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Thunderstorm season to start early and with a boom

 Models, Monsoon, Northern Arizona Weather  Comments Off on Thunderstorm season to start early and with a boom
Jun 252016
 

We all know that the 4th of July is the typical “start” of monsoon season in Northern Arizona. So, anything earlier in my mind is early. As I sit in Munich and enjoy an even thunderstorm and a cool (not cold) weißbier, the computer models are telling me it is going to start very wet.

From the Climate Prediction Center, Friday’s 6-10 and 8-14 day outlook are strongly on the side of a very wet start to the season. Personally, I don’t believe they have the best record on monsoon forecasts, but I hope they are correct. And that they are correct because they have improved their modeling capability.

6-10 and 8-14 day precipitation outlooks from the Climate Prediction Center.

6-10 and 8-14 day precipitation outlooks from the Climate Prediction Center.

Here is the total precipitation forecast from their GFS model for the next 10 days. Notice some areas are to receive as much as 2-3 inches of rain.

I still worry that a strong start will result in a quick season.

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 Posted by at 9:32 am

Wet Outlook for Monsoon Season Start

 Northern Arizona Weather  Comments Off on Wet Outlook for Monsoon Season Start
Jun 222016
 

With the already wetter than normal June (over half an inch above average), the start of the monsoon season should be wetter and earlier than average. Yesterday’s rain in the Flagstaff area is just a taste. It should dry out one more time before next week. While the 1-4 week outlooks all call for above average precipitation, I’m not sure how long it will last with the on-coming La Nina.

Below are  the outlooks for 6-10 days, 8-14 days and 3-4 weeks. They all show above average expectations of above average precipitation. After last winter’s dry conditions, this should help the Northland. As La Nina emerges, I am afraid that the season will start strong, but finish quickly and lead to a long dry phase.

6-10 day precipitation outlook from the Climate Prediction Center.

6-10 day precipitation outlook from the Climate Prediction Center.

 

8-14 day precipitation outlook from the Climate Prediction Center.

8-14 day precipitation outlook from the Climate Prediction Center.

3-4 week precipitation outlook from the Climate Prediction Center.

3-4 week precipitation outlook from the Climate Prediction Center.

 Posted by at 6:31 pm

One More False Start

 Northern Arizona Weather  Comments Off on One More False Start
Jun 182016
 

I mentioned to a few people I saw in Flagstaff yesterday that I thought there was a chance the monsoon season would start in earnest next week. The warm/hot temperatures we will experience over the next few days will drive formation of the thermal low pressure system in southwestern Arizona. (Visit my Monsoon Mechanics website for more detail)

Watching the computer models, the monsoon flow from Mexico has come in and out of the outlooks. Yesterday, I thought that Wednesday or Thursday would kick of the season with some level of regular storms. Today, it doesn’t look so certain. In most years, the computer models poorly predict of the thunderstorm activity during monsoon season. I still think it will be a bit early. In any case, the typical 4th of July start looks certain.

UPDATE:

Here is the newest 8-14 day precipitation outlook. Since it comes on a weekend day, I have doubts about its accuracy. But, it does point to an pre-4th of July start of monsoonal storms.

8-14 day precipitation outlook from the Climate Prediction Center. (18 June 2016)

8-14 day precipitation outlook from the Climate Prediction Center. (18 June 2016)

 

 Posted by at 6:33 am

Partly cool, with a chance of an early monsoon season?

 Monsoon, Northern Arizona Weather  Comments Off on Partly cool, with a chance of an early monsoon season?
Jun 072016
 

I’m still not sure I believe what is showing up in the computer models and forecasts. Although, it makes sense. It looks like a burst of monsoonal moisture is one its way for this weekend and next week. One week out, the forecast is calling for cooler, possibly below normal temperatures, and thunderstorms.

The current heat wave can generate the thermal low needed to kick-off the season. We’ll see.

 Posted by at 8:59 am

Spring and summer finally emerge

 Northern Arizona Weather  Comments Off on Spring and summer finally emerge
May 282016
 

To date, May has been chilly and wet. Flagstaff is ahead of average on precipitation by over an inch, and on temperature by 3.7 degrees. The average daily high has only by 62.2 degrees, which is 6 degrees below normal. I look at the month and maybe a bit deeper in this El Nino compared to others in the future.

The big news is that this week should not only bring normal, but beautiful sunshine and above average temperatures. These should be the warmest temperatures of the year so far. I think, the storm track has finally moved off to the north in the first step to the summer weather pattern. Now, the heat should start to build so that the monsoon low can develop later in June. This means strong winds should be less frequent, too.

 Posted by at 9:59 pm

As I sit in Hong Kong…

 Northern Arizona Weather  Comments Off on As I sit in Hong Kong…
May 182016
 

As I sit in Hong Kong, I am wondering about the curious similarities in Flagstaff’s and Munich’s winter and spring. Both had relatively warm and dry winters. And now, both are having cold, wet Mays. With yesterday’s (I think that means Tuesday, jet lag and the international dateline make me wonder)…With yesterday’s precipitation, this May be came one of the 10 wettest May’s in since 1950. Only 8 times since 1950 has May been this wet. More importantly, at 1.52 inches, we are above 1 standard deviation from the norm.

