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IS THE WRITING ON THE WALL


For most of the Midwest, there's still a couple more months to go before the snow season wraps up for another season.That means there is some time for places that are short on snow to catch up. However remote the chances, I never say never.

One of the things that does give me some hope is the fact we are still in a weak La Nina. Believe it or not, the 2016-'17 snow season in the Midwest is close to correlating with what's expected of La Nina conditions the first half of a winter (DJF). The lions share of the above normal snow usually falls in the upper Midwest as you can see in the blue shades below. Many other parts are near to below normal.

Later in the winter (JFM) as the physical drivers change, the positive departures shift south and above normal snows fall in most of the Midwest except Illinois...sorry my snow friends to the east.

Take a look below where we are with snowfall anomalies and how that compares to the DJF anomalies I showed you above. Northern Iowa and southern Minnesota are bucking the odds but the rest of the region is on par with what's expected.

Of course, I'll be the first to tell you averages are made up of extremes and the chances of this winter catching up (or even getting close to the averages) are slim and none. However, it gives me hope (small as it is) that at some point we might catch a snowstorm or two before the game is over.

Especially when I see where the MJO is headed and where some key teleconnections are forecast to go.

In two weeks the MJO is shown cutting through phase 1 which correlates to Midwest cold in mid-February. That's all fine and dandy but what could help make this a more prolonged period of chill is what the AO (Arctic Oscillation) and the NAO ( North Atlantic Oscillation) are forecast to do. Both are headed towards negative phases in a winter that both have spent in positive territory. Take a look.

I do want to say, this has been a very challenging winter for long range forecasts. I've had my hands full and missed on the magnitude of a couple of cold spells that didn't materialize. That's right, I do make mistakes and I admit them. Many of the drivers that usually work as indicators have just not held water. We'll see how it goes in a couple of weeks but there's certainly nothing too tough until then. Above normal temperatures will rule continue to rule the Midwest once we get past a short but noticeable cool-down Wednesday and Thursday.

Before I let you go, just wanted to show you an interesting graphic I came upon from the Iowa Mesonet. It depicts the number of days at weather service offices since the last winter storm warning was issued.

There are places from Ohio to Kansas and back to Texas where it has been 1 to 2 years since a winter storm warning was issued. (Heck, its been 52 days in most of my area)! That pretty much tells you all you need to know about the winter's the past couple of years. All I can say is the writing may be on the wall but the fat lady has not yet sung...she's just warming up. OK, that's a wrap. Ride low and roll weather...TS

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© 2020 Terry Swails