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WHERE'S WINTER HONEY?....


Back in the fall I said on more than one occasion that I thought this winter would be a tough one, colder than normal with at least average snowfall. There's still a long way to go but if we don't see the pattern flip to what I envisioned by mid-January I'm going to be eating some crow.

The way I see it, the signs are in place for the colder look I was expecting so I will give it one more try before I throw in the towel. Here's what I seeing going forward.

First and foremost, there's nothing cold about the next 10 days. Readings will continue mild as we finally transition out of a friendly Madden Julien Oscillation cycle. So let's begin with the MJO and its evolution beyond January 10th. Here's what the EURO is forecasting. A good 2 weeks in phases 8 and 1 before it heads into the null phase.

Phase 8 and 1 during January have cold temperature analogs that look like this.

To me it appears we are moving in that direction as pressures are rising in Australia and lowering to the east around Tahiti. That trend is expected to continue. That limits convection in the Indian Ocean. The implications are that the Southern Oscillation Index lowers and for the first time in awhile it's negative, coming in at -9.42 Wednesday. The daily average for the whole month of December was a plus 9.14.

In the graphic below you can see the daily positives for the month of December. Only 2 days had negative SOI values. We all know what that produced, a mild month...6 degrees above normal in Cedar Rapids!

I think the move to a negative SOI is an important trend to watch. Back in November when the index averaged near zero it brought cold and snow to the Midwest.

Three other big drivers pointing towards colder weather in mid-January are the Arctic Oscillation (AO), the Eastern Pacific Oscillation (EPO), and the North Atlantic Oscillation (AO). All 3 are shown trending into negative phases which translates to colder temperatures. You can see what the index's are showing through mid February and what the negative phase of each teleconnection typically brings for weather.

The negative AO

The negative EPO

The negative NAO.

Another factor to consider is the stratospheric warming which continues to evolve in the Arctic. As that matures it should produce the blocking necessary to force cold air southward. You can see the strat warming near the pole January 10th.

I just ticked off a bunch of reasons why I think winter is far from over and getting ready to take a shot towards the middle of the month. The evidence is strong and that's the way to make a case. If it doesn't work out at least I did my homework on solid fundamentals. Then I can formally admit I'm wrong and throw in the towel on winter. All I'm asking for is 2 more weeks. Roll weather...TS

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© 2020 Terry Swails