One thing I would like to mention first in today’s blog post is an event occurring this weekend. If you have not made weekend plans yet, and you like to get a little exercise, then the Sports Den cancer awareness run/walk/ride might be the ticket for you. It begins at 10am on Saturday October 8th at the Sports Den in Marshfield. They have bike rides, runs, and walks of varying distance and the weather should be quite nice. The wind will be a little gusty but temps should be mild. You can support cancer research and get some exercise at the same time.
The weather will be very warm and pleasant for the next few days but it might not stay that way for long. Looking at the extended weather charts, it appears there is at least a hint of a big cool down for the area around the 20th of October. At least one computer model is indicating a slight chance of snow. This could have bearing on the snowmelt contest. A few people did predict mid to late October. Looking out in the forecast 14 or 15 days is usually futile because the weather changes so much and so rapidly in our part of the country, but I just wanted to keep everyone up to date every time at least a hint of snow is in the forecast. So what are the odds. At this point, I would put the chance of 1 inch of snow on or around the 20th of this month very close to zero – but not exactly zero.
If we would happen to see an early snow this year, I am sure it would lift the spirits of forecasters at Accuwx (that is where Kristin Connolly works now). They have issued their Winter forecast and are expecting harsh conditions for our part of the country with bitter cold and a lot of snow. In fact, they use the word “brutal” more than once in the forecast. The basis of the forecast is that La Nina is expected to continue in the Pacific ocean. We had a very strong La Nina last Winter in the Pacific ocean and our winter – while not “brutal” – did have below normal temps and well above normal snowfall. The hallmark of last Winter was its length. The first inch of snow did not fall until November 24th but once it arrived it stuck around. We had snow on the ground into early April (3 or 4 weeks longer than normal), we had a record snow as late as April 20th and our last snow occurred on May 3rd. There was even ice along the river banks of the stream where I went fishing on the opening weekend of the fishing season! I didn’t mind the heavy snow or the few outbreaks of bitter cold, but the length of the winter was a little hard to deal with.
So are we in for a repeat of last year or even worse? I am not so confident it will happen – anyway I am not as confident as Accuwx. Due too the presence of La Nina, I am forecasting more snow than normal and colder than normal temps. Seeing that La Nina is not expected to be as strong as last year makes me think that the conditions will not be as bad as last winter. We will get another La Nina update in the next couple of days and see if it is going to strengthen more. Another aspect of La Nina I am dwelling on is that it has already formed, thus maybe it will not last as long as last year.
Maybe it will end before the end of Winter. In any case, I think there is plenty of uncertainty, enough that I would not use the word “brutal” just yet.
Officially, the Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a higher chance of below normal temps than above normal temps for our region of the country as well.
Have a nice Wednesday! Meteorologist Justin Loew.
This post was written by jloew on October 5, 2011