2017-2018 Winter Forecast

Winter has started and Christmas has passed. It is very cold throughout America. Last winter we had a borderline Neutral/La Nina. This time around, we have La Nina. Other factors to consider are Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), Northeast Pacific Warm Pool (NEPWP), Equatorial Indian Ocean (EIOI), Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), Tropical South Atlantic (TSAI), Roaring Forties (R40I), Hudson and Baffin Bay (HBB), and Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (QBO). However, since this El Nino is large and strong and has significant impact, it will weigh in more than other factors listed. Here are the analog winters I came up with.


I chose these winters because the previous winter was La Nina or Neutral. Here is a table I created to identify strongest analogs.

1881-1882     1 1 1   1     4
1928-1929 1 1     1     1   4
1933-1934 1 1 1 3
1937-1938 1 1 2
1944-1945 1 1 1 1   1 1 1   7
1949-1950 1 1 1   1 1     1 6
1961-1962 1 1 1     1 1     5
1984-1985       1 1 1 1   1 5
2000-2001 1 1 1 1 1 1 1   1 8

I look at eight ocean and one upper wind patterns based on Fall (September to November) averages. The cutoff for further analysis is four (before 1948 due to QBO data not available). With QBO, the cutoff is five. We can eliminate these winters.

The analogs I will be looking at are:

Let’s start with the ever important temperature. All maps were generated with 20th Century Reanalysis Monthly Composites. They are all Northern Hemisphere.

Alaska, Bering Sea, Southern US, Eastern US, Eastern Canada, Greenland, and Western China are warmer than normal. Arctic, Siberia, Korea, Japan, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe, North Africa, Western US, and Western Canada are cooler than normal. Southeast Texas is warmer. Keep in mind, some areas do not have weather records, so this may be spurious as it includes 1881-1882.

Wonder what winter will be like in the rain department?

It is drier in Western US, Western Canada, Southeast US, Cuba, Bahamas, Southern China, Central Asia, Western Europe, and Northern Europe. It is wetter in Central US, Caribbean, Alaska, Northern Japan, Southeast Asia, and North Africa. Southeast Texas sees average amount of rain in the winter. Again, this may be spurious as it includes 1881-1882.

Let’s look at the upper air pattern.

There is upper level ridging south of Alaska, which is negative East Pacific Oscillation (EPO), Eastern US, Siberia, Greenland, and Northeast Canada. Ridging over Greenland and Northeast Canada is negative North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). There is troughing over Central Canada and one running from Japan, Korea, and to all of Central Asia. Negative NAO and EPO usually means cold air will go down south.

How were winters like in these analog years?

A warm winter dominated the US. Southeast Texas had a warm winter.

A cold blast came on the start of 1929 in Southeast Texas. Another hard freeze came in February 1929. It did not go above freezing on February 9, 1929 with high of 29°F.

A world engulfed in World War II. No freezes occurred in Southeast Texas.

Most of the US had a warm winter, including Southeast Texas.

Snow fell in Houston area in December 1961. January 1962 had a strong cold blast in America. A strong high pressure with pressure of 1062 millibars was recorded. Many areas saw record lows set. Houston saw a record low on January 10, 1962, which has been beaten in 1977.

Cold blasts occurred in January and February 1985. The 1985 Presidential Inauguration was the coldest on record. Many areas saw record lows set. Houston saw record lows on January 20-21, 1985. Near records occurred on February 1-2, 1985. Snow fell in Houston in January and February 1985. San Antonio saw record snowfall on January 11-13, 1985.

Eastern US had a cooler than normal winter. Southeast Texas had a cold winter.

I am not suggesting we will see a cold blast on par with February 1929, January 1962, January 1985, and February 1985. It is possible this winter could see more cold blasts.

I think this winter could be a cooler winter despite what the past analog winters being warm. I would not be surprised to hear of a major cold blast this coming winter or snow falls again.


Tres Huracanes

It is going to be a long night for Grand Inagua in the Bahamas. They are getting pelted by strong winds, heavy rain, high waves, and deadly storm surge. Irma has maximum sustained winds of 165 mph 264 km/h 144 knots with gusts as high as 235 mph 376 km/h 204 knots.

