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Saturday, December 20

SANTABOMB...

Written by: Stacey Pensgen

#Santabomb. That's what it's being dubbed in the Social Media world. It'll be a strong storm, no doubt. But for snow lovers (us channel 8 mets included), this won't be "the one." It's looking more and more like it'll be a wind event for us, with *some* snow through Christmas. A lot of mild air is being drawn in ahead of the storm, and much colder air drawn in behind. The problem, as has been the case for the last few days, is the biggest slug of moisture is with the warm air. The dominant low will be the Great Lakes low, keeping us too warm for big snow. This shouldn't be a huge surprise, as signs have been pointing toward this, and many of us have been "chatting" (aka complaining) about it. I would still say we will see some snow on Christmas day, but not as much as many have been hoping for. Not giving up or throwing in the towel, just being real! I have to say this - still 4-5 days away...some time for change? Maybe? One can hope, right?

50 comments:

  1. Towel has been thrown!

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  2. So can we talk about what might happen after this storm? Or will someone have to file bankruptcy after playing the heating oil market after reading it?

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  3. Chris now in PenfieldDecember 20, 2014 at 9:09 PM

    Frankly, at times, I wonder if this is going to be one of these winters where we are chasing the ever elusive "pattern change". I then remember that there so many factors that favor at least a normal winter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can say with 99.999999 percent confidence that it won't be one of those winters. It's been known for awhile that the nation will turn colder shortly after Christmas.

      Delete
    2. Chris now in PenfieldDecember 21, 2014 at 12:03 PM

      I hear ya, CCCCCCCCCCCCC. 2011-12 gave me faux PTSD. There was ALWAYS a pattern shift just beyond the ten-day…I remember in mid-Feb. there was a HUMUNGOUS SSW event that I was convinced (and, therefore, told everyone) would drop the gauntlet for the remaining 5-6 weeks of winter. I was certain we were gonna get clobbered to make up for what was essentially a snowless winter to that point. Never materialized. In hindsight, my emotion got the best of me and I should have predicted that it wasn't going to happen because none of the teleconnections were aligned to deliver it here. It pounded AK that year, if I recall.

      Delete
  4. This storm is DOA just look at the latest GFS it is getting worse.

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  5. The media overdoes everything. Santa bomb. Give me a break. It looks to get colder New Years week, but will it come with snow.

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  6. I decided to look at some climatology data to figure what past winters this one looks like so far. The data made me a little sad.

    To date we are at 21" for the season, around 9" in Nov and 12" in December. Here were some similar looking years.

    1945/46, we had 22" in Nov/Dec and ended at 50" for the season
    1953/54, 22" Nov/Dec and ended at 78"
    1962/63 20" Nov/Dec and ended at 76".

    Of the 18 winters I looked at with between 21"-28" for Nov and Dec, only 4 of those years exceeded 100" and the most common total snowfall for the season was in the 70's" range.

    Assuming we don't get much snow by 12/31, historically speaking, there isn't much support for a snowy winter.

    Hoping for a pattern change and a good snowfall by 12/31.

    It could still be a good winter, even with below average snowfall, if we get a few quality storms in Jan and Feb.

    Andy

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  7. Will be a real disappointing winter for snow lovers. This will be one of those 80 inch winter with average cold.

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    Replies
    1. I could see it being decent for storm weenies and maddening for snow pack maniacs. Seems like we are going to be at the mercy of the pacific ocean more often than not. A decent snow storm or two that is difficult to keep on the ground due to temperature swings. Fair number of storms with p-type issues as well.

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  8. 12z GFS is horrible this is done deal.com

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  9. In the face of the doom-and-gloom talk, it's important to note that the pattern going forward looks to remain active right through the middle of January, with a cold NW flow beyond that point (a good deal later than it looked initially). We're also still on track to turn colder shortly after Christmas, and that look should hang around for awhile. I'd be shocked if we didn't get at least one significant snowfall between now and mid January. December was expected by most seasonal forecasters to be a dud (as El Nino Decembers usually are), but we got an extra dose of bad luck by smacking head first into a flaccid zonal flow pattern as well. If not for that then we might've gotten more than one fortunate snowfall since the start of the month. Otherwise the cold/snowy outlooks are still very much on track, perhaps having taken somewhat of a hit thanks to December crapping the bed a bit harder than expected. I can easily see this winter rallying to be a good one for us on the whole if January pans out. If signs build that it won't (and at this point there are no such signs), then we can re-assess the seasonal outlooks.

