Farewell Winter 2011-2012

Winter 2011-2012 has passed into memory lane. Meteorological winter is defined by NOAA as being from December to February. Now, we are heading into spring, which is the start of the severe weather season. It started early with tornado outbreaks that claimed a total of at least 53 lives in the Midwest and South.

Here is the temperature and precipitation outcome. It is based on 1895 to 2012.

Upper Texas Coast 2011-2012 Winter Temperature
2012 Winter = 57.7°F
Mean = 55.1°F
Median = 55.19°F
Standard Deviation = 2.63
Coolest = 48.90°F (1977-1978)
Warmest = 60.93°F (1949-1950)

If you thought this winter was warm, you are right. It has been warm, 19th warmest winter on record. A far cry from last winter and the previous winter. Winter of 2009-2010 is one of the coldest winters on record, while 2010-2011 was cold due to freezes in February. Winter temperature for the Upper Texas Coast in Winter 2012 was warmer than normal.

Upper Texas Coast 2011-2012 Winter Precipitation
2012 Winter = 13.90
Mean = 10.71
Median = 10.19
Standard Deviation = 3.46
Driest = 2.84 (2008-2009)
Wettest = 23.72 (1991-1992)

Winter precipitation for the Upper Texas Coast is above average, but within the norms. Anything above the standard deviation would be abnormal, which would be 14.17 inches or less in Winter. On the flip side, there have been improvements made in ending the drought, but the drought still persists. Also, Winter of 2011-2012 is the 19th wettest winter on record.

Texas 2011-2012 Winter Temperature
2012 Winter = 49.07°F
Mean = 47.96°F
Median = 47.91°F
Standard Deviation = 2.29
Coolest = 42.45°F (1894-1895)
Warmest = 53.13°F (1906-1907)

It was just as warm in the state of Texas, but not abnormally warm. It was the 36th warmest winter on record.

Texas 2011-2012 Winter Precipitation
2012 Winter = 7.39
Mean = 5.10
Median = 4.95
Standard Deviation = 1.91
Driest = 1.56 (2008-2009)
Wettest = 13.23 (1991-1992)

Texas had an abnormally wet winter and that is a good thing for one. Texas is plagued by the severe drought and the winter rains really help. Texas had the 14th wettest winter on record. Not bad despite a La Nina winter and I am very pleased about it.

America 2011-2012 Winter Temperature
2012 Winter = 36.8°F
Mean = 33.00°F
Median = 33.22°F
Standard Deviation = 2.00
Coolest = 27.29°F (1978-1979)
Warmest = 37.17°F (1999-2000)

America too was basking in this warm winter. In fact, winter in America was abnormally warm, that is the 4th warmest winter on record. Only the winter of 1999-2000, 1998-1999, and 1991-1992 were warmer. No wonder why we had little snow this past winter. This is quite a far cry from last and previous winter, which was cold, especially 2009-2010. The warm winter was due largely to a positive Arctic Oscillation and North Atlantic Oscillation. Also, it was La Nina, which means warmer winter.

America 2011-2012 Winter Precipitation
2012 Winter = 5.70
Mean = 6.43
Median = 6.38
Standard Deviation = 0.88
Driest = 4.08 (1976-1977)
Wettest = 8.68 (1997-1998)

The warm winter also means a drier winter. The winter was dry, but not abnormally dry. America had its 21st driest winter on record. The dry winter is concerning for me as the drought is increasing throughout America. An expanding drought in America could lead to higher food prices for everyone. No one wants that for sure. If there is light at the end of the tunnel, La Nina is dying and heading into Neutral and possibly El Nino. If that is the case, we could see rain returning, which would reduce the drought.

Overall, winter of 2011-2012 was warmer than normal. In regards to rain, the further south was wetter, while north and west was drier. The warm winter is likely more conducive for an active severe weather season in spring. The Gulf of Mexico is warmer than normal in winter.

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2011 Climate Review

What was 2011 like in the climate department? 2011 had extreme weather from extreme wet to dry or extreme cold to hot. 2011 had many deadly tornado outbreaks that killed many people. 2011 goes down a memorable year in the weather world with many billion dollar disasters. So, how did 2011 stack up in terms of rainfall and temperature?

