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Dry weather continues
It is the the morning of the City Lights annual downtown holiday lighting ceremony. I am the MC of the event and doing the weather out there during the 5 and 6 PM newscasts tonight. It is at the Barney Allis Plaza right near the Marriot hotel if you want to come by and see Santa Clause.
As I drive out there this afternoon I will be wondering what to say about this winter forecast I issued last week. At this moment NOTHING is happening. The models are extremely consistant with showing the deeper Gulf of Alaska trough and something blocking us from seeing anything exciting. It has dried out after October brought us some decent rainfall. We continue to wait for a serious chance of snow. Our first few snowflakes may have fallen for a few minutes last Friday, but the snowflake contest shows no signs of ending. My prediction for the first 1" is December 10th at 4:35 PM. I picked this day as I believe the weather pattern is now cycling and the stormier part of the pattern should return by the very end of this month into the first half of December. But, I have concerns.
Click to enlarge (12 GFS hour forecast)
Click to enlarge (168 hour, or 7 day GFS forecast)
There is no way this trend can continue. If it did, then we would have a worse pattern than last year. I just don't buy it. The above maps show a continuation of an endless generation of the Gulf of Alaska upper low which throws up a ridge to its east preventing us from having any chance of anything. This looks rather similar to early October when we had record breaking heat. Within a week after that period in October we had some interesting changes and I am expecting this to happen again. Something should get triggered in the next week or so and this endless period of frustration and nothing will end. The pattern that I believe is now cycling can't be this bad. It just can't be. The jet stream is getting stronger and will reach its peak strength in two months or so. This extra energy should help a lot. But, at this second I am concerned. It is never a good feeling after you just miss a storm system. St. Louis weather enthusiasts don't quite feel this way as they were in the comma head yesterday with rain.
Let's try to be patient. It isn't easy right now, but at least it will be warming up next week. The warmest Thanksgiving in our history is 70 degrees. Could we make a run at this record? Let's see how things evolve by early in the holiday week.
We would like to thank everyone for all of the feedback to yesterday's topic. We will continue to work hard at bringing you the most accurate, informative, and entertaining weather information.
Posted by at November 16, 2006 6:44 AM
I am just afraid this may be a <10" snow winter this year. From looking at the trends we have been facing this entire year and then our luck with this last storm and now looking at all of the model maps, I just do not see it happening. Something has to give and I just do not see anything big popping up whatsoever!
I remember back when I was younger (maybe 20 to 30 years ago....wow that is a long freakin' time!!) having a ton of just GOOOOOOD snow events! They have just stopped completely over the past 10 or so years (except for an occassional good one) and I don't have a clue why??
This is just frustrating as to what is going on with our winter patterns each and every year. I am just once hoping to hear all weather forecaster's give their doom and gloom winter forecaset for our area just once, but I actually believe I have a better chance at winning the lottery!!
It certainly seems right now that it will never snow. But, let's see how we feel in just two weeks. It may be a different feeling. I hope!
Posted by: Bruce Richardson at November 16, 2006 8:36 AM
Just keep doing what you are doing, it is easy to second guess ones self when things don't seem quite right or make sense. As you mention it is a bit early yet to push the panic button. I remember as a kid some bitter cold and snowy Thanksgivings, but also some where we were walking in the woods with no jackets. As far as weather and newscast, BY FAR NBC ACTION NEWS is tops. ALL of you do a great job, presenting the information in a calm controlled format. Unlike others that are either to giddy, or one that actually makes my blood pressure rise as everything is "breaking news" and the delivery of it makes you about climb out of your chair. Just keep on track, in time the cream rises to the top!
Thank you for the support and kind words. We have a good team and we are always striving to be the best.
Posted by: Keith at November 16, 2006 8:55 AM
Morning Gary. What do you think is blocking the plains from receiving precipitation? I believe in your theory 100% but we are sure behind on precipitation. I hope something breaks soon. I am getting worried also. Michael/Topeka
We didn't miss this latest storm by much. It is hard to explain, but let's hope this is just the dry part of this year's pattern and not the predominant part.
Posted by: michael huffman at November 16, 2006 9:04 AM
You must have seen something in the long term trends to make your Winter Forecast and the information to support that. Do you think maybe we are "jumping the gun" so to speak or is is really that bad? I am hoping for more snow this winter. You were the ONLY weather forecaster in KC who nailed the winter forecast last year. I believe also, this trend just can't continue. Why have we been stuck in this rut? Anyway to change it? Keep up the good work and be patient...everything will be fine!!!! Brian, St. Joseph
Something good should happen during the first half of December. But only one storm is not nearly enough. So, let's see.
