First off is when will summer end? As most of you know, the average Arkie summer can last well into September or even October. Do I believe that will happen this year? No. During a typical transition year, we tend to see a quick end to the summer and move into a long, cool, wet fall. We will still have our share of 90 degree days leading up the fall. However, atmospheric patterns do indicate that we are starting a more active wet pattern. This is generally an early indicator of the seasons changing. This will be slower this year, because of the strength of the heat ridges across the country and the cooler waters in the Pacific. However, I do believe that we will start to cool off shortly after Labor Day and should start seeing 80s for high regularly by mid-September and 60s for highs by mid-October. So hang in there, summer is on its way out.
How about snow Derek? Well it is August so it is way too early to know about snow. However, looking at past years comparing to current conditions forecast for the Pacific waters, there is a good chance of a much colder winter than last year. Reason why we look towards the Pacific is because that is what controls our weather during the winter months. Warmer waters over the costal west tend to lead to milder winters. Colder waters tend to lead to more Arctic intrusions around here which lead to better shots at snow and or ice. Also we look at our moisture pump, the Gulf of Mexico. When the Gulf is warmer, storm systems tend to pump that moisture into an arctic air mass. Now I’m not going to give you an official forecast yet, but give you some insight as to where we are leaning.
The nearest year similar to what we are seeing is 2013/2014. That year we saw several intrusions of Arctic air early and often with several rounds of snow and ice, first round on my wedding week the first week of December. Also our snowiest winters have come during the weak La Nina years. Looking at that and what is happening currently, I see no reason to believe that we won’t see a similar pattern. Now I am not saying that we will have 100 inches of snow, but I do believe it will be colder and more active than last year. Will there be snow on Christmas like 2012? Way too early for that but the pattern will support it. Anyone remember the 2000 ice storm? That year had similar weather patterns leading up to the winter. With these two storms the GOM was warmer than usual. Right now, that setup is there with it staying warm over the past year without any cold air to cool it off. One wrench in that idea would be if we get a few tropical systems there strong enough to zap the heat from the ocean. But even if we do see that, I see plenty of recovery time before the heart of winter. Forecasting the long range is very hard and takes tons of analyzing to get the most accurate forecast we can
So yes, in my 10 to 15 years of studying weather, yes I spent my teen years watching weather, I believe this will be a very active winter. Will there be warm days, absolutely. We also could have a few severe weather events especially early on in fall and as we head into spring. However, the cold days will outnumber the warm days in my opinion. Snowfall will be higher as will rainfall. Also I do believe the Ice threat will be higher this year, especially if the Pacific is warmer than currently forecast and the Gulf stays warmer than is forecast. Ultimately the tracks of storm systems ultimately make our weather in the fall and winter, and the tracks look to be south most of the winter once the ridges flatten out and move back off shore. So be patient my fellow Arkansans, fall and winter is right around the corner. Remember this is my opinion not an official forecast, which will come out September 1st.
Next week we will discuss the upcoming pattern for the remainder of the summer in detail. If you have any questions, feel free to ask and we will answer them best we can. Remember while its hot to stay hydrated and check on the pets and the elderly.
~Founder/Senior Forecaster Derek