The central pressure is 920 millibars, which has risen. This is due to eyewall replacement cycle. Once it is done, Irma would get larger and stronger, which is worse. The update is from National Hurricane Center (NHC).

Irma is quite a large hurricane. The whole Bahamas is going to be ravaged by Hurricane Irma. The Bahamas could see storm surge of up to 20 feet/6.1 meters or greater. Bahamas is mostly flat. So anyone there should seek higher ground now!

The satellite image is quite impressive. I would not want to be caught under Irma right now. The question now is where does Irma go. Here is the latest heat map from various forecast models and GFS ensemble track guidance for Irma. The GFS goes up to 10 days.

The forecast models have Irma going west-northwest. It could make landfall or not on Cuba and than turn north into Florida. The question is where would Irma make landfall. If it makes landfall around Florida Keys or near Miami, it will be really bad. If Irma traverses over Florida, it would ravage Florida with strong winds, heavy rain, high waves, and deadly storm surge. That would be really bad. Another scenario is Irma stays offshore of Florida and makes landfall on Georgia or South Carolina. These are all just scenarios for Florida. The forecasts models are in consensus that Florida could be affected by Irma over the weekend. Anyone who is living in evacuation zones need to evacuate now! This is no game! Unfortunately, many cannot escape as gasoline has ran out at many gas stations. They would have to go another gas station and that is no picnic for sure. Waiting in long lines to get gasoline.

Since Irma has been a Category 5 hurricane since Tuesday, will Irma be still a Category 5 hurricane by this weekend?

Most forecast model keep Irma as a Category 5 by tomorrow. Some weaken it to Category 4 in 24 hours. Most keep Irma as a Category 5 for 36 hours. I think Irma will remain a Category 5 hurricane as it gets closer to Cuba and Florida. Here is why I think this.

The waters ahead of Hurricane Irma are very warm and deep. They have lots of energy for Irma to feed off of. The deep warm water is more favorable for maintaining and intensifying Irma. We have a long way to go when it comes to intensity forecast. Even if Irma weakens to Category 4, the NHC forecasts Irma becomes a much larger hurricane, which makes it more dangerous.

The warm waters can make Irma larger as it undergoes eyewall replacement cycle. A larger Hurricane Irma, even as Category 3 or 4 is very dangerous because it can produce higher storm surge and waves. Case in point, Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Katrina made landfall as Category 3 on Louisiana and Mississippi. It produced storm surge as high as 35 feet/10.7 meters! Hurricane Camille made landfall in the same area as a Category 5 hurricane, but produced storm surge of 25 feet/7.6 meters. Camille was smaller than Katrina. Hurricane Ike is another example of a large hurricane, which made landfall on Texas as a Category 2 hurricane in 2008. Ike produce storm surge as high as 25 feet/7.6 meters, which is highest outside of Mississippi! Hurricane Sandy made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane on New Jersey in 2012. It produced storm surge as high as 15 feet/4.6 meters.

If Irma is the only threat in the Atlantic, there is also Jose and Katia. Let’s start with Jose. Jose is now a major hurricane with 120 mph 192 km/h 105 knots with gusts as high as 150 mph 240 km/h 130 knots.

The forecast model is concerning as that Jose could affect the same areas ravaged by Irma. There is a Hurricane Watch for Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Sint Maarten, and St. Martin. They have been utterly leveled by Irma. Jose would make things worse as they already are. Here is the intensity forecast model for Jose.

Some of the forecast models have Jose becoming a Category 4 hurricane. I think Jose has a chance at being a Category 4 hurricane by tomorrow. It is far away from Irma to not be affected.

Closer to Texas, there is Hurricane Katia in the Southern Gulf of Mexico. Katia is a Category 1 hurricane with 85 mph 136 km/h 74 knots winds with gusts as high as 106 mph 170 km/h 92 knots. Here is a forecast model for Katia.

Most of the forecast models have Katia going towards Mexico. It is unlikely that Katia will turn northwards towards flood ravaged Texas. That is a good thing for sure. The next question is how strong will Katia get?