USA
Rainfall
28.78

Temperature
54.53°F

The rainfall was within average, which is 29.18 inches. There is a wide gap between a lot of rain and little rain. It ranks 45th driest or 73rd wettest on record. New York City and Philadelphia had their wettest year on record, largely due to the heavy rains in August and Hurricane Irene. On the other hand, Amarillo and Wichita Falls had their driest year on record. That is a huge difference wet and dry However, the temperature is above normal, which is largely due to the hot summer that plagued the nation. Summer 2011 is the second hottest summer after summer of 1936. 1936 was very hot and dry, especially in the Midwest. It was also the center of the Dust Bowl. 2011 ranks 95th coolest or 23rd warmest on record. It was indeed a warm year for America.

Texas
Rainfall
14.89

Temperature
67.17°F

2011 goes down as the driest year on record going back to 1895. That is no surprise that Texas is in its worst one year drought. Pecos, Texas had (drums rolling please) 1.06 inches of rain in one year! Talk about really dry right there! If true, it would be the driest year in Texas history, beating 0.64 inches of rain at Presidio, Texas in 1956, another severe drought year. The lack of rain would make life boring right there. It was quite warm in Texas despite the cold winters of 2010-2011. Summer 2011 was the hottest on record and for America! It was a very hot summer and hopefully we will never see that again in our life time. It was toasty in Texas that it is the second warmest year after 1921. 1921 was the year that Central Texas got hit by a massive flood from a hurricane remnant. Thrall, Texas saw 38.2 inches of rain in 18 hours! Sadly, 215 people lost their life in the flood, which is the deadliest non-storm surge flood in Texas to this day.

Upper Texas Coast
Rainfall
25.37

Temperature
70.85°F

The same can be said about the Upper Texas Coast as well in the rainfall department. 2011 was the driest year on record for Upper Texas Coast. However, at Houston had 24.57 inches, which is the third driest on record thanks to rain in the fall and winter. We still have plenty to catch in the rain department. 2011 was a warm year alright, which ranked 7th warmest year on record. 2011 ties with 1950, which also a La Nina year. The reason for this rank was that the winter of 2010-2011 was cooler than normal. Had the winter of 2010-2011 had been warmer, 2011 would have been easily number one warmest year on record. Houston’s annual average was 71.8°F, which is second to 1962.

So, what will 2012 be like? Only time can tell. However, since we had the heavy rains on January 9, 2012, I am thinking it could be like 1989. The last time we had heavy rain and flooding in January was on January 18, 1989, when up to 5 inches of rain fell in Houston and led to flooding. There was also a severe drought that time from 1988 and it was La Nina. However, that is another topic. Until than, let us hope that 2012 is a better year in the weather world.

All data is from Division Data.

Christmas 2011

It is almost Christmas and wonder what it is like in Southeast Texas? Here are weather records that goes back to 1921. Keep in mind that the official weather station for Houston has moved from Downtown Houston to Bush Interncontinental Airport.

Houston Weather Branch 1921-1968

Year High Low Average Rainfall
1921 53 31 42 0
1922 75 51 63 0
1923 59 48 53.5 0
1924 37 27 32 0
1925 59 45 52 T
1926 48 33 40.5 0.28
1927 56 43 49.5 0.01
1928 58 43 50.5 0
1929 69 41 55 0
1930 58 46 52 1.31
1931 70 53 61.5 0
1932 68 50 59 0
1933 74 59 66.5 0
1934 78 64 71 T
1935 57 43 50 T
1936 72 58 65 0
1937 75 61 68 0
1938 51 46 48.5 1.42
1939 45 41 43 1.81
1940 70 54 62 0.48
1941 67 52 59.5 0.46
1942 79 67 73 0
1943 38 35 36.5 0.01
1944 77 65 71 0.29
1945 62 46 54 0
1946 73 50 61.5 0
1947 51 34 42.5 0
1948 64 41 52.5 0
1949 65 46 55.5 T
1950 74 53 63.5 0
1951 75 61 68 0.13
1952 54 42 48 0
1953 55 33 44 0
1954 70 57 63.5 T
1955 79 63 71 0
1956 61 41 51 0
1957 67 53 60 0.32
1958 54 42 48 0.05
1959 63 54 58.5 T
1960 65 47 56 0
1961 63 42 52.5 0
1962 57 48 52.5 0.04
1963 70 45 57.5 0
1964 82 59 70.5 0
1965 57 40 48.5 0
1966 48 40 44 0.13
1967 64 48 56 0
1968 66 48 57 0

