Monday, August 27, 2012

Isaac poised to do its thing!

OK, so it looks like we are going to take a hit somewhere around New Orleans with what may turn out to be a Category 2 hurricane! While that would be a very sad thing, there is still one positive. Old Isaac will be bringing a boat-load of water with him after he moves ashore later this week! This will be manna from heaven for a ton of farmers, and personally, I hope the track moves a bit more to the west and then motors on through east Texas and southwest Missouri (see graphic). While not a drought buster, a foot or so of rain could turn out to be just the game changer we’ve been looking for!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Long range forecast for the winter of 2012-13!

The long range forecasts for the coming winter of 2012-13 are now beginning to trickle in with some climatologists forecasting a 'wild mix' all across the continental United States. As the map from AccuWeather above shows, the mixed bag of ice and snow over the Midwest could prove a challenge for many of us residing in southwest Missouri.

One of the major climate players that will dictate what type of winter we will experience will be the continued development (or not) of  El Nina, or warming waters off the west coast of South America. Right now (August 2012) the predictions are running about 70% in favor of a shift from neutral to a more enhanced ENSO (El Nina Southern Oscillation). That factor in conjunction with future trends for the Arctic Oscillation (AO), increased volcanism (increased atmospheric ash) and or reduce solar output could radically affect the coming cold season for many either in a positive or negative manner.

Also, see my latest update written in October. 

More to come as we get closer to December…

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Monday, August 13, 2012

August Nirvana!

My few friends have asked me what the heck is going on with the weather as of late? What had been a brutal onslaught of dry heat in July transitioned abruptly into a much wetter and cooler month that has now seen days that were actually BELOW NORMAL! Can you believe it?

As of the morning of August the 13th, and thanks to an early morning spot shower, My location has now almost reached and surpassed the average monthly rainfall (3.03” versus an average of 3.15”). The vegetation (and somewhat sadly my lawn) has responded very well to the change by putting out new growth. The trees have stopped dropping their leaves and my little garden plants are growing once again.

The trend to take us into the middle of the month looks to be more of the same with temperatures averaging somewhere in the mid seventies and another good shot at rain long about August the 16th.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Mini forecast for balance of August 2012!

Just as if someone flipped a switch sometime around the first of August, climate conditions here in southwest Missouri have changed dramatically! What was a hot and dry regime turned rather abruptly to a wetter and cooler climate beginning around the third of the month. Credit for the change can be partly attributable to the movement of the dome of high pressure off to the southwest over the past couple of weeks! This movement has allowed the jet stream to dig further south and as it did so, it brought cooler temperatures that interacted with all the moisture still lingering in the area.

As of August the 11th, my location had received 2.88 inches of rain against a ‘normal’ average of 3.15 inches (West Plains data). In addition, the high temperatures went from the low one hundreds right on down to the eighties. This change (especially the increase in rainfall) was not felt uniformly across the region, sad to say. However, in my area located close to Forsyth Missouri, the additional moisture coupled with the moderation of heat has had a good effect on garden crops that had been withering.  The question in my mind, at this time, is will this trend continue?

There are some indications that, yes, this change may be more the norm for the balance of the month and here’s why; 1) every day we are not getting less and less insolation from the sun as it drifts lower in the southern sky, 2) INSO readings are now trending away from a neutral profile to a more active El NiƱo pattern that should see a return to wetter conditions across much of the southwest and 3) even though were are now approaching a solar max in 2013, the intensity has been pretty wimpy and some scientists think that could be the trend for some time to come. All these factors bode well for a rather pleasant (and hopefully wet) fall.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Finally! Some relief in early August!

Overnight, on August the 5th, a cold front sweep through the area bringing with it a line of showers that swept across the area in a west to east fashion. This ‘training’ movement brought waves of rain showers that measured 1.84 inches when all was said and done. That was the case in Forsyth Missouri where I live. Other areas from southeastern Kansas across much of southern Missouri also got rainfall that helped, a little bit, to break the drought stranglehold we’ve all been living under.

Even more interestingly, the Weather Service is seeing changes in the overall jet stream patterns that may allow for continued relief as we progress into the month. Most importantly, they are forecasting a continued movement of the high pressure dome to the west along with reinforcing cold frontal invasions from the north over the next week or so. This should bring with it more normal temperatures and the chance for more rain from time to time!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

So long July of 2012! And good riddance to ya!

"When someone asks me about summer and fall, and which I like the most…I just stare at that person and say ‘duh’!"

Now, finally with the month of July relegated to the trash bin of history, we can all look forward to August; a month that is one step closer to the cooling and refreshing days of fall! But first, a look back at the hell that was July 2012…
Click on to enlarge

As you can see by the graphic at right, July was all about hitting the century mark and then staying there day after day! It was about staying inside and watching your electric bill climb ever higher even as the AC struggled to keep up. It was about trying to stay optimistic as I watched my lawn dry to a crisp. Yeah, it was all those things and more! [Side note: On one blessed day, July the 14th, the high temperature got only 76F! A very cool day in both senses of the word! That day was strange in that the systems that brought the clouds and rain, seemed to collide from both the northwest and southeast! Here’s a graphic of the temperatures on that day (below left). I might just frame it!]

July 14 was one fine day!
Across the Midwest, farmers watched as crops withered on the vine. By mid July over 1,300 counties spanning 29 states were reporting record losses in corn and other feed grains and had filed for disaster relief. (A situation that will more than likely make itself felt for the rest of us, later this year and early next, at grocery stores as everyone will struggle even harder to make ends meet).

"In 2013, as a result of this drought, we are looking at above-normal food price inflation. ... Consumers are certainly going to feel it!" USDA economist Richard Volpe.

Exacerbating the stress caused by high temperatures was the lack of evenly spaced rainfall. While my location just south and east of the City of Forsyth Missouri was only half an inch down from the monthly average, other locations around me did not benefit at all. Missing entirely was a good old all day soaker rain. (The kind of rainy days which were more often seen in bygone days). Statewide, the drought monitor went from moderate and severe to exceptional in some states including Missouri.

If there was a good side to this month, it was that I hardly ever needed to cut the grass. (I think I was forced to only once)! The gas and energy savings were much appreciated.