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  10. So CCCC this one is done officially and we will have a wet Christmas?

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    Replies
    1. After viewing the past several model runs, I honestly don't know what to expect anymore -_-

      Delete
    2. Chris now in PenfieldDecember 21, 2014 at 12:07 PM

      I'm not C4, but it looks to be 80% wet with wind, and some flurries as it pulls away. The hope for any wrap-around lake effect appears to be off the table.

      Delete
  11. Keep in mind that high wind, which has been the primary hazard from the very beginning, can still create difficult travel. As of now the NWS is talking about high wind still being a possibility for later on Christmas Eve.

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  12. 00z NAM keeps a miniscule bit of white Christmas hope alive.

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  13. Merry Christmas to all the bloggers and Mets.

    I know most of us, including me, are very dissappointed at our wet and green Christmas we will have this year, but there is nothing we can do about it except pray for a miracle. Hopefully things will change starting next week for us winter lovers. We will see.

    Have a very Blessed Christmas everyone.

    Snowdog

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  14. Did someone say Nino years start off slow? I could see some melt downs by January 5th. if we don't get some action.

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  15. Please give me the strength to stay off the op. GFS roller coaster. It's good! It's bad! It's good again!

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  16. 12z Euro not good. We are done get the umbrellas out and start singing I am dreaming of a wet Christmas.

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  17. Do not the models show a possible storm for the weekend here? Surprised the great CCCC has not mentioned this?

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  18. Check out the NWS Forecast Discussion. Nothing still carved in stone yet with quotes like this.

    Tues night-Thurs
    THE WARMEST TEMPERATURES PROBABLY ON CHRISTMAS EVE DURING THE
    EVENING HOURS.
    THERE WILL BE SEVERAL CHANCES FOR RAIN SHOWERS LEADING UP TO THE HOLIDAY...WITH A TRANSITION TO SNOW SHOWERS ON CHRISTMAS DAY BUT LITTLE ACCUMULATION.
    IT STILL APPEARS THE PRIMARY IMPACT OF THIS SYSTEM WILL BE STRONG WINDS LATE WEDNESDAY NIGHT THROUGH CHRISTMAS DAY.
    THE STEADIEST RAIN WILL MOVE IN LATE TUESDAY NIGHT AND SPREAD
    ACROSS THE REGION WEDNESDAY MORNING.
    ***THERE CONTINUES TO BE A LARGE SPREAD IN MODEL GUIDANCE***

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  19. The weekend system will cut west again warming us up. Same as this one.

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  20. Yeah.. not even concerned about Christmas storm or the one directly after. They are hot garbage for anyone looking for snow in large quantities.

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  21. FROM KW: NOT SURE WHAT HE SEES

    We may not get much if any snow on Christmas, but two potential snow systems are lurking in the days after leading up to New Year's.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He sees the Euro and 12z Gfs

      Delete
  22. Here's what KW is seeing...storm potential #1:
    http://www.tropicaltidbits.com/analysis/models/ecmwf/2014122212/ecmwf_T850_eus_7.png
    http://www.tropicaltidbits.com/analysis/models/ecmwf/2014122212/ecmwf_T850_eus_8.png

    And storm potential #2:
    http://www.tropicaltidbits.com/analysis/models/ecmwf/2014122212/ecmwf_T850_eus_9.png
    http://www.tropicaltidbits.com/analysis/models/ecmwf/2014122212/ecmwf_T850_eus_10.png

