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.
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.