Bush Intercontinental Airport 1969-2010

Year High Low Average Rainfall
1969 69 41 55 0
1970 65 39 52 0
1971 73 59 66 0
1972 66 34 50 0
1973 51 45 48 T
1974 51 43 47 0.12
1975 46 35 40.5 T
1976 61 45 53 0.59
1977 59 39 49 0
1978 66 30 48 0
1979 70 33 51.5 0
1980 50 30 40 0
1981 56 33 44.5 0
1982 74 51 62.5 1.64
1983 28 11 19.5 0
1984 64 49 56.5 0.01
1985 45 29 37 0
1986 68 41 54.5 0
1987 78 51 64.5 0.04
1988 65 50 57.5 T
1989 61 20 40.5 0
1990 44 26 35 0
1991 56 37 46.5 0
1992 62 51 56.5 T
1993 64 33 48.5 0
1994 64 34 49 0
1995 60 42 51 0
1996 59 32 45.5 0
1997 59 38 48.5 0
1998 41 31 36 0
1999 58 36 47 0
2000 57 48 52.5 T
2001 54 33 43.5 0
2002 50 32 41 0
2003 61 43 52 T
2004 49 32 40.5 0
2005 69 44 56.5 0
2006 53 39 46 0.01
2007 62 33 47.5 0
2008 74 60 67 0
2009 49 32 40.5 0
2010 46 37 41.5 T

The Ghost of Christmas Past sometimes has to deal with rain and other times has to wear shorts. The Ghost of Christmas Past has only dealt with snow once in 2004. Snow on Christmas is not likely this year. Rain will be main problem this time. Santa Claus better have rain gear to wear for the rainy Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve 2010 was wet, especially at night. So, the Ghost of Christmas Past does return.

2011-2012 Winter Forecast Part 2

Let’s look at the atmospheric and ocean patterns besides El Nino/La Nina in those analog years. Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) is by season. North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), Arctic Oscillation (AO), Pacific-North American Teleconnection Pattern (PNA), and Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (QBO) are by month because they can change quickly since they are in the atmosphere, not ocean.

1917-1918
Winter PDO = -8 Weak Cool
Winter AMO = -17.5 Strong Cool
December NAO = -18 Strong Negative
January NAO = -45 Strong Negative
February NAO = +25 Strong Positive
Overall Winter NAO = -12.7 Moderate Negative
December AO = N/A
January AO = N/A
February AO = N/A
Overall Winter AO = N/A
December PNA = N/A
January PNA = N/A
February PNA = N/A
Overall Winter PNA = N/A
December QBO = N/A
January QBO = N/A
February QBO = N/A
Overall Winter QBO = N/A

There is no data for AO, PNA, and QBO, since earliest goes back to the late 1940s or 1950s.

1956-1957
Winter PDO = -12.6 Moderate Cool
Winter AMO = -3.9 Neutral
December NAO = +17 Strong Positive
January NAO = +18 Strong Positive
February NAO = -10 Moderate Negative
Overall Winter NAO = +8.3 Weak Positive
December AO = +0.01 Neutral
January AO = +20.6 Strong Positive
February AO = -15.1 Strong Negative
Overall Winter AO = +1.8 Neutral
December PNA = -3.1 Neutral
January PNA = -11.9 Moderate Negative
February PNA = -11.9 Moderate Negative
Overall Winter PNA = -9.0 Weak Negative
December QBO = -15.02 Easterly
January QBO = -13.05 Easterly
February QBO = -11.89 Easterly
Overall Winter QBO = -13.32 Easterly

2000-2001
Winter PDO = +4.7 Neutral
Winter AMO = -5.5 Weak Cool
December NAO = -22 Strong Negative
January NAO = -1 Neutral
February NAO = -5 Weak Negative
Overall Winter NAO = -9.3 Moderate Negative
December AO = -23.5 Strong Negative
January AO = -9.6 Moderate Negative
February AO = -6.2 Weak Negative
Overall Winter AO = -13.1 Moderate Negative
December PNA = +12.3 Moderate Positive
January PNA = +15.1 Strong Positive
February PNA = -1.6 Neutral
Overall Winter PNA = +8.6 Weak Positive
December QBO = -14.6 Easterly
January QBO = -15.7 Easterly
February QBO = -15.5 Easterly
Overall Winter QBO = Strong Easterly

2008-2009
Winter PDO = -12.7 Moderate Cool
Winter AMO = -2.8 Neutral
December NAO = +3 Neutral
January NAO = +15 Strong Positive
February NAO = -3 Neutral
Overall Winter NAO = +5 Weak Positive
December AO = +6.5 Weak Positive
January AO = +8 Weak Positive
February AO = -6.7 Weak Negative
Overall Winter AO = +2.6 Neutral
December PNA = -14.1 Moderate Negative
January PNA = +6.1 Weak Positive
February PNA = -9.5 Weak Negative
Overall Winter PNA = -5.8 Weak Negative
December QBO = +10.5 Westerly
January QBO = +10.7 Westerly
February QBO = +12.3 Westerly
Overall Winter QBO = +11.2 Westerly

Here is the correlation of ocean and atmospheric patterns on regions in America. They are based on seasonal average anomalies from December to February.


