Tuesday, November 30, 2010

2010-2011 Snow Logs (For Kokomo, Indiana)

Total (Updated 3/6/2011): 34.3" + 6 Traces | Snow Days: 5
Forecast 22-24" Snow Days Predicted: 0

11/30/2010 - T
12/1/2010 - 0.4"
12/4/2010 - 3" (Hybrid Clipper)
12/5/2010 - T
12/9-10/2010 - 1" (Overnight Clipper)
12/12-13/2010 - 2.1"  (Synoptic and LES/Snow day @ Eastern. Related to boiler problems.)
12/16/2010 - 2" (Better than expected!)
12/20-21/2010 - 2.3" (Overnight Clipper)
12/22/2010 - T
12/24-25/2010 - 1" + T (An additional 0.2" fell in eastern Howard County on Christmas. Not recorded in the 1" measurement.)
1/6-8/2011 - 1" (Several small waves of snow from the passing clippers.)
1/11-12/2011 - 4.5" (Widespread Snow.  Schools dismissed early on Tuesday and then did the delay/cancel shuffle on Wednesday.)
1/20/2011 - 1.75"
1/ 24-25/2011 - 1.2"
1/27/2011 - 1.5" (Clipper)
1/29/2011 - .25" (Whole lot of nothing.)
1/31/2011 - 1" (Snow)
2/1-2/2/2011 - 3" (Mainly Sleet)  (2/1-2/3 - 3 Snow Days (Kokomo Center only 2))
2/5/2011 -  6" (HUGE surprise - Biggest snow of the season!)
2/20/2011 - T (Snow/sleet mix AM)
2/21/2011 - 0.3" (Wintry mix with Zr, SN, and rain too.)
2/25/2011 - 4" (Dry air killed a great storm system. County wide snow day.)
2/26/2011 - T
3/5/2011 - T (plus 1+ inch of rain)

Update: Snowless November - Was it?

Update:  I am going to acknowledge today's snow and place a T in the records book.

The flakes came down pretty good for a bit this afternoon but I didn't see any accumulations to speak (write) of so I am thinking the snowless November prediction remains pretty much in tact.  What did fail was my call for 3/4" to 1" of rain with the system.  About half that amount seems to be what fell.  Oh well...

The weekend clipper is still very undecided on track and the amount of precipitation available.  I don't think my 1" to 2" call of snow is bad one at this time.  I could see us getting missed but am hopeful it doesn't happen.  A lot of model watching is going on and the snow lovers (like me) are really fretting the details on a pretty wimpy system.  I guess knowing December is supposed to be "our month" can make one nervous when things don't look very good right now.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ready For Snow?

Rain is approaching and we should receive more drought relief with this system.  I think 3/4" to 1" is likely.  A small possibility of back end snow.  Maybe enough to write your name on the windshield and make a few slick spots on the sidewalk.

The weekend storm is not exceptionally interesting but it should also bring some snow on the back end of the rain.  At this moment, the snow will be late Saturday evening into the overnight and could total a couple of inches.  This is a clipper system which has been waffling on exactly how far south it digs in.

A possible better solution would be to take a miss to the north allowing the system early next week to come across across the US in a bowling ball fashion.  No predictions at this moment but one of the best bowling ball storms of recent was the Valentines Day storm of 2007.  A nice 15" to 18" fell across our area.  (Wouldn't that be a sweet solution for next week?)

If the system digs in deep, the better system next week could be pushed south.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Rainy Start To The Work Week...

Looks like another drought busting type of system will be over the area for the start of the work week.  Look for a late afternoon/early evening start with the heaviest precipitation to occur Monday night into Tuesday early.  Totals anywhere from three quarters to an inch or maybe more of a good rain band can set up over the area. The GFS and NAM both have moisture coming up from the GOM for the system.  (It would have been great for severe weather to have this set up.)

