2016-2017 Winter Forecast

Wow, time flies fast. Every year, time flies faster and it is almost Christmas. Winter is upon us again. Last winter we had a strong El Nino. This time around, we have Neutral conditions, neither La Nina or El Nino. Usually when there is a strong El Nino, La Nina follow. Not this time around. Other factors to consider are Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), Northeast Pacific Warm Pool (NEPWP), Roaring Forties, Equatorial Indian Ocean, and Tropical South Atlantic. However, since this El Nino is large and strong and has significant impact, it will weigh in more than other factors listed. Since, we have a strong El Nino, here are my analog winters. Here are the analog winters I came up with.

1878-1879
1897-1898
1900-1901
1912-1913
1919-1920
1926-1927
1931-1932
1958-1959
1983-1984
2003-2004

I chose these winters because the previous winter was El Nino as they are mostly strong El Nino’s. Those analog had weak La Nina or Neutral. Here is a table I created to identify strongest analogs.

Year ENSO Strong AMO PDO NEPWP EIOI TSAI R40I Total
1878-1879 1 1   1 1   1 5
1897-1898 1 1 1 1       4
1900-1901 1 1 1 3
1912-1913 1 1
1919-1920 1 1
1926-1927 1 1 1 3
1931-1932 1 1 1 1       4
1958-1959 1 1 1 1 1 1   6
1983-1984 1   1 1 1 1 1 6
2003-2004   1 1 1 1 1 1 6

I look at seven ocean patterns based on November averages. The cutoff for further analysis is four. We can eliminate these winters.
1900-1901
1912-1913
1919-1920
1926-1927

The analogs I will be looking at are
1878-1879
1897-1898
1931-1932
1958-1959
1983-1984
2003-2004

Let’s start with the ever important temperature. All divisional temperatures and rainfall were plotted with NOAA/NCDC Climate Division data: Mapping and Analysis Web Tool. All maps were generated with 20th Century Reanalysis Monthly Composites.

2016-2017_analog_divisional_temperature_standardizedanomaly-strongest-analog

This is a climate division map of the Lower 48. It does not have 1878-1879. Most of America saw cooler than normal winter, especially in Utah and Colorado. It is also colder in Texas. This would suggest a cooler than normal winter for most of America. The exception is in the Southeast where it is either normal or slightly warmer. What effects does it have around the world?

2016-2017_analog_wintertemperatureanomaly_world-strongest-analog

This one has 1878-1879. Alaska, Kamchatka Peninsula, Southeast Asia, India, Central Asia, and Arctic look to be cooler than normal. The Eastern Tip of Russia, Southeast US, Northeast Canada, North Central Siberia, Sudan, and Chad are warmer than normal. If one is wondering what the winter of 1878-1879 was like, here it is.

djf-1878-1879_wintertemperatureanomaly

It was cooler winter for North America with the exception of Northeast Canada and Greenland. It was also cooler throughout Siberia and Arctic. The NWS New York City has data from 1869 from Central Park. The first one is Normals and Extremes Central Park, NY (1869 to Present) and Average Monthly & Annual Temperatures at Central Park. The winter of 1878-1879 was a cold one with an average of 29.2°F. The average winter temperature in New York City is 35.1°F, which is 6 degrees below normal. The NWS Chicago shows a cooler than normal winter in 1878-1879, but not super cold. The previous winter of 1877-1878 is the warmest on record. It remains the warmest winter to this day. Chicago’s warmest winters occur in El Nino winters. No surprise there as the jet stream goes further south than usual. All Columbus, Ohio Data has the worst winters and 1878-1879 is considered one of the worst winters for Columbus. This would suggest that 1878-1879 was a cold winter for America including Texas.

The reason for 1878-1879 winter to be cold is due to negative North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and Arctic Oscillation (AO), which is ridging over Northeast Canada and Greenland. A positive NAO and AO is troughing over Greenland and Northteast Canada.

djf-1878-1879_winter500mbgeopotentialanomalynh

What does the upper level look like in analog winters?

2016-2017winter500mbgeopotentialanomalynh-strongest-analog

There is ridging south of Iceland, South of Bering Sea, and North Central Siberia. There is troughing over Eastern Russia, off the Eastern Seaboard of US, and Western Canada. This would suggest that cold blasts will be from the NAO rather than East Pacific Oscillation (EPO) and West Pacific Oscillation (WPO). It shows that if EPO and WPO are positive, while NAO is negative, there can be cold blasts. Keep in mind, EPO, WPO, and NAO can change quickly.

Wonder what winter will be like in the rain department?