PDO
Of the four analog winters, three were in cool phases. The only winter in a neutral or warm phase was 2000-2001. Pacific can be cooler due to season variables and ENSO . A cooler PDO is more likely to have warmer and drier winters on average. It is opposite when the PDO is a warmer phase. Currently, we are in a cool cycle of PDO. Cool phase of PDO is more likely to see La Nina than El Nino since the water is cooler. The opposite happens when PDO is in a warm phase, when we see more El Nino. PDO impact on temperature and rainfall is similar to El Nino for Texas. Cooler the PDO, the drier and warmer it is. Warmer the PDO, the wetter and cooler it is.


AMO
Two of the four winters were in neutral phase. Two of the winters were in cool phase. Three of the four winters were in the warm phase of Atlantic, which is during the “active” or warm cycle of the Atlantic Hurricane Season. 1956-1957 was during the warm phase from 1926 to 1971, while 2000-2001 and 2008-2009 was during the current warm phase of the Atlantic. The Atlantic can be cooler due to seasonal variation and AO and NAO. 1917-1918 was during the cooler and less active period of the Atlantic, which was from 1900-1925. Currently, we are in the warm cycle of AMO. AMO does not have much of an impact on Texas.


NAO
Two of the four winters had overall negative NAO (1917-1918 and 2000-2001). The winters were quite cold, especially in January of 1918. The Northeast and New England had their coldest winter on record in 1917-1918. The 1917-1918 winter is yet to be beaten even to this very day. December 2000 was cold throughout the nation, especially east of the Rocky Mountains. Houston had its third coolest December on record, only 1983 and 1989 were cooler. A negative NAO leads to cooler winters.

Two of the four winters had positive NAO (1956-1957 and 2008-2009). The winter of 1956-1957 was quite warm, especially in the South and East Coast. 2008-2009 is interesting in that the South was warmer than normal. Up North, it was cooler than normal. A positive NAO leads to warmer winters.


AO
The AO can change quickly within weeks to months. It can go neutral than positive than negative in weeks. The winter of 1956-1957 went from neutral, positive, than negative. The AO stayed largely negative in winter of 2000-2001. AO in 2008-2009 went from positive than negative. A negative AO allows cold air to travel further south than normal leading to freezes, while positive AO generally has a blocking pattern that inhibits cold air to travel southwards. The more negative AO is, the cooler the winters will be, especially east of the Rocky Mountains. A negative AO has been responsible for Arctic blasts in the past.


PNA
There is no PNA data from 1917-1918. Two of the three winters (1956-1957 and 2008-2009) had an overall negative PNA. Only one winter (2000-2001) had a positive PNA. A positive PNA means cooler temperatures and more rain for Texas. A negative PNA likely means cooler temperatures for the Western United States.


QBO
There is no QBO data from 1917-1918. In two of three winters, the QBO was negative or easterly. Only one winter was a positive or westerly QBO (2008-2009). QBO likely has relationship with temperature. On the other hand, there is a relationship with QBO and rain. The more negative or easterly QBO is, the wetter winter is for Texas and the South. A positive or westerly QBO is wetter for the West. Interestingly, for the West, a easterly QBO means cooler, but the correlation is not as strong. It is unclear what impact QBO has on temperature. We do know that QBO happens in the stratosphere and when the stratosphere warms up, it is signs that we may see a freeze, since the energy is being distributed somewhere else.

