Terry’s Take: Not so fast snow lovers, the winter “could” be back-loaded

Posted on: 9:39 pm, September 5, 2013, by

Terry Swails Weather Blog

There are 2 sides to every story and…every long range forecast. I like to give you thoughts that are out and about in the meteorological community. Last week I showed you a blockbuster winter forecast from the Farmers Almanac. One theory that came out this week was issued by Joe Bastardi who runs a major meteorological consulting firm. He’s a pretty sharp cookie and I always give his projections serious consideration.

SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE ANOMALIES

SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE ANOMALIES

ANALOG YEARS WITH SIMILAR SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURES

ANALOG YEARS WITH SIMILAR SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURES

He took current sea surface temperatures and found other years that closely resemble what we are seeing today. He came up with 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2009. He then found that in 2002 and 2009 there were long running cold enso’s (La Nina’s). That is not the case this year so 2002 and 2009 were eliminated as strong matches. That left 2004 and 2006 as his choices and he picked 2004 as the best match (or analog). In his system, the number 1 analog gets 4 times the weight of the number 4 match which for him was 2009.

SEPTEMBER FORECAST

SEPTEMBER FORECAST

OCTOBER FORECAST

OCTOBER FORECAST

He then ran his reanalysis on the fall and winters of those years and came up with the temperature forecasts you see for September-February. While 2009 was a good winter here in the Midwest the other 3 years got off to slow starts or just were not very tough. Thus his analog forecasts reflect that.A note of caution which he is quick to point out, is that you need to start with the right analogs! That is probably pretty obvious but I needed to make it clear that if these are not the right years or are weighted wrong, it could really tip the scales and bust the forecasts.

NOVEMBER FORECAST

NOVEMBER FORECAST

DECEMBER FORECAST

DECEMBER FORECAST

Anyway, you can see what he came up with and I do like where he is going with a warm September and colder October. After that November and December are way above normal which does not bode well for winter storms through Christmas. I’m not as confident about that. Things do kick in a bit towards January but it’s really February before much in the way of cold. The overall theme is much like last years winter…everything is back-loaded.

JANUARY FORECAST

JANUARY FORECAST

FEBRUARY FORECAST

FEBRUARY FORECAST

With this incredibly dry pattern developing I am having more and more concerns about limited rain and snow the rest of the year. Temperatures could very well end up vacillating widely.
Again, what Mr. Bastardi is showing is not his official forecast (or mine), but I can see some trends developing in the next month or two that could set this all in motion. Fans of winter, this is the complete opposite of the Farmers Almanac! As always, time will tell.