2016-2017_analog_divisional_rain_standardizedanomaly-strongest-analog

From Texas to Maine, it looks to be wetter than normal. Same goes with part of the Midwest and Western US. California looks to be somewhat drier than normal. Again, this does not include 1878-1879, which I have included.

djf-1878-1879_winterprecipitationanomaly_world

Florida, California, Scandinavia, Iceland, Iran, Korea, Japan, and Western Canada were drier than normal in 1878-1879. It was very wet in Texas, Hawaii, Southwestern US, Caribbean, Spain, Portugal, France, Mediterranean region of Europe and Southwest Asia, and India in 1878-1879. Here is a worldwide map with the analogs.

2016-2017_analog_winterprecipitationanomaly_world-strongest-analog

It is the same general areas that are wet and dry. Interestingly, Western Canada is wetter, while Southwest is drier in analog winters. Texas has an average rainfall in analog winters.

How were winters like in these analog years? Were there cold blasts? Cold events are either in America or Texas. Rankings are temperature average since 1895.

1878-1879
Many areas in Northern US experience colder than normal winters.
1878 was a cold year for Europe, especially for United Kingdom.
The previous winter of 1877-1878 was very warm. In fact it is known as the year without winter in 1877.

Ranking
N/A

1897-1898
Reports of sleet fell on December 3-4, 1897 in Houston.
Cold blasts hits Houston in early January 1898. A low of 27°F on January 2, 1898.

Ranking
America’s 58th coldest winter on record.
Texas’s 63rd coldest winter on record.
Upper Texas Coast’s 47th coldest winter on record.

1931-1932
Houston was struck by a cold blast in March. Snow fell on March 10-11, 1932 in Houston. It remains the latest measurable snowfall to fall in Houston. A low of 27°F occurred on March 9, 10, and 13, 1932.

Ranking
America’s 104th coldest winter on record.
Texas’s 87th coldest winter on record.
Upper Texas Coast’s 89th coldest winter on record.

1958-1959
A cold blasts hits Texas in early January 1959. A low of 21°F was recorded on January 4, 1959 in Houston. Another cold blasts hits two weeks later with low of 25°F on January 22, 2016.

Ranking
America’s 38th coldest winter on record.
Texas’s 24th coldest winter on record.
Upper Texas Coast’s 20th coldest winter on record.

1983-1984
December 1983 had a huge cold blasts that set many records throughout America. Many areas experienced their coldest Christmas on record.

Ranking
America’s 19th coldest winter on record.
Texas’s 8th coldest winter on record.
Upper Texas Coast’s 10th coldest winter on record.

2003-2004
Northeast US was hit by cold blasts in January 2004. Boston had their coldest January since 1893. Many areas saw over 100 inches of snow, especially in Northern New York.
Snow fell in San Antonio and Austin on Valentine’s Day 2004.

Ranking
America’s 78th coldest winter on record.
Texas’s 88th coldest winter on record.
Upper Texas Coast’s 51st coldest winter on record.

I am not suggesting we will see a cold blast on par with December 1983 or January 2004. It is possible this winter could see a cold blast. Interesting to note that 1958-1959 and 1983-1984 were cold winters for America and Texas.

I think this winter could be a cooler winter. I would not be surprised to hear of a major cold blast this coming winter. It should be an interesting one for sure.

Why It Has Been So Warm So Far?

It has been so warm lately despite being October and Halloween is around the corner. It is like summer does not want to leave despite the calendar saying otherwise. Why is it so warm right now?

Let’s take a look at the upper atmosphere at the 500 millibar level or 18,000 feet.

20161030_500mbgeopotentialheightanomaly_nh_1021-1028

There is upper level ridging over the Lower 48. It is mainly over the Central US. The ridging prevents any cold air from coming down south. There is troughing off the Pacific Northwest, which has kept things wet for them, including California. There is also ridging over Alaska, which is a negative East Pacific Oscillation (EPO). A negative EPO normally supports cooler weather. However, the ridging over Central US is blocking any cold air. There is also troughing over Eastern Russia, which is a positive West Pacific Oscillation (WPO). WPO is similar to EPO as a negative EPO favors cold air being shunted down south. A positive WPO like positive EPO and North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) keeps cold air from being shunted southward. There is also ridging centered around Yuzhny Island and Svalbard. It is a large area of ridging. I am surprised no one has created an index for that area. I suspect it is an oscillation like NAO and EPO. Would be interesting to check it out. Where are the cool and warm spots?

