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Thursday, May 5, 2016

See-saw weather should last through the spring

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The weather this winter can be, at best, labeled as strange, and it should continue into the spring months.

Tuesday night's winter storm alone brought hurricane-force winds, rain, sleet, hail and snow within a few short hours. At other times the temperature has been in the teens one day and in the 60s the next.

"It definitely has been a wild winter," WTWO Head Meteorologist Jesse Walker said. "There is another storm expected to come in late Thursday or early Friday which has a good possibility of bringing more snow to the area."

Walker said while it is difficult to gauge just how much snow the area could see, the storm could easily drop four or more inches of snow.

"It will bring a quick burst of cold and snow as it is not terribly cold behind the front," he said. "By the weekend temperatures should be back up into the 40s and melt off the leftover snow."

Following this storm will come another one expected to arrive sometime Monday or Tuesday, but the winter weather could miss Clay County.

"The front for next week's storm should be coming on land from the Pacific Ocean at any time," Walker said. "When it does we can send out weather balloons to gauge what might happen, but at this time it looks like it could head north of the area. However, even if the worst of it misses us, it could still bring sleet or a rain event."

Every year, Walker puts together a winter outlook, predicting what each winter could bring.

He studies ocean temperature profiles, worldwide volcanic activity and whether El Niņo or La Niņa is affecting the world's weather.

Another factor Walker takes into account when putting together his outlook is analog years. These are years where certain factors may be similar to the upcoming one, allowing for a more accurate forecast to be possible.

"The analog years I found to be closest to what this year could be were 1970-71, 1988-89 and 1998-99," he said. "This year, La Niņa is prominent and I also use the Southern Oscillation Index to estimate how weather will be affected."

When it comes to the "greenhouse effect," Walker has his own thoughts.

"There is a debate as to what causes the greenhouse effect," Walker said. "To me, it is a cyclical process and the weather is just going through a warm cycle in recent years. The 1970's were cold, the 80s were snowy the 90s were warmer than usual and we are now starting to go back to the colder weather."

He said analyzing this cyclical pattern also assists him in organizing the winter forecast.

Walker foresees the majority of February being warmer and drier than usual, then turning to cold and stormy in late February and well into March.

"March should be colder than it has been in recent years and there very well could be snow in the forecast sometime during the month as it has happened in the past," Walker said, citing that a foot of snow fell on March 20, 1996. "As we move into April and May, precipitation levels should return to normal."

Needless to say, the wild weather is expected to continue during the next few months.

"There is going to be a late start to spring this year," Walker said.

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Late start to spring? :(

-- Posted by andypflueger on Thu, Jan 31, 2008, at 5:27 AM

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