Posted by: rockster11 | October 5, 2011

Winter 2011-2012 Mother Nature turns Naaaaasty

Hello everyone!!! It is that time again.. It’s the time when kid’s wonder if they will have school, it’s the time when parents will wonder if snow or ice will force them to make decisions on sporting events, it’s that time again when everyone wonders how much their heating bills will be….. yes, it is approaching that time again…. Winter Time!!! Before I get into what I “think” will happen I need to make a few things clear.

1. I have taken no schooling for meterology, Ever since I was 15 I have been studying the field, but unfortunately I missed the train and it passed me by. I have been blessed beyond belief to have learned what I have, but believe me there is still a TON of info that I need to learn.

2. Every winter forecast you will see is nothing more than a guess. Although we have numerous tools at our disposal to “help” us in determining what will happen down the road, nothing is ever guaranteed.. So if you see a winter forecast saying that this is what WILL HAPPEN you can chuck it out in the garbage… Nobody knows. 🙂

So without further delay, let’s get started shall we!!?

Canada: I thought I would start this years forecast with a briefing on our neighbors to the north…. Without Canada, there would be no hoosier winter. Without Canada the tremendous push of multiple troughs of colder air would not take place… Without Canada Winter would be pretty boring as we would be stuck in a constant state of dull, non exciting weather patterns.. Canada not only produces our Cold air source, but it also produces what I believe will be the biggest story of this winter.. Alberta Clippers.. I will get into Clippers much later in this entry lets focus on what is “most likely” going to drive our weather this year shall we??

LA NINA: Well she is back for the second year in a row…. La Nina.. To summarize what La-Nina truly is by defintion.. A cooling of -1 degree or more below average of the western Equatorial Pacific.. This cooling throws our weather patterns for a loop… Storm’s shift track, Heavy snow’s belt certain areas, Major cold spells are usually accompianed by them. But, the most important fact to know about LA Nina is she NEVER acts the same.. For this reason I do not believe in using analog maps like most other forecaster’s do… Yes, Analog maps can provide clues as to what may happen in a particular La Nina phase but I am here to tell you Nobody can with 100% certainty tell you what a particular LA Nina year will hold…. Right now I expect a Weak to moderate La Nina winter but be forewarned, last year we catapulted into strong territory and you all saw what Feburary brought.. Major snows to our region.. Nobody got this right that I can recall, including yours truly.. It was a complete 180 of what most forecasters were calling for.. Having said that here is the Current state of our La Nina, as provided by the CPC

Southern and Cross Country cutter Storm Tracks: This is going to be a toughy this year folks… First simple logic… You need cold air for snow, right?? Right.. Well what happens when Major blasts of arctic air come barreling down into the Lower 48, you then get a little term called Suppression… Suppression is, simply put what it sounds like… Southern Storm’s try to ride into the midwest but they cannot penetrate the colder air mass and thus it suppresses them to our east… This is why I am SO HIGH on Clippers this year.. If as much cold air filters down into our area as I think, then we are going to see lots of southern branch storms suppressed and scooted off to our east.. Let’s take a gander at how suppression works..

As you can see from the map Southern Storms must be able to penetrate into a more steady unfrigid airmass to hammer this area with heavier snows…. I’m not saying every southern storm this year will end up this way, but if it gets as cold as I think in December and January you can wave bye bye to our biggest snow producers… Our Southern Systems… Southern Systems produce the biggest snows because of 2 reasons…. 1. They tap into the gulf of Mexico and transport all of the moisture they pick up into our area… The biggest snows in history have been southern oriented. 2. Southern Storms tend to move more slowly than cross country cutters and clippers.. The math on this one is pretty easy, get a slower moving storm, get a MUCH MUCH heavier snowfall.. Lets now look at the PERFECT storm track for central Indiana to recieve the heaviest snows..

Lets now look at A perfect Southern storm scenario for this area…. (generally our BIGGEST snow producers)

As you can see you need to be about 200-300 miles to the northwest of the center of the lowest pressure to get into the biggest snows… This is because all Low pressure systems rotate in a counterclockwise direction.. they pick up moisture and disperse it away from the center of the low or the dreaded “dry slot” and, depending on how big the system truly is, dump copious amounts of snow or ice into winter lover’s backyards.. 🙂 I still think we see 4-5 good Southern systems this year but again, come December and January that could ALL change as canada really shows us what she is made of and sends brutal amounts of cold air into the midwest and possibly even the south at times… I will be on every system this year that affects this region and you will see alot of these types of maps made up by me on where I’m thinking the heaviest snows will fall… I caution you, when you hear our local meteorlogical personalitys say a track of 25 miles south or north of the actual low can mean everything, THEY MEAN IT.. It is CRUCIAL for a snow lover to stay on the northwest section of a snowstorm for on the southeast section lies the dreaded………. Warm Air Advection.. A weather phenomenon that can make the toughest snow lover hate rain, while a neighbor 50 miles to their northwest gets dumped on with 10+ inches of powder…. remembering that every system rotates counterclockwise, Lets now look at how warm air advection works…….

