Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Winter outlook

In a word: Yuck!

If you don't like snow, then the winter of 2007-08 is shaping up to be right up your alley.

We are in what is being called a "moderate" La Nina event. La Nina and El Nino refer to ocean temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. Moderate to strong La Ninas are notoriously bad for winter weather in the east, especially the southeast.

The general pattern for us during this types of winters is warm and dry. Plus, the current drought tends to enhance that tendancy. A stubborn ridge of high pressure over the southeast or the southeastern Atlantic tends to send storms through the middle of the country rather than up the east coast.

This means any cold air we see is only a glancing blow.

Anyway, modeling looks benign through mid- to late-December.

Only ray of hope: There is some recent data that shows the La Nina might be weakening. Weak La Ninas teleconnect much better to a colder, stormier winter for us, so it's something to keep an eye on.

So, overall, it won't be mild every day, but cold air intrusions should be limited in severity and duration.

While even in the worst pattern we can still see things come together for snow, it looks like our best chances will be later in the season.

Not a pretty picture for snow lovers, but it's the cold (?) hard truth!

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