Joestradamus Mid Winter Tantrum
With half of January done lets look at where we are so far. We are pretty much nowhere really. The pattern change has changed into something that judging from the posts on my facebook page, most people are not happy with. Certainly the cold weather and snow lovers are swirling in the abyss at the moment. Temperatures so far this month are averaging about 3 degrees above normal verses the 10 degrees above normal in November and the 12 degrees above normal in December. Cool offs are where you find them! Snow remains non existent. When you think about it, Winter really began on January 1st so snow lovers lost the entire month of December. Also standing in the face of all this is the fact that of the 11 warmest December, not a single one..not one lead to above normal snowfall in New York City! Since we have lost 11 inches of normal snowfall in the stats, that leaves about 17 inches from here on through March. If we were to get that much, at least we can say the winter normalized from this point forward. Even though these ideas can all be wiped out with one big snowstorm, does it tell you something that you have a winter where there is an Atlantic hurricane (Alex) and yet not a single winter storm of consequence has occurred in the northeast!
JOESTRADAMUS ON HURRICANE ALEX
Speaking of Hurricane Alex, this is the first hurricane in the Atlantic to form in January since 1938. Yesterday Alex was the first subtropical storm to form in January since 1978. Alex is also the first hurricane in January since Alice in 1955 (though Alice did not form in January). A quick glance at the winters in that year 2 of the 3 were horribly sub par except for Jan-March 178. Trying to reach a conclusion based on this yields nothing useful other than the fact the ocean waters in the South Central Atlantic are very warm!
JOESTRADAMUS ON WHERE WE ARE GOING
So where do we go from here? Apparently no where. There isn’t anything on the horizon in my view that changes the overall long term picture. Storms remain robust on models only to be sub par or non existent when they get here. Cold air shots have been in and out so far this month. Yes we had blocking and all these indexes saying that conditions are ripe for an east coast snow storm. What did those indexes yield? Zero, Zilch, Nada! Just because you have all these positive indicators means absolutely nothing if the atmosphere aligns all wrong!
JOESTRADAMUS ON ANALOGS
What about analogs? I am not a fan of analogs as a forecasting tool. Yes they are useful to a point when looking at broad scale patterns in the long term. But nothing every looks exactly the same as another year. There is always something different. Indexes can match readings achieved in other years but who cares if the day to day atmosphere doesn’t line up right. Look at this weekend. All the indicators said one thing but the atmosphere said another.
JOESTRADAMUS ON MODELS
I would suggest also that people alter there approach to models. Models tell you the obvious. What does that matter if those models change on the specifics from run to run. This is not forecasting. I took heat earlier this when when suggesting that this event Friday night and Saturday would be all rain. Even inland areas are going to be all rain. All the dynamics were not there. The cold air was not there. The storm track was not there. The structure aloft was not there. Reading a map is one thing. But when you forecast you attempt to anticipate not what it looks like but what it is going to look like.
JOESTRADAMUS ON REACTIONS
Its very funny. I have always said when discussing a poltical position that you know you are right when you anger both sides. This week for example, I took heat from people who told me I should be able to give them an almost perfect forecast 5 days out as well as from people who told me I didn’t have any business making a forecast 5 days out! Forecasting is a process. It changes. At least I hope my videos have shown how models evolve and change over time. It is also an exercise in frustration as you try to be objective against your own biases. We have to accept the fact that going forward the winter may remain sub par. It could also change on a dime. Who knows?? I certainly don’t. I can only go on what I see. Right now I see little. Tomorrow may be different. My point is that getting the outcome correct for me is far more important than satisfying a want for cold or a winter storm or whatever. Forecasters need to step back a little when looking at all this. STOP MODELCASTING!!! Show some skill. Show some imagination. If we got an inch every time a model shows a major storm we would have snow cover until July. How many major snowstorms has the GFS shown in the last 2 months for the Northeast? At least 1 4 times a day! So do the math. 45 days times 4 is 180 snowstorms. How many have actually verified? ZERO GOOSE EGG NONE NADA!
The bottom line is that weather is an every changing adventure and forecasting is a process not a reaction. Lets all take a deep breath and just see where it goes forward. And play nice in the sandbox. Its just weather for God’s sake.
And with that, here is my view on Hurricane Alex and the Long Range
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