so much to say so much to say so much to say – DAVE MATHEWS BAND.
Really I do. If you are a energy meteorologist or a TV meteorologist… this winter has not been particularly enticing here in the U.S. Of course given that the last two winters have been gangbusters those two types of Meteorologists probably need a break. BUT if you are agricultural /Grain meteorology – and I do far more Gain weather than energy weather - and it’s been gangbusters all around the world and helluva lot of fun.
Every single day I am issuing forecasts not just for the U.S. Plains / Midwest but for Argentina and Brazil …South Africa… Australia Europe… the Ukraine… Southwest Russia and Kazakhstan and then when their growing seasons are up and running China and India as well.
wow…. Ya know when I think about it… I do a lot of work every day. Plus the web site and the FB page. But really it’s not work at all because if I couldn’t forecast weather I probably starve to death. Right now for example much of Argentina and Southeast Brazil bring areas have been devastated by a drought and three prolonged key ways since mid December. One location in West Central Argentina — Santiago Del Estero — reported a Max temperature of 50° C or 122 degrees F. Now that reading is probably in error but a lot of places and Argentina on the 30th sought Max temperature of 40 degrees C or 105 degrees F. However a monster HEAT DOME has moved into Eastern Brazil which is going too slowly drift towards Bolivia and Paraguay over the next several days while at the same time a cold front moves into Central Argentina. This cold front is going stall because of the heat dome blocking its path and portions of Central Argentina could see some pretty good rains… But then there may be yet another interval of significant heat in Argentina in mid February!
Now if we take a look over in Russia … several locations this morning January 31 temperatures drop to -28° C /-18F. ! Even more important is that for most of December and January the Ukraine and southwest Russia has seen much above normal temperatures. There has not been a lot of snow cover and some of the winter wheat crop has already tried to break ground in Southern Ukraine and
southwest Russia. Now along comes as monster arctic HIGH at 1061 mb over Northwest Russia near Saint Petersburg which has spread the cold all way to the Rhine river! This morning in Bulgaria many locations had temperatures dropped to zero degrees Fahrenheit .
If this sounds like I am really enthusiastic about weather worldwide… I really am. But the truth of the matter is that I get this excited about ALL weather almost every single day. As a result I can go out of my way to post about how warm it’s going to be in the Middle Atlantic states 7 to 10 days out with the same amount of enthusiasm that I have for a big winter storm. So while it IS true that I do love East Coast snowstorms and East Coast hurricanes a lot …I try not to let my fondness for those particular type of weather events distract me or by state in any way. And one of the ways I do that is to get excited about weather which many of you may not feel is all that
great or noteworthy.
Some of you have noted over the past week that in the debate about the idea of FEB 2012 turning colder and or stormier for the eastern Conus … my overall perspective or attitude has changed. Lead me be upfront and frank about this YES my perception and views about February 2012 has changed from from what it was last week. Now some of you… may view me as “Johnny come lately“ to the party as other well known meteorologists have been talking about a much colder and potentially more winter like February 2012 for the last couple weeks. OK fair enough.
But if you are going to make that same judgment then it’s only fair to note that some of these other same meteorologists have been banging the drum for a major pattern change over North America several times this winter and as we all KNOW .. it has NOT happened. One energy trader made a joking comment to me that this well known private meteorologist up in New England “has forecasted seven of the last zero pattern changes…” OUCH…
In the arguments I made over the past few weeks against the idea of a BIG pattern change … I tried to drive home the importance and the significance of the huge Polar Vortex in the jet stream sitting up north of Alaska …on the Asian side of the Arctic circle. Time and time again I stated that in order to get a pattern change in North America that feature has to move or break down or shift or do something …because as long as it stays there nothing is going to happen regardless of what any model might or might not be saying .
Now we are finally seeing that huge Polar Vortex breaking down and changing. That is why I am more bullish about February than I was before. I set up by specific criteria or checklist of things which I had to see happen FIRST before I jump on board. Now that I see those things happening my perspective has changed. To me is not important as to whether or not to “call it FIRST! “ You don’t get extra money …the girls don’t think you are any sexier and you don’t dance any better.
I think it is very important to notice that few if any of the meteorologist that have the “ call it first “ attitude never come out and say ” the issue is uncertain” or “ the issue is undecided“. Yet as we all know small changes often lead to very big variations as you go further out in time. Therefore the perspective / goal of always trying to CALL IT FIRST can only Blow up in your face because sometimes you can not call it First. Sometimes you cannot make the call right now based on the current data.
The problem is that if you decide to chase the goal of “Calling it first “ is the most important thing as a professional meteorologist … you may get on TV the most but in the end you will also get the reputation of “forecasting seven of the last nonexistent pattern changes”. In the end you will end up cutting off your nose despite your face because all of your forecasts will be looked at with a great deal of skepticism and of little value to people who have serious money and would d normally be interested in what you have to say.
