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Hi everyone! This is Senior Forecaster Cameron here and I am here to give you guys our Summer Outlook for the calendar year of 2019. What you are looking at here is the current status of EL Nino and the Jamestic's model overall prediction on where it's headed as we dig deeper into 2019 and into the calendar year of 2020. We are currently at "weak EL Nino", it appears that EL Nino will continue to weaken as we dig deeper into 2019 and potentially make a run for La Nina as we move towards Early 2020. So how does that affect our summer pattern here in the natural state?
Using our analog years, 2014/15 & 2004/05..Both had near normal/slightly below normal temperature readings across our area with ridging dominating the western and eastern half of the country. Also both 2014/15 & 2004/05 were weak EL Nino years. Same case for precipitation. Mainly centered over the central and western half of the country where slightly to below normal readings were seen across the southeastern half of the country.
Here is our temperature outlook for Summer 2019.
West USA- This is where ridging will likely take place over the next month or so but will likely see breaks in ridging as the teleconnections suggest we could see periods of troughing taking place out in the west. As a result, I have highlighted that area in slightly above normal to account for the periods of ridging.
Central and Southern USA *Which Includes The Natural State*- Given that we will likely see more troughing and surges of modified cooler air at times, I have highlighted this area in slightly below normal given that ridging will have a tough time getting established in this area. This does not mean we will not have very hot days (100+) but given the recent flooding and the saturated grounds, this area will likely have a hard time getting a classic summer heat wave established in the area.
Eastern and Southeastern USA: This is where the southeast ridge may attempt to establishes itself. Given this possibility, I have highlighted the northeastern half in near normal and the southeastern half in well above normal given the ridge will likely be centered in this portion of the country. This is likely where you will see repeated heat waves (100+) until fall.
Here is our temperature outlook for Summer 2019.
West USA- Given the aforementioned ridging, precipitation will be on the lowered side so as a result, have gone with slightly below normal for the area. Some troughing could take place so it will not be drought-like dry conditions, but overall look for readings to be just a little under the normal area.
Central and Southern USA *Which Includes The Natural State*- Given that we will likely see more troughing and surges of modified cooler air at times, I have highlighted this area in well above normal precip throughout the summer which is bad news for those that are currently battling the ongoing flooding situation. The overall pattern supports several storm systems and potential fronts to swing down and bring the potential of thunderstorm activity especially in the early half of summer.
Eastern and Southeastern USA: This is where the southeast ridge may attempt to establishes itself. Given this possibility, I have highlighted the northeastern half in near normal and the southeastern half in slightly above to account for 1. The potential of some cold fronts attempting to make it to the southeast and 2. For the tropics, given that some systems could potentially impact the area later in the summer.
Here is our Tropical outlook for Summer 2019.
Given the weakening EL Niño, the tropics may begin somewhat quiet, however will more than likely turn more towards the active side, especially in the later half of the season. Given this possibility, I have highlighted the target area under near normal/slightly above normal for the summer. Check out "Cam's tropical outlook for your weekly tropical updates".
As you can very well imagine we have entered into a May full of lush green growth, beautiful flowers and mud, lots of mud. April showers bring May flowers well it seems that we have had a lot of rain recently. We have had A LOT of days of rain. The last dry 7 day period was back in mid SEPTEMBER 2018!! We have had at least one day of rain since, and most weeks have seen more rain than sunshine. Above you can see the amount of rain just starting off May and we have even had some odd weather as well with an MCV causing several tornadoes to touchdown. Just goes to show you how the atmosphere has a mind of its own. But we know what the previous weeks have been like, however what do the next couple of weeks look like? Today I want to dive into the upcoming 2 week period and give a glimpse of what to expect.
First lets take a look at this upcoming week. Typically Arkansas usually sees one big event each spring. That takes a lot of different ingredients to come into place. Heat, humidity, fuel for thunderstorms (CAPE), shear, lift, as well as the jet stream all have to meet up at the right time bring this threat. We have had similar setups all spring long, but we have either been to cool, a cap in place or raining all day long to prevent such big events. Thursday's event was not typical and could not have been forecasted at all, however credit goes to Region 8 weather team for seeing it in the soundings. I normally and several others pick up on these things but it was missed. It happens. Looking towards this week, the aforementioned ingredients look to be coming together right in time for the peak season on average. Threats each day are there but Wednesday and Thursday pose the largest risks. In fact, the CIPS analog, which depicts average potential fo the best place to see a severe weather event highlight much of Arkansas. This has been the setup most of the spring, a high to the east, stalled out front over the state and a parallel jet. Once again we get to experience this. Along with the severe threat, given the setup all modes are possible on Wednesday and Thursday, heavy rainfall will also be a threat. The axis continues to shift as guidance locks in on an area of heaviest rain potential but central and south continue to be favored. This week will feature several days of rain yet again...but does that carry over into later in the month? Lets take a look.
