Friday, January 8, 2016

Friday Morning Weather Discussion: If You Build It, It Will Come

Well at least thats how it usually works with weather patterns. Good morning everyone. The 1st week of January is now in the  books and many places have not even seen a flake of snow yet. Naturally that would incline most of us to throw in the towel and write this winter off. I can not do that however and the reason why is below..

If I was talking to someone in the middle of July and they said "hey Will what is the ideal pattern for big storms?" I would draw the image you are seeing above.  I want to review what this image shows and why it shows it.

  • Blocking ridge of high pressure over Greenland (-NAO). 
    • This pattern is the most important factor for east coast storm development. It defined as blocking because it slows the flow of the jet stream down and causes it to buckle underneath.
    • This not only locks in cold air for the eastern 1/3 of the country but it also causes the flow of energy in both jet streams (northern and southern) shown by the red arrows above to slow down and potentially consolidate into big storms.
  • Ridge of high pressure out west
    • This allows the pattern to become more amplified causing enhancement of the eastern trough caused by the -NAO. 
    • By doing this energy from the northern jet stream is able to "dig" more giving it a better chance to merge with the Sub Tropical Jet Stream (STJ)
  • The STJ is another huge factor as it supplies a plume of moisture into the pattern from the Pacific.
    • Because we have the -NAO and western ridge, in this scenario the country does not flood with warm pacific air.
    • Instead it provides ample fuel for enhanced storm development along the east coast
    • There have been many times we have had the -NAO and western ridge and we all are sitting there hoping the STJ gets active
    • Because of the strong El Nino this year, we do not have to worry about this factor lacking
So what I am trying to say is it is in mother nature's hands now. A great pattern does not guarantee big storms but it sure as heck does increase the chances. It is going to snow when and where it wants to snow but when I see the pattern we are currently in I get very excited. 

After this rainstorm we have this weekend things should really start opening up middle of next week on. 

Starting on Wednesday I have my eye on possible late coastal development for New England. Remember we have the -NAO to slow the flow down so we need to see how this develops. There is an outside chance it can end up developing more south causing Mid-Atlantic snows.

Moving into next weekend we have had the models hint and another shot at a significant storm..

This would be a snow lovers dream. Yes it is considered fantasy land on the models being 250+ hrs out by I am showing it because the pattern is there. There are many times fantasy storm show up in an unfavorable pattern but this time it illustrates what a pattern like this is capable of. 

So I hope you guys get my point here. It is not wishful thinking to sit here and tell you I like our chances for the rest of this winter when we have a pattern like this. It is the pattern I hoped would evolve back in October when I put out my winter outlook. Now its time to see if it delivers!

Remember when it is all said and done my prediction was 1-2 degrees below normal for temps and 30% more snow than normal.

Temperatures for December I expected to be like this..

This was what actually happened in December (I was too warm out west)

Here is what my prediction was for Jan Feb and March temps..

As you can see we might have a lot of winter left if my forecast verifies.

Stay tuned for updates as this evolves!


  1. "So what I am trying to say is it is in mother nature's hands now."

    as opposed to who else?

    1. Meaning the pattern is in place and the weather will do what it wants to do. A good pattern does not guarantee storms.

    2. Meaning the pattern is in place and the weather will do what it wants to do. A good pattern does not guarantee storms.