3PM Update-A Look At Winter So Far!

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Don’t forget to follow @fox4wx on Twitter for numerous little weather tidbits and fast notice of blog updates. I won’t be jamming up your timeline or anything with useless tweets just cool weather information that nobody else will tell you about.

3PM Update:

About the only notable thing is a growing thought that we may actually be talking about our 1st winter snow of significance early next week. The timing of this would be MON and there would be a potential for this to be our first accumulating snow of substance around here. It does not look to be a major storm, however there would be some upside potential on this since we’ll be talking about a Warm Air Advection (WAA) scenario. The issue could be the strength of the warm air trying to move back in over the retreating weekend cold airmass that we’ll be dealing with. My initial feeling is that the cold air will win and the rain snow line will be farther south of KC. This is the wave that has caught my attention today. Granted this is 5 days away and MANY things will probably change with this including the intensity of the wave and the positioning of it. IF it’s much stronger and creeps farther north, then we may be looking at some sort of snow to wintry mix to something else.

The wave in question is moving from the southern plains eastwards. This map showing it is valid @ 6AM MON. Notice that other wave across the west coast. We’ll need to watch that as well, but right now the potential for warmer air to move in after MON is looking stronger meaning that second wave might be more of a rain maker later next week.

For what it’s worth (not much from 5 days out) the GFS is cranking out about 1-3″ of snow with this 1st wave. the EURO is actually colder and spits out about 2/10th of an inch of QPF…this too would translate into a 2-4″ snow for us since the snow might be a bit drier. Again this is purely conjecture.

Remember these are just model projections, but in the “Winter That Isn’t” it’s something to talk about. More updates obviously over the next few days.

That’s about it for the afternoon update. More coming tomorrow! Now lets get to the morning weather blog.

So where do we stand so far this winter. Well December 2011 was 4.4° above average. January 2012 was 6.3° above average and February 2012 so far is running 10.6° above average. While February has a high number now, it will be sliced and diced over the next 5-7 days with colder air moving through the region, especially heading towards the weekend.

Not including FEB so far, this winter is running in 9th place I believe in terms of our all time winter temperatures. Again that is through JAN 31st. We still have a ways to go but let’s just say this FEB turns out to be average. That would then place this winter as the 11th warmest in our weather history. That’s pretty impressive IF this month is average. Obviously IF we have another warm month, then we’ll be moving up the list.

NOAA released a bunch of information yesterday concerning just how warm JAN 2012 really was for the nation as a whole and for KS/MO as well. For the nation it was the 4th warmest JAN in record history. Take a look at this map showing how warm it was.

What do the numbers mean? Well based on 118 years of record keeping, the closer that number is to 118 the warmer the temperatures were compared to their all time warmest JAN. For example, in KS the number is 109. This means that JAN 2012 was the 10th warmest JAN in KS history. For MO the number is 111, which means it was the 8th warmest JAN in MO weather history. Another area to look towards is the northern plains where it was the 5the warmest in ND and the 7th warmest in MN.

Here are some other tidbits courtesy of NOAA:

U.S. Climate Highlights – January 

  • Warmer-than-average temperatures were widespread across the contiguous United States during January. Nine states – Arizona, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wyoming – had January temperatures ranking among their ten warmest. Florida and Washington were the only states with temperatures near average, and no state was cooler than average.
  • Many locations across the Northern Plains exceeded all-time warm January maximum temperatures records during the month, including Minot, North Dakota, which reached 61 degrees F on January 5th. This surpassed the previous record of 59.0 degrees F for the city, set on January 28th, 1906.
  • In contrast to the contiguous United States being much warmer than average, several towns across Alaska had their coldest average January temperatures on record — Nome (-16.6 degrees F), Bethel (-17.3 degrees F) McGrath (-28.5 degrees F), and Bettles (-35.6 degrees F).
  • Precipitation totals were mixed across the United States during January. The Southern Plains and the Great Lakes were wetter than average for the month, with Texas having above-average precipitation for the second month in a row. Texas had not experienced two consecutive months with above-average precipitation since January-February 2010.
  • Below-average precipitation was observed for the Central Plains, where Kansas had its third driest January, and Nebraska its eighth. The Southeast was also drier than average, where Florida had its eighth driest January on record. Many locations along Florida’s Atlantic coast, which usually averages over 2.5 inches of precipitation during January, had little to no precipitation during the month.
  • Cities across the Northern Plains, Midwest, and Northeast had below-average snow fall during the month – a result of warmer and drier than average conditions. According to data from the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the average snow extent during January was 1.0 million square miles, which was 329,000 square miles below the 1981-2010 average. This marks the 3rd smallest January snow cover extent in the 46-year period of record.

U.S. Climate Highlights – Winter to Date (December 2011-January 2012)

  • The first two months of the winter season, December and January, have been much warmer than average for the contiguous United States. The two-month period was the fourth warmest on record with an average temperature 3.8 degrees F above average. Much of the warmth was anchored across the northern and eastern United States. Minnesota was record warm for the period, with an average temperature 10.1 degrees F above average. A total of twenty-two states from Montana to Maine had December-January temperatures ranking among their ten warmest. 
  • Despite a large winter storm which impacted the western U.S. during January, much of the region was drier than average. California had its fourth driest December-January period, and Montana had its sixth. Wetter-than-average conditions were observed in a string of states from New Mexico to New York, with Texas having its eleventh wettest two-month period.

U.S. Climate Highlights – Last 12 months (February 2011-January 2012)

  • The 12-month period, ending in January, was the sixth warmest such period for the contiguous United States, with warmer-than-average temperatures dominating the eastern two-thirds of the nation. Seven states – Delaware, New Jersey, North Carolina, Maryland, Rhode Island, Texas, and Virginia – were record warm for the period, while an additional 18 states had 12-month temperatures ranking among their ten warmest. Oregon and Washington were the only states with below-average temperatures during the period.
  • The nationally-averaged precipitation total for the 12-month period was near average, masking regional extremes. The Ohio Valley and Northeast were record wet for the period, with seven states within those regions also being record wet. Dry conditions were present along the southern tier of the nation from New Mexico to South Carolina.

Specifically for the Midwest region here is some information.

  • January temperatures were above normal across the Midwest. Departures from normal ranged from 5 to 10 degrees F (3 to 6 degrees C) above normal with the largest departures in Iowa and Minnesota. The Minnesota statewide temperature for January ranks among the ten warmest in the 118-year record. All nine Midwest states rank in the top 25%. Daily temperature records showed only three record lows (two ties and one new record) but more than 1250 record highs, including three dates (6th, 11th, and 31st) each with more than 200. Among the record highs were seven new records for the warmest January day at that station and eight more that matched the existing January record.
  • January precipitation was generally below normal in the western half of the Midwest and above normal in the eastern half. Precipitation totals ranged from less than 25% of normal along the western border of Missouri to more than 150% of normal in pockets in north central Minnesota, Upper Michigan, and near Cincinnati and Cleveland in Ohio. Snowfall totals were above normal from the Iowa-Minnesota border to northern Ohio and in some areas further north but snowfall was below normal for the entire southern half of the region.

Here is a nice overview of the significant weather features for JAN 2012:

So with all this warm weather, where has it been cold. Alaska! Check this next graphic out!

Notice that Bettles, AK anomaly…almost 26° below average!

I’ll have another update for you this afternoon, hopefully around 3PM here on the FOX 4 Weather Blog!

Joe

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