THE FEB 5-6 EVENT…. its coming North !!!!!
The models at midday are clearly not in agreement. All the models do agree that a strong ocean Low was going to form and stall over Southeast Canada/ Newfoundland over the next 4 days . This deep system will set up a strong CONFLUENT flow in the polar jet … That will allow for a relatively cold area of High pressure over Eastern Canada too develop (near Montreal ). So far so good.
However the European Model with its bias to develop systems too far to the west …ends up closing off the upper Low over western KS. At the same time the Ridge over the West Coast of N America –part of the +PNA – begins to develop so the Ridge traps the upper Low over KS is delayed for several days. The precipitation shield completely falls apart as the Upper Low tries to Under cut the Ridge and move into the Great Lakes. By the time the precipitation finally reaches the Appalachians and the East Coast the cold air source over southeastern Canada is gone so whatever falls is mild and rain. I believe that the European solution for FEB 5-6 at Midday is NOT the correct solution.
On the other hand some of you out there –and I know you who are because I have seen your posts on various whether forms– are arguing that the flat weak Low on the 12z and 18z JAN 31 GFS solutions that moves off the NC / VA coast is underdone… and / or that we will see a bigger Low pressure area come off the coast and it will come further North… Well that is not correct either.
The problem is that strong northern branch of the jet stream cutting across New England. As long as that feature is there and supplying the cold air this Low pressure area cannot possibly come UP the coast. If anything the Low will continue to get crushed and stay fairly flat and unorganized the cause of the strong polar jet over New England.
Now let’s be careful with what I just said. I did NOT say the Low that comes off the North Carolina Virginia Coast cannot possibly come north the matter what. What I said was that as long as that strong polar jet remains over New England the Low cannot come north.
My view is that we are going to see a system that will be struggling to hold together as it moves off the North Carolina were Virginia Coast. It will bring some snow and ice to MD se PA s NJ Northern DEL and ice to rain over eastern and central VA. It is possible that the northern half of the Shenandoah Valley could see pretty good ice event… say from Charlottesville North to Winchester and Martinsburg.
The operational European this afternoon as well as the European ensemble was very bullish on the much colder pattern coming into the U.S. However I have to let you know that a LOT of energy meteorologist treated the European model with a tremendous amount of skepticism and disbelief. The general view is that the pattern is going to turn colder for a 10 or 15 day period …say from FEB 5/6 to FEB 15-19. But that the cold is not going to be nearly as severe as some other meteorologists have been screaming about for the past two weeks.
That argument is based on the fact that the Polar Vortex that forms in North America stays over northeastern Quebec Canada and is not really far enough to the south or west to drive the arctic air into the CONUS. Indeed if you look at the day 10 European map at the 500 mb you will see a a very deep intense and large PV in Eastern Canada. And as you can see the COLD air pool around the PV is equally impressive . But notice that the deep blues and purples are not coming south into the U.S. as the arctic cold is pretty much trapped around the immense circulation of the Polar vortex.
In order to get this severe cold into some portion of the Great Lakes or New England in the second or third week of February …the PV has got to come further south and west more towards the northern Great Lakes. The current position as forecasted by the Day 10 operational European or the day 10 European Ensemble is just not far enough to the south and west to drive true arctic air into the U.S..
In other words its cold but it is not bitter cold and it is not severe cold. If you like cold weather then FEB 2012 is going to be the pretty good. The cold pattern could last for a couple weeks of February. But it may be that some have been overselling this colder pattern by a significant amount.
One last point before I close. Since January 29 I have been talking about the possibility of a significant East Coast winter storm threat sometime around February 10-11-12. I continue to see the potential on the 0z and 12z models …on the GFS and European operational models .. and on the GFS and European ensemble mean patterns. It’s quite likely over the next few days that the GFS model in particular will LOSE the possible southern Low…. By either crushing a completely in the cold a pattern or by losing the southern feature. My view is that the system for February 10-11-12 has far more serious potential then the FEB 5-6 event .
Again this sort of confidence I have for this potential threat may seem to some of you to be a surprise or hard to figure given my reluctance to forecast the pattern change earlier in January. But as I said many times once you know what sort of features at 850 700 500 and 300 mb mb and what those maps look like for big East coast snowstorms… then the favorable pattern are rather easy to detect several days out. When the pattern is there I am there and if the potential is there I can be rather positive about the chances if I think it’s warranted. But if the pattern is not there I don’t give a hoot in hell what ANY weather model is depicting or not depicting — I won’t jump and I will be pessimistic .
My goal with East Coast snowstorm has always been to walk the line where you can see it coming and tell people it’s going to be big event several days out but not to oversell it or overhyped the event just to get viewer clicks or readings . My goal has been and will always be here at wxrisk.com when it comes to East Coast snowstorms… that If I say its coming it is… And when I say it’s going
to be serious it is.
Well that’s the goal anyway.