Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Lack of Cold & Snow...

As we head into middle December, only the Great Lakes are seeing real Winter snow & cold.  Most of the Rockies have seen very little snow with the major ski areas having to use their snow making equipment to open some slopes.   Resorts (Aspen, Vail, Breckenridge, Keystone, Telluride) that normally have plenty of snow have little, if any.  The current pattern of western ridge & eastern trough makes the West dry & milder with the East colder.  This pattern also favors a northern storm track that brings fast moving ‘clippers” with little snow coming out of Canada to the Great Lakes.   The really big snow storms form when the Arctic air meets an active southern storm track.   We had a brief taste of that across the South last week, but the next 7-10 days have no indications of a repeat.  However, Christmas week hints that there could be another snowstorm moving out from the Rockies heading towards the Ohio Valley.  That would keep us on the warmer side with only rain here.   It’s gonna take a major pattern flip to change the current set up.   For me, this is as cold as I like it.   I can handle 30s & 40s at night with 50s & 60s during the day.  

 

Back in my early broadcasting days in Tampa, I remember how cold the Winter temperatures coming out of western Canada were.  30-40 below zero were common behind strong cold fronts with wind chills making it deadly to be outside. Big Piney, WY was one of the coldest locations until that site was curtailed during budget cuts.    No such cold is around this year with the exception of northern & eastern Canada where it’s 20-30 below tonight.  Even Alaska has stay away from the below zero cold.   My experience tells me when Alaska gets the super cold, watch out lower 48 as that air has to go somewhere sometimes all the way down through Texas into northern Mexico.  With the super cold restricted to eastern Canada, it’s less likely we’ll see any Arctic outbreak here UNLESS a deep POLAR VORTEX develops over the Great Lakes & Southeast.   Not complaining here, just watching to see if this Winter will kick into high gear as we head into the new year.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Missed the Snow...But There Could be More?

OK, I was going to post on Friday as I sat by the pool overlooking  Banderas Bay in Puerto Vallarta, but I didn’t want to celebrate my good fortune of being out of town (really the country) during our coldest week of the season so far.    I saw the pictures & the videos of folks enjoying the white stuff and that was good enough for me.   Now I want it to warm up again so we can get back to golfing & fishing.  However, watching David tonight explain more fronts are coming, it appears sweaters & jackets will be needed for most of this week.  The current pattern is a old one with a west coast ridge and east coast trough.  What I’m not seeing is any super cold except way up in central Canada.  However,  if this upper pattern lingers, we’re likely to see some of that Arctic chill remain over most of the east and south through Christmas.   Could that mean another opportunity for snow?  Maybe.  But we would need to see the cold build deeper into the South with a Gulf low developing spreading moisture back over the surface cold.     Way too soon to say that will happen, but Mother Nature often has a way of repeating herself.   Think how often we’ve seen back to back hurricanes?  As the song says…”I’m dreaming of a White Christmas.”  Stay tuned!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Old Man Winter Finally Rolling...

Gosh, it’s hard to believe it’s coming up on 9 years ago(2008) when I had rotator cuff surgery.  The reason I remember the year so well is the day before surgery (Dec. 8th) New Orleans had a snow “storm” that blanketed the city with 1-2”  making for some terrific winter weather scenery.  We have entered the time of the year where snow is sometimes possible, but freezes are more likely.    The well-advertised Arctic Blast is on schedule and will tumble temperatures from near 80+ tomorrow into the 40s in less than 24 hours.   A secondary cold surge arrives late Thursday keeping us in the chill through the weekend.  Freezes are likely on the North Shore and away from Lake P. south for Friday through Sunday mornings.    Get your sweaters and heavy coats ready as you’ll need them for several days.  Hopefully we’ll see some much needed rain with the front late Tuesday and again behind the front late Wednesday into Thursday.   This will be the most nasty weather for us in a long time.   Long term, the cold will likely linger over the eastern states as the upper trough is expected to lock in.  This pattern of an upper ridge over the west and a trough over the east could last through Christmas into January.   Who knows, one of these years everything will line up just right and we’ll have another one of those Sugar Bowl snowstorms like back in 1962, or was it 1963?   I remember watching on TV up in Indiana showing how the snow was piled high up around the field at the old Tulane stadium.  Being so young (14), I had no clue that snow was rare for the deep South.  Being from outside Chicago, I was brought up to believe it was “normal” for it to be cold and snowy in Winter.  That’s why I live south.  19 degrees right now in Denver?   Burrr!   I’m like the “special man”…let ‘em have it!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Hurricane Season 2017 Ends...

While the “Fat Lady” sang for us way back in mid-October, the official end of this hurricane season is tonight at midnight.   It was a very active season, even more so than predicted as above normal SST (sea surface Tenps) coupled with the lack of El Nino led to 8 major hurricanes.   Fortunately, LA/MS were spared any major damage, but what happened in Texas, South Florida, Puerto Rico & the Virgin Islands should send up the red flag waring us of future potential impacts down the road.  We know it’s not a matter of IF, but rather WHEN.  Our location on the central Gulf coast places us in the bullseye for storm activity.   You can take steps (install shutters, install hurricane resistant glass, install hurricane clips & straps)to mitigate future damages, but they all cost money.  Either you pay before the storm or you’ll pay afterwards as insurance companies instituted “hurricane deductibles”  that’ll cost you between 2-5% out of pocket.  If it were me (and I have), I’d find ways to make my home more hurricane resistant during the six months leading up to next year.

 

I had a friend tell me that it seems what used to happen in October is now happening in November.  The start of winter cold appears to be delayed by 4-6 weeks.  Since I hate the cold, I have no problem with that as what we have now is as cold as I like… perhaps another 10-15 degrees colder, but no more.     Well, it looks like that is coming by the second week in December as a deep trough will dive over the Great Lakes (Polar Vortex!) forcing the Arctic chill way down to the Gulf coast.  After being 80+ early next week, we could see highs a week from tomorrow stay in the 40s!   Burrrr!   But I promised I wouldn’t whine and so I won’t.   Suck it up Breckster and put on the cold weather gear…in your house!   If I didn’t have to walk the dog, I’d be fine.    But before the chill will come temperatures way too warm for early December.   The real question will be…Will the cold last for 2,3,4+ weeks or more?  Or we just have several days before we warm back up?   My thinking is it’ll last for several weeks putting us all in the Christmas Spirit.   I’m hearing the song already…”It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas everywhere we go”.  Hang in there all you cold air freaks.  It’s coming next week.   Stay tuned!