A strong cyclone will move into the Midwest Monday into Tuesday from the south. Ample moisture and enough cold air will be in place to drop excessive amounts of snow across the area. This system is already responsible for 3 FEET of snow in West Texas and is poised for the Midwest. We will not see quite that much, but many areas have the potential to reach a foot of snow with this system. Exactly where the heaviest bands set up will play a major role in who sees these high totals. Western Iowa to far southeast Minnesota looks to be in the hot zone for the heaviest snow, with the U.P. of Michigan also seeing some lake enhancement, where totals over a foot will be common by Tuesday. Another complication to the forecast and travel conditions will be some sleet and freezing rain mixing in for a period of time in eastern Iowa and southeast Wisconsin. Warm aloft, will poke in from the southeast and create a narrow layer of melting. Just how far that can get north will effect snow ratios and snow totals. While this may cut into totals a tad, snow and sleet accumulations will still be substantial across these areas, a winter storm warning is in effect across these parts and points north and west.
On the right is the expect start time for either snow (in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin) or sleet/rain (in Michigan). Once the band reaches you area, expect it to stick around for 18-24 hours. The snow will be heavy at times, with snowfall rates of around an inch an hour expected during the height of the event, before wrapping up late Monday night into Tuesday morning. Some flurries and snow showers could linger into Tuesday across Minnesota and Wisconsin, as cold air aloft works into the area, snow totals less than an inch expected Tuesday.
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Sunday, December 27, 2015
Saturday, December 26, 2015
Below is a look at two major weather models. **NOT A FORECAST** But it does show the spread in challenges given to a meteorologist. Using a general 10 to 1 liquid to snow ratio:
Monday, December 14, 2015
At this point in the winter it is no secret that El Nino is strong, and has already toppled records, depending on what index you look at. With that said, it certainly continues to play a critical role on the weather across the Lower 48. Over the weekend, record high temperatures were recorded in 23 states, mainly east of the Mississippi River. This unprecedented warm stretch of weather is thanks to a large ridge that has persisted over the eastern half of the country. This blocking, pushes the jet stream north and allows warmer weather from lower latitudes to move north as well. While some people may be ready for winter, mother nature has different ideas. Besides a brief cool down later this week, the rest of December looks to stay on the warm side, east of the Mississippi River.
However, this battling of air masses could set up a major storm system around Christmas. Current indications are that it will be cold enough for snow north and west of the track. We are still 10 days out from the event, so the track is in question, but the best guess would take it up from the southern Plains to the Upper Mississippi River Valley. It looks to the be the best shot for a white Christmas across the most populated areas in the Midwest, besides Tuesday-Wednesday for areas further west...see snow map below. Be sure to check back for updates on this possible Christmas Winter Storm in the coming days!
Sunday, November 29, 2015
Heavy snow is expected to break out ahead of a developing area of low pressure and area of warm air advection. The snow will begin Monday morning for most places. I wide swath of 6-10" from Sioux City to Minneapolis is expected. Areas near the Mississippi River will battle warm air surging north from the Gulf of Mexico on Monday, hense the heavier snow west. Higher terrain will amplify snow total in southwest Minnesota, where over a foot of snow is possible. Many of the short term models do indicate numerous areas on banding, so a large gradient in final snow totals is expected. One city could maybe have 8" but 30 miles to the east or west might end up with 3". It will depend exactly where each band sets up. Unfortunately it can be tough to forecast such events, but the most likely amounts are plotted above. Thanks for stopping by at Midwest Weather. Check out the tabs above for more weather information, especially the computer snow output page!
Heavy snow is expected to break out ahead of a developing area of low pressure and area of warm air advection. The snow will begin Monday morning for most places. I wide swath of 6-10" from Sioux City to Minneapolis is expected. Areas near the Mississippi River will battle warm air surging north from the Gulf of Mexico on Monday, hense the heavier snow west. Higher terrain will amplify snow total in southwest Minnesota, where over a foot of snow is possible. A FULL UPDATE will be posted later this evening, including an official Midwest Weather snow map.
Twitter Updates: https://twitter.com/VerstegenWX
Thursday, November 19, 2015
The timing of the snow has a larger role than usual. With it being so warm in recent weeks, and months for that matter, ground temperatures are rather high. A large portion of the snow will come at night which only amplifies the efficiency of snow accumulation on the surface. It will take a bit to accumulate on pavement, but the temperature and snow rate should overcome the warmer pavement temperatures relatively quickly.
