Thursday, October 30, 2008

Your 2008-09 Winter Forecast: A Winter Wonderland Comes Early this Year!

Saddle up, we have a real winter coming our way Lafayette!

Here is what you have all been waiting for! This is your updated winter weather forecast below. I have upped my original snow forecast originally close to 20 inches to a total of 24 to 28 inches. Temperatures also look colder than last winter, although overall slightly above average.

This is based on abnormally thick snowpacks across all of northern Russia, most of Alaska, and northern Canada. The ice sheets are in the best shape I have seen in years. The sun continues to be unusually quiet and the lack of sunspots could certainly have an impact on our winter. The fewer magnetic storms or sunspots usually correlates into less solar energy reaching the earth causing colder weather across the globe. Volcanic eruptions in Alaska and around the globe are once again on an upswing. These particles tend to block out sunlight and have a cooling effect. The Pacific and Atlantic Ocean temperature profiles favor winter weather we saw in the 1950s through the 1970s, not the unusually warm period of the 80s, 90s, and first part of this century. London recorded its heaviest October snowfall since 1922 this week. Alaska had its earliest start to winter since the 1980s and has already recorded a mercury-freezing low of -42. That was the actual air temperature!

So all of these factors above will factor into our winter forecast. What does this mean in terms of snow? Let's take a look at the chart above. Last year we pretty much doubled our average snowfall of 22.4 inches in Lafayette with a whopping 40 plus inch season. This placed it in the top 5 of all snow years dating back to 1906. It also set records for rainfall and thunderstorms. It was the stormiest winter on record hands down. You can see why below. Notice the main storm track was the Texas Low track that swung right through the Ohio Valley. This is the track that gives us our biggest storms. Since the Bermuda High was to our East and a stagnant high pressure to our West. This meant we were right in the storm zone.

The only reason I am not going for record snow this winter is the main storm track has changed. The La Nina is now gone and we have about average temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. This means the main player this year will be the Atlantic Ocean and a blocking high pressure expected near Greenland. This bends the jet stream in a position that brings paralyzing nor'easters and even blizzards to the East Coast. Take a look at this year's winning storm track.

I will make some calls to friends and family back in Maryland that is for sure. I am ready to organize a blizzard party. Now how about temperatures. This is the tricky part of the forecast. Logan Johnson (state climatologist extraordinaire) and I both agree winter will come on fast and furious this year. I like a possible record snow by late November. December looks like silver bells, jingle bells, and kids singing in a winter wonderland with plenty of cold weather and snow. The atmosphere is still remembering the stormy La Nina pattern from last winter and is having trouble moving on, even though we are officially in a neutral pattern. This favors a snowy start to our winter.

I do think nature gets on with its life as we move into late January due to the LA NADA effect or near average Pacific ocean temperatures. So we could thaw out in a hurry and it is the only reason I went with slightly above average temperatures.

But remember nothing is set in stone. The Pacific Ocean is in a cool phase and the question is if it will totally snap out of the La Nina-esque pattern by later in January and the remainder of our winter. If we have a lot of snow and it stays on the ground that could change things and storm tracks. This still means we could go down with one of the snowiest and coldest winters on record without a doubt. The first paragraph above gives many reasons how a forecast of slightly above average temperatures could go to way below average with even more snow possible than the 24 to 28 inches. Time will tell.

I like the looks of 3 big snowstorms this year for Lafayette! For now the Climate Prediction Center has us with equal chances for normal snowfall, below normal, and above normal snowfall. So that is of no help. At least I stuck my neck out there. It is the only way to truly be a forecaster.

The Climate Prediction Center also has us in above average chances for a warmer than average winter you see above but again there is a lot out there working against this. To my relatives in Wisconsin....just be ready for some bone-numbing cold and snow. The chart above really is too good to be true for warmer weather lovers. I do not see Milwaukee back over 100 inches of snow like last year's record-setter, but a good 50 to 60 inches of snow or slightly above average snow is looking good with Osh Kosh, Wisconsin seeing even more.

HAPPY SNOWMOBILING! The Alberta snow track will be very active this year and a little farther north than last year. This includes the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Are you ready for winter? I am now! We will all keep blogging and prepare for nature's fury. This will be another fun winter, that is for sure! Get the cameras ready and start stocking up on shovels and other supplies.

Today's blog question: What was that bright object streaking across the Lafayette sky at just after 9 p.m. last night?

I will have your answer shortly. Now I had better go calm down some Marylanders and Cheeseheads up North. Word travels quickly once I type things out on this blog. In the meantime take the pumpkin-carving outside this afternoon. It will be a classic autumn day!


Anonymous said...

Well Mike....coming from a Remington resident who lived thru last year I'm hoping you're right on the storm track movement. I'll even be happy to shiver a little more this winter than to be wading water. God willing...we'll never go thru that again.

Anonymous said...

We alreday have us some GOOD shovels!!!!! And I'M ready to GO! :-) LET IT SNOW.....LET IT SNOW.....LET IT SNOW!!!!!

Justin in Lafayette

Brow said...

Looks like no snow on Halloween, but it will be worth the wait. :)

I know that this is a ways away but since that crazy La Nina is gone, do you think that we will have a calmer Spring?

Ah man, I missed another ET in the sky last night?!

Annie said...

Sounds like a snuggly winter for us! Just the way I like it. :)

Annie said...

We saw the streak too! Just assumed it was some sort of meteor, but now I am curious...

Once again, so loving the weather today. Attica has Trick or Treats tonight, so there will be plenty of happy munchkins totting around. But, as happy as I am today, I will be happier in November!!!!

Annie in Attica

Anonymous said...

Justin, Glad you have your snow shovels ready to go, I dont! Wont have to look to far for them though, Seems as though we just put them away,

I have an idea, you could alway shovel for us bloggers who live in Laf, and dont like snow LOL!

I heard on an Indy radio station that we could get snow/sleet mix by next Friday. Yuck!

Teri in Laf

Anonymous said...

Also the snow/sleet mix could be all freezing instead. Now I could really do without that!


Anonymous said...

I have no problem in scooping any of you out I already do it for some of my neighbors..... one year I had to do all there driveways three times in one day but I love it!!!!!

Justin in Lafayette

Anonymous said...

Justin,you know I was just kidding!

How nice of you to help your neighbors, I have neighbors who are aging and who are no longer to "scoop" themselves out. What a bummer though, when you shovel the drives and walks then the street dept. plows all back:(

Anonymous said...

Mike, I dont like having to put the pointer of the computer on your face to get to the blog, I like the old format