Good morning bloggers,
We have been concerned this entire season that a drought would be expanding out towards Kansas City. Droughts are either expanding or contracting. This one is definitely expanding out right now and we can hope that what happened last spring could happen again, and the drought would shrink as we move into April and May, but again, I have concerns. Amarillo, TX is experiencing something incredible. Imagine how we would feel if we lived their this winter. It may not have been as frustrating in Amarillo, when you compare their experience to what weather enthusiasts have experienced in KC. At least KC has had many chances and seven snowfalls thus far, and a few other minor icing events. Amarillo has had nothing, and not even a chance of anything. Their previous record without any measurable rain or snow was 75 days. This record is now 48 days longer than any record dry spell in their recorded history:
The dry weather in Amarillo is expanding out across southern Kansas and most of Oklahoma. It is now being placed in the Extreme Drought category by the Climate Prediction Center’s Drought Monitor:
Seasonal Differences Showing Up: This May Lead To A Wild Winter Month Ahead
The fourth cycle of this years pattern will begin in ten to fifteen days. Jeff and I were analyzing this pattern yesterday and we saw some strong similarities to October showing up. One seasonal difference that could happen if we do indeed have more functional storm systems in October will be Arctic air. There was no Arctic air available in October, but there will likely be a rather large Arctic air mass available in this fourth cycle if this map below is at all accurate. Here is the temperature forecast valid on February 21st, right around the time the fourth cycle of this years LRC will begin.
This years pattern is cycling every 44-51 days, averaging on a 47-day cycle. I will make a video for tomorrows blog to show you the first three cycles of this years LRC. It is rather incredible. Amarillo, TX last measurable precipitation actually did happen within the first cycle of this years pattern. October 13th is the last precipitation they had; 0.01″ on October 13th, 0.05″ on October 9th. So, that first storm of the season produced as the LRC was setting up, but not much. Remember, we identify this years pattern to have started around October 7th. The old weather pattern from the previous year was falling apart around the last week of September into that first week of October. We can call this the transition period of the cycling pattern. Four days before October 7th, in this transition period, over two inches of rain fell in Amarillo. Something very different began happening just as this years LRC started.
So, here we are about to move into cycle 4. What can we expect?
- Will it stay dry in Amarillo?
- Will the frustrations continue in KC?
- Will Chicago get blasted again?
- Will Los Angeles get only their second storm of the season?
- Will the drought expand and worsen, or begin shrinking?
These questions will be answered in the next few weeks. Los Angeles had one deadly winter storm this season where over a dozen people were killed in a landslide/mudslide in Ventura county, just north of Los Angeles. A storm produced 1.77″ on January 8th-9th. Do you know what is just blowing my mind this morning, amongst most of what I am writing today? Los Angeles, downtown at the Civic Center, had only 0.12″ from October 1st through January 7th, and only 0.01″ since January 8th. So, they literally have had only one storm system produce this rainy season. With a 47-day average cycle, this part of the pattern is due back in California around February 25th. The driest year in Los Angeles history is around 3.75″, so they need almost 2 more inches of rain just to get to the driest year ever.
The AO and NAO:
What could be HUGE for a major difference in cycle 4? We have been waiting all winter. One of the reasons I went with 21″ of snow for the winter is that I thought we would have a dip in the AO and NAO indexes a few times, a dip into negative territory. I have seen some indications on recent model runs of blocking developing in the right spots that would benefit KC. Well, for this blocking to happen, we would like to see a big negative dip in the Arctic Oscillation and North Atlantic Oscillation. The NAO dip would be something that just has not happened at all. Well, could our dreams be answered? Take a look at this mornings indexes that just came out:
What are we seeing here? Look at those huge dips. Now, these dips, these forecasts are based on the ensemble member runs of the models and we have seen these forecast to happen a couple times before. When the pattern set up in October, I saw the potential for a big dip in these indexes in that first cycle, but when it came down to it, the dip never quite happened. There were a few small dips into negative territory, but no impacting ones. Look at these dips in both of these indexes.
If this were to happen, the big negative dips, then we will likely see an upper high form over Greenland, and maybe over northern Canada or Alaska. This would force the jet stream to be stronger and farther south. Combine this possibility with that 17-day stretch of stomier weather that produced in October (KC had nearly 5″ of rain in October), then we may be about to see a true winter storm in KC for the first time this winter, and Amarillo’s incredible dry spell may be broken. It’ something to ponder in the next few days.
Thank you for sharing in this weather experience featuring Weather2020 and the LRC. Click here Weather2020 Blog to join in the conversation, which should be quite interesting today. Have a great Tuesday!