Jul 082012
 

Here we are on July 8 and no real rainfall to show. Here is the month to date rainfall map for our area from rainlog.org. Flagstaff has missed out on the precipitation so far.

Month to date rainfall for our area from rainlog.org at the University of Arizona

Month to date rainfall for our area from rainlog.org at the University of Arizona

Our dewpoint temperatures have oscillated and are currently down in the lower 30′s this morning. You can see my dew point temperature graph on the right sidebar. The good news is that the Climate Prediction Center continues to provide a wetter than average outlook for us. Below is a animation of the 6-10 day, 8-14-day, 1 month and 3 month outlooks from the Climate Prediction Center on Friday afternoon.

Animation of 6-10 day, 8-14 day, 1 month and 3 month precipitation outlooks from the Climate Prediction Center on July 6, 2012.

Animation of 6-10 day, 8-14 day, 1 month and 3 month precipitation outlooks from the Climate Prediction Center on July 6, 2012.

Although they predict a wetter pattern for us, there are two things to remember. First, monsoon seasons are hit or miss. We’ve been completely dry, but Prescott has had some nice rainfall totals. Second, El Nino is building. El Nino can cause winds to shear across the tropics and carry our moisture away shortening our monsoon season. Currently,the consensus predictions have this El Nino remaining weak. We can only wait and see.

 Posted by at 6:33 am
Apr 042012
 

Just when I condemn us to a dry spring, the GFS and NoGAPs Models align around a storm for next week. It’s unusual for both models to align at long time points. In the current case, both are predicting a significant storm around next Wednesday or Thursday. NoGAPs predicts the storm’s arrival 6-12 hours earlier than GFS. We will see.

We have wind on tap for the next few days

NoGAPs precipitation forecast for Wednesday afternoon, April 11, 2012

NoGAPs precipitation forecast for Wednesday afternoon, April 11, 2012

 Posted by at 6:37 am
Apr 022012
 
National Weather Service's Weather Story for Monday, April 2, 2012

National Weather Service's Weather Story for Monday, April 2, 2012

I think this is the pattern we will see for the spring. Warmer than average sunny periods interrupted by strong windy periods. As it persists, conditions become drier and drier. Which brings us to the fire season.

Campfires Limited has their website up and running (http://campfirelimited.com) I think we all remember the Shultz Pass Fire from the summer of 2010. It was most likely caused by the remnants of a campfire. Stop by their site. Buy a bumper sticker. Here a picture to stir your memory. If that’s not enough, take a drive out by the east side of the peaks and look at the damage first hand.

View of the Shultz Pass Fire as I travelled back to Flagstaff on Highway 89. It was only a few hours old at this point on Sunday afternoon, June 20, 2010.

View of the Shultz Pass Fire as I travelled back to Flagstaff on Highway 89. It was only a few hours old at this point on Sunday afternoon, June 20, 2010.

 Posted by at 6:47 am
Dec 172011
 

First of all, I am sticking to my outlook for the weekend. Look below at Friday’s post for that.

My original outlook for this fall and winter were for them to look more like the fall and winter of 2010-2011. So far, I don’t think that is the case. From a precipitation point of view, this fall has been fairly wet. This looks more similar to 2008 than last year.

Precipitation for fall and early winter, 2008-2011

Precipitation for fall and early winter, 2008-2011. Total precipitation on top line graph. Daily precipitation on bottom bar graph.

2009 and 2010 both have dry falls and then precipitation took off in December. 2008 and this year had a steady progression of storms. What is odd to me is that 2008 was a strong El Nino year. This year is a weak La Nina year with the Pacific Ocean being generally colder that average. Also, the Atlantic is colder. The Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation was negative for the first November since the 1970′s. The cold ocean temperatures could explain our temperatures.

Sum of daily departure from normal temperatures, fall 2008-2011

Sum of daily departure from normal temperatures, fall 2008-2011

This is a graph of shows the summation of the daily departures from normal. Another way I could have done this is to add the heating degree days and cooling degree days. This seemed more straight-forward. Effectively, this is a running total of hot/cold variance compared to the climatological norms. Here we see 2011 seem more similar to 2009. We have had nice swaths of above and below average temperatures this fall. Most recently, Thanksgiving was well above normal temperatures, but bracketed by very cold periods. Since September 1, we are well below normal.

It’s funny to see the continued long-range outlook for our part of the world shows near normal temperatures, but dry conditions. Will it all change? Or, will we continue to see cold, wet conditions?

3-month temperature anomaly outlook for January-March 2012. Climate Prediction Center

3-month temperature anomaly outlook for January-March 2012. Climate Prediction Center

3 month precipitation outlook for January-March 2012. Climate Prediction Center

3 month precipitation outlook for January-March 2012. Climate Prediction Center

 Posted by at 7:15 am
Oct 092011
 

I think we should start with a review of last October’s record tornado event.

Tornado outbreak of October 2010

This was a massive event. The National Weather Service did an outstanding analysis of the event. Please take a look.

