Monday, November 30, 2015

MikJournal 2015/2016 Winter Overview and December Prediction

The time has arrived. Another winter season is upon us, and people are wondering, some cautious but others excited, about the upcoming winter prospects as El Nino is expected to throw the winter season out of sorts.

Perhaps you have noticed the title of this post does not include the words weather and  forecast. When one tries to explain how the winter season is going to unfold over a period of at least 3 months, that's not called weather in the fullest sense and should not be called a forecast.

According to the American Meteorological Society glossary of meteorology, "weather consists of the short-term (minutes to days) variations in the atmosphere."

Therefore, I find it amusing when meteorologists, who study the intricacies of the atmosphere, how it interacts with our oceans and lands, so as to have a complete understanding in order to predict accurately it's effects thus a weather forecast covering a period of "minutes to days", attempt to 'forecast' a 3-month range that is far beyond their usual and preferred limit of perhaps several days. Is it not difficult enough to render an accurate forecast over a period of a few days? So, let's try months too?

Surely the many and often varied winter 'forecasts' should be for entertainment purposes only. But, some of these people spend inordinate amounts of time, studying how the different storm tracks of the past relate to current atmospheric behavior so as to predict a future outcome. Why, some even go so far as to give us a 'forecast' snowfall range for the 3-month period, yes like a winter weather forecast of "minutes to days", by the end of February! Man, they're serious. Come on, really? Forecasters dare not levy any potential snow totals for the short term until we get closer to an actual event. But, let's wing it at several weeks out. Right.

So, no, this is not a 2015/2016 winter weather forecast that includes snow amounts for the end of February. I call it a prediction, and I am only providing one month's worth of data at a time. However, I will provide a brief overview about my expectations for the entire winter regionally. In addition, beginning in January, I will be posting a random selection of geographic locations nationwide in order to keep track of El Nino's manipulation, if any, on these areas and help define what that may mean for our region as we progress deeper into the winter.

Regional Winter Overview

Now, let's get to it. First, I expect that our region will be milder than the previous two winters (2013/14 and 2014/15). Why do I say this? Well, take Louisville as an example in our region. It is no mystery that Louisville's official reporting station is in the midst of a heat island. That being said, during the past two winters, Louisville averaged at least 3 degrees below normal for each winter. In fact, February 2015 was a very cold month when it came to averages, some 11 degrees below normal. That's unheard of in comparison to other climatological records. That was the 7th coldest February on record.

I think you would expect locations outside Louisville to be even colder. So, I do not think that my expectations for a milder winter compared to the two previous winters is a stretch of my imagination. Technically, we here in Louisville can be below normal for the winter AND still be milder than the last two.

Precipitation should come out about the same or wetter than the previous two winters. I do predict the farther south you live, the wetter. Louisville averaged just below normal for the two winters combined. But, we should feel the effects of an El Nino-enhanced, active southern jet stream as far north as Louisville but more likely south.

December Prediction

I do not expect any Arctic outbreaks for this month. But, just like November, a modified Arctic air mass may take up residency for a brief period of time. This will be tempered by some rather balmy weather as well.

The second week of December (8th-14th). If there is going to be a 'best case scenario' for measurable snowfall, it will be sometime during this week or toward the end of that week.

During my earlier research, it appeared that Christmas week would be colder. But, I have backed off of that thinking now.

The last week of the month appears to be rather stormy for parts of the country. Our region may be affected, especially southern Kentucky. But, I would like to give a heads up to our entire region as a vigorous storm system may lead to severe weather followed my much colder weather heading into January.

Overall, December looks like normal to above normal temperatures and near normal precipitation.

My January prediction will come out the last week of December (28th through the 31st).


Monday, November 23, 2015

MikJournal Monday 11/23/15

Good morning. I have tallied my interpretation of the leading medium range models for last week. Among the three I tested for medium range, GFS, GDPS, and the Euro, the winner was...GFS.

