Time To Toss The Winter Gear? Don't Be Duped!

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I absolutely admit when I make a bad call. It’s the responsible thing to do. No point in trying to avoid the subject or move on and pretend like it didn’t happen. Weather forecasting is clearly an inexact science and even with all the technology we have available, we sometimes fall short of an accurate forecast. Getting the first 4 days in a 7 day can sometimes be hard enough let alone trying to predict what’s going to happen in 1, 2, 5, 7 weeks etc.

February was a horrible forecast. I own up to it. I was expecting a pattern flip to happen by the second week of the month – didn’t happen. Why? Because the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) got stuck in phase 7, which is a warm phase for the east coast. It getting stuck likely created feedback and did us in for Feb. I was banking on the idea it would transition into phase 8 (colder) and it didn’t. Now, it DOES look to go that way as we wrap up February and go into March.

I’m looking at several factors lining up just right to give us one last shot of seeing Winter weather before it’s all over. The MJO is just one of those factors. Another big contributing factor? The North Atlantic Oscillation. It has been very positive over the past several weeks which aided in bringing warmer air our way combined with a persistent southeast ride off shore. That looks to change. The ridge breaks down and the NAO goes into its negative phase, strongly might I add, and will help force colder air into the Mid-Atlantic. It will also help support my idea that one last snow event is on the table.

Let’s take a step back for one second and look at my Winter forecast I issued in November. Generally speaking: Cold and snowy start, mild middle, wild end. 2 out of the 3 have verified. I also went 15% above snowfall. We’ve seen 20% above so far.

March is USUALLY a wild month for us due to seasonal change, and I think there will be a couple added surprises this year. When looking at anomalies (how I like to forecast) 1962 comes to mind. Mild February, wild March with a major blockbuster nor’easter during the first week. Am I saying that is going to happen again? No. What I AM saying I think there is a 60% chance we see some sort of snow event during the first or second week of March. The negative NAO helps “Block” storms and prevents them from being progressive. That’s how you get a decent sized storm to form.

Here's a look at the first week of 1962

vs forecast for first week of March THIS year. Notice the 500mb heights are very similar with the blocking (red) and trough (blue) cutting underneath.

Keep in mind snow becomes increasingly hard to get as we head into March BUT I believe the numbers on my side. The 50 year average is for 2.5” of additional snow in March and the 5 year average is 6”. Now, I don’t think it’s going to be frigid, but just cold enough to deliver us some snow. That’s all.

These types of years frustrate me because often times the COOL weather lingers well into the beginning of Spring.

Bottom line – don’t be duped by Mom Nature… changes are still in the cards.