Monday, November 30, 2009

Taking a real look for snow...

This is frustrating storm to figure out and I sure hope they are not all this hard this winter or there will be a lot of late nights watching model runs and then still not knowing anything for certain. What I do know right now is the storm is shown all over the place and that it is very unlikely to be a major hit for anyone.

There are a multitude of issue with this system besides the track too. We are going to be warm. Tuesday looks to be a tick above 50 and sunny. We have not had any sustained cold so the ground is also warm so anything falling will melt early on.

The system is a fast mover so no matter where it tracks, nobody will receive a long duration snow storm however there could be some pretty heavy rates as it falls and it will be wet and heavy.

If the storm comes to us, then the southern stream of moisture won't mix in with the northern stream early enough so we will receive a cold and miserable rain before the transition to snow.

If there is a good phase of the two, the storm will most likely pull west and give us a trace amount or slightly more. It would be doubtful we would even see an inch of the white stuff.

One problem we have is the sampling of weather is poorly done over Mexico where the southern stream is currently tracking. A better indicator of the track and hopefully some consensus will happen with the Tuesday morning model runs and I should think a solid idea on where it is going will be in place by this time tomorrow.

I still like the chances for a 2 hour delay on Thursday is even a small amount of snow falls given it is the first of the season.

Beyond this storm system, several more are on track for our area next week so even if this is a miss, we might have a better shot next week with cold air already partially in place. Stay tuned for more updates...

Snow Update...

Lots of uncertainties but some small hope exists for accumulating snow, mainly on Thursday. However some believe the snow will be northern IL, southeast WI, and western/northern MI. We get a miss with that thinking...


The HPC has a 10% chance we will see four inches of snow. I think a call of one inch with occasional spots nearing two would be a valid call for now. Too bad we don't already have the cold so the ground would be frozen...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Is there snow in the forecast?

You betcha! With that said, we need to temper our enthusiasm with rational thinking...

The week will begin sunny and seasonal temperatures with cold air and rain and snow coming in for the latter part of the week. The upcoming snow potential has been difficult to nail down by almost everyone. Models don't have much agreement on the specifics and they even change enough between each run that you just cannot be sure of the impact the system will have and upon whom impact will effect.

However time keep running out to really show a major phase to the two systems so it is more than likely going to be a minor event for whoever gets lucky and sees snow. The threat for snow is about 50/50 right now for our area and totals will probably be two inches to just a trace amount.

However just a few minor differences could change this to significant but this seems unlikely.

With any first snowfall, school delays and wild and crazy driving will be very likely.

The good news is the upcoming temperatures do look become more favorable for snow and the models do remain active with various storms. Let's just hope we can get a bomb!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Short Forecast...

Just a few short thoughts...

The Great Lakes are in a snow drought compared to the past couple of winters. Last year most areas in the upper Great Lakes had double digit snowfall by now and many remain snowless or have just a trace amount to an inch or two.

Saturday will be beautiful with sun and middle 50's and warm blooded people like me will be sporting our shorts one more time this year! Sunday looks to be nearly as warm but it will be overcast and with showers so it will feel much cooler.

A lot of talk about the cold air coming into our region next week. Nothing more than seasonal temperatures and the weather forecast models are still showing a possible storm. Even a few even hint at a significant amount of 4 to 6 inches plus across the area but that seems little far fetched for now. I still wouldn't mind seeing an inch or two and that does seem possible. However timing will be critical for the moisture and cold and it could just end up being a cold rain. *frown*

I will try to start work on updating the site starting on Sunday. Already starting to do some tweets on twitter. (Some instructions for those not familiar with twitter will be coming shortly.)

Thursday, November 26, 2009


We remained snowless with the system that moved through. It never did get cool enough to even try to spit some snow with the afternoon precipitation. November will likely finish out with no snow which it doesn't do all that often.

It is difficult to pin down the first chances for snow in December. The long range models have been on again and off again with snow and have it everywhere from the plains to the Atlantic ocean. Not much confidence in any solution at this point but I still think that the end of next week could bring someone a nice snowfall or possible severe weather from Arkansas to the Carolinas.

Friday morning shoppers will need some hot deals to warm up from the overnight low around 30. Saturday will be a nice day with sun and temperatures near the middle 50's for the region.

Overall the temperature patten will return to more seasonal temperatures with no deep cold or torch expected. Seasonal temperatures hover right around the upper 20s to middle to upper 30s making it difficult to predict snow.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Snow and then Snow Next Week...

