NewsChannel 9 Storm Team Spring Outlook
After a not so productive winter snow-wise, we take a look ahead to Spring. Before we begin the discussion, let’s get to the numbers as a starting point.
We averaged nearly 22” of snow for the months of March, April and May. Obviously, March has the potential for the most snow, and curiously Jim Teske found that since 1950, the lion’s share of the March snow happened during the first half of the month. So, the numbers say anyway, that once we get past the first half of March, the light at the proverbial snow tunnel gets a whole lot brighter.
Of course, that’s not to say it isn’t going to get cold anymore or that a big dumping of snow can’t happen. Those scenarios are very possible, but you have to remember that the sun is getting higher and higher in the sky with each passing day. The tenacity of the cold surging in from Canada is not as strong as it was a month ago. We may not have needed to snow blow much (or at all) this winter, but that’s not to say that we won’t need to use it through Spring. Whether you should keep the snow tires on, is entirely up to you, as well as how much you’re willing to gamble. We’re just not ruling out the possibility of accumulating snowfall through the next three months. Although, given what we’ve seen this winter, it most likely won’t stick around for very long.
Given what we’ve seen this winter, we just don’t anticipate a major pattern change to cold. 70 percent of the least snowy winters in Syracuse, had Springs which saw half of the average snowfall. Also, the majority of the Spring months had monthly temperatures which were above normal. An interesting side note is that of the 10 least snowy years, 6 of the 10 months of May had below normal temperatures. While we’re forecasting above normal temperatures over the next three months, keep an eye on May, it could end up a bit cooler.
We’re suspicious of a southerly jet stream flow over the eastern US, which would tend to produce a storm track that would cut up to our west. If we see a colder storm, it’ll come right at us, or to our east. Regardless of the eventual path, any storm coming at us from the south, will have roots in the Southern US and Gulf of Mexico, so copious amounts of moisture will be involved. That is why we’re expecting precipitation amounts to be above normal.
Given the warmth that we’re expecting, and the support from the numbers from the Springs following the least snowy winters, we expect snowfall to fall below normal.
I know what you’re thinking. What does this mean for Summer? In all honestly, we don’t know, and really haven’t taken a look at the numbers. One thing to think about is the Summer following the mild and paltry snow winter of 2001-2002. We’ve been running pretty much hand-in-hand this winter with that one. Snowfall was well below normal and the number of days 50 degrees or better were pretty similar. The summer of 2002 was...HOT. That’ll be something we have in mind as we head through Spring.
There are computer models that can help us predict many months out. Typically, we don’t put much faith in them. However, they’re getting better. Ironically, some of them indicated the abnormally mild weather we’ve experienced this winter. The truth is, we didn’t totally believe them. However, we did make note of their forecast. The climate models run out of the meteorology office in England keep showing a persistence of abnormally warm air over Canada and much of the lower 48 of the United States for the next 3 months. That will certainly be something to keep an eye on. A link to the forecast page is included below the image.
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/CFSv2/images3/usT2mMon.gifThe map above is the forecast from the American climate model. It too, shows an overwhelming amount of warmth in the lower 48, at least through April, with a gradual shift of that warmth into the western US, and a return to near normal temperatures for us through August. Again, this isn’t gospel, but it is certainly something to keep an eye on.
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