Monday, February 08, 2016

Preliminary Look At Severe Weather Season

Before you get too concerned, I still think there's plenty of winter left! We have a few chilly days ahead, but nothing we haven't already seen this winter.  We'll get a 1-2 day break, then more cold air next weekend.

This time of year I begin to look at how our primary severe weather season may turn out. While there are many factors involved, I like to look at sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico.  Over the past few years, we have had several arctic intrusions into the Gulf and that cools those waters.  This can delay quality moisture when return flows set up ahead of storm systems.  That's one of the reasons why the past few severe weather seasons didn't get started until later in the spring.

This year is different.  With few cold air intrusions penetrating the Gulf, the sea surface temperature anomalies are positive.  This means the water temperatures are above average.  As storm systems roll through the plains, they will be able to pump warm and unstable air more efficiently into our region.

Like I said, there are other factors involved and this is just one piece of the puzzle and it's a piece that doesn't look good.  We still have more winter to go, but we may make a much quicker transition into severe weather season than the past few years.

Courtesy of  These are sea surface temperature anomalies in degrees C.  Notice there's a lot of orange and red over the Gulf and Atlantic.  I would like to find a site I can go back and look at years past at this point.   Stay tuned.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree with you more. I am not an expect in weather. However, a warm gulf always spells trouble during severe weather season. Right now, the media is saying mid-April for start of severe weather season. Regardless of when it starts, it could be a bumpy season. Let's hope nothing major. Next year could be the bad year if La Nina forms.

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