Spring Outlook 2009
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Friday, 27 February 2009
It’s that time again: to stick my neck out, this time for a spring outlook.
In the interest of safety, I am wearing a hardened steel collar just in case.
First, let’s see how I did for the Dec-Feb Winter Forecast:
>>>I said it would be drier than normal; it was even worse than I feared but I was in the ballpark on that one. For the first two months of the year, here’s our percentage of the normal (30-year average) rainfall as shown below:
>>>I said we would have lots of cold nights due to the dry air; which we did. However, the overall temperature for this winter was much above average, February especially, so I was off on this to some degree.
>>>I said that we’d have a decent chance for frozen precipitation given the frequent visits by cold air. We had four ice events this winter, twice the average. One of these gave all Texoma kids a day off from school in late January.
Overall, I am pleased with the forecast I posted versus what we got.
Now for the spring:
La Nina continues to dominate the Pacific Ocean and to influence the jet pattern over the northern Pacific and the U.S. Also, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) is in a cold phase. Both events point to a drier than normal spring.
Drier weather in the spring means warmer than average. Low pressure to our west, which seems to persist in dry years, makes for a southwesterly surface flow and this sends temperatures soaring. It also shunts the low-level moisture further east.
There will of course be severe weather, and there’s no way to say how much of that we’ll get in Texoma. Who would have predicted an intense EF4 tornado like the one in Lone Grove, even three days out?
But, if the drier pattern comes to pass, then we’ll likely see fewer severe weather events overall in Texoma. The expected dry and warm southern Plains pattern would favor more severe weather further east in the Mid-Mississippi valley this spring, on average. Again, this does not mean we will have zero tornadoes. It’s impossible to predict individual severe weather outbreaks more than a few days out.
To highlight then:
>>>Overall precipitation will likely be on the dry side of average.
>>>Overall temperatures above average.
>>>Severe weather may run below normal for spring.
I sincerely hope I’m wrong about the dry spell…but it does not look good right now.