Clearly, this is great for limiting the fire season in May. Last winter was dry, but still we are close to normal for the water year which starts September 1. Since January first, we are only 0.85 inches below normal. Not all that bad. Last winter should have been wetter, much wetter than normal because of the strong El Niño, right?

All too often, we learn that the more we know, the more we realize how much we don’t know. The National Weather Service is always careful to point out that El Niño conditions in the Pacific point to a general trend of warmer and wetter winters for Northern Arizona. This year we bucked the trend, and added on a cold wet May as the El Niño conditions literally evaporated in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean.

La Niña is uniformly predicted to follow. If you believe the experts, it could be one of the coldest La Niñas in quite a while. Next year should see a much cooler trend for a considerable part of the planet.

For the next few weeks, cool but drier conditions seem to be on the way for Northern Arizona. Don’t be surprised a significant freeze hits before the end of the month. I keep thinking that Munich or Flagstaff has had their last snow. Then, one or the other has one. When will winter end?

But, what about Tulips! We went to the Keukenhof in the Netherlands in the last few weeks. Our visit was the very definition of cold and wet. It snowed a bit while we were there. That kept the crowds down in the morning of our visit. Amazing!

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 Posted by at 3:55 am

Winter over? It’s only April.

 Northern Arizona Weather  Comments Off on Winter over? It’s only April.
Apr 192016
 

I see these posts from people wishing for the end of winter on Facebook after the recent bit of snow. It is only April. We’re expecting snow next week in Munich. It looks like you shouldn’t put your snow shovel away in Flagstaff, either. The 6-10 and 8-14 day outlooks from the Climate Prediction Center have two things in common. Both are cold. Both are wet. The colors really speak for themselves. The computer models are indicating significant snow fall. Both time ranges are still far in the future, so we will have to wait.

 

8-14 day Precipitation Anomaly Outlook from the Climate Prediction Center on April 19, 2016.

8-14 day Precipitation Anomaly Outlook from the Climate Prediction Center on April 19, 2016.

6-10 day Temperature Anomaly Outlook from the Climate Prediction Center on April 19, 2016.

6-10 day Temperature Anomaly Outlook from the Climate Prediction Center on April 19, 2016.

8-14 day Temperature Anomaly Outlook from the Climate Prediction Center on April 19, 2016.

8-14 day Temperature Anomaly Outlook from the Climate Prediction Center on April 19, 2016

6-10 day Temperature Anomaly Outlook from the Climate Prediction Center on April 19, 2016.

 Posted by at 8:42 pm

Is winter on the way back to Northern Arizona.

 Outlooks  Comments Off on Is winter on the way back to Northern Arizona.
Apr 022016
 

At the end of last week, the outlooks for April shifted. I couldn’t bring myself to post about a change to upcoming wetter conditions on April Fool’s Day. The last 6 month’s we have seen a repeated disappearing act of storms. They would show up in the computer models as strong storms over a week away. Then they would slowly disappear into sunshine and warm conditions. Sigh.

So, here we are again. Two storms are over the horizon. One should arrive towards the end of next week. The second is about a week out. An animation of the 6-10 day, 8-14 day and one month outlooks is below. Each storm looks strong. It only takes a few to fill-in a precipitation deficit. Average April precipitation since 1950 is about 2 inches. The computer models snow just over two inches in the next two weeks.

We will see. This would help delay the fire season.

Animation of 6-10 day, 8-14 day and one month precipitation outlooks from the Climate Prediction Center.

Animation of 6-10 day, 8-14 day and one-month precipitation outlooks from the Climate Prediction Center.

 Posted by at 11:31 pm

But I thought El Niño meant wetter?

 Northern Arizona Weather  Comments Off on But I thought El Niño meant wetter?
Mar 212016
 

Yes, that is the general perception. But, over the weekend Flagstaff fell below average for the water year, which begins in September.

And, this isn’t a typical El Niño. This has probably been a Modoki El Niño. It’s a different kind of El Niño. With this type, the warm zone is farther to the west along the Equator. This in turn alters the weather patterns lust a bit more. The split storm tracks have been farther to the south and the north. This has left Arizona and southern California out of the rain.

Couple that with the break down of the Blob as a result of the disappearance of the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge, and it has just been inappropriately beautiful. Sorry.

We could still get hit hard by a few storms as the El Niño converts to a La Nina and gives up all the heat it collected. We will have to see.

The only good news is that the snowpack above Lake Powell is above normal. This could change.

Enjoy your weather, it’s the only weather you have.

 

 Posted by at 1:44 pm

Nevermind…

 Northern Arizona Weather  Comments Off on Nevermind…
Mar 052016
 

Everything keeps falling apart from a storm point of view. Enjoy the continued early spring.

 Posted by at 12:29 am
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