Posted by: Brian at November 16, 2006 9:48 AM
I checked the CPC forecast yesterday and they said that the current pattern in the Pacific will be slowly progressive. However, the GFS has been looking the same for days now. What mechanism generates the persistant areas of low pressure in the Gulf of Alaska? We can not buy a ridge in the northern Pacific. Also, NOAA had to reiterate their winter forecast, placing a lot of emphasis on El Nino AGAIN.
Yes, they are going with El Nino, but blindly so. I still very much doubt it.
Posted by: Devin at November 16, 2006 10:15 AM
Looks like most of the midwest and western states are sufferring from this ridge you're talking about. Thanks for your explanation. I've been wondering what's going on and getting very depressed looking at the seven-day forcasts. I know things can change dramatically in just a few weeks so I'm hoping we have a good Dec/Jan/Feb. Otherwise, it's going to be a very looong, boring winter which I hope will NOT lead into a boring Spring.
It certainly does not look good right now. Let's just hope this is part of a bigger cycle with exciting days to come down the road. I am expecting more excitement, but I hate waiting like everyone else.
Posted by: Kris Wells at November 16, 2006 10:59 AM
Gary, what happens if the El Nino pattern pans out? I know your view on this, but the methodical part of me also cannot discount it all together as impacting our cycles. Having just done a lot of oceanic research, I know the mechanics of oceanic heating directly affects both shortwave and longwave patterns. If the oceanic heating is pulsating, I believe the pattern will too a bit. Much like human biofeedback, the earth has the same. Conservation of energy reminds me of an ultimate equilibrium...so as the ocean heat shifts and expands/decreases, there must be a equal reaction in the atmosphere...maybe not here, but somewhere..and I think from a global view, it would affect the GRC as it pertains to North America. Dunno...i just don't think you can discount the ocean as much as you do.
I know this is unpopular, but had to say it.
As I have been very consistant throughout, I must continue to assert that there is no El Nino pattern. There is an influence when El Nino, La Nina, or other ocean temperature anamolies occur, but only an influence. For example. If Los Angeles was setting up into what I say would be a favorable pattern for above average rainfall, then you also know there is an El Nino going on then watch out. They will get blasted all winter long. This year, I believe there is a longwave ridge off the Southern California coast and it isn't very favorable for a wet winter there, but then because we have the effects of El Nino I would expect a few situations where they will get hit. So, this is why I have them at average or slightly above average rainfall down there.
For us it is similar. It has been shown that El Nino has very small impact on our actual temperature and precipitation anomalies anyway.
Let's see and discuss as the season goes on. I firmly believe that we are now cycling through a pattern. Is it October 1,2, and 3rd all over again next week? We just don't know for sure, but it does look like it may be. Then we can see if everything else repeats.
Posted by: Scott at November 16, 2006 11:37 AM
i just wanted to know wut makes you say late november and into December will be active? is it going to be like late October, and early November(i hope)
We see some evidence to it being more active, but let's be patient and see. Right now the wait seems like it is taking forever.
Posted by: Gary at November 16, 2006 12:20 PM
Regardless of the cycling of weather patterns each year, can global warming be giving us long term trends of warmer and dryer weather, along with more extremes? It just seems we have been trending this way for the past couple of years. It sure seems like we have been getting more extended dry periods for at least the past 24 months. Another thing: For the past year or so, you have been saying "strange" or "weird" quite often when you refer to the weather. When does "strange" or "weird" just become the norm? Thanks!
I think "strange" or "weird" already is the norm. And, when it comes to Global Warming it is very difficult to look at one year and say that it could be Global Warming, but if this trend continues for years then we can possibly show that it is attributed to the greenhouse gas increase. We may be experiencing it right now, but we certainly do not know for sure.
Posted by: J R Hill at November 16, 2006 1:12 PM
Well, at least it was windy yesterday, that's something at least!
IF the GRC did happen to start right at the first of October this year, would that be the earliest you have ever seen it set up?
I hope mother nature dosen't be a grinch this year in terms of snow!:)
thanks for your time!
Nick(waiting for exitement)in St. Joe!
Not necessarily. It could begin around that time. We don't know for sure yet. We must wait another two weeks or so.
Posted by: Nick Rau at November 16, 2006 2:55 PM
Of course..I have a take on Global Warming. I am not sure anyone really disputes it is happening but more of the origin. That being said, I still believe the earth cycles hot to cold over very long periods. So, anything we might be detecting over the last decade or so is a very small sample to the hundred/thousand year cycles of heating and cooling.