The system for next weekend is still undecided on how it will end up.  I think this first system will need to exit before we can figure out the weekend.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Snowless November

Currently Kokomo has remained snowless for November.  There have been a few flakes mixed in with the cold rain but nothing accumulated even in the elevated crevasses which normally collect snow.  There is a good chance we finish snowless for the month too.  There is a change on Tuesday for a change over to snow but we have highs near 40 in the afternoon and then the temps start dropping.

Many places remain  without snow or have recorded just a trace or slightly more.  The next real shot at snow is the 4th or 5th of December.  That is a weekend of course.  The model consensus now is for a decent amount of precipitation for that time frame to be over the Ohio Valley/Great Lakes regions.  Sometimes it is much to warm for snow and sometimes not.  Looks like there will be some model watching needed next week.

Temperature wise we are currently above normal for the month but not by much.  I think we will finish there given a short lived warming trend happens for the final two days of the month.  Precipitation is also catching up too.  Locally Howard County is probably down 10 to 15% for the past 90 days but slightly above average year to date. 

I want to wish everyone a great finish to the Thanksgiving weekend and look for some more details on the December snow maker in a few days.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


The NWS in Indianapolis really is buying into the heavy rain idea...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Wet Thanksgiving

Draw a line from St. Louis to Indianapolis to Columbus, OH, to Pittsburgh for the northern boundary and the Ohio River as the southern boundary and you have what should be the heaviest rain over Wednesday and Thursday.  Over two inches is likely. 

For our area, expect one to two inches with possible snow mixing in at times.  Accumulation seems unlikely but a dusting to a half inch on some surfaces could happen either at the front or tail end of the system.  Very marginal. 

Cold temps through the holiday weekend.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thanksgiving Week Weather

Last week I was away at a conference.  It was a great conference about K-12 technology.  The timing couldn't have been better.  Why?  It kept me busy, really busy and not able to do more than a cursory look at the weather.  That turned out to be a blessing.

See, other weather enthusiasts and even the professionals bit on the models showing a major Thanksgiving weekend snow storm.  The Indianapolis Star even wrote an article about the potential. 

Others focused on the multiple chances for severe weather talking about a huge outbreak and potential high risk for the Monday/Tuesday system.

As of now there isn't even a slight risk out for severe weather and models are all over the place on the Thanksgiving snow storm.  About the only place it isn't is the snow storm. 

See, by being busy, I didn't get sucked in.  Also I didn't write about it and suck you in either. 

What looks to happen now is rain and lots of it over the Thanksgiving week.  Likely an inch plus for us by Friday.  Some non severe thunderstorms could pop up and maybe even some slop/flakes later in the week but mainly just plain old miserable weather. 

So go about your business this short week and be glad you were not sucked into the hype.

Monday, November 1, 2010

2010-2011 Composite Winter Forecast

I have thought about my 2010-2011 Winter Composite Outlook for several months.  Over this time I have reviewed so many other winter outlooks that I lost count.  However it is over three dozen of not more.  These forecasts shared a few common themes.

The most common and something I fully agree with is that Indiana will be the bulls-eye for above average precipitation.  This drought we have suffered through will be a memory with it likely completely erased by mid spring.

Many forecasters use analogs to do both short and long term forecasts.  With long term seasonal forecasts, this method involves looking for years which have had a similar weather pattern and then looking how those years turned out.  The more matching analogs with similar results, the more easily it is to forecast with confidence.  This brings us to the second common theme.  There are very few matching analogs.  The few that do match don’t really show a common winter pattern. 

So what is a forecaster to do?

Some took the easy way out and saw a La Niña weather pattern and then issued the typical La Niña forecast.  The National Weather Service did this.  The problem is this La Niña is not like many/any others.  I think anyone who went this route will be wrong.  However they might be right enough with some of generalities that they could declare themselves victorious in their forecast.