Regarding timing, the storm looks to really ramp up by Friday afternoon. After about 12:00, a band of heavier snow will begin to train over central Iowa through Southern Wisconsin and Lower Michigan. Most of the snow will fall Friday evening into Saturday morning across these areas. This sets up a couple snowy college football games, such as the Northwestern @ Wisconsin games on Saturday. Otherwise, the map should give a general idea when the snow will begin to coast grassy surfaces!
Behind the system winds kick up out of the northwest and usher in cold air from Canada, here is a look at low temperatures for your Sunday. Very cold!...especially with fresh snow cover, off the 12z GFS model. It could be short lived however, as a surge of warm air is possible around Turkey Day! Maybe 15-25 degrees above average!
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
*The timing...warm ground and pavement temperatures would limit accumulations if the snow comes during the day, accumulates more efficiently at night
*The track...where the low pressure goes will determine the general area of snow
*Phasing...if this storm cuts north as it passes east of the Mississippi River heavier snow could fall
Either way, the storm will bring in northwest winds by Saturday and Sunday which will usher in much colder temperatures across the Midwest by the weekend and beyond. Low temperatures for Sunday morning are plotted below, off the ECMWF model. Notice the lows will be ~10 degrees cooler in areas with fresh snowfall, due to radiational cooling. Keep it here to Midwest Weather for updates throughout the week.
Monday, November 16, 2015
Post from Last Year, almost a carbon copy! That storm, like many sections of temperature gradient induced snows, trended north with time. This and prior model runs is why we included areas such and Minneapolis to Green Bay in the potential for accumulation. Now the real question, how much are we talking? Well, model runs in recent days have been impressive, but it looks like a general 3-5" with isolated amounts of 6+" where possible banding could set up. The higher amounts look to develop east of the Mississippi River, lesser amounts west. This will need to be watched closely in the coming days, as we look to pin down the exact location of moderate snow. The pattern looks to kick over to cold and stormy beyond 5 days through the end of the month. You can always watch the snow models come in yourself on our Computer Snow Output page. Keep it here for updates throughout the week and our first snow map of the season when the event gets closer.
**Next update scheduled by Tuesday, 2pm CDT**
**Next update scheduled by Tuesday, 2pm CDT**
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
It's that time of year again, the leaves are changing, the presence of hoodies is on the rise and the wonder of what winter may bring proves intriguing. Long range forecasts are used by businesses to manage risk or manage supply of weather-demand products, they are becoming increasingly important. In the general community, long range forecasts provide for good debate and curiosity. Some people live for the snow and cold, and some could do without. No matter what side of the spectrum you fall, anticipating the upcoming winter can put you in the correct mantra and even plan ahead for those crazy few months of weather. Alright, let us dive into the Midwest Weather Winter Forecast for 2015-2016! Full forecast at the bottom of the page.
Long range or seasonal forecasting can prove to be a challenging endeavor, but understanding the moving parts of the "winter weather system" is not impossible. The key is to understand what factors have the strongest signal to the winter ahead. Last year we were able to pin down isolated features, such as the massive Siberian snow pack and record cold lake temperatures. These features added value to the analog years (or years with similar atmospheric and surface conditions) we chose. This year, we are in and heading to a plateau of near record El Nino conditions. The merit and significance of the warmer than average ocean temperatures in the Pacific will be discussed later.
Current State of Climate System, and ENSO:
Let us begin with Ocean temperatures, or from now on to be called SSTs, sea surface temperatures. Ocean temperatures are the most stable indicator, as water temps do not rapidly change, especially near the equator. Below is a map plotting the SSTs compared to the running mean from 1981-2010 as a good sample size, courtesy of Tropical Tidbits:
There are several areas to point out on this plot, many of which will provide significant clues into the fate of our upcoming winter. The vast area of above average SSTs in the Central Pacific are classified as the positive or warm phase in the southern oscillation, also called ENSO, but more commonly known as El Nino (Saturday Night Live Clip). This feature on the planet is a stable indicator this winter, as ocean temperatures are forecasted to stay well above normal. However, the trend is to head back towards a neutral standing and possibly La Nina in a year, time will tell. Below is a probabilistic forecast from the Climate Prediction Center, CPC Link.
Furthermore, in relation to ENSO, the waters in the western Pacific are also relevant. Not so much the fact of warmer or colder than average, but rather the location of the gradient from warm to cold. In the Central Pacific a circulation in the vertical, called the Walker circulation develops. It is the main driver of prolonging the ocean anomalies. In an El Nino year, relative low pressure sets up in the Eastern Pacific and high pressure in the Western Pacific. Convective activity sets up in the east and tranquil weather in the west. Consequently, a cold pool of water will set up in the west. This year that transition sets up near the international dateline. This location is key as it affects the mid-latitude jet, and is very similar to the location in 1997 and 1983, which will be helpful in determining analog years, which we will get to further down.