That's not uncommon, but typically, the Euro does a better job than the other models. I selected last Sunday evening as the initialization point. All the models got lost by last Thursday but the GFS performed better. And although it was a day off on the cold for Sunday (it had Saturday), the temperature profile was nearly spot on.

I will include some other variables going forward for this upcoming week, as we have another active week ahead of a busy travel time. I have reserved that for another post today.

Barrow Alaska is going through that phase where the sun does not rise above the horizon. On November 1, there was nearly 6 hours of daylight. By the 19th, the sun failed to rise above the horizon. Now, that does not mean it's totally dark. There are hints of daylight throughout the day but no sign of the elusive orange ball. The sun will not rise above the horizon again until January 23, 2016 at 1:10pm local time.

Where do you think the earliest sunset is at in the continental United States? Well, you may find a different answer than I did, but I went to Maine and found the northern AND easternmost point on the map and arrived at Van Buren. The earliest sunset is at 3:42pm. But, it is not on the winter solstice. Remember that measures the shortest day of the year in terms of sunrise and sunset.

Just for fun, where in Kentucky has the earliest sunset? That one is pretty tough to answer. I don't want to start a civil war. But, looking at Ashland and Catlettsburg, they're pretty close. But, I used the US Naval Observatory numbers and Catlettsburg appears to be the winner at 5:09pm. However, at least one other source has both setting at 5:09pm. It's just that close.

Again, be looking for some hints at how the rest of the month may end. Also, I am working on a winter forecast for the month of December. I have elected not to put out a complete winter forecast for December through February but have decided to work on a monthly forecast for each month of the winter as these may tend to be more updated and have the most relevant information needed to update the reader as to the latest trend of the developing winter.

In other words, I am holding myself to a higher standard of reporting instead of some long range blindfolded dart throw in the dark from the next street over, which is separated by a river, at least a half-mile wide, etc....


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Rainfall Totals at My House This Week 11/16 - 11/18

Here at my house in Valley Station, a large storm system began affecting my region in Kentucky. On Monday, the 16th, light rain began falling, ahead of schedule, as the drier air aloft was moistening quickly. Then parts of Tuesday saw additional light rains. Those events added up to 0.22".

Today, the 18th, rain moved back into the area. In fact, a large N-S shield of rain moved in again, ahead of schedule, and plagued the Louisville area most of the day with moderate to occasionally heavy rain.

After several hours of steady rain, the precipitation shut off temporarily as winds began gusting up to over 40mph at my house. Then another quick hitting band of rain moved in.

Another dry spell, but thick clouds persisted. Then, shortly after 5:00pm, a narrow band of intense showers hit the area with one last punch. Once the rain ended, a beautiful color-filled western sky blazed and graced the horizon. What a way to end the day.

Today's rainfall amounted to 2.11" for a weekly total of 2.33".


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Volatile November So Far

November has been a busy month with reports of various kinds of weather, mostly extreme weather. Tornado reports for the month have now more than doubled since yesterday. Pampa TX has an alleged video footage of a mile-wide wedge tornado that caused lots of damage yesterday. But numerous reports from storm chasers confirm the event.

On the other side, we have seen a major winter storm engulfing much of the Rockies and the front range. Blizzard products are out with high winds and blowing snow. Some locations will report from 1 to 2 feet of snow by the time it moves out of the region.

In addition, heavy rainfall slowly moves across the Plains poised to sack the Mississippi River valley area. Houston TX, hit hard by flooding rains in October with over 13", has recorded over 1.50" with this event.

Let's not forget about the west. One of the locations I have been wanting to keep tabs on as regards our El Nino phenomena is Forks WA. I have been looking for a signal for milder and drier conditions as it relates to El Nino. Uh, far from it. Forks has now recorded measurable rainfall for 22 out of 23 days with totals surpassing 19"!

Locally, last year on this date, many of us snow lovers were pleased to see 2-3" of snow. While the weather has not taken on a wintry look yet, forecasts are leaning toward a colder pattern through most of the month and perhaps starting the month of December. In fact a few of our flakey visitors may pay a visit to some parts of our region, at least letting us know that hopefully, there will be repeat visits forthcoming with a posse of their friends soon.

