ENSO prior year match, with nearly identical matches locally for both temperatures and precipitation for close to a year. In other words, it's a cold ENSO year, after a cold ENSO year, with relatively similar solar, a warm North Pacific, and the Indian Ocean in the right phase (1998 is the most recent year with incredible warmth east of Indonesia like this year in a La Nina, tempted to use it to reflect the IOD magnitude). Need to see if resembles September at all though.

Screenshot-2021-09-10-5-52-49-PMScreenshot-2021-09-10-5-52-32-PM

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3 hours ago, Mr. Kevin said:

Raindance, do you think the Pacific was pretty hostile last winter or it could have been colder? How do you see the IOD playing out with the mjo or is it still too early?

The WPO is a pretty warm signal when positive for most of the US in late winter. I think you guys would have been colder in Jan-Mar without the record strength (strong lows over NE Asia).

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2 hours ago, raindancewx said:

The WPO is a pretty warm signal when positive for most of the US in late winter. I think you guys would have been colder in Jan-Mar without the record strength (strong lows over NE Asia).

There are so many teleconnections that can make or break winter lol. We got lucky for February with the winter storms with three in one week. It really wasn't outrageously cold except in February, especially the first half. At least here in my area. I do have another question. Which seasonal model usually is most correct on predictions for winter? I guess the better track record 

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The long-range models are completely useless except for looking at the next month right before it starts for temperatures and precipitation.

The Jamstec, when it was around did a pretty good job of accurate gauging ENSO strength. I do think right before the next month starts, the CFS and Canadian on tropical tidbits do have some skill, although much less in Fall and Spring than in Winter and Summer.

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21 hours ago, Mr. Kevin said:

There are so many teleconnections that can make or break winter lol. We got lucky for February with the winter storms with three in one week. It really wasn't outrageously cold except in February, especially the first half. At least here in my area. I do have another question. Which seasonal model usually is most correct on predictions for winter? I guess the better track record 

I had 3 Snowstorms in December 2020, & the 2 BIG storms in February 2021

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Precipitation pattern for Summer was remarkably close to 1961. Really do like that year, although probably not going to be my main analog. The PDO in June-August by the Nate Mantua (JISAO) method was the most negative since 2012 - both around -1.4. These lighter greens / blues typically don't matter. But if an index is at one extreme, even the weaker correlations tend to work. Pretty strong dry signal for the Southeast Coast - and it's worth noting that last year, the PDO was only -0.3 or so in Jun-Aug. It's a fairly strong cold signal for south-central Canada too, which is often good for the southern Plains. The mountains of New Mexico and NE (Old) Mexico essentially exist to bound the mother-lodes of cold from big time Blue Norther / Arctic outbreak patterns, you can sort of see the mixed blue/white/green signal in light of that for temps by NM/TX/MX.

ImageImage

ImageImage

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Heading into last winter, I did some data mining / statistical tests to try to predict La Nina winter precipitation in Albuquerque, not just for the season but by month.

I found three pretty relevant, independent variables that work well as predictors:

Major Hurricane Days in the Atlantic prior to winter. Very highly correlated to total winter precipitation. Each major hurricane day is worth a 0.0522" loss in winter precipitation roughly. It's not a strong predictor in January or February though. But it works well in December.

For January, the June high minus the September high blended with the timing of the first 90 degree high works well as a predictive blend. For February, the years with much hotter June highs than September highs (theoretically could be as much as 96F - 76F difference) are the years with wetter Februaries. This year will be not be among them unfortunately. Last year had a much larger drop from the June to September high (~91 to ~82).

 

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Been consistently running warmer at the surface in the Nino zones for several weeks now. New Mexico pretty reliably will be opposite the year over trend in the Nino zones for winter temperature anomalies. Years following a cold Nino 3.4/4 tend to be cold here, even if it is still a La Nina or Neutral and not an El Nino. The warming year/year trends tend to be cold, and vice versa. These are the cold ENSO winters that were "warmed up" year over year since 1990, excluding 2008-09, which is the exception that proves the rule.

Image

Cold ENSO, but warmer than prior year: 1985*, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2008*, 2011, 2012 = average high of 50.0F in ABQ (cold for a La Nina winter)

Cold ENSO, but colder than prior year:  1980*, 1983, 1984, 1988, 1995*, 1998*, 1999*, 2005*, 2007, 2010*, 2016*, 2017*, 2020 = average high of 51.4F in ABQ (warm for a La Nina)

* warm winter highs in Albuquerque

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11 hours ago, Mr. Kevin said:

Why are you saying that?


From BenNollWeather: December 2021: this forecast of stratospheric temperature anomalies is pretty unusual
How unusual? The zonal mean anomaly between 60-90˚N is the *2nd warmest* predicted by @ECMWF (from September) compared to all years from 1993-2020. Thread: winter forecast tea leaves

-- Ben Noll (@BenNollWeather) September 18, 2021

E_iK-vYVUAI8OQJformatjpgnamesmall.jpg

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2 hours ago, Iceresistance said:


From BenNollWeather: December 2021: this forecast of stratospheric temperature anomalies is pretty unusual
How unusual? The zonal mean anomaly between 60-90˚N is the *2nd warmest* predicted by @ECMWF (from September) compared to all years from 1993-2020. Thread: winter forecast tea leaves

-- Ben Noll (@BenNollWeather) September 18, 2021
 

Warm stratosphere = weaker polar vortex = colder in our area. 

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5 hours ago, JoMo said:

Warm stratosphere = weaker polar vortex = colder in our area. 

If that happens, we would get cold for a while. I believe we get cold early instead of later on. So many factors involved. Anyone making forecasts this early are completely guessing. 

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