A few forecasters just went with their gut and ignored science (or the science which didn’t support their forecast) and made sometimes bold or sometimes just plain stupid predictions. 

A fair majority dug down deep into science and looked at the subtleties and came up with a forecast which was based upon science.  The only problem is there are dozens of variables involved and not everyone believes which variable is the most significant.

This makes coming up with my composite forecast a chore.  I have gone back and forth on which way on how I think our winter will end up.  I so want to do a bold call predicting record breaking snow and bone chilling cold.  Of course I can also see this being a torch (warm) with the drought continuing on and on and on…

So before I make the reveal for this year’s forecast, let’s go back and review 2009-2010.  My snow forecast was 30” or slight above average.  Measured snow was 32”.  The NWS cooperative observer was showed a couple of inches more.  Overall the snow forecast total was correct but we nickel and dimed our way all winter to get there.  I really expected a big snow and thought it was necessary to get my final numbers.  In the end the biggest snow was 5.5” after several hours of a dry slot lowered the snow totals a couple of inches.

One hard lesson from last year is snow can be fickle and the cut off can be rather sharp when looking at snow totals.  One storm last year dropped 7” on Tipton, only 4” here and a mere 2” in Logansport.  We saw a lot of the better snows go south of us.  The good news was that kept us from those awful mixing events where we see slop rather than snow.

Temperatures for 2009-2010 were just slightly below average and I called for slight above.  What really stunk was there were several good cold shots which were wasted without precipitation/snow. 

My 2009-2010 forecast ended up being pretty good.  I made a few great calls including nailing the early January clipper which I forecast on November 1.  While the forecast was good, the winter didn’t set well with me or most others who love winter in Indiana.  We never really had a good storm and much of the nation got record breaking snows.  Many will never see snow totals like that in their lifetime.
While many forecasters do national or regional forecasts, I focus on a microcast for Kokomo, Indiana and Howard County.  The composite portion of the forecast is generally taken from ideas presented by other forecasters.  This includes trained and skilled professionals to other enthusiasts and hobbyist like me. 

As a winter lover, I always am looking for ways to make my forecast cold and snowy.  This includes both short range and long range.  But I must also remain honest when looking at everything presented and acknowledge the facts presented and what is actually happening.  With that said, I present the…

2010-2011 Composite Winter Forecast

I do think Indiana will see a lot of precipitation between now and spring.  However it will not be a snowy winter.  Last winter we saw many good snows go south and east.  This year will put the snow back to our north.  I-80 and north will do well.  We will see a lot of slop with sleet being common.  It will be a winter of heartbreaks. 

Our best shots for snow will be from the middle of November through December.  It will be bleak in January and beyond.  Some snow will fall but it will be smaller systems, likely clippers that will deliver 2-3” snows every 7 to 10 days.  The threat of an ice storm is high this winter.

November and December will likely be the two months with below normal temperatures.  While I don’t see significant above normal temperatures for the 2011 portion of winter, there will be a several warm spells between the cold to push it to the plus side of normal. 

The flip between warm to cold will likely trigger a couple of severe weather episodes.  We have seen these scenarios in the past so it shouldn’t be any shocker. 

The snow total will be just below average with around 22-24”.  Sorry to all of my snow lovers.

Snow Day Prediction

The best threat for significant snow will come over the winter break for area schools.  Another good time for a threat comes over Thanksgiving break.  Neither of those times will create snow days for schools.  The smaller snows from clippers in January and February will create 2 hour delays but will not generate cancellations. 

With the lower than average snowfall total and smaller snows and the best threats coming during natural breaks in the school year, I fear there will be zero snow days for 2010-2011.  So there is the ugly prediction.  No snow days for area schools.  I wished it were better news. 

I suspect the superintendents and transportation directors are the only ones happy my prediction.  My apologies to everyone else.  With that sour news, I will conclude with the forecast and prediction.  I hope to expand a bit more as time allows but I wanted to get the forecast and prediction out there.