All the images are from US Climate Division Dataset Seasonal Correlation Page

Conditions for December 2011
ENSO
Moderate La Nina

PDO
Cool Phase

AMO
Cool Phase

NAO
Positive

AO
Positive

PNA
Positive

QBO
Easterly

Data for ENSO is from ENSO Cycle: Recent Evolution, Current Status and Predictions. Data for PDO, NAO, AO, and PNA are from Daily Indices during last 120 days in Ascii format using GDAS. Data for AMO and QBO are from Climate Indices: Monthly Atmospheric and Ocean Time Series

What do I think this upcoming winter will be like? I think we could see multiple cold blasts and winter storms, especially up north. It is going to be dependent on NAO and AO because it can change month to month. If NAO goes negative, we could see more cold blasts in America and Texas. If NAO goes positive, there is likely a period of warmth in the winter. Also, PNA is an important factor as well and changes month to month like NAO and AO. A positive PNA means cooler winter as well. QBO has little impact on temperature, but it could have an impact on rainfall. If the QBO is still  easterly by February, we could see more rain.

La Nina winters are warmer in generally because it is drier. The lack of moisture does not moderate the temperature. This upcoming winter should be a roller coaster ride like last winter. In regards to rainfall, I think we could have periods of rain and than periods of dryness. However, we should prepare if the drought worsens this winter. Let us hope the drought ends in 2012. I think this winter will be average to slightly above average in temperature department. In regards to rainfall, I think the rainfall should be within average or below, which is typical of La Nina.

2011-2012 Winter Forecast Part 1

Old Man Winter is back and it is time to celebrate Christmas and New Years. Fall was a huge gap between warm and cool and dry and wet. This past summer was the hottest on record for Texas and hottest ever going back to 1895. America endure its hottest summer since 1936. 1936 was very hot, especially in the Midwest during the Dust Bowl. The 1930s saw some of the worst droughts on record and it occurred during the Great Depression. It is no surprise that droughts contribute to a weakened economy. The current recession started in late 2007 to early 2008, which also marked the start of the drought.

The Texas drought is the worst since 1789, 1918, and 1956. The 1789 drought was based on tree rings. Now, we have to wonder what this winter will be like. We can look at the past and forecast what 2011-2012 winter will be like for America and Texas. The analog years I choose for 2011-2012 winter are 1917-1918, 1956-1957, 2000-2001, and 2008-2009. The reason they were chose were that the winters occurred with a second La Nina. Also, the La Nina in those analog years were weaker as this one should be forecasted to be a weak one.

What does this mean? We should have a drier and warmer than normal winter. However, cold blasts have occurred in La Nina winters. The winter of 2010-2011 was a La Nina winter and there were multiple cold blasts, especially in February 2011. December 2000 was colder than normal due to the Arctic Oscillation moving south. It shows that La Nina/El Nino is not the only factor. This article will be a 2 part, first on El Nino and analog statistics. The second part will be other atmospheric and ocean patterns besides La Nina.

Here is what rainfall and temperature would look like for America during those analog winters.

Analog Year Climate
USA
Rainfall Mean = 5.63
Rainfall Median = 5.68
Standard Deviation = 0.22
Driest = 5.33 (1917-1918)
Wettest = 5.84 (1956-1957)
Temperature Mean = 32.4°F
Temperature Median = 32.7°F
Standard Deviation = 2.0
Coolest = 34.5°F (1956-1957)
Warmest = 29.9°F (1917-1918)

Texas
Rainfall Mean = 3.58
Rainfall Median = 3.19
Standard Deviation = 2.28
Driest = 1.56 (2008-2009)
Wettest = 6.38 (2000-2001)
Temperature Mean = 48.5°F
Temperature Median = 48.3°F
Standard Deviation = 3.1
Coolest = 51.7°F (1956-1957)
Warmest = 45.6°F (1917-1918)

Upper Texas Coast
Rainfall Mean = 6.38
Rainfall Median = 6.84
Standard Deviation = 2.80
Driest = 2.84 (2008-2009)
Wettest = 8.21 (2000-2001)
Temperature Mean = 56.1°F
Temperature Median = 55.4°F
Standard Deviation = 3.2°F
Coolest = 53.4°F (1917-1918)
Warmest = 60.1°F (1956-1957)

Here is the 500 millibar Geopotential Height in those analog years.

There is ridging at 30,000 feet south of Alaska and another one over the Southern US.

