The Week Ahead: Still quiet; cooler but still above average; Winter snows running low

There continues to be little to talk about in terms of sensible winter weather for the next week as it stands right now.  After a very warm finish to the long holiday weekend with temperatures near 60, we back down to more typical, but still slightly above average temperatures this week.

Friday through Sunday we enjoyed the peak of the “January Thaw” with readings in the 50s to near 60. Monday’s highs will remain near that level before a cool front takes temperatures back down to highs in the 40s/lows in the 20s the rest of this week.  Considering we’re in the “heart of winter” where average highs and lows are at their lowest points of the year (highs in the 30s and lows in the teens) that means we’ll still remain above average – even after it turns “colder”. No major arctic outbreaks are currently expected this next week.

There are STILL no signs of any significant winter storms through next weekend and perhaps through the end of January, so it is looking increasingly likely that we’ll have to rely on February to make up our winter snows.  That’s not all that uncommon and we’ve seen that several times since the Winter of 2009-2010, particularly in the western district:

snowtrends1

Kansas City has seen several years where low snow totals lasted into February and then big storms made up the difference.  The exception being the record low-snow season of 2011-2012. Historically, February is the peak snowfall month for the western district including KC followed by December and then January.

For the eastern district, including STL, bigger snows have fallen in late January, but February not as frequently, at least in this small sample. January is typically the biggest snow month in the eastern district, followed by December and February.

snowtrends1STL

What we can interpret from this data is that the clock is running on Winter snows for SEMO/SW IL/STL and we’ll need to make up some snows if we’re to make average for this year. If we get to this point in February without major snows then odds are we’ll finish the season with a relative snow-free winter.  For the western district, while odds of an above average snow are decreasing, there is still a decent shot to make average.  IF by the end of February we’re still lacking a major storm, chances really drop off.

As of today, here’s where we stand:

2015-01-18-0823-SNOWFALL TOTALS AND RECORDS

NOT that impressive so far.  If winter ended today, this would be the 4th least snowiest winter in STL history and the 3rd least snowiest winter in KC history.

Snow has been scarce over the Midwest south of a Scottsbluff NE-Soux City IA-Rochester MN-Green Bay WI line.

2015-01-18-0715-MIDWESTSNOWTODATE

Now what about opportunities for snow this week? The Canadian model is the only one which brings light clipper snows to the area next weekend, and this is not considered likely.

2015-01-18-0849-00ZECMWF-HSFC-TSN-COUS-H186 2015-01-18-0849-00ZGEMHR-HSFC-TSN-COUS-H186 2015-01-18-0849-06ZGFSHR-HSFC-TSN-COUS-H186

The model ensemble mean (the average of the 51 individual “tweaked” versions and the control version) show little prospect right into the opening days of February. 2015-01-18-0849-00ZEPSEM-HSFC-TSN-COUS-H384

Total precipitation looks to be very light over the next week, with most significant precipitation through the Great Lakes, the Southern Rockies, western Gulf Coast and the Appalachians.

2015-01-18-0849-00ZECMWF-HSFC-TPR-CEUS-H186

In the southern hemisphere where it is mid summer (the equivalent of mid July for us) it is tropical cyclone (hurricane) season.   Tropical cyclones Bansi (05S) and Chedza (06S) have been tracking through the southwest Indian Ocean.  Bansi has evolved into a mid latitude storm system and his tracking off into open water midway between Madagascar and Australia. Chedza formed west of Madagascar and tracked overland before reorganizing to the east of the large island. Chedza is a tropical storm and will dissipate this week.

Bansi-Chedza

Bansi, at its peak was the equivalent of a category 4 hurricane.  Astronauts aboard the ISS took this incredible photo of lightning illuminating the center of TC Bansi as it was near peak intensity.

Capture

That will do it for this week.  Again with the very quiet weather, there’ll be no blog entries until next Sunday when we’ll update the weekly outlook looking into the final week of January and first few days of February.  We’ll see if prospects for any winter storms have improved or if we’ll remain in the weather doldrums for a third week in a row!

 

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