Only one forecast model has Katia as a Category 3 hurricane, which would be the fourth major hurricane in 2017. Most have Katia peaking at Category 2. I think it has a chance of being a Category 3 hurricane. The area where Katia is over is warm, so it could further intensify. It is also a small hurricane, so it can intensify more quickly.

This is an ever changing event. The forecast is subject to change. Regardless, be prepared!

Here is what I think will happen.
-Irma could affect Florida this weekend
-Jose could pose a threat to Irma ravaged Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Sint Maarten, and St. Martin.
-Katia will make landfall on Mexico.

The forecast models came from NCAR-Tropical Cyclone Guidance, National Hurricane Center, and Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential. Special thanks to all of them.

The Three Hurricanes

Irma is a very formidable hurricane that is ravaging the Windward Islands and Lesser Antilles. Many buildings are destroyed and areas are flooded from the monster hurricane. Barbuda and Barbados are utterly leveled. Jose and Katia are now hurricanes. We have three hurricanes in the Atlantic at once. The last time that happened was in September 2010 with Igor, Julia, and Karl in September 2010. There were four hurricanes at once in September 1998; Georges, Ivan, Jeanne and Karl. In August 1893, there were four hurricanes active. This is a really active pattern we are in.

That infrared satellite image is over Barbuda, which has been really devastated by Irma. I can imagine the death toll could be quite horrendous.

Here is the latest heat map from various forecast models and GFS ensemble track guidance for Irma, Katia, and Jose. The GFS goes up to 10 days. Let’s start with Irma as it is the most dangerous.

The forecast has Irma moving west-northwest. across the Atlantic. It looks more likely Irma is going to hit Florida. An area of major concern is the Miami area. It is a large urban area with many buildings and buildings under construction. If Irma hit Miami area directly, it is going to be really bad. It could be more damaging that Katrina or even Harvey! It looks like Irma may go towards Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, which is too early to tell.

Irma remains a dangerous Category 5 hurricane with 185 mph 296 km/h 161 knots hurricane. It has gusts of 235 mph 376 km/h 204 knots. The central pressure has dropped to 914 millibars. No hurricane in the Atlantic has maintained 180 mph 288 km/h 157 knots for that long! This is really telling!

The intensity forecast model keeps Irma as a Category 5 hurricane and weakens within 36 hours. Intensity forecasting is not that accurate as we have a long way to go. I would not be surprised if Irma becomes stronger with 190 mph 304 km/h 165 knot winds or greater! The central pressure is at its lowest as of right now.

Here is Hurricane Jose.

Jose looks to be a fish storm. However, I could not rule out another landfall after Irma, but that is too early to tell right now. Looking at Jose, I think it has a chance of being our next major hurricane.

Some of the forecast models have Jose as a major hurricane in the next 2 days. I think it could be a major hurricane as early as tomorrow.

Lastly, there is Katia.

The current forecast models have Katia making landfall on Mexico. The chance of Katia going northward towards Texas is low at this time. That is a good thing as they are still reeling from Harvey.

Most forecast models have Katia intensifying. A couple of them have Katia becoming a major hurricane in 36 hours. Again, I would not be surprised if Katia became a major hurricane as well. The Bay of Campeche is favorable for hurricanes to undergo rapid intensification.

Let’s go back to Irma. Currently, Irma is north of Puerto Rico. Here is the most recent Doppler radar from San Juan.

This is what a Category 5 monster looks like on Doppler radar. Despite being north of the island, the weather is really bad right now. Puerto Rico is experiencing tropical storm force winds with occasional hurricane force gusts.

The one hour rainfall totals are nothing short of impressive.

The southern eyewall have extremely heavy rain. Doppler radar estimates up to 8 inches/20.3 centimeters per hour! That is some intense stuff right there!

All forecast models are subject to change.

Here is what I think will happen.
-Irma will maintain and may get stronger.
-Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Cuba could be effected. Would not rule out a landfall.
-Bahamas could be next before Florida.
-Florida better prepare for Irma.