20161030_1000mbairtemperatureanomaly_nh_1021-1028

Not surprisingly, the warmest areas are where the ridging is most strongest. It is also very warm over the Arctic. The coldest area is over Central Asia, mainly over Kazazhstan. It is cold over most of Siberia. The Eastern tip of Russia is very warm. Rule of thumb, if there is upper level ridging, it will be warmer and drier, while upper level troughing will be cooler and wetter. The upper level trough has deep cold air, there can also be snow fall. Case in point, let’s look at two snow events in Southeast Texas; February 12, 1960 and December 10, 2008. February 12, 1960 is the biggest snowfall event since February 14-15, 1895. The December 10, 2008 gave Houston an early start in the snowfall department before places that see snow like Chicago and New York. Let’s start with 1960.

19600212_500mbgeopotentialheightanomaly_usa

There is a deep trough over Mexico and is moving eastward towards Texas before the February 12, 1960 snowfall. It is a very large upper level trough.

19600212_500mbairtemperatureanomaly_usa

The trough has deep layer of cold air. That is very favorable for snowfall. Snow happens when there is a deep layer of cold air. One reason why snow can fall at above freezing temperature. Shallow layer of cold air is not conducive for snowfall. More likely there will be sleet or freezing rain. One reason why Southeast Texas does not get snow often is cold air is shallow, not deep. Let’s also look at December 10, 2008 snowfall.

20081210_500mbgeopotentialheightanomaly_usa

The trough in the 2008 snow event is smaller than the 1960 snowfall event.

20081210_500mbairtemperatureanomaly_usa

Like the 1960 event, it also had deep layer of cold air. If one wants to compare February 1960 snowfall, the closest is December 2008 in terms of atmospheric setup. Perhaps we will see snow this winter.

Latest On Typhoon Haima As Of 10:00 PM CST October 19, 2016

Typhoon Haima made landfall as a Category 4 typhoon on Baguio Point in the Cagayan Province with 140 mph winds. The highest wind on land is 119 mph with gusts of 179 mph. The highest measured gust was 124 mph, which is no picnic. One weather station recorded 7 inches of rain in one hour! That would cause a flood for sure. 7 inches of rain in one hour has happened in Southeast Texas during Tropical Storm Allison on June 8-9, 2001. That resulted in 28 inches of rain in 12 hours! As of right now, Haima is a Category 2 typhoon with 110 mph winds. Haima is moving at 14 mph west northwest.

20161019_himawari-8-ahi_geoir_1520z

Where, Typhoon Haima go next after it ravaged the Philippines? Most have Haima making landfall on the Southern China coast. Hong Kong and Macau are also at risk for landfall. That part of China is heavily populated. Everyone China should prepare for Haima as it can be a dangerous storm for them. Interestingly, some models have Haima lopping back towards the Philippines again, like Hurricane Matthew with Florida. That never happened by the way.

20161019_25w_1800z_heatmap

How intense will Haima be by the time it is on China’s door step? Despite being a Category 2 typhoon, Haima is forecast to weaken. It could still maintain its intensity and get stronger. Intensity forecast is not an exact science. One factor is when Haima gets closer to China, it will draw in dry air, which can weaken Haima further. Most forecast have Haima making landfall as a Category 1 typhoon with 92 mph winds. That means most areas will see 50 to 75 mph winds with gusts of 75 to 85 mph.

20161019_25w_intensity_1800z

Haima is going to be more of a rain maker. Many areas could see 8 to 12 inches of rain with isolated totals of 20 inches. Even if Haima makes landfall as a Category 1 typhoon, it should not be taken lightly. Heavy rain and flooding will be the main issue for China.

Latest On Typhoon Haima As Of 10:00 PM CST October 18, 2016

Super Typhoon Haima is now a Category 5 typhoon with 160 mph winds and central pressure of somewhere between 904 to 930 millibars. This is not measured directly. Hurricane force winds extend up to 60 miles, while tropical storm force winds extend up to 210 miles. It has grown as it has intensified. Where it does is very concerning. Haima is moving 16 mph to the west northwest. It looks to affect the Philippines in the next day.

20161019_himawari-8-ahi_colorenhancedir_000z

Looks to be making landfall on the Northern Philippines as a Category 4 super typhoon with 150 mph winds. The size forecast is also worrying. Haima is getting larger. By the time it is over the Philippines, hurricane force winds could extend up to 75 miles with tropical storm force winds extending up to 260 miles. Once it crosses over and weakens, but tropical storm force wind field gets larger.

20161018_25w_1800z_heatmap

Once Haima passes Philippines, it is likely to weaken. The forecast models do not have Haima intensifying into a Category 3 storm once it passes Philippines. I think it has the potential to intensify into a Category 3 typhoon before it makes landfall on China.