Look for a rain/snow mix with no accumulation of the white stuff for tonight into Thanksgiving. The big shopping weekend looks to be partly sunny with highs in the middle to upper 40's all three days. Little to no precipitation.

Next week looks to start out with rain and possible some severe weather to our south and then changing over to snow. The models still vary on amounts but some accumulations a couple of inches and maybe more seems like a realistic possibility. A lot is still up in the air on the timing of the cold air and how it interacts with the southern stream of moisture. It could be interesting...

You can get on board with the new Kokomo-Weather twitter account here - For those clueless about twitter, don't despair! I will bring you up to speed in the very near future on some of the amazing uses and possibilities.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Snow and Changes Coming...

Looks like there will be a rain and snow mix for Thanksgiving Day around the area. No accumulation of the white stuff is expected.

There has been some wintry weather showing up on the longer range models for December. While nothing can be pinned down or is for sure, expect some change in the pattern bringing cooler weather.

Kokomo-Weather will undergo some new updates in December including forecasts three times weekly sent via twitter (*get on twitter!*) and updates to the web pages and links. Stay tuned!

Edit to add: I will also be working on new mobile solutions and tell you about the best weather apps for your smart phones!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cooler with showers this week...

I think the NWS forecast for Kokomo says it all. Cooler with chances for rain this week...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Warm Weather Continues

The beautiful weekend will continue into the work week. A chance for rain Monday night into Tuesday but more sunshine to complete the week. While there will be a slight cool down as the week progresses, it will still remain above our typical average for November.

I do caution those who are already canceling winter. It is very early and don't panic with the warm weather. Our time for winter will come...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Welcome Avery!

We have a new addition to our home. His name is Avery and he was very unexpected. My wife has an ex coworker who is her friend and yesterday she invited my Jeri to lunch. It seemed innocent and not unusual. Well her friend had a surprise for us, a new puppy. WOW!

We had not considered a dog yet and were still mourning the loss of Spencer but here we are with a new dog and his name is Avery. He seems like a cute dog and is three months and a few days old. He loves attention and loves to play. He quickly found some of Spencer's old toys and made them his own.

While Avery will never replace the memories we have for Spencer, he looks like he will make a whole bunch of new memories for us and I think after just once day, he will be a welcomed addition to our home.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

2009-2010 Winter Outlook Summary

Hello and welcome to the much anticipated 2009-2010 Winter Outlook Summary and the annual prediction of snow days for Howard County Schools.

As you know, my call for winter is a blend of many other more detailed and thought out winter forecasts. The good thing about these forecasts is each of those has been debated to the nth degree, mainly by others much smarter than me. Hopefully I have been able to weed out the wishcasts from those which have some scientific and meteorological merit and have been able to find some common ground in which to make my forecast summary.

When sorting over the winter outlooks, there are two themes which seem to dominate. The first group believes this will be an El Niño year. The Climate Prediction Center (NOAA) made their winter outlook based upon this thinking and they are not alone. El Niño winters for us are generally not good if you are a snow lover and like the prolonged cold in Indiana since we tend to be warm and dry.

While it does appear many of the variables which make up the El Niño are trending in that direction, a second group of winter outlooks are not jumping on the El Niño bandwagon.
Currently the El Niño is in the low moderate range and they believe it will begin to relax considerably in the next few weeks. The second group also says let's look at the current pattern and asks for someone to really show them where it is changing. In fact they say even when El Niño has strengthened, the pattern has persisted.

Let's take a look at the pattern and how it has affected us. It has been cooler around for us and thinking back, it never really was a blistering hot summer like we most of the times have in Indiana. Since January 1, we are about 1 degree cooler than normal. The last three months are about 1 to 2 degrees cooler and the last 30 days has us 2 to 4 degrees cooler.

Doing the same for precipitation, we are 120% above normal since January 1, about the same for the past three months but a whooping 300% for the past 30 days.

The pattern has made us cooler and wetter than normal. Does the pattern continue to persist? Some forecasters believe so and created their winter forecasts accordingly. The El Niño group has been pointing to the very recent warming trend which has place the temperatures plus 2 to 4 degrees over normal for much eastern third of the United States and are already declaring an early victory.

