Stu

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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

March to be a flip-flop of February

 Northern Arizona Weather, Winter Storms  Comments Off on March to be a flip-flop of February
Mar 012016
 

The outlooks and computer models are solidifying around a wet March. It starts this weekend with a mild storm with light precipitation. The pattern builds through the month. The precipitation in the first two weeks of March could hit the monthly average. More details as the future storms are closer. Below is the 6-10 day, and one month outlooks from the Climate Prediction Center.

6-10 day precipitation outlook from the Climate Prediction Center (1 March 2016).

6-10 day precipitation outlook from the Climate Prediction Center (1 March 2016).

One month precipitation outlook from the Climate Prediction Center (29 February 2016).

One month precipitation outlook from the Climate Prediction Center (29 February 2016).

 Posted by at 9:39 pm

It’s always just over the horizon.

 Northern Arizona Weather, Outlooks, Winter Storms  Comments Off on It’s always just over the horizon.
Feb 292016
 

The computer models keep dropping a significant storm into the long-range forecast. If you look at the image from my last post, it shows significant precipitation around March 4, 2016. The forecasts do point to some precipitation this weekend, but not the large amount in that image. The problem is that the big storm is always just over the horizon. Below is the outlook for Monday, March 14. It’s almost identical to the image in my last post.

As we move away from a very warm and dry February, we have to wonder if March will fulfill its historic reputation for the wettest time of year. The computer models keep pointing to a change in the storm track that will push storms over Arizona. We will see. Not much to blog about when it’s sunny and warm.

12-hour average precipitation rate (mm/hr) for Monday, March 14, 2016 from Tropical Tidbits.

12-hour average precipitation rate (mm/hr) for Monday, March 14, 2016 from Tropical Tidbits.

 Posted by at 8:48 pm
Feb 192016
 

Warm and dry has become the February story. The wet cold start has faded into sun and occasional high winds. There have be a few times the outlook was positive for wet conditions. It hasn’t happened.

Is it unusual for February to be dry during an El Niño winter. I think the data are pretty messy and there really isn’t enough to be very meaningful. Since 1950, the average for February precipitation in Flagstaff is about 2 inches. There are very wet and fairly dry Februaries during El Niño years.

Most of the areas that normally benefit from El Niños are benefiting this year. We continue to be way ahead on 12 and 24 month total precipitation.

The GFS model shows a possible weak storm at the end of the month, and a stronger storm at the start of March.

12-hour precipiation outlook ending noon, March 4, 2016. (Tropical Tidbits website.)

12-hour precipiation outlook ending noon, March 4, 2016. (Tropical Tidbits website.)

The 3 month outlook from the Climate Prediction Center continues to look positive from a precipitation point of view.

3-month precipitation outlook from the Climate Prediction Center.

3-month precipitation outlook from the Climate Prediction Center.

There is still time left this winter for more snow. March is typically the wettest month of the year. I think more is on the way.

 Posted by at 4:50 pm

Purplish Picture Present Promising Precipitation

 Models, Northern Arizona Weather, Winter Storms  Comments Off on Purplish Picture Present Promising Precipitation
Jan 292016
 

I’ve looked at a new site for computer model data. I think the pictures are prettier than the US Government site. No surprise there. The snow fall pictures are purple and orange for this weekend. It looks like the Flagstaff groundhogs will have a bit of digging to do to get to above the snow on Groundhog Day. In the image below, Flagstaff has a big 12 printed on it.

Three day total snow accumulation, ending midnight Monday night, February 1, 2016. (From TropicalTidbits.com)

Three day total snow accumulation, ending midnight Monday night, February 1, 2016. (From TropicalTidbits.com)

The colors are definitely more dramatic. The reaction to this storm from the National Weather Service hasn’t been until tonight. This storm is going to be big. It has shown up in the computer models as a big storm for a while. Just on Friday evening did they get excited.

There could be local effects causing the total to be more or less than the forecast. This is especially true with the windy start to the storm.

 Posted by at 10:11 pm
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