Buckle up and let's see where this takes us.


Monday, November 16, 2015

Model Comparisons...GFS, NAM, Euro For This Week 11/16 - 11/23

I am going to try and post these weekly. Then make a comparison of the models as far as the longer range and the shorter range to see which is a better fit.

In the past, I have said that the Euro is the preferred model at 7 days out. I generally like the GFS about 4-5 days out, then the NAM within 24-48 hours.

Also, we'll explore what the models are saying in the 8-9 day outlook and I'll mention any adjustments made to that time period once I report the next weekly series of data for the 7 days.

First, all of the models that I am showing highlight temperatures ranging from highs of 60-70 degrees for central Kentucky during the Mon/Tue time frame.

Wednesday appears to be a transition time as the Euro has us in the 60's, the GFS in the 50's, but the NAM has us in the 60's but falling through the 50's during the daytime.

The NAM for this model run does not see into Thursday very completely. So, it's down to the GFS and the Euro, and I will show another model called the GDPS.

For Thr, GFS has us in the 50-54 degree range...Euro 49-53...GDPS 51-55. So, they all overlap to some extent.

But look what happens by Friday and Saturday.

Friday November 20
GFS:  54-58
Euro:  47-51
GDPS: 49-53

Saturday November 21
GFS: 53-57
Euro:  46-50
GDPS: 46-50

Sunday the 22nd
GFS: again solidly in the 50's
Euro: 52-56
GDPS: 49-53

Monday the 23rd
GFS:  39-43
Euro: 56-60
GDPS: 55-59

The GEFS analogs for the 21-23 time frame has much of central Kentucky in a 4-6 degree below normal shading, which the GFS and GDPS would fit. The Euro has us about 3 degrees below normal. I am using Louisville's normal high temperatures of 57-58 degrees for this time period.

Finally, the 8 and 9 day outlook (24-25) just for fun...Euro and GDPS has central Kentucky above normal, while GFS has us just below normal.

The estimated temperature highs are based on 850mb temps when clear to partly cloudy and mostly dry. Cold and warm air advection may also impact readings at the surface. Therefore, temperatures may differ by several degrees under certain conditions.


MikJournal Monday 11/16/15

Looking at last week's data, the CPC had much of the east in an above normal temperature and precipitation regime coming into this week. If the current forecast holds through Wednesday, kudos to them.

The latest CPC 6-10 day and 8-14 day outlooks are painting a much different pattern change for the period of November 21-29. Below normal temperatures look to dominate the bulk of this time period.

In fact GEFS analogs show temperatures from 2-6 degrees below normal, which could mean for Louisville that 55-58 degree normal high temperatures may be replaced by temperatures struggling to break 50 degrees during that time.

And there are indications that December will start out even colder. I'm especially interested in this as I am already working on my winter forecast for December.

Remember, I will not be posting a December-February winter forecast like others. Honestly, I have not been impressed by many forecasts in the past, especially my own. In addition, El Nino may make this winter forecast even more challenging for forecasters. But, I will suggest a general theme for what I expect for the overall meteorological winter of December through February, such as drier and warmer or wetter and colder than the past year or two.

I will be presenting 3 monthly forecasts for the winter months with each forecast coming out about a week before the next winter month begins. For example, my December forecast will come out Thanksgiving week. Then. I will be posting a running total and comparing these with my previously mentioned overall expectations for the entire winter.

I believe this will provide the reader with a better understanding of the most up-to-date trends as to how the winter is unfolding, and it holds someone like me more accountable than someone who takes a color shading in November and pastes it for some region what's going to happen in February. People tend to forget what someone said was going to happen in February when being announced in November thus less accountability, I guess.

So, there you have it. By the way, I noticed many locations in Kentucky have seen their temperatures rise overnight. Mine has held steady for a few hours now, right at 34 degrees. Clouds are blocking the sun and have replaced the mostly clear skies from last night. Therefore, not much rise yet.

