Ski Resorts in the Northeast will be snow starved for awhile with the weather pattern about as opposite as you can get from winter over the next few weeks. A strong flow of warm air floods the US and Canada while the polar vortex complex lies from Alaska, across the north pole to Greenland effectively locking up cold air. If we could sum it up in one sentence for snow and winter weather lovers, this is about as ugly as the pattern can get. The problem is the positioning of the polar vortices which lie from the Aleutians across the North Pole to Greenland which is about as wrong as you can have it in the atmosphere this time of year…or right if you like it warm. Here is the latest video analysis of the overnight European model which takes us out over the next 10 days.
With regards to some of the other indexes that we look at longer range here we have the Pacific North America pattern or PNA. Positive readings mean colder weather in the east. That is in a favorable position but it is forecast to go back to neutral. The NAO is at ridiculous strong positive (no blocking) but it is forecast to go negative in mid December.
Now lets look at the EPO which is basically the NAO on the Pacific side and it is going to strong positive. This index is probably the one that has the strongest influence right now and by going strongly positive it locks up the upper lows from Alaska to the Poles to Greenland. It seems to be trumping everything right now. Oh abd the Arctic Oscillation is a strong positive as well which pretty much supports the idea of cold air locked away to the north regions
Now let’s look at what El Nino is doing and also lets look at the water temperatures in the Pacific and Atlantic. These maps show the change from normal.
There are three things here that stand out to me here. The first is the strong el nino remains from the coast of South America westward through the Central Pacific. The second is that the warm water in the North Pacific remains in place. The third is that the cold water that was south of Greenland 2 months ago continues to migrate west and has arrived close to the northeast coast of the US. This is a signature for a negative NAO longer term (all other things being equal).
For winter weather lovers the bottom line is that the pattern right now is about as bad as it gets. Warm air is flooding North America and will continue to do so for at least the next 10 days or longer. I would also again remind everyone that last December while not a blow torch was still a mild month with minimal snow and monthly temperatures that averaged 2 degrees above normal and we know what happened from mid January on.
One side note. If you remember my post from about a week or so ago regarding what happens in winters following very warm Novembers. I looked at the 15 warmest Novembers (this one will finish either 1 or 2) and found that 11 of the 15 winters that followed produced below normal snow fall with a few extremes on the low and high end but the average was about 22 inches. I quickly looked at December . In the 10 warmest Decembers on record in New York City going back to 1869 not a single winter (the next 3 months) produced above normal snowfall. Remember this is a very small data set of just 10 but if the extreme warmth were to continue it might be telling us something going forward. However we will worry about that a month from now. My own view given the models the last few days is that it looks warmer than normal for sure on average over the next 2 weeks but not crazy warm.