This Week’s Forecast For Week Of February 15, 2015

BRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!! It is very cold up North! Boston is getting a lot of snow. They could have the snowiest winter on record if the snow keeps up. Texas and Western US were warm. However, winter is returning east of the Rocky Mountains.

Where did all the cold air come from? Well, last week, it was very cold over Canada, Greenland, and Alaska. Where does all the cold air go? It goes south and it happens to be New England.

20150216_SurfaceTemperatureAnomaly_NH

Why are some areas warm, while others are cold? Look at the upper level map.
20150216_500mb_GeopotentialHeightAnomaly_NH

Warmer areas had upper level riding, while cooler areas had upper level troughing. When polar areas have upper level ridging, it causes the cold air to go down south, while they experience warm temperatures. There strong ridging over Eastern Russian, which is a negative West Pacific Oscillation (WPO) and can contribute to cold winters. There is also troughing over Arctic, which is the polar vortex. If the polar vortex goes down south, it brings cold air with it.

If you are in Texas, the cold weather gives way to warmth, but do not get comfortable with warmth as cold could return again. So, what are forecast models have for this week to next week? Here is a 5 day forecast model, which is a mean sea level pressure forecast.

20150216_GFS_MSLPAnomaly_120Hour_1800Z

20150216_EURO_MSLPAnomaly_120Hour_1200Z

20150216_CMC_MSLPAnomaly_120Hour_1800Z

20150216_JMA_MSLPAnomaly_120Hour_1800Z

GFS, EURO, Canadian, and Japanese all have a strong surface high over Canada. There are difference in terms of strength and position. Japanese is northernmost, while GFS is southernmost. Canadian is the strongest at 1050 millibars, while Japanese is the weakest at 1042 millibars. Really not much differences. If we average the four, it comes out to be 1046 millibars, which is not something to laugh at, especially in late February. As for position, I will go with Central Canada. Looks like another cold blast is happening next week.

If we use history to forecast the weather, the Climate Prediction Center has analog forecasts. I will start with 6 to 10 day analog forecast.

20150216_6To10Day_AnalogForecast

2/8/1989-Houston came off of a 5 day freeze. Houston did not see above freezing for 110 hours! Only January/February 1951 is longer.
3/11/1965-Cold front comes to Houston on 3/18/1965. Leads to a light freeze. Houston records low of 30°F on 3/20, which is second coldest for that date.
2/28/2002-A powerful late February cold front comes to Texas. Many areas see hard freeze on 2/27: Bush: 22°F; Hobby: 25°F; Austin: 25°F. Another freeze on 2/28: Bush: 28°F. Houston sees its coldest temperature for 2/27 and 2/28. Another cold front comes on 3/2. Houston sees another freeze from 3/2 to 3/5. Houston has 22°F, while Austin Bergstrom has 17°F on 3/4, coldest recorded for that date.
3/10/1993-Start of the “Storm Of The Century”, also known as ’93 Superstorm. A strong extratropical low pressure system forms in the Gulf of Mexico ahead of a cold front. The storm rapidly intensifies and becomes a large and powerful storm. Derechos and storm surge are experienced in Florida, while Appalachia and Northeast are pelted by heavy snow and blizzard.

Some of these analog dates are interesting as they had cold weather. This suggests that cold weather is possible this week to next week. Looks like the warmth for Southeast Texas is going to be short lived after this weekend. Now, does this mean we could see another 1993 Superstorm as indicated in one of the analog dates? No, but conditions may allow it, if it is right. Here is a 8 to 14 day analog forecast.

20150216_8To14Day_AnalogForecast

None of the dates stood out except for one.
2/24/1989-A strong cold front comes on 3/4. Houston sees 25°F on 3/5 and 3/6 and 28°F on 3/7, shatter low temperature records for those dates. Night time sees freezes from 3/4 to 3/9.

March 1989 started cold after a strong cold front passed. 1989 was a rather interesting year weather wise with severe flooding in Ma,. Tropical Storm Allison made landfall in June, while Hurricane Chantal came in August, and Hurricane Jerry came in October.

I think this week will be winter’s return. This is despite the warmth returning mid to late week. We are still in winter as it is February. Most of America east of the Rocky Mountains is going to be very cold this week. It has been frigid in the Northeast.

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