One more. Snowmass, Colorado, just west of Aspen, at an elevation of 9800 feet or so, is expecting a nice thumping of snow. Great for skiers. Isn't that a great name for a ski resort, Snowmass?


Saturday, November 14, 2015

Weather People Over the Years

Talk about memory lane. I woke up this morning and realized that I missed some of my favorite weather people that I grew up with. So, I researched some of them and discovered other things I never knew. It's funny how that happens. You 'google' something then get sidetracked by other topics on the page. So, you click on that and before you know it, can't remember what you were trying to do in the first place.

For instance, I wanted to look at some iconic weather people over the years. I was hoping to find a video feed of a younger Jim Cantore (with hair) of The Weather Channel. But, before that, what got me going  was I could not remember the name of the weather guy on NBC's Today Show who always gave a shout out to those at least 100 years old back in the 1980's. Remember I had just woke up; therefore, the mind was not processing very efficiently nor effectively.

My 'googling' journey led me first to famous celebrities who got their start in TV weather broadcasting, or some other form of weather broadcasting, like the college radio. Some of these I already knew.

David Letterman once was the weatherman for what is now WTHR in Indianapolis several years ago when he was just 28 years old.

Here is one that I never remember seeing before...Letterman with Al Roker, another legend in 1988, showing off his 'expertise' for his comedy show....

Just scroll down to find the video....

Other famous celebrities that did weather were Pat Sajak from Wheel of Fortune, sexy Raquel Welch, John O'Hurley, think J Peterman from 'Seinfeld' and Family Feud, Bob Iger, now Disney guru, Louisville's own Diane Sawyer, the late Gilda Radner, and Barbara Walters.

But there are other weather people that have had and will always have a special place in my often deficient memory bank. Since I look at it as selective memory loss, I only choose the things I want to remember . And these are the ones I really wanted to mention as I was growing up in the late 70's and 80's, including Willard Scott mentioned earlier who always had an ending script to his weather broadcast by introducing us to some centenarian. Something I had forgotten was that he was also the original Ronald McDonald.

Locally I grew up watching NBC Wave 3's Tom Wills, by far my favorite television meteorologist. He and (at the time) CBS WHAS 11's Chuck Taylor were the foremost pioneers in their field. I was always impressed by their knowledge about weather despite not having the best and timely equipment or tools for forecasting, like we have today.

Tom was really good at reading weather charts and interpreting how the weather would affect our area. And he was fairly accurate with his forecasts. I recall several instances whereby other local television meteorologists would forecast heavy snow amounts for the area. But Tom often ruined the party by saying 'just a few flurries', and he was usually right. Had to go to school that next day after all. Bummer.

One of my favorite memories is later in life when I got to take an Introduction to Meteorology class at the University of Louisville, where Tom Wills taught. I loved the class. He presented the information in an easy-to-understand manner, at least to me it was easy. In fact he dismissed me and three others from the final exam so we wouldn't "mess up the curve" for everyone else.

John Belski was another favorite. I enjoyed his passion for the weather and still do. I really did not watch him on (at that time) ABC WLKY 32 when I was younger but enjoyed his weather forecasts on Wave 3. I really liked his blog. He is an avid snow lover just like me and just as passionate when severe weather threatens the area.

I found these pictures from Belski's Blog in 2013, commenting on the earliest snow ever in Louisville on October 3, 1980. And here are his contemporaries together doing what they did best.


When I heard Belski was retiring, I was numbed. To this day, I really felt he was forced out at Wave 3. So, although I will watch Wave 3 for weather information, I lost a lot of respect for the media market as they just insert and delete whomever they want, no matter how valuable one's expertise in the field. Nevertheless, I am glad he's back 'home' at WLKY and am appreciative of the pictures above on his blog.