Everyone in Irma’s path better be super prepared for this. Irma is one vicious hurricane.

The forecast models came from NCAR-Tropical Cyclone Guidance, National Hurricane Center, and NWS San Juan. Special thanks to all of them.

Epic Flood Day 3

The helicopters flying and boats rescuing people from their flooded out homes. A sight all too common in the Houston area. The Addicks and Barker are bursting with so much water that it has be released to avoid catastrophic and widespread flooding at the cost of flooding neighborhoods. It is on the 12th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall on Louisiana and Mississippi. I am completely overwhelmed by this disaster as a weather buff. Here is a 7 day rainfall total map from Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS). It is unbelievable amounts I have seen.

The rainfall total are from multi-sensor (radar and rain gauge) precipitation estimates obtained from National Weather Service (NWS) River Forecast Centers (RFCs) and mosaicked by National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP). There are areas that have gotten over 50 inches/127 centimeters of rain. Some areas have nearly gotten 60 inches/152.4 centimeters of rain! I would not be surprised by the end of the week, some areas get up over 60 inches/152.4 centimeters of rain!

Another mind boggling aspect is the large area that received heavy rains.

The green is where at least 10 inches/25.4 centimeters of rain fell. A large area received at least 10 inches/25.4 centimeters or greater! This has to go down as one of the largest rain events in America. We should know once Harvey passes. In the meantime, East Texas and Southwest Louisiana is getting hit by heavy rain. The latest Doppler radar out of NWS Lake Charles shows heavy rain as the storm is over the Gulf of Mexico.

Here is the 24 hour rainfall forecast from GFS, Canadian, EURO, and Weather Prediction Center (WPC).

The forecast models have the heaviest rains east of Houston. This time it is over East Texas and Southwest Louisiana. They have been getting plenty of heavy rain as well.

GFS: 11 inches/27.94 centimeters
Canadian: 10 inches/25.40 centimeters
EURO: 15 inches/38.10 centimeters
WPC: 10.74 inches/27.28 centimeters

As for Houston area, they could see still see rain, including occasional heavy rain. Looking at more moderate rain for Houston. The heavy rain has shifted to East Texas and Southwest Louisiana. Even New Orleans area is getting heavy rain and there is concern for flooding. Some of the pumps are not working, which could flood again like what happened with Katrina.

The million dollar question is where Harvey goes. Here is a heat map from various forecast models.

There is now a consensus among forecast models that Harvey will go northeast after making landfall on Southwest Louisiana as a tropical storm. Here is the latest from the National Hurricane Center. It is as of 10:00 PM or 2200 CDT:
Location: 29.0°N 93.6°W
Moving: NE at 6 mph 9 km/h 5.2 knots
Min pressure: 994 mb
Max sustained: 50 mph 80 km/h 44 knots

I do not think Harvey will intensify as it makes landfall again as a tropical storm. The reason is the core is a swirl of clouds with no thunderstorms. All the thunderstorms are north and east of the center. Once it makes landfall, Harvey moves quickly to the northeast. I say good riddance to Harvey.

Here is what I think will happen.
-Heavy rain at night, especially near and east of the center, which is East Texas and Southwest Louisiana.
-Not ruling out Houston area getting rain again tonight. Looking not as heavy. More like moderate rain.
-Rainfall amounts could range from 10 to 15 inches/25.4 to 38.1 centimeters of rain with isolated totals approaching and exceeding 20 inches/50.8 centimeters.

The forecast models came from NCAR-Tropical Cyclone Guidance, Weather.US, National Hurricane Center, and National Weather Service. Special thanks to all of them.

I am at total loss of words of with Harvey. I cannot imagine what people are going through. This a disaster that I cannot comprehend. It defies any description.

Atlantic Hurricane Season In August

It is now August and the season is heating up. Where do most August tropical storms and hurricanes form and end up going?

Here is a GIS heat map I created. This is all August tropical storms and hurricanes from 1870 to 2015. The heat map is from within 300 miles (480 kilometers) of a point.

