It’s that time of year already. We are starting to get a picture of what this upcoming winter might hold for us. The preliminary look at the 2019-2020 winter forecast focuses on general trends to likely expect.
We are cruising through September and that means the transitions from summer to winter weather are getting underway. Meteorological autumn has arrived and the official astronomical kickoff to fall is very close. It’s not hard to tell with Halloween things out in stores and pumpkin spice everything being promoted.
Let’s Track Some Snow
This winter should again feature some active “fun”, but not necessarily a repeat of the snow train that the Upper Midwest was inundated in last year. Portions of the Ohio Valley might be looking at an increased storm track. The Northeast including the big I-95 cities like New York and Boston could see a decent number of storms.
When making long range outlooks we analyze large scale weather patterns in different areas of the globe that have impacts on the local areas where you and me live. We look at pressure and temperature patterns compared to average in the oceans and atmosphere.
This winter is setting up to have a few patterns that will likely be fairly consistent. There are going to be several wildcards with important teleconnections like the North Atlantic Oscillation, Madden-Julian Oscillation, Arctic Oscillation, etc.
The likely patterns that will setup are a neutral ENSO. This means no El Nino or La Nina. It’s not set in stone, but conditions along the equatorial Pacific Ocean are displaying fairly average temperatures. This should continue. Most models keep the El Nino Southern Oscillation neutral through winter with average sea surface temperature anomalies. However; there are some projections that show a weak El Nino similar to last winter. As of now we are greatly favoring neutral conditions.
We are also expecting a negative East Pacific Oscillation. This promotes above average atmospheric heights, temperatures and pressure in the northeast Pacific Ocean around the Gulf of Alaska. This creates ridging of high pressure and normally correlates to warm weather across the western half of the United States.
Where there’s a ridge there’s a trough. East of the high pressure area is normally where the cold gets dumped from Canada. That would be somewhere in the eastern Plains through the Midwest, Great Lakes and maybe even parts of the Northeast. This setup is pretty common in neutral ENSO and -EPO winters.
What Could Ruin Things?
There have been winters where the overall blocking pressure areas and major teleconnections line up to provide cold into the Eastern US only to have much of the country stay above average. The atmosphere is big fluid and everything works like the butterfly affect. The majesty of weather is that it’s an interconnected chain. There could not be a sufficient amount of snow pack in northern Canada to allow for plenty of a cold air source. There could be nothing to force Arctic air down into the United States. It could just stay bottled up north.
The long range climate model (CSFv2) that likes the idea of widespread warmth is missing the mark on where the warm ring of air is in the Pacific and that the Nino 1+2 areas are cooler than towards the International Dateline. The last time a similar pattern happened was in 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 and those were colder winters than what we are expecting this year. What did the CSF model have? Plenty of warmth… Wrong!
There is a pretty warm western Atlantic Ocean now. North Atlantic blocking is not really happening now. If these patterns persist through early winter that will keep most of the cold at bay. True winter might be delayed like we have seen a lot over the last several years. If this ridging doesn’t break down and back builds well into the US than any cold will be infrequent the first half of winter.
Summing It Up
The winter might not start fast, but it should settle in and feature some major cold at times from the eastern Plains into the Northeast. A Southeast Ridge should keep Mississippi to the Carolinas fairly mild. It only take one cold blast with a storm to get above average snow though.
There is very good confidence in a warm west. California ski season might be hurting. The Rockies are a lot more up in the air. It might be up and down with temperatures and near average snow.
The active storm track swings across the southern Plains through the Ohio and Tennessee Valley’s and into parts of New England.
All of us at Neoweather are excited for the busy winter season to come. We love helping now removal contractors! We provide peace of mind with accurate and detailed weather forecasts specific for your location with specific storm impacts in mind.
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