A Winter Like 2013-14?

Bill's Blog

Here’s a tweet Monday from Dr. Judah Cohen, Climatologist from M.I.T: “Working on the blog but here’s a preview. I have an estimate of the October 2019 Eurasian snow cover extent. Drum roll please … & it is above normal, close to 2013. For the Oprah crowd out there that means “you get a cold winter, you get a cold winter, you get a cold winter!

Dr. Cohen has done some awesome work on correlating early season snowcover, particularly in Siberia, with the coming winter weather in N. America. See this graphic. This year there is already a lot of snow on the ground across Siberia and Canada. He’s always worth the read.

The reference to 2013 caught my eye. I thought I’d look back to see what that winter was like in W. Michigan. The above map shows the rank of that winter by state for the winter of 2013-14. Michigan had the 10th coldest winter. Grand Rapids had the 2nd snowiest winter ever with 116″. Holland had 152″ that winter. That was the last winter I shoveled snow. After that winter, I got a plow service. G.R. had 34.7″ of snow in December 2013, followed by 41.9″ in January and 29.0″ in February. December was 3.1° colder than average, January was 6.3° colder than average, February was 9.1° colder than average and March was 9.3° colder than average. Ski season lasted well into April.

Now, Dr. Cohen (and me) are not forecasting a winter exactly like 2013, but the overall snow cover pattern would suggest a cold and/or snowy winter for the Western Great Lakes. Dr. Cohen also tweeted: “Snow cover extent across the Northern Hemisphere is quite impressive for this date, especially North America, which is likely close to record extent for this date.

Storm Team 8 has already been talking about the early start to winter here in November. I thought November would end up +5° colder than average. We’re working on the winter forecast…hint: Old Man Winter is going to be spending a lot of time in Michigan over the next 4-5 months.

Dr. Cohen has useful links here. More on the weather for the coming winter here (note the first map…showing blocking from Greenland over the Poles with the Arctic cold forced down into mid latitudes (like the Great Lakes). Warm Arctic – Cold continents in the N. Hemisphere. We tend to use a lot of energy, because the troughs (cold areas) are centered over populated areas (Central/Eastern U.S. – Europe – China).

Overnight run of the GFS model for Tue. AM 11/12/19

This is the Mon. evening run of the GFS computer model for Tue. AM the 12th. Wow! This is as cold as it gets at this time of year. Very impressive cold – look at the size of the area that’s more than 15° colder than average!

Also – Cool iridescent clouds over Spain.

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