Now, the theme at Wave 3's weather team is that they (weather guys and gals) all grew up here, like that's the important thing. While I believe it is important to know the local meteorological oddities that can happen in our region, one still has to have a clear understanding of those processes. And I feel that Wave 3 has access to the same technological equipment as other TV stations to help determine what the weather forecast may turn out to be for any one location, and it seems they rely just as much on this same data or just borrow similar data from the NWS Louisville office. My point is that these people and many of today's television meteorologists lack the artistic niche that meteorological pioneers of old possessed, the ability to answer "Does this make sense?" and "What does this tell me about how our weather will be affected, based on similar weather charts in the past?"

I am not just singling out Wave 3, but I do feel that although they all grew up here, that does not translate to all are able to explain our weather and its processes thus how our weather in the Ohio Valley, the battleground of winter precipitation types, will unfold.

I would love to ask some on the weather team to explain to me  the Quasi-Geostrophic theory or the Hydrostatic equation as it relates to ridges and troughs along with its positive and negative vorticity advections. As found on the weather charts, can they locate a positive vorticity advection maxima on a 500mb chart and explain its potential affects on my weather. I bet some on the team would not be able to identify these fundamental items on a weather chart still.

While the networks only care about ratings and not specifically one's trustworthiness, reliability, knowledge, and passion in the field, as long as they have some type of weather degree or certificate, and they look good on TV, "let's try him/her out". Or we need a 'younger, fresher perspective on the weather'.

I try and look for one's trustworthiness by looking at those 'seals' they possess. If they are truly interested in earning our trust, they need to put forth the extra effort in addition to the 'gotta have that meteorology degree to be on TV" and obtain those seals, whether it be the NWA (National Weather Association), which by itself would not garner my full trust as a proficient meteorologist, the AMS does not offer its seal anymore (ended in 2008) as the CBM is the newest replacement, or have in one's possession all 3 of these distinctions: NWA, AMS/CBM. Renewing these certifications every few years demonstrates their interest in wanting to improve their abilities and earn the public's continued trust.

Image result for seals of the meteorologist Image result for seals of the meteorologist
Image result for seals of the meteorologist

Speaking of trustworthiness, I like to mention another one out there in the meteorological field that I have learned much from over the years by their mentoring. Again, growing up with cable TV, we had access to the Chicago WGN station. As recognizable as the late Harry Caray, the Chicago Cubs sportscasting legend, is Tom Skilling. I check in on his blog from time to time. Check him out at...

Finally, for those who are so passionate about their field of study, I would like to recognize Reed Timmer, not just a storm chaser but a meteorologist who has a very broad understanding of how severe weather develops. Unfortunately, the El Reno tornadoes claimed the life of his contemporary and friend, Tim Samaras on May 31 2013, who Rimmer paid tribute to in the following video here.

Reed Timmer
Image result for reed timmer pictures

In fact, the Weather Channel's Mike Bettis and crew sustained injuries when their vehicle became airborn briefly and rolled several yards in a field. Then, Rimmer himself received minor injuries from flying glass a few months later intercepting a tornado in Aurora, Nebraska. These individuals do not chase storms for the thrill of it (as some people do) but are professionals, a little too passionate, but passionate professionals nonetheless.

Overall, despite the media's involvement and dictation in how weather should be reported, which I believe stymies some in their profession, the people in place are for the most part knowledgeable, personable, and passionate.

So, the next time the weatherman gets the forecast wrong, just let it slide. After all, how many people do you know who get it wrong several times a year and still hold a job? It's an inexact science still, but thanks to pioneers of old and the newer, fresher corps that follow, the updates in technology will continue to improve and a need to understand how to interpret the data and make personal application to a geographical area will be essential.


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Looking Ahead to the Second Half of the Month

It's only the 12th, and I am already looking ahead to the rest of the month.

By the way, last night's winds were not too bad at my place. Earlier model runs had painted a swipe of very high winds trying to reach the surface. But additional runs sniffed out a pre-frontal band of precipitation, which was able to help form a predicted inversion or area of stable air, limiting the highest winds from reaching the surface. Good call.