This fall isn’t much different. The last two storms have been fairly wet and quite violent. The September storm had tornado activity associated with it.

This year and last year will probably be very similar. La Nina is building cold water in the Pacific. Although the Sun is displaying stronger activity this year, it is still far below what it has been in the past. Global temperatures are lower than most of the last few years.

Global temperatures at 14,000 feet - AMSU Discovery

Global temperatures at 14,000 feet - AMSU Discovery

I think that colder temperatures could lead to stronger storms systems and better precipitation chances for Northern Arizona.

Last winter had ebbs and flows of temperatures and precipitation. I think we will see a similar pattern this year. Overall, I think we will end up slightly short on precipitation, slightly warmer than average. We could see big, cold, record-breaking storms from time to time.

 Posted by at 4:13 pm
Oct 022011
 

Both GFS and NoGAPS models are predicting a wet, continuously cooler week  ahead. AccuWeather has predicted temperatures in the low 30s and upper 20s for Thursday and Friday. The pattern from the last few days for Arizona has been more of a monsoonal flow. With the jet stream dropping down, Pacific storms moving from the west to the east will be responsible for the next few precipitation events.

US Navy NoGAPS model precipitation outlook for 6 hours, Thursday morning, October 6, 2011

US Navy NoGAPS model precipitation outlook for 6 hours, Thursday morning, October 6, 2011

NoGAPS and GFS models are in agreement with a wet start to the week. Then, they indicate a bit of a break on Wednesday before the big cold push on Thursday and Friday.

US Navy NoGAPS temperature outlook, 5am Friday, October 7, 2011

US Navy NoGAPS temperature outlook, 5am Friday, October 7, 2011

I haven’t done a big winter outlook this year. I think we could see a similar year to last year. We have a weak La Nina, a more active, but still anemic, Sun, and a generally cold Pacific. For the winter overall, it will probably be warmer than average, drier than average, with scatter times of heavy snow and very cold temperatures.

 Posted by at 7:37 am
Sep 302011
 

Tropical Storm Hilary isn’t going to make it to Arizona. But, we will get a fresh shot of monsoonal flow out of the south. I don’t think we will see large amounts over the Northland. We could see strong thunderstorms and all their elements; wind, hail, etc.

Next up is cooler temperatures and a break from the recent, highly nice, unseasonably warm temperatures. The look out for the next two weeks has turned to colder forecasts. The National Weather Service has posted a nice slide today discussing the threat of frost and the average date of frost for multiple locations in Northern Arizona. We are clearly in the zone. Here is my post on Fall Freeze Probabilities.

Also, somewhere over the horizon another storm system will brush Arizona. But, this doesn’t look like the long-term trend. Unfortunately,a mostly dry, winter weather pattern could be taking a set.

6-10 day temperature outlook - Climate Prediction Center

6-10 day temperature outlook - Climate Prediction Center

 Posted by at 8:06 am
Sep 062011
 

Looks like we have 3 rounds of moisture for early September.

The current round took a very circuitous route to get here. It had to go way to the south, then get scooped up from the southwest on a Pacific low pressure trough. This is a pretty unusual moisture flow for this time of year. Typically, the southwest flow is dry. So, today our temperatures are lower and we have dew-points in the upper 50s.

The next round of moisture will take a shorter route and come in around Thursday and Friday. Next week, the current models show us getting the remnants of a tropical systems from Baja.

However, the high pressure that has brought severe drought to Oklahoma and Texas is drying out the entire region. I wonder if it will be able to hold off the moisture flow to Arizona.

 Posted by at 6:46 am
Feb 242011
 

The National Weather Service is calling for 5-10 inches for Flagstaff over the weekend. Accuweather is calling for 6.7 inches. The North American Mesoscale model and the GFS model both project about and inch of water. NOGAPS has about 20-30mm of precip. Sunday night and Monday morning will be very cold again. I fully realize that the next round of precip will, at least for the short-term, blow my winter forecast. I think the problem is the excessive cold pattern.

The current cold push could bring San Francisco it’s first snow in 35 years. Thanks to Tim R for the tip.

For Flagstaff, the average daily temperature for the month of February is running 3.8 degrees below normal. The remainder of the month isn’t going help us dig out of that. Although, today should be fairly warm with the overnight clouds locking in the heat from yesterday.

 Posted by at 6:45 am
Feb 212011
 

Over President’s Day Weekend, a large, powerful winter storm moved through Northern Arizona. Substantial precipitation had not fallen since the storm just before New Years. But, was it enough to fill in the deficit from a very dry January?

