Sunday, September 27, 2009

Winter 97-98, El Niño Relation

The other day, we looked at some old records of the 86-87 El Nino winter to help forecast this year's upcoming winter. Tonight, let's take a look at another El Nino winter, 1997-1998.

Once again, these are some old climate logs from Terry Wood. This first one is Dec of 1997. There are a couple of things to note. First, notice the wintry weather on December 8th. While it was only an inch or so of Sleet/Snow, it closed some area schools according to Terry's notes. That's a early season event for this area! Flurries lingered for a few days, too. We had another couple of days with some light sleet/snow at the end of the month. Accumulations were not noted. I'll talk more about this later, but note the "windy" wording on Christmas Eve. (click image to enlarge)
This next chart is from January of 98. There are a couple of icy events noted, but once again, Terry notes a very windy day on the 7th...
Now here's where the "windy" weather really kicks in. Click the image to enlarge and notice that Terry specifcally notes 5-6 days as being "windy". At times, winds were sustained at 40 mph. No major winter storms are noted, but some thunderstorms are mentioned.
As mentioned in an earlier post, the storm tracks in an El Nino winter typically pass just south of us. With the lows coming close to us and to our south, pressure gradients could be higher and lead to a windier than average winter. Also, as we saw in the 86-87 Winter, "wet" snowfalls were noted. With lows passing south south of us, I think that is a possibility, too.
SOOO, my official Winter forecast for the 2009-2010 Winter is:
  • Slightly cooler than average temperatures
  • Windier than average
  • A couple of wet snowfalls of 2-5", maybe an early season one in December.
  • A couple of SMALL icing events. Nothing like last year!!! Just some slight glazing!

It's been fun looking over some old weather logs. I hope you enjoyed reflecting back on Region 8 weather as much as I did!



Dan Satterfield said...

Great stuff Ryan! An interesting thing about El Nino and our area of North Alabama is that while the gulf coast tends to be very wet, the heavier precip tends to be south of here. Birmingham and south from the El Nino years I have looked at.
We also tend to get the 1-3 inch wet snow falls.

Dan Satterfield
WHNT Huntsville

Jeremy B said...

Pretty interesting stuff Ryan. Thanks for the info, we were all just talking about this at work last week.