At least for the next 10 days, I still do not see any Arctic outbreak happening here. However, these powerhouse low pressure systems near Alaska are going to tap into some Arctic air and transport that south. But that air typically modifies before it reaches us. So, for Louisville and surrounding areas, temperatures between 38 and 43 is as low as I see our daytime readings getting, say during the 20-24th time frame. Overnight lows in the low 20's are still possible.

Could there be a few flurries during that time? I am not discounting that idea. But, no decent shot of ground-whitening snowfall yet.

Arctic Oscillation, while trending downward, is still not expected to be that weak, as pressure readings, especially from those Alaskan systems, will transport enough wind energy up there to keep the belt of Polar winds confined to that region for the most part. But, that just means more cold air in reserve just waiting to spill down into our neck of the woods.

Additionally, PNA values continue to show a negative bias, which typically leads to a trough type pattern for the Northwest over this same time period. That means for our weather, we can expect some zonal flow off the Pacific or a trough west, ridge east type of pattern. In other words, near normal temperatures with episodes of relatively warm air followed by shots of colder air.

Finally, the CPC is still holding fast to an above average temperature scheme for much of the east through the 25th. Of course, that does not mean everyday, we will have above normal readings.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

High Winds Could Cause Tree Damage

A vigorous storm system will approach our region, and it looks more likely it will be accompanied by a lot of wind, just ahead and behind the front.

The latest 12z NAM data run continues to suggest a possible need for High Wind Watch/Warning products for a period of time Wednesday and overnight.

Just my interpretation, which can be overdone at times, winds of 30-40 mph along with gusts of 55 mph should be expected.

My reasoning is that wind fields just above the surface may be measuring anywhere between 40 and 80 mph. Precipitation, not necessarily thunderstorms, may be able to transport some of that wind energy surface bound.

Gusts of 50 mph or more will result in tree damage, especially less healthy trees like stressed trees from our recent summer dry spell.


Monday, November 9, 2015

MikJournal Monday 11/09/15

Well, I took a little time off last week by visiting Charleston SC last weekend. A very old community and a lot of civil war history. I was impressed by the size of some of those cannons, weighing in at over 5,000 pounds. In fact, recently, I read about three cannons from the Civil War era that were discovered and raised out of the Pee Dee river near Florence that came in at a whopping 15,000 pounds each. Those are currently being restored in North Charleston. So, I did not get a chance to see those behemoths when visiting there.

About a month ago, the region experienced heavy rainfall in excess of 24" in places over a 4 day span. Mount Pleasant was where I ate lunch. But, I could not tell that any flooding had affected these areas. In Charleston near the Battery, only a remnant of the flooding remained with a little bit of caked mud along the street. But the old stately buildings and restored residences did not appear damaged by the recent weather.

Now, I know it's Monday. Often I am confused anyway but today, I feel more confused than usual. Let me explain.

The Climate Prediction Center offers medium and longer range outlooks for temperatures and precipitation. However, they also present teleconnection indices from GFS or ensembles. These teleconnections are the NAO, AO, PNA, just to name a few. You may or may not understand these terms. But, that's okay. They should.

The outlook for the 6-10 day and 8-14 day periods calls for above average temperatures in areas where some medium range forecasts suggest a blast of colder air spilling into their region like the northern Great Plains. Some drama going on there.

But wait. A primary teleconnection index I follow this time of year is the AO, or the Arctic Oscillation. Readings have been very positive, which basically means the coldest air stays up there. However, the forecast from GFS and ensembles show a decline toward neutral or even slightly negative over the next 10 days at least.

Typically, a negative AO should have a colder impact upon the eastern parts of the U.S. this time of year and especially into the winter.

Yet, through the 22nd of this month, mostly above average temperatures are expected. I will be following this closely for adjustments. Right now, bulk of coldest air is supposed to remain west, near parts of the Intermountain west and Great Basin.

