Winter forecast for the U.S.; Typhoon Mirinae threatens the Philippines

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:18 PM GMT on October 28, 2009

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Expect a warmer than average winter in the north central U.S., and cooler than average over the Southeast U.S., according the latest winter forecast issued last Thursday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Wetter than average conditions are likely from Texas across the Gulf Coast and across the Southeastern U.S., with California also more likely than not to get increased precipitation. Those are the temperature patterns observed about 60% of the time in the U.S. during an El Niño event. As I discussed in yesterday's post, El Niño--the periodic warming of the equatorial Eastern Pacific Ocean that occurs every 2 - 7 years--has just crossed the threshold from weak to moderate, meaning that that ocean temperatures are 1.0 - 1.5°C above average along the Equator off the Pacific coast of South America. Moderate El Niño conditions are expected to continue through the winter months of December - February, with some climate forecast models predicting intensification into a strong El Niño. The presence of all that warm water alters the path of the jet stream, affecting the winter weather across a large portion of the globe. In particular, the southern branch of the jet stream--called the subtropical jet--is expected to intensify, bringing increased cloudiness and storminess along its usual path, from south Texas, across the Gulf Coast, through Florida, and into South and North Carolina. The increased cloudiness typically leads to cooler temperatures and more rainfall across the entire Southeastern U.S., especially Florida and South Texas. This should give significant drought relief to the South Texas.

The heat in the Eastern Pacific Ocean during an El Niño winter makes for more intense mid-latitude low pressure systems off the U.S. west coast. As a result, these storms are able to pump abnormally warm air into western Canada, Alaska and the extreme northern portion of the contiguous United States. With this warm air typically comes drier than normal conditions. With the forecast for Vancouver, Canada--home to the February 12 - 28 2010 Winter Olympics this winter--calling for warmer and drier conditions than average, lack of snow may be a problem for some of the venues. If the El Niño manages to strengthen to the strong category (greater than 1.5°C), California will most likely experience much increased precipitation, and the North Central U.S. will see winter temperatures 3 - 6°F above average. NOAA maintains a web page that shows the typical U.S. temperature and precipitation patterns for any season for historical EL Niño and La Niña events. Golden Gate Weather takes the idea a step further, and separates the effects by whether it is a weak, moderate, or strong El Niño.

How good is this forecast?
Not all El Niño winters follow the usual pattern. For instance, the El Niño winter of 2004 - 2005 had above-average temperatures over the entire U.S., and drier than average conditions across Florida, which are the opposite of the typical pattern observed during most El Niño winters (Figures 1 and 2). There are other natural variations in the weather and climate, such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) that can act to counteract or re-enforce the typical El Niño pattern. In addition, the climate is changing due to human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases, and its possible that what we've come to expect an El Niño winter to be like based on past history will no longer be true as often. It is likely the dramatic loss of arctic sea ice in recent years is already significantly affecting precipitation and temperature patterns during winter, and that the patterns we expect to see during El Niño winters are now changing to a new mode. I'll discuss the possibilities in a future post.


Figure 1. Wintertime (December - February) temperatures for the U.S. over the past nine years. The past three winters with El Niño conditions (yellow highlighted years) were 2003, 2005, and 2007. The 2003 El Niño was moderate strength, and 2005 and 2007 were weak. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center.

Figure 2. Wintertime (December - February) precipitation for the U.S. over the past nine years. The past three winters with El Niño conditions (yellow highlighted years) were 2003, 2005, and 2007. The 2003 El Niño was moderate strength, and 2005 and 2007 were weak. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center.

Philippines prepare for Typhoon Mirinae
Category 2 Typhoon Mirinae continues to trek westward towards the Philippine Islands, but appears to have leveled out in intensity. Latest infrared satellite loops show a large, well organized cloud pattern, but an eye is not evident, and the areal extent, organization, and temperature of the cloud tops has not changed much over the past six hours. Satellite estimates of Mirinae's intensity have held steady over the past twelve hours. Wind shear is a moderate 15 knots, and the ocean temperatures are very warm, 29°C. These warm waters extend to great depth, and the Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential (TCHP) is 80 - 100 kJ/cm^2 along Mirinae's entire path to the Philippines. Values of TCHP in excess of 90 kJ/cm^2 are frequently associated with rapid intensification. With wind shear expected to remain in the low to moderate range over the next three days, intensification of Mirinae into a major Category 3 or higher typhoon before its expected landfall at 06 UTC October 31 on Luzon Island is a good possibility.


Figure 4. Mirinae on October 27, 2009, as a tropical storm with 55 mph winds. Image credit: NASA.