Additionally, the earth has mechinisms to balance itself in these swings. Many of these I have learned in oceanic study. I will save all the mechanics [too long to write], but there is always an oppisite and equal reaction, thus presenting physics that would actually begin some cooling, thus keeping an equilibrium of heating and cooling cycles.
I believe its this cycle at both a macro and micro level that makes climatology and meterology so hard to predict, as there are soooo many factors that play into it. The day that Gary can get the GRC accepted as reality via peer review, the very next step should be to determine the factors that set up the GRC..that might give a longer term glimpse of weather and climate prediction. It is all a game of relationships and understanding that complex mess ultimately what will give all the answers.
Good points. We just won't know if Global Warming will continue and actually have some of the forecast affects. The equal and opposite reaction may happen.
Posted by: Scott at November 16, 2006 3:05 PM
Gary is it possible that these cycles dont impact each other a bit? The reason I say this is because if you look at most years in this decade, we have alot that are dry. Go back to the 1990's and most are wet. It seems as if there may be something larger that cycles itself. And is kind of why we seem to have wetter decades like the 90's and drier decades like the 00's so far. Personally, I am ready for a wet trend again!
There is a lot of studying, graphing, worrying ahead. There may be some interaction, but I feel it is so small that it is just more of a coincidence when the dry years line up year after year.
Posted by: jon at November 16, 2006 3:46 PM
Gary - Well, today's blog really doesn't sound good. I really don't want my idea of extended drought to come true, but if we are in an extended period of drought, well, we will have to wait some time before we get over-average rain over an extended period of months. Even in a drought, there can be a month or so that is above average, but taken as a whole, the drought remains in force.
If we continue on the way we are seeing now, next Spring will probably be quite tranquil, and boring, but this far out, that's just my negativity playing out. We'll have to see what December brings. Frankly, I think this is a result of global warming, which I believe to be fact. What is in dispute is whether this is a cyclic natural phenomena, a man-made phenomena, or a combination of both.
According to what I have seen on the History and Discovery Channels, global warming leads precisely to extended droughts, with other places receiving well above normal rainfall, along with some places receiving colder than normal readings and others much warmer than normal, the average being above normal overall.
Yes, and then again we have to see what we feel as we go through December. Will the more exciting part of this years pattern produce?
Posted by: StormDog at November 16, 2006 4:27 PM
This might be a delayed response to your post yesterday, but I really enjoy your weather forecasts and truly appreciate all the hardwork that you put into your research and theories on the changing weather patterns.
I used to watch your old station for the weather but not anymore, because I truly appreciate the detailed and accurate descriptions of your daily weather reports including the BLOG.
On another note, I hope that we get out of this boring weather pattern and have a chance of snow on the ground for the holidays and LOTS of it this winter.
My fiance and I are getting married next Sept and and wanted to offer you an invitation to the wedding. I am sure that you get lots of them, but we just wanted to extend the invitation to you.
Thanks for the invitation. You will have to remind me in August or when you send out the invites.
Posted by: Don at November 16, 2006 5:28 PM
Gary - I appreciate your efforts and theory of long term forcasting
This looks to be an especially tough call this winter - the overall pattern seems to favor wild swings in temperature (how do you average all that out?) with really cold air in Canada and the Great Lakes area and warm air over the Southeast US. Nothing that lasts more than a week or so in KC (fast flow aloft keeps anything from settling in for long here and although NW flow can pull in cold air from Canada there is also a downsloping/warming effect to account for). I think it will be somewhat drier than normal (15 inches of snow - a prevailing strong west or northwest flow aloft is a dry pattern for KC area especially in winter when it is hard to get much Gulf of Mexico moisture in here) but even one good storm coming out of the southwest US could blow this by dumping 15 inches of snow by itself in February or March (when there is usually a better supply of moisture available from the Gulf of Mexico). No matter your individual preference for winter weather (warm/cold/dry/wet/white) this winter should have something to please everyone - at least for a short time.
Yes, this winter should have some wild swings and it is showing some signs of life this morning in the long range.
Posted by: Mike at November 16, 2006 11:53 PM
We've been in KC for two years. No doubt about it, you're clearly the best. One thought about ways to let everybody know is to have a sign/billboard/or whatever with a scrolling weather report (like the stock tickers) where you could scroll weather updates or whatever.
Also, I saw you mentioned Oct. 1, 2, and 3's weather. Can you please refresh our memory as to what the weather was for those days?
We started October with three days around 95 degrees. So, it should be no surprise that next week will be near 70 three days in a row as the upper level wind patterns are very similar to early October.
Posted by: Matt at November 17, 2006 1:15 AM