The North Pacific:
ENSO is not the only determining factor, relating to ocean temperatures, next we look to the North Pacific and North Atlantic for more answers. The North Pacific is proving to be the largest wild card in our winter forecast, but let's discuss. At the moment, the eastern shore of the Pacific is seeing above average SSTs, the ocean circulation is slightly weaker, allowing for less upwelling along the coast. This observation does coincide well with the so called, "Super El Nino" of 1997.
This map above was made using an online program courtesy of the Earth System Research Labratory. It shows the SSTs of September through November in 1997 relative to average. This is also described as the warm phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, or PDO. Historic data can be found Here.The Pacific Ocean temperatures match up very well to current conditions. However, an active period in the Gulf of Alaska is working to cool the ocean surface as storm systems continue to roll through the region. Strong surface winds bring cold water to the surface through a process called Ekman pumping. Watching these SSTs evolve over the next couple months could influence our winter, but the current thought is that these waters will stay above average, via climate models. 1997 does provide guidance in terms of the Pacific Ocean, but looking at the Atlantic, this year tells a whole different story.
In terms of the Atlantic, 1957 proves to be a better comparison. The AMO index (Found Here) from 1957 is near 0.2, while this year we stand at 0.3. The confidence is higher that theses waters will stay cool through the season. With the presence of melting fresh water near Greenland and the weakening of the Gulf Stream, the water of the North Atlantic has been cooling for several months now and models hold steady through the winter.
Looking at the variability in ocean temperatures over the course of the previous decade is a proven way to forecast the future, "Learn from your history." However, it may be very difficult to simply look at maps of the oceans to understand exactly whats going on. Dozens of teleconnection indices have been developed to quantify the oceans and atmosphere. We will look at three of the largest players in seasonal forecasts, or the ones that are the most stable; the ENSO, PDO, and AMO, mentioned earlier.
Since ENSO will certainly be the largest influence in the Midwest weather winter forecast 2015-2016, the strongest El Nino episodes in the last 70 years were examined and the top 11 were chosen. These are the years that will pass through our analog analysis. On the left is historical data from the strongest correlation years, and current data below it. A positive PDO is characterized by warm water in the Gulf of Alaska stretching down through the East Pacific and Central Pacific, with the AMO considering conditions in the North Atlantic. These values were then scaled to give equal weight in determining how similar they are to current data, with the AMO given the least weight, since it is down stream of the Midwest.
Scaled and weighted values give us a ranking a how similar the conditions of the oceans were in prior years. The ranking gives us an insight into how similar future weather may be in the long run. This analog forecasting method for the Midwest winter forecast 2015-2016 did prove valuable in Last Year's Outlook. It is no surprise that 1957 an 1997 were among the top, but a few other years did make tho list. The red colored years are the top 3 El Nino Episodes since 1950. The following maps will look at a monthly composite of these analog years as they compare to the normal values over the course of the previous century.
The top 10 analog years were examined and given these weights:
|1957: 25% | 1987: 20% | 1997:15% | 2002: 10% | 1991, 1965, 1986, 1982, 1963: 5% |
In general, we are looking at a warm and wet start to the season, with relatively cooler and dry weather working in as we close out winter. March is somewhat of a wild card. It will depending on how "wavey" or amplified the jet stream becomes and with a weakening El Nino expected by that time, March is a month to watch, and is not included in our winter forecast.
Putting the whole season together, precipitation values look like this, according to the analogs:
And overall temperature values look like this, according to the analog years:
The Climate models also agree! Check them out below.
There is a lot of agreement between analogs, models, overall patterns, and local effects. Confidence is very high that a warm winter will exist in northern regions, and a drier than usual winter will persist in the Ohio Valley. Overall snow is tougher to predict this year, with near average expected, but the potential exists for a few storms to skew some averages, more discussion below.
THE OFFICIAL FORECAST: Be sure to share with your friends, the good/bad news!
After several weeks of deliberation and research, we finally come to the official Midwest Weather winter forecast. Based on the prior, it is no surprise we are looking for above normal temperatures across the Midwest, with the warmest air in the northern Great Plains and Great Lakes, cooler south. Lake temperatures are warmer than last year, via GLCFS, which among others is a large factor that trends to a longer lake effect season, but still overall less snow, with the absence of large cold air outbreaks. The past couple winters have featured a dominantly northwest to southeast jet stream, yet this year it will be much more zonal, west to east. Any amplification in the jet could bring us some large winter storms. It looks to be more active than past years, as storms systems originating from the west will have more moisture to tap into, than ones from the northwest. Depending on where each individual storm tracks, snow amounts could be below or above average in the highlighted area. With that said, it does look like more winter storms and less clippers (1-3"/2-4" like systems). Thanks for checking us out, we will continue to bring the latest forecasts heading into the Winter season.
