Wednesday, November 16, 2011

2011 Thanksgiving Weekend Snowstorm?

We have often compared this upcoming winter to the winters of the early 1950s.  Those were La Nina winters. See my post from a few weeks ago. That this, the factors (Atlantic & Pacific Ocean temperature trends/temperatures) that were present then are somewhat present today among other factors too technical to mention.

The years that we found to match up well are 1950, 1954, 1955, 2008, 2010.  Aside from some differences in the Atlantic Ocean temps in the 60s and 70s, you can throw 1964 and 1976 in there too mainly due to the strong influences of the arctic in those years especially in the mid 1970s. If you recall the Blizzard of 1978, BOTH OF THEM, you know what I mean!

Heading into Thanksgiving week, my dad reminds me of the Great Snowstorm of 1950.  One of the most memorable snowstorms in Northeastern Ohio history. He was 5 years old at the time but he remembers it like it was yesterday growing up near St. Stevens Church in Cleveland's west side. Downtown Cleveland and Akron got hit with 25 inches of snow. Geneva 33 inches! Temps dropped from 38 at midnight to 14 in less than 12hours on Friday the 24th.

The classic Ohio State-Michigan football game was scheduled for that Saturday afternoon in Columbus, Temps that morning were in the single digits; winds were 40 mph.  The final score: 9 to 3.  Only 27 total yards!

I bring all of this up now because I noticed something "scary" on the maps for Thanksgiving weekend.  Here is the map for Friday the 25th. Not much to show.  Fairly quiet pattern.

Now look at Saturday the 26th. Notice the low developing just to the west.

Now look at Sunday the 27th.  WOW!  A monster storm over the Great Lakes and Cleveland!  Again, its more than a week away but scary nonetheless. What is even scarier is when we compare the 1950 snowstorm to next week's map:

Look at 2 days before the storm in 1950. Very quiet...

Now look at the day before the storm developed over the Great Lakes. Looks eerily like the map for next Saturday.

Now for the main storm day in 1950, Saturday during the Ohio State Michigan game in Columbus.

Looks almost exactly like the map for Thanksgiving weekend of this year!

Yeah, yeah, I know its more than week out and alot can change. But given the years (1950, 54, 55, etc) which we used in our comparison for this year's winter outlook, it bares watching. So if you are flying out Sunday the 27th, keep an eye on the 8day forecast. If this maps continue to show this storm early next week, it could paralyze air traffic from Cincinnati to New York!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Are November High Temperature Swings More Sharp Recently?

After a severe weather event like last night, the images and sounds become embedded in every one's mind much faster. The inevitable conclusion is that severe weather and wild temperature swings in November are unusual. After all, we associated colder temperatures with November not tornado watches and temperatures near 70!

While the disconnect between huge changes in temperature and tornadoes seem to be vast at first glance, the first often plays a big role in the latter. 

The first question: Have high temperature swings become more drastic in recent years in November?

Look at the last 20 Novembers (Since 1991). The first number is the # of times where daytime highs
varied more than 20 degrees over 24 hours. Specific instances are in parentheses. The second set are the highest high and lowest high for each November.

The 2000s certainly had more days with high temps changing more than 20 degrees! One so far this month.

2011     1 (43 to 61)
2010     0                                     69  34
2009     0                                     71  40
2008     0                                     72  28
2007     0                                     66  33
2006     1  (62 to 42)                    66  37
2005     4  (57 TO 70 TO 48)      70  29

                 67 TO 29; 58 TO 35)
2004     0                                     64  40
2003     2  (69 to 39; 71 TO 51)  79  45   TORNADOES
2002     1  (45 TO 65)                 67  30    TORNADOES
2001     1  (69 TO 48)                 69  42

2000     0                                     66  28
1999     1  (64 to 37)                    73  35
1998     1  (49 to 70)                    71  40
1997     0                                     60  31
1996     1  (70 to 45)                    70  30
1995     0                                      71  33
1994     0                                      72  39
1993     0                                      63  33
1992     3 (56 TO 36; 61 TO 39   65  33   TORNADOES
                63 TO 41)
1991     0                                      69  29

Normally with huge swings in high temperatures, a cold front lies in the middle which is often the firing line for severe storms and sometimes tornadoes. The maps of November tornadoes in Ohio is below. Notices the cluster of tornadoes in northeastern Ohio in 2002 and 2003. Then check above at the list of huge high temp swings. 2003 has 2 instances of  high temps changing more than 20 degrees. One was 30 degrees in 24 hours!

November is a month of wild weather for sure. This decade seems to have had more instances than in the 1990s.  

We are still waiting for the pattern to switch. The snow is falling out west. Denver was hit hard earlier this week. Its just a matter of time. Once it does, lake effect snow will begin and the mild stretches for us hiking in the Metroparks will be over!

In case you were wondering, here are the overall temperature averages through November over the last 5 years:

2011  +3.4         1 time below 32
2010  +1.4       16 times below 32
2009  +5.9         6 times below 32
2008   -1.6       15 times below 32
2007   -0.5       14 times below 32
2006   +3.1        7 times below 32

Will we make up for it in December? More on this coming up in my next post!!!