Here are the updated totals for Flagstaff:

WEATHER ITEM   OBSERVED TIME   RECORD YEAR NORMAL DEPARTURE LAST
                VALUE   (LST)  VALUE       VALUE  FROM      YEAR
                                                  NORMAL
..................................................................
PRECIPITATION (IN)
  YESTERDAY        0.31          1.18 1993   0.09   0.22     0.05
  MONTH TO DATE    2.68                      1.77   0.91     1.01
  SINCE SEP 1     11.65                     11.69  -0.04    11.32
  SINCE JAN 1      2.74                      3.95  -1.21     6.61

SNOWFALL (IN)
  YESTERDAY        5.5           8.7  1987   0.8             1.7
  MONTH TO DATE   17.9                      14.5            16.6
  SINCE SEP 1     57.3                      67.6           110.0
  SINCE JUL 1     57.3                      67.6           110.0
  SNOW DEPTH      13

For snowfall, we are still about 10 inches below normal for the season and over 50 inches below last year. More importantly, for the month of February we have had 2.68 inches of precipitation, almost an inch above normal. That brings us nearly equal to the normal precipitation since September 1. But, since January 1, we are 1.21 inches below normal. Remember that December was very wet and made up for deficits in the fall.

We have one more shot at a siginificant event this next weekend. While a weak system will move through around the middle of the week, it will not bring much energy or moisture. This weekend could bring an extend period of snows, but probably not as strong as last weekend.

Here is the National Weather Service’s Public Information Statement from the weekend storm:

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
 NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FLAGSTAFF AZ
 500 AM MST MON FEB 21 2010
 
 ...PACIFIC STORM SYSTEM SPREADS RAIN AND SNOW ACROSS NORTHERN ARIZONA THIS 
 WEEKEND...
 
 A STRONG AND ENERGETIC PACIFIC STORM SYSTEM SWEPT ACROSS ARIZONA 
 THIS WEEKEND SPREADING HEAVY RAIN AND MOUNTAIN SNOW ACROSS THE STATE. A 
 WARM START TO THIS STORM ALLOWED MANY LOCATIONS TO PICK UP 
 ACCUMULATING RAINFALL BEFORE CHANGING OVER TO SNOW ON SATURDAY. SNOW 
 WAS OBSERVED DOWN TO ELEVATIONS AROUND 4000 FEET WITH THE HEAVIEST 
 ACCUMULATIONS REPORTED OVER THE WESTERN MOGOLLON RIM AND KAIBAB 
 PLATEAU REGIONS. BELOW IS A SUMMARY OF PRECIPITATION AND SNOWFALL 
 REPORTS RECEIVED BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE IN FLAGSTAFF 
 AS OF SUNDAY NIGHT.
 
 BELOW IS A LIST OF STORM TOTAL SNOWFALL REPORTS AND THE TIME 
 REPORTED (MST):
 
 ARIZONA SNOWBOWL..................44.0                250 PM 
 JACOB LAKE........................24.0                714 AM 
 FLAGSTAFF AIRPORT.................17.9                500 PM
 BELLEMONT.........................15.3                500 PM
 WILLIAMS 4 MI S...................14.8                551 PM
 MUNDS PARK.....................8 TO 13                905 AM
 KACHINA VILLAGE...................12.4                517 PM
 PARKS.............................12.0                909 AM   
 WILLIAMS..........................11.0                840 PM
 PRESCOTT 3 MI SSW.................10.0                206 PM
 PAYSON 14 MI NE....................9.0                539 PM
 DONEY PARK.........................8.3                630 PM
 MCNARY 2 MI N......................6.0                516 PM
 NAVAJO NATIONAL MONUMENT...........5.1                840 PM 
 PRESCOTT CITY......................4.5                730 AM 
 SELIGMAN...........................4.0                840 PM 
 PINETOP............................4.0                756 AM  
 SANDERS............................3.5                954 AM 
 PINE...............................3.5                818 AM 
 WINDOW ROCK.....................2 TO 3                400 AM
 GANADO.............................2.0                944 AM 
 METEOR CRATER......................2.0               1245 PM
  
 
 BELOW IS A LIST OF STORM TOTAL RAIN AND/OR MELTED SNOW REPORTS AND THE 
 TIME REPORTED (MST):
              
 FLAGSTAFF AIRPORT..................2.68               500 PM
 KACHINA VILLAGE....................2.47               919 AM   
 SEDONA AIRPORT.....................2.15               500 PM
 WILLIAMS...........................2.12               840 PM
 PINE...............................1.84               818 AM
 PAYSON.............................1.82               840 PM
 FORT VALLEY........................1.81               840 PM 
 BELLEMONT..........................1.81               500 PM
 MUNDS PARK.........................1.78              1011 AM
 PRESCOTT AIRPORT...................0.92               840 PM   
 GRAND CANYON AIRPORT...............0.95               840 PM
 HEBER..............................0.70               800 AM
 SHOW LOW...........................0.44               840 PM    
 WINSLOW AIRPORT....................0.39               840 PM   
 WINDOW ROCK AIRPORT................0.39               840 PM   
 SAINT JOHNS AIRPORT................0.14               840 PM   
 
 VISIT THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE ON THE WEB AT
 WWW.WEATHER.GOV/FLAGSTAFF FOR MORE DETAILS. 
 Posted by at 6:45 am
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