Nevertheless, colder air is building in the Arctic regions and is poised to dive southward barring any significant blocking that may deflect the coldest air away from our region, which I guess is possible. But that's one big gorilla lurking just north.


Friday, November 6, 2015

Looking Ahead to November...Important Month for Identifying Upcoming Winter Trends

Many meteorologists are already putting out winter forecasts. Some are slated to release their forecasts later this month. Even some released forecasts in the summer, which is a little too early in my opinion. I've always liked to tinker with a winter forecast but already know ahead of time that nobody can accurately predict exactly what's going to take place any winter season.

And this season especially. El Nino figures to play a role in the upcoming winter. Already a strong El Nino, it should remain so until at least early 2016.

I have been poring over last month's data for any sign of El Nino's upcoming impacts. The hints that I have been looking at include what's going on out west, especially.

Southern California has just come away from a record setting month of October for very warm temperatures. PNA values for the month of October were very high, highest I have seen in a few years.

I will be looking at this feature for the months of November through January. PNA values may stay elevated. Precipitation is another part of the PNA positive equation. Parts of southern California have already exceeded their monthly average for November, which is a good sign of PNA's positive pattern influence and El Nino's hand.

Looking at the tropics, California did not experience any direct impact from any tropical systems in October. Remnants of Patricia affected Mexico and curved eastward toward the Gulf of Mexico. Therefore, no direct signal can be attributed to El Nino.

As far as Washington state, I like looking at how El Nino is 'supposed' to affect these areas. Drier than average and warmer than average is the ongoing theme to look for during the months of October through December.

Yes, Forks WA did come in below average for precipitation. However, a strong push of moisture helped erase a rather large deficit as we ended the month of October. Other locations in the Seattle NWS coverage area actually finished the month above normal. All locations did finish well above normal for temperature readings. Therefore, a little bit of a mixed signal has 'muddied' the waters as to how or if El Nino is affecting this region.

Boulder CO did not experience any snow storm greater than 12" for October. In fact, no measurable snow was recorded during the month, which is not unusual. But, during some El Nino events, generous snowfall has been a nice predictor as to how El Nino may affect the upcoming winter. So, again, not much of a signal yet.

I am still awaiting to see additional hints about El Nino for the month of November. I will be sharing those with you in a future post. But for right now, I am not expecting El Nino to affect our winter right away. In fact we may not see any impacts until later in the winter, like February. Does this mean February will be a dry and warm month? Or severe weather? How about a big snow event? All of these may be possible for that month.

Otherwise, the data so far is suggesting to expect things to go as planned without El Nino's effects for the first part of the winter.

I will be updating the trends each month for the rest of the winter. Therefore, instead of putting out a seasonal forecast this year since analogs are not going to be helpful anyway, I will be focusing on how the winter is progressing each month versus the El Nino Handprint for U.S. winter.


Thursday, November 5, 2015


Severe weather with summer foliage is now over. Yes, some trees are still carrying much foliage. However, most trees are thinning enough that strong to severe thunderstorms affect them a little bit differently.

During late spring and summer, my SQUALCON Index made concessions for wind damage to trees and limbs even when thunderstorm or non-thunderstorm winds would not reach severe criteria greater than 58 mph.

The STORMCON Index is a similar program I am using to assess the possibility of wind damage during the months of November through April. I will rank the numbers similarly to the SPC's relatively new convective outlook definitions applying to the risk of severe thunderstorms.  Yet, it's just a little bit different.

For example, Arkansas is within a broad shading of 'slight' risk for severe weather. However, I have an area of western and central Arkansas in a high-end enhanced risk for wind damage.

For Kentucky, primarily along and west of Interstate 75, I have this region assigned to a slight risk, whereas SPC has slight risk confined to western Kentucky. I base my numbers on the potential for tree and limb damage resulting from strong to severe thunderstorm or non-thunderstorm winds.


MikJournal Monday 02/25/2019...Drying Out

What a wet pattern we have been enduring. Will we finally dry out? Welcome to another installment of MikJournal Monday, the 25th of February...