Friday, January 13, 2012

Major Winter Storm Still On Table as La Nina Weakens

Above is an animation of recent sea surface temperatures (SST) in the ENSO monitoring area. Checking out the animation, we see that the La Nina is losing steam, going along the negative SOI numbers. Negative SOI numbers signify an El Nino.
So why are we still thinking a big snowstorm may happen?

The President's Day Snowstorm of 1979 (President's Day I)
The President's Day Storm of 1979 came during the flip from a La Nina to an El Nino. If that same situation happens with this winter, it is entirely possible that several snowstorm could hit the East US. A flip in the middle of winter is not something that goes by without notice. The entire atmosphere is in a turbulent phase, more than the polar vortex.

In conclusion, while short, we still believe a major snowstorm is possible, depending on, among many other variables, the ENSO conditions. Remember- patience is key; I see the recent Midwest snowstorm to be a very good sign that winter is getting in gear.

Lightning Could Strike Twice for Those Hit by Snowstorm

Those recently affected by the Midwest storm may have to deal with yet another one in less than a weeks time. We are seeing signs that a rain-to-snow event may hit cities like Chicago, IL that recently were hit with up to 8 inches of snow in some localized areas. Here's a map from Accuweather Meteorologist Henry Margusity:
As of now, my confidence in this forecast is pretty medium. The ensembles are in fair agreement over a rain-to-heavy snow scenario for the Lower Great Lakes. The GFS/ECMWF are also in some moderate agreement in placement of the storm.
Something EXTREMELY INTERESTING we found while finishing up gathering snow totals from Chicago was that the Chicago NWS office put out a 'Likely' chance of snow for this system- a rarity considered the horrible model results this year:
We will definitely keep you updated as Old Man Winter wakes up.

Major Winter-Starting Snowstorm Theory Strengthened

We will update at 4:00 PM CST

Lake Effect Snowfall Ongoing in NW Indiana

There is some heavy snowfall occurring just north of South Bend, Indiana this morning, and here's why: frontongenesis.
Basically, the lake is warm and the air is cold, so the cold air-turned-semi warm is acting like a front to NW Indiana and therefore producing snow. Frontogenesis, after all, means to 'make a (weather) front'. Until the increased values of frontogenesis die down, we will likely continue to see snow fall over NW Indiana.

We will resume normal posting this afternoon.