Frigid start to a pleasant week

Good Monday, folks. The coldest air of the season is right on top of the region today, but the rest of the week looks fabulous. Big changes are on the way next week and we will take a look at that and take a look down the road to winter.

The day starts with readings in the low and middle 20s for most of the area and this could be within a few degrees of the record low of 22 in Lexington. Wind chills are in the upper teens. By the afternoon, highs range from the low to mid 40s with mostly sunny skies.

Election Day continues to look really good with upper 20s to start and 50s in the afternoon. This kicks off a pattern of AWESOME weather around here for the rest of the week into next weekend. Dry skies and pleasant temps in the 60s will be common. A few 70 degree high temps will also show up by the weekend. 70s in November are actually quite common, but I find it interesting that the past two November’s didn’t get to 70 in Lexington and the ensuing winters were mild with not much snow. I’ll get to more winter talk in a bit.

The pattern by the following week is likely to go back toward an extreme look with winter weather engulfing the west and plains and trying to roll back into the east. At the same time, we may have a tropical system lurking around Florida.

The models will exhibit wild swings with details, but they are consistent in showing a similar fight to what we just saw:




You can clearly see how each model handles it all differently, but have an overall similar look with the trough coming east and a tropical system somewhere in the Caribbean/Gulf region.

Now that November has kicked off the cold weather season that runs through March, I thought it would be a good time to take a look at the state of the Pacific Ocean. This is one of the biggest drivers of the weather across the country and water temp profiles can make a big difference in what kind of winter we have.

Here’s a look at the ocean temp anomalies across the globe:

First off, you will notice how much of the globe has water temps that are above normal. This has certainly been the trend of the past decade and this is making seasonal forecasting much more challenging because we really don’t have anything to compare it with.

If we purely focus on the Pacific Ocean, you notice the big blob of warm water off the west coast into the Gulf of Alaska and the increasing La Nina in the equatorial waters:

The location of that warm pool is the friend of anyone wanting a cold and snowy winter around here. Last year, it was there, but faded and pushed farther west, crushing our winter dreams. By this same point last year, it was already beginning to do just that. That’s not the case with this year… At least not now.

The La Nina continues to flex some muscle and should become moderate or even strong. The current coldest anomalies are showing up in a region known as 3.4. To see such a warm pool over top of such a strong La Nina isn’t very typical, so this will also lead to a limited number of true analogs from the Pacific.

So do both of these signals hold up through the winter? Here’s the new November-January forecast from the CFS V2:

Here’s the average for December-February:

The warm pool off the west coast and into the Gulf of Alaska holds tight as the La Nina becomes more west based in time.

Now, I have to digest all this and figure out where I think it means for our winter ahead. I should have the winter forecast out here in a few weeks, as usual. Some of my working analogs for the winter ahead are:

  • 2017/18
  • 2010/11
  • 2000/01
  • 1995/96
  • 1984/85
  • 1983/84
  • 1978/79
  • 1970/71
  • 1966/67
  • 1964/65
  • 1962/63

And NO, those are not solely based on how the Pacific Ocean looks.

Have a happy Monday and take care.

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