Saturday, March 02, 2013

Meteorological March Madness


Several days ago I warned this could be the coldest opening to March in many years.  Here are a few tweets from the National Weather Service office in North Little Rock.

"The high temperature of 42 degrees at Little Rock today was the coldest March 1 high since 1995. #arwx"

"At N. Little Rock, a Trace of snow fell. It's the 1st March snow at N Little Rock since 2008, ties a record for the date from 2002. #arwx"

"The high at Harrison today was 32. This is the coldest March 1st high temperature since 1980. #arwx"

Some say March came in like a lamb.  I disagree.  When it's cold, windy, cloudy, with snow flurries, that's more of a lion around here.

Does it end here?  I don't think so.  While it WILL get warmer, there are more wild times ahead which is usually the case in March in Arkansas as winter and spring battle it out. 

First of all, Sunday morning will be extremely cold, then a brief warm up will begin.  After lows in the teens and 20s, cold high pressure will move away and temperatures will approach 50.  The new North American Model says it could get close to 70 Monday ahead of a front with strong southwest winds.  I think that IS within the realm of possibilities.  A strong cold front will bring some rain and a strong thunderstorm late Monday, then readings settle back down again, but not to the levels they are at Saturday.  Another warm up will get underway later in the week, then it gets interesting.

I have been talking about a strong storm system around March 10th for several days now and it's looking more and more likely.  While it's still tough to pinpoint specifics, I think this will be a heavy rain and thunderstorm producer, but I'm watching for possible wintry weather.  I think the highest chance for that will be west and north of the state.  This can still change though.

What about the rest of the month?  NOAA has just released their 30 day outlook for March.  I get so disappointed when I see a big "EC" written all over it.  That means there are "equal chances" of it being above average, average, or below average.  If you're going to do a long range forecast and tax payers are going to pay your salary, give us something better than that!  In my opinion, that tells me they have no idea what's going to happen.  I'll admit I'm not an expert in long range forecasting, but I know there are people at NOAA who make these forecasts are suppose to be experts in this field.  It really frustrates me if you can't tell.

With that said, there are meteorologists in the private sector who are very talented in long range forecasting.  While I can't post their maps here, there are some who are calling for MUCH below average temperatures this month.  We'll see.  At least they are willing to put it out there and put their name next to it.

I'll blog more later about the March 10th system.

Here's NOAA's outlook for March.  The Big "EC" covers the majority of the southwest, central, and eastern United States.  Their confidence level is high enough to indicate a good chance for below average temperatures across the northwest and Alaska. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Todd - you tweeted "a good chance for below average temperatures this month," but I thought you were wary about forecasting past 7 days?

NOAA Winter Guidance