    Now you'll notice that neither one of them is terribly impressive, especially not the second one which is more of a frontal wave. But from what I've seen the first system manages to lay down a 6-8 inch snowfall across the region per the Euro. Obviously we can't take that specific outcome to heart at this range, but it has the best potential of any system since the one from a few weeks ago. Still an active pattern on tap, but at no point did it ever resemble a big storm pattern (for those who might've been erroneously seeing it that way). As a matter of fact, the pattern going through at least the first week of January looks more like a La Nina than anything, with some semblance of a southeast ridge forming with a continuing positive NAO and a parade of disturbances. Remain calm however, this will be happening with a decent negative EPO ridge in place and the location of the positive NAO anomaly will keep cold air close by, so we still aren't heading for a disaster pattern anytime soon. However, consistent deep winter conditions (i.e. very cold temps and consistent snow lasting for several weeks) will probably hold off until a legitimate SSW occurs, which is still a very high probability going forward. So the story is this: colder next week with numerous chances for snow, with the cold perhaps relenting to around average levels the following week (but still cold given our climo temps). The BSR argues for a continuing active pattern through mid January. Essentially the exact same look we've had going for awhile, but with a few new details thrown in.

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    Replies
    1. I want to clarify that last sentence: I'm referring to how the ensemble forecasts have looked for awhile, NOT the recent ongoing pattern.

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    2. Good cause I was going to say the recent pattern has been rancid. Average cold and snow is better than cold rain any day of the week. Hope it works out that way

      Delete
  23. Donsutherland over on the Americanwx message board just scared my pants off on the main page.. wondering aloud if this winter will be similar to 91-92. An absolute nightmare for any snow lover. I'm going to go wash my eyeballs and scrub my brain and hope it isn't so.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. http://www.erh.noaa.gov/buf/climate/roc_snow90s.htm
      http://www.erh.noaa.gov/buf/f6/rocMar92.html

      Are you trolling right now? If 110 inches of snow + a big storm in March is your idea of "an absolute nightmare for any snow lover" then our legitimately un-snowy winters must be literal hell on Earth for you :P

      Anyway I read that same post just now, he seemed far more concerned about the prospects of a sustained negative AO than he did about a cold winter. He even deliberately stated that he still favors a cold winter over a warm one. And that doesn't even get into the mitigating factors for the concerns he brought up, namely the following:

      -The current strongly negative QBO regime stands a high chance of weakening rapidly starting fairly soon. These regimes usually last about 6 months, and we are currently on month #6. Once weakening does begin to occur at some point then the steroidal Pacific jet should calm down substantially.
      -1991-92 featured a strong El Nino, which favored a warm winter right off the bat. This winter is on track to feature a weak El Nino, which (less reliably) favors a colder winter. Don Sutherland actually brought this up towards the end of his post as a potential caveat.
      -Siberian snow cover extent and advancement were both paltry during October of 1991, which probably contributed to a lack of any SSW the following winter and thus no sustained negative AO. I'll need to try and dig up some past values for polar stratosphere temps since this is just an educated guess on my part, although I feel pretty secure in my assumption. This October featured near record values for both snow cover extent and advancement, which still strongly favors a SSW and a sustained negative AO at some point.

      Also don't forget that last winter relied almost exclusively on a deeply negative EPO with no help whatsoever from anything else, so if we get one of those then we are still in business. Oh wait...
      ftp://ftp.cdc.noaa.gov/Public/gbates/reforecast2/teleconn/4panel.png

      In short, there is still no real reason to be having nightmares about a mild winter. Kindly continue along the Aaron Rodgers path to salvation.

      Delete
    2. I'm wrong more often than not..but I don't troll.

      Delete
  24. Caledonia,
    You must mean 90-91 where we had 68" that season. 91-92 we had 110."

    Just looking at our Nov and Dec snowfall, this season is most closely looking like the following:
    1945/46, we had 22" in Nov/Dec and ended at 50" for the season
    1953/54, 22" Nov/Dec and ended at 78"
    1962/63 20" Nov/Dec and ended at 76

    I'm not going to make my prediction for total season snowfall for another week, but if I were to do so today then I'd say 75"-85".

    I've been right within 10" the last 2 years in a row using my technique and man would I love to be wrong if that's the number. I love the snow!

    Andy

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    Replies
    1. He used 91-92 in his write up and I didn't bother checking to see what it resulted in for us. I just remember an early 90's winter that was mind numbing boring.. the whole winter being what we have had the last few weeks. Just gray and dark and not really warm or cold..just blah to infinity. I may be thinking of 90-91. I do remember the only meaningful snow all year was in mid March.

      Delete
  25. If we only get 75"- 85" Scott will be way off. He said 110-130".

