Monday, October 12, 2015

MikJournal Monday 10/12/15

Wow. It feels great out there this morning. A little breezy, though. Enjoy the warmest day of the week, because cooler air invades the region later today and camp out for the rest of the week along with a couple more shots of reinforcing, fresh Canadian air. Frost on the pumpkin is a good possibility for several locations later this week and weekend.

Topic for today is El Nino. Well, everyone else is talking about it. I have expressed my views on this blog and others that I expect a drier and milder winter compared to the two previous winters. Now, let me be clear about something here. I have said nothing about less snowfall than previous winters...yet. Remember, snow does not hold much moisture. You can melt a 10" fairly wet snowfall into about 1" of liquid precipitation. So, theoretically, we can have 40" of snow during the winter months of December through February and still be below average in terms of precipitation.

Let me highlight Louisville International where the official NWS readings are observed. For the winters of 2013/14 and 2014/15, precipitation averaged out to 0.37" below normal. Yet, over 33" of snow fell during those meteorological winters of December 1 through the end of February. That's right, I did not include the extra 12" or so that fell in March of this year. We included that in the snow totals for the year that began July 1 of last year and ended June 30 of this year, which are the official start and end times for snowfall reporting, which does not always correspond to the meteorological winter of December through February.

If you want to count the extra snowfall outside the winter months of December through February, then Louisville accumulated some 50" over the past two years!

Next, the temperatures at what I call 'the heat island capital of the nation' averaged well below normal during the same time period, to the tune of 3 and 3.83 degrees below normal respectively, again for the December 1 through February 28 time frame.

I do not think it's a stretch to say that Louisville may very well end up being milder than the previous two winters. In fact I think it's likely. Therefore, if the average temperature for December 1 through February 29 comes out to be 2 degrees below normal, guess what? That will be a milder winter than the previous two winters' average, just like I said.

And if precipitation comes in at 0.4" above normal for December and February, yet 1.95" below normal for January, then that will be a drier winter than the previous two winters' average. Yet, one can still rack up a lot of snowfall despite below average precipitation.

We have been in a rather similar climatic pattern since 2013. Now, we have El Nino throwing its hat into the ring and should shake things up a bit. Prognosticators and forecasters alike are broadbrushing our region of Kentucky with a dry and mild winter, a climatically typical assumption for an El Nino winter event, covering the December 1 through February 29, 2016 time frame, in this instance. I do not do that. I don't like stereotyping anything. Although the analogs have not been very helpful since this El Nino may go down as the King of all El Nino events, I do like to look at individual observation sites or regions that were impacted by past events and see how each will be faring for this event.

You can check out some of these El Nino hints on the side of my blog. In the meantime, don't get hung up over terminology about dry and mild or whatever. This does not mean it will not snow at all. February of 1998 (following the strong El Nino of 1997/98) had a freak snow event that dumped more than two feet over a prolonged period of time for some locations. Yet, the rest of the winter for most of us was rather ho-hum in the snow collection department, except for some areas of western KY and southern, southeast KY where either an ice storm or a 4-6" heavy snow event occurred. But that single event in February will burn into our memories as the snow that happened during an El Nino event, making that winter rather memorable and  as some would say, going against the grain of typical El Nino events that called for a dry and mild winter, which it actually was milder but a bit more wet.


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Introducing El Nino Hints

I will be revealing a few clues that I believe are worthy how strong the El Nino phenomena will influence the Polar and Subtropical Jet streams.

There is a heightened correlation between certain geographic areas and how they are impacted by El Nino events.

I will be publishing these clues as we progress toward the winter months. You can find them on the side of my blog too.


Thursday, October 8, 2015

What a Difference a Week Makes - Drought Update

Here in Kentucky, so much for that moderate drought status. We still have some 'abnormally dry' areas out there, but rain chances along with cooler temperatures and less evapotranspiration should not foment additional issues.

However, I am still forecasting a drier and milder winter overall, compared to our previous two winters. So, that may lead to a tougher spring for gardeners. But, let's get through fall and winter first.

Speaking of drought issues, check out the latest statistics coming out of South Carolina. Remember, now, the state was experiencing moderate to severe drought in many locations...

As far as percentages, over 42% of the state experienced moderate to severe drought one week ago. Now, it's at 1.72%. In fact a total of only 4% is experiencing abnormally dry conditions after last week's 73% coverage

Now, check out North Carolina...

The bottom picture did not run out of ink colors. It is correct. Last week, over 19% had either moderate or severe drought while some 64% experienced abnormally dry conditions.

What a difference a week makes.


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Rainfall Totals for the Carolinas

A very impressive amount of rainfall for the Carolinas. For nearly 4 days, rain pummeled the region. The highest 4-day total I could find was 26.88" near Mt Pleasant SC. Interestingly, other locations near Mt Pleasant 'only' saw 16" or so. It just goes to show how localized these heavy rain bands affected certain areas, some separated by just a few miles. The one below is from the Charleston SC NWS office.

I also provided an additional link out of Wilmington here

Now, many residents will face major flooding along area rivers for the next few days still.