Here is the average rainfall and temperature weak La Nina winter from 1895 to 2011. The overall mean for winter is from 1895 to 2011. Let’s start with rainfall.
USA
Weak La Nina
Mean = 6.13
Median = 6.12
Standard Deviation = 0.57
Driest = 5.16 (1903-1904)
Wettest = 7.26 (1908-1909)

Overall Winter
Mean = 6.43
Median = 6.39
Standard Deviation = 0.88
Driest = 4.08 (1976-1977)
Wettest = 8.68 (1997-1998)

Weak La Nina for America as a whole does not have a huge difference on rainfall. The northern part of America is wetter, while the southern part is drier during a La Nina. The jet stream is further north during a La Nina. Some areas this winter could see droughts worsen, especially in the South. Interesting to note that the driest winter occurred in 1976-1977, which was an El Nino. The West Coast was experiencing a drought at the time. It comes to show that not all La Nina and El Nino are the same.

Texas
Weak La Nina
Mean = 4.35
Median = 4.26
Standard Deviation = 1.99
Driest = 1.56 (2008-2009)
Wettest = 7.41 (1944-1945)

Overall Winter
Mean = 5.08
Median = 4.93
Standard Deviation = 1.90
Driest = 1.56 (2008-2009)
Wettest = 13.23 (1991-1992)

Weak La Nina for Texas is not much drier in terms of rainfall. The winter rainfall total is wide. It can either bone dry or abnormally wet. So, there is some hope that this winter may not be as dry. However, we should still assume that this winter will be drier than normal. The wettest winter on record occurred in an El Nino. It was wet because of the December 1991 Flood or Christmas Day Flood, which happened over a large area of Texas. It resulted in massive flooding.

Upper Texas Coast
Weak La Nina
Mean = 8.83
Median = 8.36
Standard Deviation = 3.49
Driest = 2.84 (2008-2009)
Wettest = 17.56 (1933-1934)

Overall Winter
Mean = 10.68
Median = 10.17
Standard Deviation = 3.46
Driest = 2.84 (2008-2009)
Wettest = 23.72 (1991-1992)

Weak La Nina for Upper Texas Coast is drier, but not abnormally dry. Some Weak La Nina winters were quite wet. So, there is a possibility that we could have a wetter than normal winter. That would be a good thing with the ongoing severe drought. Again, the wettest winter occurred in 1991-1992. It was quite a wet winter from what I remember. The early 1990s was quite wet, it was a wet spell, opposite of a drought. I am nostalgic for a wet spell.

Now, let’s look at temperature.
USA
Weak La Nina
Mean = 32.9°F
Median = 33°F
Standard Deviation = 1.6
Coolest = 29.9°F (1917-1918)
Warmest = 36.1°F (2005-2006)

Overall Winter
Mean = 33°F
Median = 33.2°F
Standard Deviation = 2
Coolest = 27.3°F (1978-1979)
Warmest = 37.2°F (1999-2000)

America during a Weak La Nina is generally not abnormally warm or cold on average as a whole. It is more regional. The northern region is cooler and wetter in a La Nina winter since the jet stream is further north. The southern region is warmer and drier because the jet stream is further north, which transports storms systems from the west.

Texas
Weak La Nina
Mean = 48.8°F
Median = 48.5°F
Standard Deviation = 2.1
Coolest = 45.5°F (1967-1968)
Warmest = 52.4°F (1910-1911)

Overall Winter
Mean = 48°F
Median = 47.9°F
Standard Deviation = 2.3
Coolest = 42.5°F (1894-1895/1898-1899)
Warmest = 53.1°F (1906-1907)

Weak La Nina winter for Texas is generally a normal winter in terms of temperature. However, winters can get warm during a Weak La Nina.

Upper Texas Coast
Weak La Nina
Mean = 56.2°F
Median = 56.3°F
Standard Deviation = 2.2
Coolest = 52.5°F (1967-1968)
Warmest = 60.5°F (1910-1911)

Overall Winter
Mean = 55.1°F
Median = 55.2°F
Standard Deviation = 2.6
Coolest = 48.9°F (1977-1978)
Warmest = 60.9°F (1950)

Upper Texas Coast winter temperature is warmer than normal, but not abnormal. There are winters that are cooler than normal, like in 2000-2001.

Here is the climate in the analog years I mentioned for Winter 2011-2012.

1917-1918
USA
Rainfall Total = 5.33
Temperature Average = 29.9°F

The rainfall in the winter of 1917-1918 is below the standard deviation of a typical winter for America, 0.55 or less. Anything within the standard deviation, plus or minus, is considered normal. Anything pas the standard deviation is considered unusual. It was an abnormally dry winter for America due to the severe drought that plagued Texas and Southern plains in 1917.

It was also abnormally cold in winter of 1917-1918. The air is also drier as there is less rain, which means colder air since lack of moisture. Moisture moderates air temperature, which is why coastal areas do not get too hot or cold.

