Sunday, January 8, 2012

“Big Chill” Puzzle Pieces Falling Into Place

Sunday was a dreary winter day with temperatures holding steady in the lower 50’s most of the day.

The latest radar sweep showed rain moving into the state from Louisiana.  Look for this trend to continue.  Rain and isolated thunderstorms are possible through Tuesday night, with the heaviest rainfall projected for Tuesday.

A look at the long-range weather pattern continues to show signs of an artic air intrusion, but to what extent and for how long, is still up for debate.  These signs include:


The Arctic Oscillation is starting a downturn

(from Dr. Ryan Maue’s website



The NAO is going negative too…


If we are going to get any sustaining cold  events, those two puzzle pieces need to  be in place.  Also, the SSW (Sudden Stratospheric Warming) that was talked about in a previous post is recharging with a renewed vigor.

Three important pieces if you are going to have a major outbreak this far south.  A missing component? 


Current Snow Cover


Snow cover to our north. Without sufficient snow cover across the Midwest, any arctic air that may visit will likely be modified arctic air. There is a chance the next two or three fronts that make their way across the plains could leave behind some snow.

So the big question is, will the SEARK region be getting any wintry precipitation?  I believe our chances will increase toward the latter part of January or early February. 


Monday, January 2, 2012

Much Mischief in the Long-Range Pattern

Mostly clear skies prevailed overnight as low temperatures ranged from the mid twenties to the mid thirties statewide.

Northwest winds will continue to usher in highly modified arctic air into the state. Tonight will likely be the coldest night of the winter thus far as temps will fall into the teens and twenties.

A warming trend will begin by midweek and allow SEARK temps to rebound back into the 50’s and lower 60’s by week’s end.

Looking 2-3 weeks down the road,  the tame winter weather to date looks to become a bit more beastly as a Cahirs Connection ridge is progged to set up, which would funnel polar air down across Canada and into Northwestern U.S. first, and further south and east as time goes by. 

As the ridge in the Southeast struggles to hold on, a fight will ensue.  We could have an tumultuous end of January and  beginning of February. You know I will be watching!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Another Meteorological Term to Chew On

You often hear terms such as La Nina , El Nino, North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), Arctic Oscillation (AO) and the PNA (Pacific North America) pattern. All of these influence the weather around the world and are connected to each other in some way.

This next one is supposedly playing a major role in our wildly unpredictable winter weather thus far. So far this year, long-term weather model predictions have been virtually useless, more than three or four days out.

So, here is another to ponder:

Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) - Tropical rainfall exhibits strong variability on time scales shorter than the seasonal El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). These fluctuations in tropical rainfall often go through an entire cycle in 30-60 days, and are referred to as the Madden-Julian Oscillation or intraseasonal oscillations. The intraseasonal oscillations are a naturally occurring component of our coupled ocean-atmosphere system. They significantly affect the atmospheric circulation throughout the global Tropics and subtropics, and also strongly affect the wintertime jet stream and atmospheric circulation features over the North Pacific and western North America. As a result, they have an important impact on storminess and temperatures over the United States. During the summer these oscillations have a modulating effect on hurricane activity in both the Pacific and Atlantic basins.

What is Stratospheric Warming and why should I Care??

There has been quite a bit of chatter and talk over  the last couple of weeks in weather geek circles concerning an interruption in the normal upper atmospheric conditions which could lead to much colder weather in the long term. What I am talking about is called Sudden Stratospheric Warming. WeatherBell Analytics forecaster Joe Bastardi has been mentioning this quite a bit lately.

The idea that upper stratospheric warming can indicate cold outbreaks at the surface is a very interesting theory and worked well last year in indicating both the cold and warm spells that we have through the winter. This warming is happening again and some of the weather models have began to pick up on this.

My finite mind cannot completely wrap around this concept, so let me just share what I do know about it. Once this warming happens, it eventually sets in motion the displacement of the cold, polar air to the south. It takes a few weeks for that misplaced polar air to make it to the lower 48. Such an event occurred back in December of 1983, and again in the winter of 1984-85. Those are some major examples of such events. Others have been less dramatic.

So, around the first part of January, start paying close attention to see if such a dramatic outbreak is on the horizon. I know I will be watching.......

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Tropics to Ramp Back Up Starting This Weekend; Rain For Texas

Just when you thought the hurricane season was on the wane, it is becoming more evident that the tropics are alive and will become more lively, especially over the next couple of weeks. There's even a chance the Gulf could even conjure up a storm-or one enter the Gulf before scooting up the east coast. Don't expect the SEARK to get much drought relief from one.

Texas may also get some drought relief but not from the tropics. The slow moving system out over California will give some relief to the Southern Plains over the next 8-10 days.

Above normal temps across the Mid-south over the next few days will give away to normal temps by later next week. has released their winter forecast today and if their predictions come true, the Mid South could have a more typical winter than last year-albeit coming earlier. Lots of ICE on their map! Time to dust off the generator and make sure it's in good working condition before winter gets here.