The constant rain is really a two fold issue. Its keeping our temps down and ground moist but is also making it hard to farm and even do the things we love to do in the spring. The more ground moisture we have in place going into the summer, the better off in terms of drought and keeping temps down. Will the pattern last thought? More on that further down. The latest temp outlook through May 18th keeps us below to well below average. Average highs are approaching the upper 70s to mid 80s. This would be indicative of more days in the 70s than the 80s with maybe even a few 60s depending on the weather that day. As you can see, Arkansas is clearly sitting between constant cooler air in the Plains and warmer air in the southeast. You can also see the push by day 14. This is a good sign that the 90s will be held at bay and that we may not even see many 80s but some. Yes it will be humid at times but hotter weather looks to be avoiding us. Last year was one of the hotter May's on record, this one is trending cooler. Usually this time of year cooler weather comes with wetter weather. Do you want to take a look? Well here it is.
You guessed it. The wetter pattern looks to continue through Mid-May with bouts of rainfall and well above average precip. Were already above average for April and the trend is to continue this into mid month. Does this mean it will rain every single day? No. But it does mean that we will continue that streak of weeks with more rain than sunshine as we inch towards the unofficial start to summer. With this setup, the cooler air and warmer air battle ongoing across this part of the country, we will have to watch for severe weather potential. Each system will pose a risk given the time of year with all modes possible as we have seen already. Also to note, this will only aggravate ongoing river flooding issues on area rivers and even the lakes. We knew coming in this would be a wet spring, but the weak El Nino finally decided to show give us the precip and cooler temps at the same time that we should have seen in the winter. Regardless, this means that we will keep that ground moisture up. As we head into Summer, this is a vital thing. Because as our temps go up, our ground tends to dry out. Once it dries out, this allows more heating to occur from the atmosphere to the surface, bringing us the 100 degree days. In 2018 we got close but did not surpass 100. That was thanks to a late spring early summer surge of rainfall and several tropical systems that brought rain every week just around May 15th on through early August. We saw 100s in spots but no the typical year. The pattern we are in is very similar to 2014. Not to bad of a winter, it was a wet spring with a late season surge in severe weather. Coming into Thursday only 6 tornadoes had been seen in Arkansas. Not saying that this year will be the same, but the trend is for the wet pattern to continue. How long is uncertain but you may hate the rain now, but this could save us from hitting 100+ in August.
Since we are talking El Nino, lets take a look at the forecast as we head into Summer and the rest of 2019. Current forecasts are for it to remain in place for summer and even into next winter. The unsettled pattern we are in now could remain based upon this setup. albeit to a lesser extent as we head into July and August. Typically we get shut off from the Gulf and Pacific flows with the Bermuda high and the Sonoran Ridges to our east and west respectively. The jet stream moves north and we remain hot and dry with an occasional system or two. Looking at a weak El Nino in place going into summer, the ridges may have a harder time getting established or staying further west and east, leaving us in SW flow aloft. This would bring rain to the state off and on through the summer, thus helping to keep us "cooler" but humid. Will there be 90s most likely but IF the pattern were to hold we could make a run at 2 straight years of no 100 degree readings, which is uncharted territory for the Natural State. This part is a wait and see but it is nice to know that if you do not like a horribly hot summer, the trend is on your side.
To summarize this all up, we are looking at a continued unsettled pattern heading into Mid May with flooding issue most likely continuing. Heavy rain and severe weather potentials will be in place with temps cooler than average. We do not know yet how this will transition into Summer, but the odds are in the favor of at least a few less "HOT" days. At least we are having an actual spring this year instead of jumping straight to summer hot and dry, albeit we could use the dry days for a while.
We will be on top of each system as they threaten the state and be here to cover each event until the threat has passed. Thank you for making us your #1 source for ALL things ARKANSAS weather.
~Chief Forecaster Derek
GRAPHICS: PIVOTAL WEATHER; INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH INSTIUTE FOR CLIMATE AND SOCIETY COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY