Monday, March 26, 2012

An Ugly Winter Revisited...


Winter Revisited:
On November 1st I released my winter forecast.  I described the upcoming winter with one word: Awesome!  That seems laughable when I read it now.  

Let’s review what a few others had for their winter forecast…

Accuweather: Brutal Winter Ahead for the Midwest, Great Lakes



Hands down, AccuWeather.com's long-range experts agree that the Midwest and Great Lakes region will be dealt the worst of winter this year.


The National Weather Service had the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes cold and snowy. 



Every forecast I could read and the few forecasters I could speak with all thought that this past winter would be of the cold and snow variety. 

At least we all busted together.  Breaking down my forecast, I started off thinking that winter was ready to flip the switch on by the middle of November.  October gave signs of a pattern shift that would bring winter like conditions across the region before Thanksgiving. 

In the last half of November, ten days topped 50 degrees with three topping 60 degrees.  At the end of November, we did get a snowstorm which was quite tricky to forecast.  It was an overrunning event where the rain would transition to snow as a cold front overtook the moisture.   

We ended up being just a bit far west to see the best snow but we did record 5 inches of heavy snow.  Sadly it only caused two hour delays for area schools.  The good news is that we seemed to be finally on track for winter.

Nope.

December went warm and almost snowless.  Two events with one being a moisture starved clipper on the 8th bringing 1/2 inch and another heavy wet snow on the 27th for 2 inches.  We were also warm with the average temperature 6.2 degrees above normal in Indy. 

By now it was realized the pattern was going to be ugly and January would be warm.  We did squeak out a half dozen snow events but the biggest was 3 inches.  Indy finished with no single digit temperatures and I think Kokomo might have seen one morning with single digits.  By the end of January, Indy had 60 degrees.  Anyone holding on to the cold and snowy forecast now was just delusional.  Indy was 5.6 degrees above normal.  The idea of a second half of January seeing a big snow storm was completely off.  



If I got anything right it was my idea that February would see a moderation of temperatures.  It was.  It started warm and finished warmer.  No big snow and no cold shots.  Single digit temperatures were never realized in Indy for all of the winter and finished the month at 5.2 degrees above normal.  



While meteorological winter ends on the last day of February, I thought winter would still have something left up its sleeve for March.  It did.  Severe weather and way above normal temperatures.  As of the 25th of March, Indy is 15.7 degrees above normal.  All kinds of records for high temperatures have been broken.  

In the end, I give both my winter outlook and winter a big fat F.  Both are well deserved.  I predicted 35 to 40 inches of snow and we had just 20 inches with that last November snow of 5 inches being the biggest all winter.  I also had forecast 4 snow days and there were two or three school delays depending on which county school you attended. 

We did manage to nickel and dime out way to near average snowfall.  Still below but all things considered, it was better than anyone could expect.  The December to February temperature anomaly was 5.5 degrees above average. 


We also did finish with above normal precipitation but it was cold rain rather than the white stuff.  The official write up from NWS Indy is here

The look back was not very pretty.  Sorry about that.  Hopefully we can do better next winter.  Hopefully.

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