20161018_25w_intensity_1800z

Another concerning aspect of Haima is heavy rain. Many areas could see 6 to 12 inches of rain. Mountainous areas could see 20 to 30 inches of rain. This can lead to deadly flooding on top heavy rain that has fallen from Typhoon Sarika. The heavy rain from Haima will make things worse. On top of the heavy rain and flooding, Philipines could likely see sustained winds of 80 to 120 mph winds with gusts of 120 to 180 mph! The highest sustained winds are in a small area and very few will experience it. The gusts is more dangerous as it can knock things over quickly! The Philippines better prepare for Haima. It will get very rough for them.

Latest On Typhoon Haima As Of 10:00 PM CST October 17, 2016

Typhoon Haima is ramping up in the West Pacific. It is a Category 4 typhoon with 140 mph winds and central pressure of 933 millibars. It is based on satellite estimates called Dvorak technique. I would take that with a grain of salt because it not measured directly. I suspect it is stronger, possibly around 150 mph with central pressure of 925 millibars. The ambient pressure in Typhoon Basin is lower, which is one reason why it is a very active basin. Hurricane force winds extend up to 45 miles, while tropical storm force winds extend up to 140 miles. Typhoons are generally larger than other tropical cyclones in the basin, including the Atlantic. The largest tropical cyclone is Super Typhoon Tip of 1979. Tip had tropical storm force winds extend up to 675 miles! Haima is much smaller than Tip thankfully.

20161018_25w_1kmsrvis_0100z

Where it goes has me concerned. This heat map forecast of where Haima will go has it focused on the Northern Philippines. It is moving at 14 mph to the west northwest. It is also getting more stronger as it goes over warmer waters off the Philippine coasts.

20161017_25w_1800z_heatmap

The intensity forecast model mostly keep it as a Category 4. A couple have it as a Category 5 Super Typhoon. I think Haima will rapidly intensify into a Category 5 Super Typhoon. It will probably intensify to 180 mph with central pressure of 895 millibars before it comes close to the Philippines in two days. It is going to be severe typhoon for the Philippines.

20161017_25w_intensity_1800z

They could experience winds of 80 to 140 mph winds with gusts of 120 to 210 mph! They could see rain amounts of 8 to 12 inches of rain with isolated totals of 40 inches, especially in the mountainous areas. Deadly flooding and mudslides would be a major problem on top of the strong winds. The forecast shows Haima getting larger as it approaches the Philippines. It has hurricane force winds extending up to 90 miles and tropical storm force winds extending up to 235 miles. That is a large typhoon right there. That would be considered large in the Atlantic. Philippines better prepare for Haima. It is going to be very nasty for them.

Latest On Hurricane Nicole As Of 8:00 PM AST October 12, 2016

Hurricane Nicole is now the third major hurricane of the season. This hurricane has been around when Matthew was ravaging the Haiti, Cuba, and Southeaster US. Nicole has always carried along being overshadowed by Matthew. Now, Nicole has proven herself well despite Matthew. It has 115 mph winds and central pressure of 956 millibars. It is impressive on satellite.

20161012_npp_viirs_irtemperature_15l_1801z

Hurricane Nicole has hurricane force winds extending up to 45 miles and tropical storm force winds extending up to 160 miles. Since, Bermuda is an island, they could easily experience 115 mph winds with gusts as high as 173 mph! Most likely, they will see winds of 60 to 100 mph with gusts of 90 to 150 mph.

20161012_15l_windradii_2000ast

I think Nicole will intensify further. Afterwards, it should weaken as it heads to cooler waters of the North Atlantic. I would not be surprised if Nicole peaks at 125 mph. If that is the case, Nicole would be one of the strongest hurricanes to hit Bermuda since Fabian in 2003.

20161012_15l_intensity_1800z

The forecast is in disagreement of where Nicole will go. It could go directly over Bermuda or go east or west of Bermuda. Interestingly, northeast of Bermuda, there is a consensus that Nicole will go as an extratropical storm. Nicole’s path will have an impact on Bermuda. If Nicole goes east of Bermuda, than the effects will be less severe. If Nicole goes west or directly over Bermuda, it will be much worse with strong winds and heavy rain. To make matters worse, rain will be an issue as it is moving at 10 mph. That should dump around 10 inches of rain. Bermuda could see amounts of 5 to 10 inches of rain with isolated totals of 15 inches of rain.

20161012_15l_1800z_heatmap

Hurricane Nicole will probably make landfall on Bermuda later tonight to early tomorrow morning. It will be a rough night for them. Hopefully they are prepared for Hurricane Nicole.