Monday, October 04, 2010

Fall Foliage Update

Below is an interview with the Communication Manager of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, Dean Woerner.  She's our fall foliage expert and tells us when to expect colors to peak and how the weather will affect the color this year.

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1 comment:

weatherclipper said... forecaster Henry Margusity is out with his 2010/2011 winter forecast. You can read it here

I am going to explain his reasoning and make a few predictions of my own. I will focus on the mid-south primarily.

Our weather pattern right now has a trough of digging into the west, big ridge in the middle, and trough dug into the east. This is keeping us dry with big temperature swings. Cold fronts drop in and chill us down, then big warm up on back side of high as ridge builds back in. This pattern has been consistent and should be the rest of fall. I would expect our temps to average just above normal for the next 45 days. We will still get cold fronts and normal chances for freezes and frost. The drought conditions and cloud free days will allow us to warm up during the day and help us track above normal for day time highs. Night time lows will be average to below average at times with maximum cooling at night. Clear skies and dry conditions allow for maximum cooling. Unlike this summer when the night time lows aided in the record breaking hot summer for average temps, the cool nights will keep things in check this fall.

December could get interesting as colder air begins to build and drop south. The arctic door is wide open and cold fronts will get progressively colder. December could be our coldest month of the winter season and then we have to keep an eye out for the end of February and March. March could be our snowiest month, if we get any at all. In January and February we will have to watch for severe weather events. I would expect an early start to severe weather in 2011. The Gulf of Mexico will not cool off like it did last year and will remain relatively warm all winter. If the storm track plays out like Henry predicts, storm chase season will be early and often.

Warm air will charge out of the Gulf of Mexico right over Arkansas and vigorous winter upper level lows will create a trigger point for extreme weather. These systems could produce large temp variances and precip types. We could have tornado watches and winter storm watches in the state at the same time.

When the arctic air does come south, and it will a few times, it will be harsh with big drops in temps. We could see 70F for high one day, front passes, and drops temps 40F degrees.

What could go wrong with winter forecast? The trough does not draw back to the west and remains over the east. This will usher in cold air more often and storm track would favor more ice/snow events. I doubt this happens, but they could miss the storm track by 200 miles and that would change things. They hit it on the head last year, so will just have to watch and see how it plays out. Todd, Ninja, and myself will be keeping you updated all winter, so make sure and follow the blog, and watch Arkansas Weather live to keep updated.

Bobby Powers aka weatherclipper

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