After a two month hiatus, I’m back again. Weather patterns have certainly taken on a winter look early, so perhaps the coldest part of winter may well be the first half with an easing during the later winter. But, those thoughts are just speculation at thjs point. The forecasters I think do the best seasonal forecasting (the gang at Weather Bell Analytics) are predicting another very harsh winter for the eastern two-thirds of the U.S. One the best analog years is 1976-77. If you remember, January 1977 was by far the coldest month in Louisville’s history. That’s not to say it’s going to happen again – just that the weather patterns of the past 6-9 months are a very close parallel to the same time in 1976. And, the winter of ’76-77 ended very early. By the second week in February, we were into a major warming trend which brought us an early Spring
Meanwhile, the “official” National Weather Service’s winter forecast continues its seemingly decades-long trend of forecasting normal to above normal temperatures for most of the country (only Texas and parts of surrounding states) are predicted to be below normal). The NWS has had a long running warm bias in their winter outlooks and this year seems to be another in that long string of misses. Meanwhile, the November temperature outlook issued Oct. 31 has NO area of the U.S. predicted to have below normal temperatures. Two weeks into that outlook, we know it’s an error of huge proportions. And, it really puts a major CAUTION sign on the rest of their current suite of products. Time will tell, but I think Weather Bell is far closer to the truth than our government’s outlook.
Things can certainly change over two days, but at this time it appears to be a case of “How much?” rather than “Will it snow?” Yesterday the NAM and GFS models were far apart in their solutions as to how the weekend weather pattern will evolve. Today, they’ve come closer together, but still with different leanings. On the big picture, both forecast snow for Saturday night into Sunday morning. Both models expect a weak, unorganized system and thus not much precipitation. Current estimates place accumulations of up to one inch of snow – mostly on grassy areas. The big question for the models is What happens next? The NAM produces a second system Sunday night/early Monday that drops a second snow, but keeps it south and east of Louisville area (watch out eastern KY, could be some heavy snows, if this pans out.) However, as it often does, the GFS slows things on Sunday and allows a stronger secondary storm system to form. If this scenario develops, the Louisville area will become a prime target area with a swath of 2″-4″ of snow possible. But, it’s far too early to know how things will evolve. More tomorrow!