The Main Development Region (MDR) heats up. The Windward Islands see more tropical cyclones making landfall. Interestingly, there is a dead area around Central Caribbean and Cuba. The Gulf of Mexico and Southeast is very active. Many tropical cyclones form near land in August and make landfall. Some of the of most devastating tropical storms and hurricanes made landfall in August:
Sea Islands (1893)
San Ciriaco (1899)
Monterrey (1909)
1945 Texas Hurricane (1945)
Camille (1969)
Amelia (1978)
David (1979)
Alicia (1983)
Bob (1991)
Andrew (1992)
Charley (1998)
Charley (2004)
Katrina (2005)
Dean (2007)
Irene (2011)

Despite Amelia making landfall on July 31, 1978, the worst aspect was heavy rain from August 1-4, 1978 in Central and West Texas, where up to 46 inches (116.84 centimeters) of rain fell. The costliest hurricane occurred in August, Katrina. The previous prior to Katrina was Andrew. August has produced some of the most devastating tropical storms and hurricanes.

Texas does get hurricane landfalls in August, including major hurricanes like Allen and Alicia. Allen was a Category 5 monster and almost made landfall on Port Mansfield as a Category 5 with 180 mph winds. Had that happened, that would of been really devastating. Allen made landfall as a Category 3 hurricane with 115 mph winds. Allen was a very large hurricane upon landfall. Alicia made landfall on Galveston as a Category 3 hurricane with 115 mph winds. It was Texas’s first billion dollar disaster. Alicia was a medium size hurricane, unlike Allen. Had Alicia been Allen, Carla, or Ike size, it would been much worse.

Atlantic Hurricane Season In July

It is now July and it is the halfway mark of the year. Where do most July tropical storms and hurricanes form and end up going?

Here is a GIS heat map I created. This is all July tropical storms and hurricanes from 1870 to 2015. The heat map is from within 300 miles (480 kilometers) of a point.

Most July tropical cyclones form in the Gulf of Mexico and off the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida. Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama are at most risk to see a tropical cyclone making landfall in July. America’s 24 hour rainfall record is from a July tropical cyclone, Tropical Storm Claudette in 1979. Some of the biggest flood events from tropical storms have occurred in July like Alberto in 1994 and Danny in 1997. Alberto did form in late June, but most of its life was in July, so Alberto can be considered a July tropical cyclone.

Tropical Storm Cindy For 6/20/2017 2200 CDT

Potential Tropical Cyclone 3 is now Tropical Storm Cindy. Well, I think, it was Cindy since yesterday. Anyways, let’s cut to the chase. As of 10:00 PM CDT, Cindy is stationary. It has not moved much lately. This complicates forecasting where Cindy will go.

Here is a heat map forecast. It is from ATCF data file. The intensity forecast is also from the same link at UCAR. I also included the 5 day cone from National Hurricane Center.

The heat map is from various ensemble member run within 300 miles (480 kilometers) of a point. From there, a heat map is generated. There is an eastward trend. However, Texas is not out of any landfall risk. The 5 day cone encompass Southeast Texas. The National Hurricane Center states that tropical cyclones are within the cone 67 percent of the time, which means 33 percent of the time they deviate outside the cone. The heat map shows that it can deviate easily from the cone.

In terms of intensity it has increased to 60 mph with central pressure of 997 millibars. The forecast models keep Cindy as a tropical storm. I do not expect a hurricane. The intensity forecast is from

On top of it, Tropical Storm Cindy is a large tropical storm. It has tropical storm force winds extending up to 275 miles! The western half has tropical storm force winds extending up to 140 miles. Tropical storm force winds are 415 miles across! The east side has larger tropical storm force winds.

The main concern is rainfall. The Weather Prediction Center has a seven day total of up to 17 inches around Alabama. Southeast Texas could see to 3 to 7 inches of rain. I would not be surprised if areas see higher totals of 20 inches in some areas. Tropical Storm Cindy is more of a rain event if any. I would be most concerned with heavy rain than wind despite the large area of tropical storm force wind.

Where Cindy goes is anyone’s guess at this point. Forecast models are all over the place. We should know more by tomorrow.