Feel free to ask questions across Twitter and Facebook, links below. Any personal inquiries can be directed at email@example.com.
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Thanks for stopping by out 2015-2016 Winter Forecast, an update may be posted in November, depending on how much conditions in the North Pacific change, or if there is any new development in ENSO. In the meantime, be sure to keep it here to Midwest Weather for all the latest in weather forecasts and stories around the area.
Bachelors in Atmospheric Science
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Thursday, October 8, 2015
It's happening again! A tropical cyclone is set to have a major impact on the weather across the United States. Remember Nuri last year (Nuri Post)? It brought a major pattern change, one to a cold trend. Oho, seen below, is set to have the opposite effect. Its track takes it north right on into the jet stream, which will help to build a ridge to the east of its track. This ridge will then propagate to the east and set up over the mid-section of the country for the weekend, bringing widespread 80s and 90s the parts of the Midwest.
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
We are back!! As the winter season nears, here are some initial thoughts on what the winter of 2016 will bring...It is starting to look more and more likely that warmer temps in the Pacific will hold the Polar jet stream further north than usual and keep the Midwest warmer than average. Big snows are still possible, with the best chance for above average snow in the southern Midwest feeding off the tropical jet. Otherwise we are leaning towards slightly below normal snow amounts, but certainty is lower for precipitation anomalies. One thing looks certain, above average temperatures do look very likely!
Follow me on twitter for continued discussion: Personal Twitter Page
Follow me on twitter for continued discussion: Personal Twitter Page
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Meanwhile, another storm system will move up from the four corners regions and set up for a soggy, yet much need rain across central parts of the Midwest. Relief does set in by Sunday and next week as temperatures climb back to normal levels and the sun peaks out yet again.
Friday, April 10, 2015
Well, it has been a crazy 24 hours! My video and comments have been on local news around the country. I currently have a broker licensing my video of an EF-4 tornado to media outlets. It all started after bailing from a separate tornadic cell after it began to get wrapped in rain. After getting ahead of that cell, another super cell began to form to the east, so we chased after it. Witnessed the funnel form and then touch down. We then reported to emergency management, 2 minutes later a warning was issued. It rapidly grew into a large tornado. We stayed with it for an hour and 15 minutes before losing it in the darkness and trees. It might be safe to say I will never see anything like that again. It was historic. Here is our chase video:
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Thursday, April 2, 2015
Another round of severe weather and heavy rain will impact the Ohio River valley Thursday. A strong storm system that brought severe weather and 80+ degree temperatures to Minneapolis is pushing south and east. With a humid air mass in place and a cold front crashing south east, storms will have an ample amount of energy to work with, as well as a strong trigger in the form of a cold front. The main threat for severe weather will be damaging winds, along a squall line, with embedded areas of large to damaging hail.
Sunday, March 22, 2015
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Sunday, March 1, 2015
Friday, February 27, 2015
The next storm looks to strike the Midwest Tuesday. It will be even stronger and affect areas further to the north that have been stricken of snow in recent weeks. Stay tuned for updates
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Sunday, February 22, 2015
CPC agrees with continued cold air across much of the CONUS over the next 8-14 days. This pattern is similar to the one that set up in January last year. Luckily, we are heading into March, so the sun angle is higher in the sky and "Polar Vortex-like" temperatures will not be seen. However, departures from average will be extensive, and there will be nothing Spring-like about the next two weeks.
It has been generally dry, or snow free in the Midwest over the past month or so. This can be attributed to the northwest to southeast flow. Alberta clippers can form on such a pattern, but they are usually moisture stricken, as their origin is in a cold dry area of Canada. Meanwhile, the east coast was orientated directly in the active storm track. There is a potential that we could head into a more stormy pattern, in the Midwest. Some models suggest the trough to push far enough west and high pressure to build off the east coast. This would allow the jet stream and storm track to set up through the Great Lakes, with snow to the west of the storm track. This would be very favorable for winter storms and cyclones in the Midwest. It would also signal warmer weather for the east coast. Our first opportunity of this change comes in next weekend. The European and american models are showing decent snow across Iowa and Wisconsin, as a storm system and substantial line of baroclinicity sets up. We will need to watch this closely and provide updates, as needed if these storms come to fruition.