Friday, March 07, 2014

Next Week Forecasting Challenges

Saturday 5PM Update... Those forecasting challenges I posted below are really no longer there for next week.  The GFS has led the way again.  The moisture Tuesday will likely stay mostly south of Arkansas, but I'm putting in a slight chance for rain in the forecast.  The cold front will push through the state late Tuesday into Wednesday morning and it will be moisture starved so we're not expecting any significant precipitation at this time.  The air behind the front will be cool, but not cold.  We'll also slowly warm up into next weekend.

So is winter over?  Nope.  I will not rule anything out until we get into the last week of March.  I'll keep you updated.


Just what I need right now, more forecasting headaches.   It's another battle between the GFS and the Euro for next Tuesday and Wednesday.  Regardless of which model you look at, we're going to warm up, but it's back to colder air by the end of next week. 

Some of you may have seen my facebook post showing NOAA's 6-10 day outlook calling for a very good chance for much below average temperatures. We're not done with winter.  I'm not saying it's going to snow, but I'm not ruling anything out at this point.  Remember, it's still winter and I have seen big snows in Arkansas throughout the month of March.  Once we get to the middle to end of the month, chances decrease rapidly.  With that said, does anyone remember what happened in northwest Arkansas last May?  Anyway, we won't go there.

We have two systems to watch next week.  One Tuesday and another one Wednesday.  The GFS is ho hum about all this, but does return us to cooler air by the end of next week.  The European on the other hand brings a wave of rain Tuesday and a more significant wave Wednesday.  The system coming in Wednesday is quite strong on the Euro and as it moves to the east, it pulls cold air in with the upper level low moving through as well.  This opens the window to a swath of something frozen, especially for northern Arkansas.  The GFS wants nothing to do with that.  I'm not saying it's going to snow, but it's something to watch next week.  

With all that said, the track record of the European model this winter in the long range has NOT been as good as the GFS so we'll see what happens and I'll keep you updated.

The following maps are from

This is the Euro valid next Tuesday as 6 PM.  There are two things going on here.  The first is a wave of moisture coming out of the south so there are showers around with heavier rains along the Gulf coast.  The second and more interesting system is west of the state.  Notice the surface low along the Texas/Oklahoma border just south of OKC.  The black lines surrounding this area of low pressure are isobars, lines of equal barometric pressure.  Notice how there are a bunch of them very close together over western OK and the TX panhandle.  As the flow of air is counterclockwise into that surface low, cold air will get drilled southward on the backside.  This strong pressure gradient will cause major winds and heavy snow up into Kansas and CO.  That's IF this model has the right idea.  In Arkansas, it's mild as the Gulf is open and those showers are moving through.
By Wednesday at 6PM, the surface low has moved into eastern Kentucky according to the Euro.  The cold air is draining south behind it over Arkansas.  It's cold and windy again after those 2 mild days.  There's even a chance some of that could be in the form of snow across northern Arkansas, IF YOU BELIEVE THIS MODEL.
This is the GFS late Tuesday.  The first system in the Gulf is not all that strong when compared to the Euro.  There are a few showers around, but not biggie whatsoever.  The second system is in OK and the two models agree on the placement, but disagree on the strength considerably  The GFS is much weaker with it.
By late Wednesday, the GFS shoots the surface low well east like the Euro, but again, it's much weaker and the upper wave is weaker too.  It's getting cooler, but nothing like the Euro and there's NO frozen precip.
In summary, both of the long range models show the systems coming out next week, but differ greatly in the details.  Again, this is very typical with long range forecasting.  Many times, both models are incorrect and it's something in between.  Nevertheless, this needs to be watched!


Anonymous said...

Hope we get something out of this system! #LiveWinterLive

jimmylee42 said...

Todd-According to my count, since the first freeze in November and including today we have had 74 days of lows freezing or below. Even though the winter average temp was ranked only 23rd coldest, I wonder if 74 days with freezing temps is a record. I believe we could have another measurable snow in LR before the end of March. Remember the old saying in the south "if the snow stays around it will be back."

Anonymous said...

Todd, if we get more winter weather, I am holding you personally responsible. I'm convinced your love of cold and snow has caused you to conspire with mother nature and old man winter!

One more thing, I've watched all of your bloggers/tweeters snicker at the bread and milk buyers with comments like "can't wait for my milk and bread sandwiches, ha-ha-ha". I'm the oldest of six children and when snow threatened my mother was at the store buying guess what - bread and milk. We would play in the snow, gather a few friends, and go home starving. We could polish off a loaf of bread, a gallon of milk, and a jar of peanut butter as an afternoon SNACK! So, while some may be panic buying, there are those that are shopping to guard against hordes of hungry children!

I can't wait for you to have two teenage boys (otherwise known as bottemless pits) in your house with a major snowstorm on the way? You'll have to disguise yourself or hire Ninja to buy your milk and bread, because you will be buying it!

All in fun, Todd. I just had to defend the milk and bread brigades!

I also love winter weather, so it's a testament to how bad this winter has been for me to say - "I hope winter is over!"

Susan in Heber.....

Anonymous said...

There can never be enough winter weather. If only it could be below freezing all year round. Make it snow/freezing rain/sleet one more time in March, Todd!

Anonymous said...

Nobody even mentioned Snow Cream?
Mother use to fix "Us Kids" this.
Fresh snow, milk, vanilla, & sugar

We thought this was a great treat, goodness knows I would not eat it now, but took alot of milk to do this. I totally agree with Susan, Go get your Milk and Bread and have a great time with the kids.

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