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  26. It kind of goes without saying that if we finish December an entire foot shy of the average value then we stand a greater chance of getting below average winter snowfall, because the JFM period will need to do some work to get us back to average for the season. Not like we're necessarily done getting snow this month either, we'll have a few more non-negligible chances between now and New Years Day.

    I must say that the look to the future pattern today looks so much like last winter. Big time EPO ridge popping in the Pacific, PV anomaly dropping south, absolutely no help from anything else yet we still drop into the freezer for at least a week. I can see an active northern stream pattern setting up after NYD if today's look is able to hold.

    By the way, our friend Don Sutherland just posted the following after referencing the wildly fluctuating CFS model output:
    "Given that uncertainty, there's really little reason for me to conclude that a 1991-92-type nightmare is the most likely scenario."

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  27. Caledonia, I hate winters like that, mind numbing boring is a good descriptor. Lets hope we're not in for that!

    Yes Snowdog, 75"-85" would be way off from Scott's number, and I really want MINE to be wrong. I have the benefit of seeing how Nov & December go before I make my prediction whereas Scott gave his very early on.

    My method isn't that complicated other than looking at monthly snowfall totals for the last 74 winters. While Nov is not a great predictor one way or another for the entire winter, Nov & Dec together are rather telling.

    If I look at the last 74 winters, we've had total of 29 winters with 22" or less for Nov & Dec combined. Of those, here is what the seasonal snowfall tally looked like:

    5> 100"
    0 w/ 90"-99"
    5 w/ 80"-89"
    7 w/ 70"-79"
    4 w/60"-69"
    5 w/ 50"-59"
    3 w/ 40"-49"

    I really hope I'm wrong and mother nature pulls of a blockbuster Jan and Feb, perhaps like 1957/58 with 102" or 2004/2005 with 78".

    Andy

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    Replies
    1. Don't forget 1965-66, which had a whopping 14 inches combined in NOV/DEC including just 6 in DEC. Then January rolled in and went ballistic with snow and cold. I've seen a few references to that season as a potential analog, but I've also seen 1986-87 referenced as well. That season was a total shit sandwich where nothing of note happened. Otherwise I really have no expectations for snowfall currently, I'd like to at least finish this month before making even a nebulous attempt at a guess.

      Delete
    2. yes 65-66 was another season that caught my eye as being nice!
      100" in Jan/Feb would suit me just fine like 57/58 :)

      Andy

      Delete
  28. I'd take a January 1994 after a pedestrian November and December 1993 as well..

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  29. How about a question? What is driving the pattern? Is it just chaos or can something like the MJO be pointed out? Why would we get an EPO ridge on the west coast and such a positive NAO?

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    Replies
    1. The MJO won't start driving the pattern again until after the first week of January at the earliest, and even then its impact might be mitigated if the EPO remains pronounced enough. I'm not entirely sure what's promoting the negative EPO, perhaps it's the recent warming in the stratosphere above Eurasia or maybe it's something else entirely. But I can tell you that the positive NAO is probably being influenced heavily by the strong Pacific jet flow. It's keeping away any semblance of north Atlantic blocking, such a thing can't form if the whole atmosphere across that region is zipping along like a crack addict on the interstate. We'll need to monitor the state of the Pacific jet going forward, only once it weakens will a blocky regime become more likely to develop.

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  30. Good sweet lord the models today just want to dump the whole arctic down into North America next week. Pretty nice storm around the 29th on the Euro and its ensembles too, although it seems to be the most enthused model suite at the moment. The icebox cometh beyond that point no matter what happens with any storm though.

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  31. CCCC when you say icebox and arctic what temps are we talking?

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  32. And through all of this, a High Wind Warning is now in effect for gusts up to 65 mph.

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  33. Can you say polar votex.

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  34. Chris now in PenfieldDecember 23, 2014 at 5:46 PM

    16(C)/4 … I am glad you brought up the QBO. That thing is fiercely negative, which is driving the Pacific jet to be rippin' at 200 mph , soaking the west coast and not allowing anything but a minor ripple in the polar jet. THAT is what is driving our weather. No way a -NAO can develop with the Pacific Jet roaring like that.

    I am a little nervous that next week's predicted polar plunge is dependent upon the QBO weakening at the end of its six month reign of terror. Or, am I missing something?

    ReplyDelete

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