What we really know is everybody could be wrong and long range forecasting is as much art as it is science and depending on the market for which one forecasts, it can sometimes skew the reasoning. Some believe that the forecast is created first and that the science is then found to support it. That sounds very plausible since I am looking for the forecasts which will allow me to predict cold and snowy since that is the winter weather I love. (I know Julie wants that too!)

However I think I am able to find a good summary based mainly upon solid and well reasoned forecasts.
So let's get down to my 2009-2010 winter forecast for Howard County and Kokomo, Indiana.

In general I think the warming trend will continue keeping us with above normal temperatures for November and December. While I don't expect and record setting warmth, I could see a few days where one could skip wearing a coat in December.

January will be cold. Very cold in fact. Almost all camps believe that January will have several prolonged cold snaps driving down the overall temperature departures much below normal. February will still remain cold early but will give way to a late warming trend which will continue with an above normal March. Spring (and severe weather) will come early to Indiana.

Precipitation will continue to be above normal. El Niño or not I just cannot see it being dry. However it won't be stretched out over the entire winter but will come in big shots. Unfortunately many of the big shots will be rainmakers. But wait, there is some hope for snow lovers...

We should see several Alberta Clippers during our cold snap in January and early February and a couple of those should over perform providing decent snows of four to six inches. Otherwise I could see a lot of small dustings of one to two inches or as I call them, nuisance snows.

I do think a *big monster* will come together with two or even three systems phasing together giving us a 16"+ snow storm across a large portion of the Ohio Valley/Great Lakes. Don't worry if this doesn't happen during the coldest parts of the winter. This could very well be a late winter blast sometime in March.

In conclusion, I think we will see around 16 to 20 inches of snow outside of the big one which should top us out over 30 inches or slightly above average. If we don't see a big snow, then look for below average for the winter.

Now to be fair, I should be like many forecasters and go back and grade myself on my previous years prediction. (It also allows me to keep up the suspense before we get to the snow day prediction which is what everyone wants to know.) Unfortunately Howard County is not an official reporting station for climate data so I will use both Lafayette and Indianapolis as my references.

I predicted cold for December and it turned out to be neutral (or right about average). The bookend theme for last year had everyone going warm in January and like them, I busted with Indy -3.5 degrees and Lafayette -3.1 degrees below normal. Of course the cold snap which brought temperatures below zero for a couple of days including a -19 reading didn't help us out. The bookend idea would have been right had we went warm/cold/warm for December/January/February. February blowtorched with a +3 to +4 above average temperature. Ouch! So I guess I blew the entire winter forecast on temperatures. Grade: F

For snow, I had 50 to 60 inches which is above average. (Note: Howard County has an exceptionally high average due to a single winter in the early 80's either having a unbelievable snowfall or the recorded data being incorrect. I plan to do some additional research on this topic and hopefully can report back sometime later this winter.) Well, the winter was a bust for snow. We had only one snow event which produced a day off from school. The snow event on January 28th dropped 7.5 inches. If not for that one single event, it would have been pretty bleak with the snow totals. Overall we finished with about 12 to 15 inches of snow and far below my predicted 50 to 60 inches and well below any believable normal of 24 to 27 inches which is where I think normal is for Howard County should be.
Grade: F

At least my forecast wasn't a complete failure. I predicted four snow days and as you know, snow days are a general term for weather related days off from school. I got three or 75% of my prediction. (I am using Northwestern as my measuring mark but I do believe Eastern and Western took a fourth day off but forget exactly the circumstances.) While only one was from the white stuff, two additional days came about from the frigid temps experienced in January. (You remember January, the month which was supposed to be warm!) I think I can fairly give myself a good mark but I do need to take a little for due to the lack of actual snow events.
Grade: B-

2009-2010 Snow Day Prediction:
I am going with five snow day (weather related) closures this winter. Of course without my phased monster, I might very well bust. This is before March 15th (unless I need an extension - hehe). Kids - enjoy them!

Revisiting the outlook: I am going to try and revisit my winter outlook a few times this year and should things be heading in a totally different direction, I will adjust accordingly. I should have see it coming last winter with the poor forecast. The only thing which will stand fast will be the snow day prediction of five.

Disclaimer: This outlook is as much for fun as anything else. Don't bet your life or property on it and never risk your financial future on what I am saying. Look to a trained professional for those predictions.

Gratitude: Thanks to the many professional and hobbyist forecasters from the many weather boards and professional weather sites I visit.