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The Influences On This Year’s LRC & This Approaching Storm

Good morning bloggers,

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Another storm is approaching the plains. It just produced extremely unusual and rare events out over the southwestern United States. It snowed at low elevations near Los Angeles.  It snowed in Calabasas, one of my neighborhoods my parents moved to after I went to college at the University of Oklahoma.  That is just outside, or really on the edge of the San Fernando Valley.  It has snowed there before, and it is just something that happens once every 20 to 60 years or so.  Snow fell in Las Vegas, NV, as you can see on the left here.   There are some false reports going around that Las Vegas has never had snow before.  7.4″ fell in a rare storm in 1979. This storm was close to doing something like that huge storm if it would have just organized in the right spot, but fell short at just under 1″. Still incredible.

The storm is now heading east into Arizona.  Flagstaff, AZ has already had 2 feet of snow and more snow will fall today.  And, then this storm will reorganize out over the plains states and head east producing a severe weather risk.

Here is the day 3 severe weather risk for tomorrow, which will be updated just after I post this:

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Kansas City has had an incredible winter, and we aren’t done yet. Take a look at all of the days that have had at least a few snowflakes:

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37 days with snow, are you kidding me?  There is a lot to think about, a lot of take aways, and we will be going over these in the coming weeks.  The LRC is the centerpiece of the big atmospheric puzzle. As discussed in yesterday’s blog, this part of the pattern was predicted to be the dominant storm track this winter.  Everything is right on schedule, and predicted by the Weather2020 team.  There are influences on this pattern, and right now there is something interesting happening with this next storm.  It is tracking north, instead of tracking south. It may very well be because of an AO+ influence. The AO is the Arctic Oscillation. Take a look at the index as of yesterday:

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When the AO goes high positive, the jet stream is likely going to retreat north and weaken, and when it goes deep negative, the jet stream is more likely to dive south and the pattern would then get energized.  This season has seen this index hover closer to neutral, with some smaller dips here and there.  So, how did it turn so cold and snowy? The LRC!  There are other influences.

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El Niño is the warming of the Tropical Pacific Ocean.  And, this is likely going to be a very weak El Niño influenced winter season. There is little doubt that this has impacted the winter.  There were many sources named this some sort of El Niño that would still be dry in California.  I was shaky on this thinking, and as it turned out, it has not been a dry winter out west.  So, once again, El Niño is definitely an influence on the pattern.  Look closely at the numbers.  This El Niño is quite similar to the one in the winter of 2006-2007.  What happened in Kansas City in the winter of 2006-2007?  How much snow fell that winter?  10.2″ fell that winter. Something else must be going on, right? Yes, the LRC!  Kansas City is now at 26.3″ of snow, and it has come from relentless snow storms, all fairly small when you really look at it.  There have been winters where big 1 foot snowstorms hit KC. As of this point we have not had one of these.

This next storm is being influenced by the AO+, the weak El Niño, and other factors.  And, the trend on the models has been for this storm to track farther north.  Let’s take a look.

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These are some maps I showed last night on 41 Action News, KSHB.  This shows a band of rain moving by Saturday morning with snow developing west on I-70. I would not want to travel through that developing snowstorm.

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The trend has continued north, and the farther north this system tracks, the better chance it will draw in warmer air.  I am posting this just after midnight.

Thank you for spending a bit of your time reading the Action Weather Blog featuring Weather2020 and the LRC.  Go over to the Weather2020 blog and join in the conversation or read the comments as we share in this weather experience.  Have a great day.

Gary

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