Sunday, March 24, 2013

Looking Ahead to Easter, April, May, and Hurricane Season

The last two months have been cold and snowy and many of us are all set with winter.  A storm will slide south of New England (very rare for late March) and plaster much of the I-70 to I-80 corridor with heavy wet snow.  The Jet Stream is still well to our south so the below March temperatures continue until the end of the week.  I do think Easter is going to be very nice; 57-60 and mostly sunny is my first guess.  

Note- this is a very long post covering several topics.  

Short Term Forecast
Here is how North America looks in temperature anomalies this March (departure from average)
NCEP temperature anomlies March 2013 (image weatherbell)
Warmth is building in the southwest which is good to see.  Its going to take awhile for it to get to New England and it won't stay long.  Here is the jet stream for tomorrow afternoon
06z NAM 250 mb wind speeds 2 pm Monday
Here are the forecast temperature anomalies from the EURO for tomorrow afternoon
00z EURO 48 hour temp anomaly deg F (image weatherbell)
Tomorrow New England stays dry.  There may be a dusting to an inch on the South Coast of New England. But that's about it! In fact there will not be much precipitation in the next week.
WPC 7 day precipitation totals
Much of the precipitation in New England will be associated with an upper level low that cuts off near Maine.  The blocking that has led to this pattern is still in place so the North Atlantic is still jamed with storms.  Temperatures for the week will be at average or slightly below average.  The sun is stronger each and every day so expect highs in the mid 40's.

Easter Weekend
I like what I see.  Its brief, but if there's going to be a shot of spring I'm glad it will be in time for Easter.  

Holy Thursday- High temperature of 45, dropping into 30's by evening
Good Friday- Slightly warmer, high 47 dropping to 40 by evening
Saturday- Low 50's, partly cloudy.  Bring a warm jacket to Easter vigil 
Easter- Upper 50's, partly cloudy.  Chilly start but a nice rebound.

I will fine tune this during the week.

April & May (techincal)
The climate prediction center has put out its forecast for April and April through June.  Here is the April forecast
CPC April Temps
CPC April Precipitation
I have blended a group of years together that have shown similarities to 2013 so far.  Those years are 1957, 1960, 1969, 1993, 2003, 2005.  In general these years are neutral ENSO conditions following a weak El Nino.  Here is what April precip and temperature look like using this blend
April temp anomalies 
In general April should be a 1-2 degrees F warmer than average in the Northern part of the country.  Here is the precipitation
April precip anomalies
I do think the temps in Texas and the Southern Plains will be warmer than what my analogs indicate.  There is only one year from the 1950's in my blend; that was a drought filled decade much like the 2010's are going to be.  Lets look at May
May 2013 temperature analogs
This is 1-2 degrees below average for most east of the Rockies.  This wants to develop a ridge out west and a trough in the east.  This also indicates frontal activity along the east coast and Northern Gulf of Mexico. It would not surprise me to see an early tropical cyclone (more on that later).  Here is precipitation
May 2013 precipitation analogs
Dry and below normal precipitation for the northeast?  I'm not sure about that.  2005 is matching up very well to 2013 so far.  Here is March and May 05
March 2005 temperature
This looks similar to what we've seen in 2013.  Now lets look at May 05 precipitation
May 05 precipitation
Its still dry, but along the east coast in New England and the Carolina's is enhanced rainfall.  Why do I think 2005 is a good year? Atlantic Ocean Sea Surface temperature anomalies.
March 21, 2013 sea surface temp anomaly (OSPO)
A classic signal in the Atlantic Ocean is in place for Hurricane Season.  Here is 2005, the Hurricane Season which all are judged by
March 22, 2005 sea surface temperature anomaly (OSPO)
Here is the sea surface temperature chart from May 05.  Its going to be tough to see but try and enlarge the image to look at the waters off New England
May 10, 2005 sea surface temperature anomaly (OSPO)
With the strength of the March cold, I believe colder than normal ocean temperatures will exist into May.  Winter 2004-05 was very snowy in Southern New England and also featured an all time Blizzard.  Now the March's are lining up nicely. This leads me to my final, most important point.

Initial 2013 North Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook
For Hurricane Season I'm tossing 1993 out.  There is no point blending a cold AMO/warm PDO season with Warm AMO/cold PDO.  The big daddy that sticks out is 2005
2005 Atlantic Hurricane Season named storms
2005 had a record 28 named storms, a record 15 hurricanes, a record 4 Category 5 Hurricanes, a record tying 5 Category 4 storms, and the second most major hurricanes (7).  2005 was the year of Katrina.  This isn't to scare anyone, but there has not been a category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic Basin since Felix in 2007.  Here is 2003
2003 Atlantic Hurricane Season named storms
There was also a Cat 5 in 2003, Isabel which ended up smashing into the NC coast.  A Hurricane named Juan furiously lashed Nova Scotia.  16 named storms developed.  Lets go back to 1969
1969 Atlantic Hurricane Season
Another extremely busy season, with 18 named storms, 12 hurricanes, and 5 major hurricanes.  The most notable storm of the year was Category 5 Hurricane Camille which devastated LA, MS, and AL.  Camille is one of only 3 Category 5 hurricanes to strike the United States in the last 100 years.  Here is 1960
1960 Atlantic Hurricane Season
Hurricane Donna ran the entire east coast.  It peaked as a Category 5 hurricane.  Hurricane Ethel also peaked near Category 5 strength in the Gulf of Mexico before impacting LA/MS.  Finally 1957
1957 Atlantic Hurricane Season
Hurricane Audrey smashed the Southeastern Texas coast as a Category 4 Hurricane in June.  I image some of the global warming people's heads would explode if that happened this year.  If it does I warned you; its happened before and it will not be "unprecedented".

So what we have seen is that in these analogs the United States is subject to major Hurricane activity. I expect a significant Hurricane season along the lines of 2004, 2005.  It has been 8 years since a major hurricane hit the United States (allegedly*).  I think that breaks in 2013.  

*If Ike or Sandy hit in previous decades it would have been considered a major hurricane.  Wind energy was a bit less but the power of the surge in those hurricanes rate it as a major in terms of impact*

Will New England see a Hurricane?  Maybe.  We have seen a storm pass very close to New England 5 straight years.  We have taken a good blow from Irene and Sandy the last two years.  I sense a direct hit in the near future (this year or next year).  So in terms of numbers...

Named Storms- 20-25
Hurricanes- 8-12
Major Hurricanes- 4-6 with at least 1 Cat 5

The entire coast from Brownsville, TX to Bar Harbor, ME should keep a weary eye on the tropics this year.

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