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Our weather the next few days has a very non-confrontational theme to it, one that I would classify as reflective of peace and quiet. This implies some good November weather into early next week (and likely beyond). No doubt some of this is tied to the El Nino which has blossomed the past few months. Compare sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific this year to last year. There's definitely a flip from the cool waters of La Nina to the warmth of this years El Nino.

This years El Nino

Last years La Nina

At least for now and the first 2-3 weeks of November, that warm water appears to help drive a zonal pattern comprised of westerly flow off the Pacific.

That limits cold air and brings us back into the 60s for a day or two. Here's what the 8-14 day temperature outlook from CPC is indicating.

The EURO meteogram shows some attractive looking temperatures for November. Three days in the 60s around the Quad Cities between now and November 8th.

That westerly flow also limits moisture and precipitation should be below normal the next 2 weeks.

The EURO clearly points that potential out by the dryness in its 10 day rainfall departures, even more so than CPC (which makes sense to me).

So at least for now, peace and quiet rules the Midwest weather pattern due in large part to El Nino. However, what happens down the road and much of winter will be tied to the type of El Nino that evolves. El Nino's are not all created equal. There's one variety called Modoki, (that's Japanese for similar but different). Why is it different? Because the warmest water is centered in the central tropical Pacific, a region defined as 3.4. Others, where the warmth is more uniform or centered near the South American coast close to Peru or Ecuador (region 1+2), produce different weather results across North America . It's all tied to convection, feedback, and how that aligns the storm track.

Below you can see the various zones the Nino is measured in across the tropical Pacific.

You can also see the sea surface temperature anomalies associated with the more traditional brand of El Nino that typically brings a mild Midwest winter with below normal snowfall.

Here you can see the Modoki El Nino with the warmest waters well to the west in region 3.4

Sea surface temperatures below clearly show we are not there yet as far as a Modoki event is concerned. However, cooling has begun just off the South America coast with the warmest waters shifting slowly west.

Several models do suggest this trend continues into winter. The Japanese model (JMA) in January shows sea surface temperatures in 3.4 at 2.12 C

  1. the same time further east in region 1+2 in January, the temperature is significantly cooler at 1.4 C and steadily falling.

At least on the JMA, this strongly implies sea surface temperatures are trending towards Modoki.

Instead of the traditional blow torch El Nino that is common, the JMA at 500mb with its Modoki like input really cranks up a west coast ridge that delivers cold air out of Canada instead of mild air off the Pacific. Big difference!

It's January temperatures show cold over the eastern 2/3rd of the nation.

Sea level pressure is higher over Alaska and NW Canada. It's the position of that high pressure that allows the jet to deliver cold in the JMA's depiction of January.

The EURO has shown a similar solution. New data from it will be out shortly.

The point of this exercise is not to say this is going to be a rip roaring winter. Rather, it is to point out that just because we have a strong El Nino, it doesn't mean we are going to have a mild and snow free winter. This could go another way especially if the MJO gains amplitude and remains in key areas of the western hemisphere and Indian Ocean much of winter. A sudden stratospheric warming that is forecast could also be a player. This all remains to be resolved. It's not a slam dunk and we'll see where we are heading into December. This soup needs to simmer. So much drama! Roll weather...TS



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