Having explained that… Here is MY projected “popular” low pressure tracks for the 2011-2012 Winter Season… remember, these are projected, we will almost certainly see a southern system that plays nice and dumps a good snow on this area..

ALBERTA CLIPPERS.. Early on in September I started noticing something.. canada was being very finicky and sending very early season cold blast’s down our way.. these trough’s as they are called started getting my attention because if they continue, this is the PERFECT scenario for Central Indiana to receive great clipper snows….. Alberta clippers are their own system that originate in Canada.. They dive down with a limited moisture supply and usually produce anwhere from a 1-4″ snowfall, “on average”. This year, In my opinion is a WHOLE different beast…. If we get the shots of colder air that I believe we will get, then our clippers will have major liquid to chrystal ratios to work with… What I mean is this…. Every 1 inch of rain equals 10 inches of snow.. However if you have temps hovering in the teens and the lower 20’s these ratios jump dramatically to anywhere from 20-30:1… Now, most clippers will not have an inch of liquid equvilant to work with as most of the time their moisture supply to the gulf is cut off, but these little suckers can pack quite a punch and I really believe we will get HALF  of the totals I am calling for from these clippers….. Having said that here are the areas that I believe will be pounded by clippers… Keep in mind Clippers usually are at their most frequent in December and January, AND unlike their southern and cross country cousin storms they DO penetrate into the coldest of air masses…. Needless to say I am VERY excited about the Clipper Train this year…..

Temperatures: I truly hope you have all saved up your pennies for heating bills this year, because like others I too am forecasting a brutally cold winter.. telleconnections (something I will get into as the winter evloves) seem to support a Nation Divided (hence the title of this forecast) in the Temperature category… In short, I believe Canada is going to truly show us what she is made of this year as she constantly throws us cold air.. Now don’t get me wrong I do not think we will end up Brutally cold ALL winter, but when we do get these cold blasts they will hit fast and they will hit HARD… In fact, I am projecting in January that we will see records in jeapordy for the lowest high temperature in the upper midwest, and even possibly here… Without further ado here is my projected temperature map: A quick note about the temperature map… The northeast has shown no love to me in particular “forum’s” so I will repay them the favor here and show them no love.. However, for my friends in Virginia and New Jersey, I have included you in my projections.. 🙂

Now, the big enchilada…. My snowfall projections for the 2011-2012 season: It is now time for the moment everyone has been waiting for…. Well maybe not everyone, but me for sure…. SNOWFALL!!!! Although Ice storms are ALWAYS a possibility anywhere at anytime during the winter, I have decided to cut back my explaining on them as I just don’t currently see many icestorms affecting this area.. I have drastically moved the icestorm threat south as much larger punches of canadian air should have no problem making it as far south as places like northern Alabama, possibly even Florida “at limited times”. Remember what I have said, If you are a snow lover then you do NOT want to see temps in the teens for any extended amount of time.. Unless we have a healthy clipper moving our way, this will kill our snowfall total’s and make us miserable at the same time as we scramble to pay our heating bills… The perfect snow temperature In my opinion for our southern systems is around 23-29 degrees.. this gives us a margin of saftey and ensures we wont have warm air advection to deal with that is ejected from the south.. As the winter goes on and each individual storm develops I will provide a detailed account of what I think will transpire concerning snow/ice/sleet and………… ugh.. rain (rain should be illegal during the winter.. Its just not right lol :P) Having said all of that here is my Snowfall projections for the entire winter…

So there you have it…. I am projecting 35-38″ of snow at the Indy NWS office…. Which would be ABOVE Average….

I hope you have enjoyed this amatuer’s explanation of what he thinks is going to transpire…. yes, I know alot of winter forecast’s look like mine but that is because we are ALL looking at the same data.. What you have to remember is this: Every winter outlook is nothing more than a GUESS.. Only mother nature herself knows what will happen, and she will be the determining factor on what actually plays out.. Anyone that claims they “know” what will happen should be taken with a grain of salt and quite frankly, laughed at…I wanted to keep things simple for people who happen to stumble across this blog online or my facebook weather page fans… While I am still learning, you are all learning along with me and if I can help someone understand a little bit more about the weather, then that would thrill me… I will close with my “patented” saying:

“EVERYONE HAS TO DEAL WITH THE WEATHER, SO YOU MIGHT AS WELL LEARN A LITTLE BIT ABOUT IT” 😉

See you all on the battle fields this winter… She is going to be fun!!!

Matt OUT…

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