Texas
Rainfall Total = 1.89
Temperature Average = 45.6°F

No surprise in Texas, which was in the center of the Great Drought of 1917-1918.

Winter in Texas was abnormally cold, 0.1 degree cooler from the standard deviation of 2.3. Not surprising it was cooler due to a dry winter.

Upper Texas Coast
Rainfall Total = 5.46
Temperature Average = 53.4°F

It also really dry in the Upper Texas Coast. Houston had its driest year on record in 1917.

Winter temperature was within the average in 1917-1918. It is within the standard deviation of 2.6.

1956-1957
USA
Rainfall Total = 5.84
Temperature Average = 34.5°F

America’s winter rainfall total is within average. Not too dry even thought the Southern Plains again that time was in grips of the Great Drought of 1950s. Again, that was centered in Texas.

Winter in 1956-1957 was above average, but not unusually warm.

Texas
Rainfall Total = 4.48
Temperature Average = 51.7°F

The rainfall total is within average. Texas was seeing improvement from the Great Drought of 1950s as rain was returning. 1956 is one of the driest years on record in Texas going back to 1895. Texas was in grips of a severe drought that would not be seen again until late 2010.

Texas was abnormally warm in the winter of 1956-1957.

Upper Texas Coast
Rainfall Total = 9.00
Temperature Average = 60.1°F

The Upper Texas Coast had a normal winter in terms of rainfall. It must have been a welcoming sight as they had one of the driest years on record.

The Upper Texas Coast had a unusually warm winter. I am pretty sure most people were not complaining at the time since it was raining, which was gradually ending the Great Drought.

2000-2001
USA
Rainfall Total = 5.60
Temperature Average = 31.7°F

Rainfall was not unusual in the winter of 2000-2001.

The winter of 2000-2001 was below average, but not abnormally cold. December of 2000 was quite cold for America due to the polar vortex moving southwards.

Texas
Rainfall Total = 6.38
Temperature Average = 46.1°F

Texas saw normal rainfall total in the winter of 2000-2001. That is considered welcoming considering that they had a severe drought of 1999-2000.

Texas had below normal temperature in the winter. December 2000 was quite cold as the rest of America east of the Rocky Mountains was cold too.

Upper Texas Coast
Rainfall Total = 8.21
Temperature Average = 53.5°F

The Upper Texas Coast had normal rainfall total. I remember that winter being rainy, often in the form of light rain. That was a good thing as it was a dry 2000.

2000-2001 Winter was also cold in the Upper Texas Coast. I remember that winter being cooler than normal. A reprieve from the hot summer we had in 2000.

2008-2009
USA
Rainfall Total = 5.75
Temperature Average = 33.6°F

America was not abnormally dry in the rainfall department.

Winter temperature for America was within average. It was cooler than normal up north.

Texas
Rainfall Total = 1.56
Temperature Average = 50.4°F

Texas had its driest winter on record in the winter of 2008-2009. The Drought of 2008-2009 gripped Texas and was spreading.

Texas had a warm winter from the lack of rain. As mentioned, drier weather means warmer weather because there is a lack moisture to moderate the air temperature. Also, the cold air was mostly to the north.

Upper Texas Coast
Rainfall Total = 2.84
Temperature Average = 57.3°F

The year Hurricane Ike ravaged the Upper Texas Coast and the December 10, 2008 snow. The Upper Texas Coast had its driest winter on record. It helped set the stage for the Drought of 2008-2009 that gripped Texas.

In the temperature department, it was within average. I remember that winter being rather warm. It shows that snow can happen in La Nina winters.

The second part will be an analysis on the analog years and other atmospheric and ocean patterns.

2011 In The Weather World

2011 has been an interesting year in the weather world. As 2011 winds down, it is time to look back at the top weather events.

