So how do you like spring time in the middle of winter? Not much fun in my book, but it is what it is, so we might as well make the best of it. Even though we haven't had snow here, it's still better than last winter.
Starting tomorrow, the rain will be returning to our area and much of the southeast as one system after the other begins their journey across the US. Enjoy the weekend's nice spring like weather, because by late Sunday the next system is advancing toward the southeast and bringing lots of rain with it. We are possibly looking at 2-5" of rainfall over the next seven days, which would go a long way toward reducing the drought here in Georgia. Currently, 12 percent of the state is in an Exceptional drought (D4) while 44 percent is in an Extreme drought (D3). Most areas of Georgia "only" need around 3-9" of rainfall to break the drought, and this period of rainfall should go a long way toward reducing the persistent drought that has been hanging on for almost a year. The recent rains have left the soils in the northern 1/3 of Georgia very saturated, so one thing we'll have to keep an eye on is our Flash Flood Guidance for excessive rainfall and runoff. Due to the already saturated soils, much of the rain that will fall will runoff into our creeks, streams, and rivers and potentially cause some flash flooding issues for some people. with the rain, we won't be seeing much sunshine next week due to a southwest upper level flow that will bring a steady stream of clouds and moisture our way.
Things appear to get interesting toward the end of next week as the Euro tries to develop a cut-off low in the southwest corner of the country. Right now the GFS hasn't caught on so we'll have to wait to see how this plays out. Cut-off lows are how we get our best snows here in Atlanta, and this is the time of year that they pick up, so this will be a very interesting system to watch.
Robert Gamble, the meteorologist at WXSouth, had the following to say about this winter so far:
"There’s simply no denying that we have been living in some incredibly warm times over the last 24 months or so here in the United States. But remember weather comes and goes in cycles, and I’m not going to attribute anything cold or warm, storm or lack of, to Global Warming …that’s another story. Remember we are also coming off of back-to-back cold Winters overall, very cold ones…recall the Winters of 2009/10 and 2010/11? BRRRRRR. Needless to say, the atmosphere has flipped and done the exact opposite right after that last cold Winter, and we've been roasting at record levels ever since, save a slightly below month here or there. But only here in the lower 48 states is this the case…when you look around the Northern Hemisphere over the last 3 Winters now, all three have been stone cold in central (sometimes western ) Europe, Asia and Russia. The last 2 Winters now also include very cold for most of Canada and Alaska. So that leaves the lower 48 states as the only remaining really “hot spot”. For most of northern China, Russia and central Europe, these 2 back to back Winters now fall into the extreme category. This makes sense, since it’s unlikely that the entire Northern Hemisphere can be all cold. Nature works in balance, and since those areas are extremely cold relative to their normal's, most likely some region will have to counterbalance that, and in this case, the lower 48 states is doing the job. We are the ones still having the extremely warm weather, but that has eased some recently."
This hasn't exactly been the easiest winter to forecast due to things not occurring exactly as they have been predicted. I know you probably think I'm crazy when I show you all the maps and charts and tell you cold air is coming and... nothing. It really isn't me, I promise. All the meteorologist have had the same issue, the models have really been off in their accuracy this winter. Robert had this to say about how the teleconnection indices have done (or how they HAVEN'T done) this winter.
"So far, the indices such as AO and NAO and PDO haven’t been exactly lining up with what’s actually occurring, at least here in the eastern and southeastern US so far this Winter. It’s been an extremely unusual case, especially considering how often and how strong the negative AO has been at times. Recall the study I have on negative AO periods and how almost always, when there is a 3 month negative consecutive period, vast regions of the Southeast from MS/AL/TN/NorthGA/SC/NC/VA/KY end up with above average snowfall. So far, this hasn’t happened. As it turns out, this is one of those rare instances where the negative AO has been working with a very strong negative PDO to send almost all the cold air to the other side of the globe. However, a trough has remained put in Canada, and recently enough cold has come into the Plains and Northeast to mute the above normal temp effects. Usually, a negative AO is accompanied many times with negative NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation) but in this season’s case, all the neg. NAO periods have been more east based, not west based. All of the blocks this Winter have occurred in northern and eastern Greenland, not southern Greenland and eastern Canada/Baffin Island. This combined with a -PDO regime has fought off any sustained cold in the central to eastern US, and especially so for the Southeast."
So as you can see, it's been a very trying winter for weather forecast. I would tell you the models are showing colder than normal for the 2nd half of February, but if you are like me, I'll believe it when I see it.
The new State of The Climate for 2012 has been released, if you're reading this you can get a preview of my next blog post here, but here is a very brief summary.
"In 2012, the contiguous United States (CONUS) average annual temperature of 55.3°F was 3.2°F above the 20th century average, and was the warmest year in the 1895-2012 period of record for the nation. The 2012 annual temperature was 1.0°F warmer than the previous record warm year of 1998. Since 1895, the CONUS has observed a long-term temperature increase of about 0.13°F per decade. Precipitation averaged across the CONUS in 2012 was 26.57 inches, which is 2.57 inches below the 20th century average. Precipitation totals in 2012 ranked as the 15th driest year on record. Over the 118-year period of record, precipitation across the CONUS has increased at a rate of about 0.16 inch per decade."
Finally, just a plug for my friend Robert Gamble. Robert has got to be one of the finest and most knowledgeable meteorologist for southeast weather anywhere. I use his guidance a lot and I always trust his expertise for our area. If you have any need for weather related information for, business, insurance claims, or just for personal information, Robert is the person to talk to.
"WxSouth Commercial saves your company money. We arm you with the data you need to make sound business decisions. With our expert short and long range outlooks, your commerce will be prepared, which could help you minimize loss and protect assets. We also provide specific data on natural events that could have an impact on your industry." Please visit http://www.wxsouth.com for more information.
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