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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Walker outlines Winter Outlook

Friday, December 4, 2009

Jesse Walker
Last winter brought a major snowstorm and quite a bit of ice, and WTWO Chief Meteorologist Jesse Walker sees this winter being somewhat similar.

"If you like winter, then you will probably enjoy this one," Walker told The Brazil Times.

In his annual Winter Outlook, which he released Nov. 24, Walker predicts temperatures, precipitation and snowfall will be below normal.

"Last year, the average temperature was 29.3 degrees, which is below the normal average of 31 degrees, and it was the coldest winter the Wabash Valley had in about six years," he said. "This year, I don't think it will be quite as cold, but temperatures should end up being about a degree below normal."

Walker added there is about 19 inches of snowfall during a typical winter, but he is predicting only 15 inches this season.

While a slightly warmer winter with less snow may be welcoming to some, Walker said it also brings the possibility for other treacherous weather conditions.

"When the temperature doesn't dip as low as it usually does, it makes the chances for ice increase," he said. "I don't believe those in the Wabash Valley should expect a large ice storm like the ones which occurred in January 2005 or February 2007, but it should be like last year with instances where we get one-quarter to one-half inch of ice at a time."

He added while there should be less snow this winter, there also should not be a day with a massive amount of snow similar to the nearly food of snow which fell Jan. 27.

"The biggest snow event the area could see this year is 5-6 inches," Walker said. "That could potentially occur between mid-December and the first week of January, as that should the time period with the coldest air. In fact, there is a snow system on the way and could hit the area by about Wednesday, which may kick start the cold."

With the cold temperatures anticipated for the first half of winter, Walker added it may cause whatever amount of snow which may fall to "stick around for a while."

In creating his Winter Outlook, Walker takes many factors into consideration including climatic oscillations -- patterns and fluctuations -- in the Pacific, North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, along temperature profiles from the Gulf of Mexico and analyzing "analog years," in which those patterns appear similar to those occurring this year.

"The analog years that rated the highest to what this winter may be similar to were 1991-92 and 2006-07," he said. "The winter of 1976-77, which was our coldest winter on record, also rated highly as well."

Walker added he also takes a lot of time to research the El Niņo/La Niņa patterns when putting together his winter forecasts.

"This is an El Niņo year, which causes many people to think the winter will be warm and dry with less snowfall, but this is not always the case because like all other weather anomalies, it runs in patterns," Walker said. "For example, the winters of 1976-77 and 1977-78, when the big blizzard hit, were both El Niņo years. El Niņo patterns are beginning to be similar to those from the 1960s and 70s, not the 80s and 90s"

Some of Walker's other predictions for this winter include:

* There will be a White Christmas for the first time since 2004 (at least one inch of snow on the ground Christmas morning),

* There will be four sub-zero days, which is normal,

* The temperatures will not dip below -10 degrees, and

* The best chance for an ice storm will happen just to the south of the Wabash Valley.

"The good news is that once we hit spring in about mid-March, we can kiss winter goodbye," Walker said.

Walker's entire Winter Outlook, along with a report card on his predictions, can be found on the WTWO web site at http://mywabashvalley.com/content/winter....

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I should have been a meteorologist; you never have to be right with your forecast and no threat of losing your job. You can always blame it on the Low Pressure Front, High Pressure Front or the Jet Stream not doing what the computer models said. For fun, you can make things up and park outside a grocery store and watch people panic buying up all the bread and milk...

There should be consequences for inaccurate forecasts.

For example;

When there isn't a white Christmas, or when the temperature dips below -10 degrees. The forecaster should not get paid for that day, or be forced to camp outside for a 24 hour period.

Maybe then the forecast would be more accurate

-- Posted by TravelingThumbs on Sat, Dec 5, 2009, at 12:08 PM

At least I had something to add to the story. There's a difference between comments and complaining.

-- Posted by TravelingThumbs on Sun, Dec 6, 2009, at 11:41 AM

TravelingThumbs, You need to learn a few things about what about what real meteorologist actually do. Jesse doesnt just sit around and do nothing.He works extremely hard. For example, when we have bad weather, severe Storms, blizzards etc, he gets stuck at the station till 5 am sometimes making sure that he knows whats going on so that he can keep to the people in his community informed and safe . So maybe you should be thankfull that hes not sitting outside of kroger watching people buy bread.

-- Posted by MissMonroe85 on Wed, Dec 9, 2009, at 11:12 AM

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