Top 10 Worldwide Weather Events
1.) Japanese Earthquake, Tsunami, and Nuclear Meltdown
2.) East African Drought and Famine
3.) Thailand Floods
4.) Brazilian Floods
5.) Philippine Floods From Tropical Storm Washi
6.) April 25-28, 2011 Super Tornado Outbreak
7.) Joplin Tornado
8.) Record Drought and Wildfire in the South Plains Centered In Texas
9.) Hurricane Irene
10.) Central American Floods

Top 10 American Weather Events
1.) April 25-28, 2011 Super Tornado Outbreak
2.) Joplin Tornado
3.) Record Drought and Wildfire in the South Plains Centered In Texas
4.) Hurricane Irene
5.) Record Spring Floods Of The Mississippi River
6.) Summer Missouri River Flood
7.) Halloween Blizzard
8.) Tropical Storm Lee
9.) Groundhog Day Blizzard
10.) Summer Heatwaves

The decision was based on death toll, damage figure, and impact on the world. Talk about a really eventful years. It was a hard decision to make. The deadliest disaster of the year was not an earthquake, flood, or tropical cyclone, it was drought. It comes to show that the most boring weather event, droughts, are the deadliest, costliest, and have the most impact on the economy. The same problem that is plaguing Texas. Hope for a quieter 2012 in the weather world.

Fall 2011 Review

Fall 2011 has passed, which is defined by NOAA as being from September to November. Now, we are heading into winter. September to October is the peak season of the Atlantic Hurricane Season. Tropical Storm Lee made landfall on Louisiana and caused flooding in the Northeast and New England, which was ravaged by Irene in late August.

Here is the temperature and precipitation outcome. It is based on 1895 to 2011.

Upper Texas Coast 2011 Fall Temperature
2011 Fall = 71.6°F
Mean = 70.9°F
Median = 70.9°F
Standard Deviation = 1.6
Coolest = 64.7°F (1976)
Warmest = 74.5°F (1931)

Fall temperature for the Upper Texas Coast in Fall 2011 was within the norms. So, it was not too warm. A reprieve from the oppressive Summer of 2011.

Upper Texas Coast 2011 Fall Precipitation
2011 Fall = 8.34
Mean = 13.25
Median = 12.30
Standard Deviation = 5.38
Driest = 3.23 (1895)
Wettest = 29.03 (1913)

Fall precipitation for the Upper Texas Coast is below average, but within the norms. Anything below the standard deviation would be abnormal, which would be 7.87 inches or less in Fall. The lack of rain is still a huge problem.

Texas 2011 Fall Temperature
2011 Fall = 67.2°F
Mean = 65.9°F
Median = 65.9°F
Standard Deviation = 1.6
Coolest = 60.1°F (1976)
Warmest = 70.4°F (1931)

Fall temperatures for Texas was within the norms. It is a reprieve from the record hot summer of 2011, which had the average of 86.7.

Texas 2011 Fall Precipitation
2011 Fall = 4.50
Mean = 7.52
Median = 7.28
Standard Deviation = 2.55
Driest = 3.10 (1917)
Wettest = 13.76 (13.76)

Texas has had an abnormally dry fall. Texas is still in grips of a severe drought and one of its worst besides 1789, 1917, and 1956. The drought is ongoing and lakes need more rain or they will all dry out and have serious effects from water shortage, power outages (power plants need water to run their generators), agriculture (food prices have gone up), and shrinking economy (we are in a recession and as long as the drought is there, it will contribute to it).

America 2011 Fall Temperature
2011 Fall = 55.5°F
Mean = 54.3°F
Median = 54.3°F
Standard Deviation = 1.1
Coolest = 51.6°F (1976)
Warmest = 57.2°F (1963)

America had a normal Fall in 2011. Interesting to note that the coolest Fall on record is in 1976 in Upper Texas Coast, all of Texas, and America. 1976 was a really cool year. In fact the late 1970s was cooler than normal for many reasons from the Atlantic being a cool phase, shift in the Pacific into a warm phase, slight shift in Earth’s axis called Milankovitch cycles. The late 1970s had some of the coolest winters on record going back to 1895. The winter of 1976-1977, 1977-1978, and 1978-1979 were all cool winters and it was back to back, which is another amazing feat.

America 2011 Fall Precipitation
2011 Fall = 6.80
Mean = 6.75
Median = 6.80
Standard Deviation = 1.09
Driest = 4.14 (1952)
Wettest = 9.48 (1985)

America as a whole had normal rainfall. This is due to the wide gap between wet and dry. Many areas on the East Coast and Ohio River Valley had record rainfall for 2011. Philadelphia, New York, Bingahampton, Cleveland, and Columbus had a really wet year. While down South and Southwest especially in Texas, it has been a really dry year. Talk about a huge gap right there between the lack and surplus of rain.

Overall, Fall 2011 was not abnormal in the temperature and rainfall department. The reason for this is the difference between temperature and rainfall. Some regions were warmer and drier, while others were cooler and wetter.