Ah yes, time to begin to take that corner into the change of seasons that of course...leads us to BOTS (Bring On The Snow!) season shortly thereafter.
Before we get into the Sept-Nov forecast...there is no doubt that this SUMMER has been unique compared to the past several in our area.
There are still many diving through the data to figure out the whys and hows with the numbers game.
We will officially hear the reasoning in just 2 weeks.
2 obvious factors...the ocean temperatures have shifted (started late last winter...and lead to a calmer spring) and the drought areas of the lower 48.
The drought impact is certainly the one that stands out the most to me.
You take away moisture from the air that you get from green plants---and you end up a very hot stretch of weather. This year...we have had plenty of green to keep the cycle locked in.
I want to share several drought maps with you. I hope you don't get whiplash.
First is the CURRENT lineup of drought conditions across the lower 48.
Notice we are still in the clear locally, but I have noticed some increase in dry ground across parts of the midwest. That was not exactly expected.
Now, the forecast is for there to be improvement in those areas the next 3 months...wiping that yellow area out.
But I must say, if that does not happen, that will alter the weather patterns some..especially in Sept. Mostly in a fashion that would aim the greatest rain track from near Chicago more to DC. It could lead to warmer weather for west KY vs east KY with our area swinging back/forth. But again...just a sidenote/thought I am having noticing that latest trend.
When you look back at 2012---the drought was so locked in that the fate of winter was pretty much ONLY hinging on the idea that we would see El Nino fade away. We learned that while that did happen, it wasn't enough to counteract the summer of 2012 weather pattern that was not going to be shifted easily.
OCTOBER 2012---Drought in tact
NOVEMBER 2012-- Drought in fact.
So since we know ALREADY that the drought will NOT be a player this year for our area based on the locked in nature of these patterns...I wanted to look back at other cool summers many of us have mentioned this summer. 2009 and 2004.
Drought in 2009
OCTOBER --- nearly absent
NOVEMBER---only extreme areas
Weather wise 2009...we saw our first frost on October 18th...and our first flakes of snowfall on December 7th.
Drought in 2004--
October....a somewhat similar map to the current setup
Weather wise in 2004...we saw our first frost on November 9th...and our first flakes of snow around December 13th. (note..we had more than 7" on the ground by Christmas morning).
Also in case you were wondering...last year we experienced our first frost on October 11th. First flakes around December 10th.
So do cool summers and a lack of a drought mean an early frost and snow? Well, I can only base it on 2 other summers that come close to this idea---and you can see there is not enough data to relate those two ideas. At least, the drought placement alone doesn't.
Nevertheless, I wanted to check it out as I am sure some of you were curious as well.
We typically see our first frost (36° or colder) by mid October...and first freeze in November with first flakes around November 16th. "Normally".
The ocean temperatures idea is interesting. There has been some nice warming of the Alaskan waters this summer. Usually when you flip Alaska's weather...there is an opposite reaction to the east. Namely...our area. I will post more on ocean temps once we get into the winter forecast. I will also post more about the El Nino/La Nina forecast for the winter forecast as well as it is still too early too dive into that. My winter forecast comes out Halloween night.
Before I dive into my final thoughts of the Fall, I did want to mention the sea ice. I posted on FB about this the other day. There have been many reports of the ice holding tough in the Arctic this year. Many ships have reported this along their routes. Denmark, which controls some of that area---is reporting the coldest temperature averages in that area since the 1950s in the Arctic.
I did a check on the latest coverage of sea ice...and it was interesting to see how much of it we "eroded" away at this point of the year ...in recent years.
But look at 2013...we are heading back to where we were in the early 2000s which a good chunk of sea ice in tact. So unless we see major heating in that area in the next 30s days, we are already setting up for a very cold Arctic winter. This will no doubt impact the shipping industry.
For us ...and in weather terms, that is when the oscillations will become our friends.
The AO (Arctic Oscillation) dislodges that cold air when it turns negative.
The NAO (North American Oscillation) helps focus that cold core over the eastern US when it, too, goes negative.
You will see me talk about these indicies alot again this winter. They are players are on the field that get driven by exciting weather patterns we may face...and it will be interesting to track them.
So now to the forecast...
SEPTEMBER 2013 through NOVEMBER 2013
I focused on temperature mainly for this forecast.
REST OF AUGUST-- looks hot..with perhaps a severe storm threat around between the 4th-8th that will set up the pattern below. (more on this with later short-term blog posts)
SEPTEMBER ---I think the core will remain across the Midwest/Great Lakes of below normal temps. There may be a 2nd area across the Southeast if the tropics get more active.
OCTOBER-- I think we will see the zone of below normal temps flatten some during this time. Still glancing blows of chilly air, but I would not rule out 70s even in Oct with the pattern more broad. I actually agree with NOAA about the Northeast seeing a warmer pattern during this time. So I shaved off the northern side across the NE as there are signs ocean temps may rise there in October. But the interesting side to so much warming in the NE Atlantic waters is that we may see early season Nor-easters develop.
NOVEMBER--- I think this is when we will see western Canada really warm, so I think the angle of cooling will be sharper over along and east of the Mississippi River. The Great Lakes/Northeast have a shot at early snows this year. We will be right on the edge (go figure).
It does look like a warm start to September followed by a severe storm outbreak that will lead to a cooler mid-late month. October looks pretty normal overall. Some warm days..and cool nights. I think our first frost will take place during the normal timeframe of mid October. November will likely feature nor-easters and a digging cold pattern across the Great Lakes. I do see several cold shots with that setup.
Long term forecasts are always a challenge and yes..have very little accuracy still with them. I think you all realize that. But we are getting closer and closer each season to identifying triggers that help guide our weather patterns. The more we talk about them...and analyze them...the better we will get at this.
WINTER FORECAST 2013-2014 will come out on Halloween...and will focus on an update on sea ice, solar activity, drought, ocean temps and how many twix bars are in my fridge.
Until then....see you on wave3 :)