Winter Outlook 2011

>> Thursday, October 27, 2011

Here is the Winter Outlook Video....please see the discussion below for tons of specifics.

Before I get into the specifics of the forecast, I will lay the groundwork for my thinking on the upcoming Winter. Some factors that will impact the season.....

After a La Nina last Winter, the ENSO went to a neutral stage earlier this year and is now back into the weak La Nina category. My forecast is going with the idea of a weak to possibly moderate La Nina being in place through the Winter. In looking at some analogs, I used several years that were La Nina Winters that also had La Ninas the previous Winter.

We are in a cool phase of the PDO, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. I placed more weight on my analogs from the previous cold phase of the PDO.

NAO: Around our part of the country, the NAO is often what truly drives the ship in terms of the overall pattern. Looking at the longer-term, the NAO was in a largely positive phase through the late 80s into the early 200s, but recently, we seem to be heading into another longer-term negative phase, like occurred during the 50s and 60s.

Admittedly, this is an index that I am not overly comfortable with as of yet, but this is heading into the negative phase, which should lead to more blocking in the pattern.

While there is always short-term variability in the NAO, I am looking at it in the broader perspective. I am basing a lot of my Winter ideas on the thoughts that the NAO will have a tendency to be negative.

Solar activity:
Although it is now rebounding some, we are still in a relative minimum in terms of sunspot activity.

Finally, I always like to look at how the pattern has behaved in October. Lots of times, this can clue you in on the pattern for at least parts of the upcoming Winter. The pattern this month has featured overall a good deal of eastern North American troughing. There have also been several powerhouse storm systems as well as numerous closed upper air lows.

The forecast:
You can see the national maps below, but for this discussion, I will focus on the Carolinas and Southeast.

When looking at the Winter as a whole (December, January, and February), I am going with the idea of temperatures being near average. With that said, I would lean toward a colder than normal December and possibly January and possibly an above average February.

As for precipitation, for the Carolinas and most of Georgia and Alabama, I am going with the idea of near average precipitation with above average precip from Kentucky and the Virginias northward. I am going with below average precip along the Gulf coast into Florida.

So, what does that mean for snow?
I am always hesitant to forecast above or below average snow, especially around here since one good snow event can put you above average for the season, and even in individual winter weather events, there is a ton of variability in the totals from one spot to another. But I do think much of the region has a good chance of meeting or exceeding their annual snow averages.

I also want to mention that we are really overdue for an icing event in the CAD areas of the Carolinas into NE Georgia. So I would not be surprised at all to see an ice event in December or January.

As always, I reserve the right to adjust this forecast if necessary prior to the end of November.

Below are the national forecast maps. Please watch the video for more insights into the Winter Outlook.


Anonymous 1:38 PM  

Thanks Matt! Looks good! I hope this year turns out just like last. I remember last year, we all thought that January would warm up, then February, yet it never happened. Hopefully its the same this year!

Matthew East 6:20 PM  

Yep....hoping for some nice snow events!

Chris Enloe 6:30 PM  

Wouldn't doubt seeing snow in the next two or three weeks. Going to have a nice cold rain tomorrow night.

Anonymous 6:39 PM  

Thanks for posting!

Anonymous 2:50 PM  

While snow this year would be icing on the cake, I'd just like to see some rainfall for the parched upstate!

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