Thursday, January 14, 2016

Snow Pep Talk

I think all snow lovers out there need a little pep talk and that includes me too.  Yes, we're very disappointed about the lack of snow.  Twitter and Facebook comments are even going so far as to say "WINTER IS OVER"!  I can't disagree more with that.  IT'S ONLY MID JANUARY!!!!

By now many of you know how much admire the long range forecasting work of WeatherBell meteorologist Joe Bastardi.  He predicted a mild December a long time ago and said January through March would be prime months.  Even he will admit the warmth was overwhelmingly more than he thought in December.  I haven't looked at other cities around the country, but Little Rock's average temperature was 9 degrees ABOVE average.  That's a lot to overcome in January and February and I have big doubts he will hit his forecast for below average temperatures around -3 to -4.  One thing we can all agree about is the fact we have had a pattern change and we are getting cold air intrusions in January.  One arrives this weekend.

Joe's forecast and the forecast I showed here on the blog and on the air LAST SUMMER, called for snowfall to be 150 to 200% of average.  Our average snow in Little Rock is only a bit more than 3 inches.  So that's 5-6''.  As I have said here and on TV, we can get that in one night while you're asleep.  The bottom line, winter isn't over in my opinion and I'll show you why historically in a bit.

Let's also look at perception.  There were several bogus forecasts shared all over Facebook months ago calling for a horrible winter. While winter can still get brutal, I think we all know those forecasts are not from reliable sources.  Add to that maps all over social media showing snow chances from the Rockies to east coast for a period within 2 weeks is not a forecast and does not originate from reliable sources.  There's nothing anyone can do about it and there's nothing anyone should do about it.  It's their freedom to do that, but I urge you to be cautious with those forecasts.

My intention is not to degrade anybody for trying to make a forecast, but just to give you some information and my thoughts.

I encourage you to read this article written by Meteorologist James Spann from our sister station in Birmingham, AL.

Let's go back to December 2014 and January 2015.  I remember the chorus of social media voices asking me when winter was going to arrive and many gave up hope.  Then February hit and we all know what happened and how long kids had to stay in school to make up those days.


You can see the big difference between the two months with just a trace in January and then 5.3'' in February which is 150-200% of average.

I'm not saying to expect a snowy February, even though I think we'll get some.  I want all of those who are losing hope to realize there's plenty of time.   Also, in Arkansas, be careful with what you ask for.  Last August and September we were in a drought.  Are we in one now?  Have you seen those rivers and streams?   Things can change quickly around here.

Over the past 15 years, it's interesting to note January is the least snowiest month of winter.  Even though March is not in meteorological winter, I wanted to include it since we have had big snows in March.  I remember back-to-back big snows in March 2008 and even last year (2015). 

Just for fun, we'll eliminate the big Christmas snow of 2012.  January is still close to December as the least snowiest month.  Look at February!!!

My data above only takes into account the past 15 years, but this graphic takes into account the average snowfall each month over the past 30 years.


Anonymous said...

One comment to make, and don't take this the wrong way. You're saying there were several bogus forecasts calling for a horrible winter. Yet, you're commending one forecaster who called for temperatures to be three to four degrees below normal (Top 15 cold) and 150 to 200 percent of normal snow. Would that not be a horrible winter? Why is that forecast not bogus?

Todd Yakoubian said...

Thanks for your comment. The 3-4 degrees below average is not all that extreme, but I don't think it will get there. However, the snowfall forecast still has time. 150 to 200% of average is only 5-6 inches. Last February we received 5.3'' and another 5'' to kick off March. There's still plenty of time. Not saying that will happen, but writing off the snow forecast at this time is wrong.

Todd Yakoubian said...

One other though, Joe has done a great job with many of his past seasonal forecasts.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your work on this blog, I live in Fayetteville, but I stay up date with Arkansas weather through you and a few others. Even if we don't hit the -3 or -4 degrees for the winter Joe's forecast has generally been pretty good so far. Thank you for introducing us to him. His politically views are a little out there, but man he's pretty dang good at long term forecasting. Thanks again Mr. Todd. May the snow be with you!

Unknown said...

So your saying there's a chance. I forsee a good 7-10 inch snow around valentine's day!!!

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