Quiet in the Atlantic
There are no threat areas in the Atlantic to discuss, and the the Caribbean is dominated by dry air and high wind shear. However, the extreme Southwestern Caribbean near the coast of Panama is expected to gradually moisten early next week, and several recent runs of the GFS and NOGAPS models suggested that a tropical depression could form in the Southwest Caribbean off the coast of Panama 7 - 8 days from now.

Next post
In tomorrow's port, I'll discuss the impact of El Niño on wintertime tornado activity in Florida, plus have an update on the Philippines typhoon, and the latest model predictions of a possible tropical depression in the Caribbean next week.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting presslord:
I simply cannot express to you how badly I wish there were more to the story...
You are definatly a better man than I........I would have made something up and stuck to it!
Member Since: August 25, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 633
Quoting presslord:
I simply cannot express to you how badly I wish there were more to the story...
I feel your pain Press, I reallly do!
Member Since: August 25, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 633
I simply cannot express to you how badly I wish there were more to the story...
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Quoting presslord:
eyes...I walked into a Starbuck's here (Charleston) a few years ago...and there sat Nicole Kidman and Renee Zelweeger...they were here filming "Cold Mountain"...I thought I'd died and gone to heaven...

potteryx...that's my strategy...
Aw come on, there has to be more to this story. Surely they invited you to sit with them and asked you to come by the set.......come on tell the rest of the story and do not forget to describe the weather at the time!
Member Since: August 25, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 633
Quoting potteryX:
255. Thanks Chaser. Nice image.


Looks like you have more coming, a lot more. hows it living in the ITCZ, you must get storms all the time.

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eyes...I walked into a Starbuck's here (Charleston) a few years ago...and there sat Nicole Kidman and Renee Zelweeger...they were here filming "Cold Mountain"...I thought I'd died and gone to heaven...

potteryx...that's my strategy...
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255. Thanks Chaser. Nice image.
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Guys that wear dresses know the other part of the other part as well.
heheheheh
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Quoting presslord:
eyes...I have one...and have played around with it for a couple of years...really would like to master it, though...it's on my to-do list...along with having an affair with Renee Zelwegger...
I do not have one, I wish I did. As for Renee, she grew up in the town I am from. Just moved away from there 3 years ago.
Member Since: August 25, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 633
Quoting potteryX:
245, 246. True enough.
A nasty little squall blowing through Tobago now. Has the sea "smoking" and the rain trying to get under the doors.
Love this kind of weather.


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Quoting NRAamy:
Do you know how to use a sextant

I didn't post that, press!!!!!!!
I was afraid to ask the question and then I thought, surely everyone knows what a sextant is!(this would be really embarrasing if I am spelling it wrong.)
Member Since: August 25, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 633
Quoting eyesontheweather:
Do you know how to use a sextant, (sure hope I spelled that correctly)

I don,t know about the 'tant' , but I think he knows the other part
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Good here Mel.
Sorry a sale has not come through. Wrong "climate" for selling, I guess.
Good luck on that one.
Keep well...
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eyes...I have one...and have played around with it for a couple of years...really would like to master it, though...it's on my to-do list...along with having an affair with Renee Zelwegger...
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Do you know how to use a sextant

I didn't post that, press!!!!!!!
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 317 Comments: 31946
245, 246. True enough.
A nasty little squall blowing through Tobago now. Has the sea "smoking" and the rain trying to get under the doors.
Love this kind of weather.
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Quoting presslord:
you are not mistaken...and potteryx...true only up to a point...
Do you know how to use a sextant, (sure hope I spelled that correctly)
Member Since: August 25, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 633
hi pottery! Nice to see you. Been lurking - keeping my eye out since we haven't sold our house in Savannah. Watching shake maps more than weather at this point. How's things?
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Quoting potteryX:
post 241. The Titanic was nice, dry and safe too LOL.


Until it sunk to the bottom of the ocean. I think Presslord boat won that contest.
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you are not mistaken...and potteryx...true only up to a point...
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post 241. The Titanic was nice, dry and safe too LOL.
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Quoting presslord:
IP's are very solid...not especially fast...but nice, safe, dry ride...
If I am not mistaken they are the only sailing craft with a gear drive to the rudder, all others being cable
Member Since: August 25, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 633
Greetings.
Nice rains here in Trinidad/Tobago.
Cool and damp.

HI MEL, long time no see!!
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IP's are very solid...not especially fast...but nice, safe, dry ride...
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Good Afternoon from So Cal. Blowing outside - don't want to curse things but looks like the idiots with matches have better things to do. Thank GOD.
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Conditions in the Carribean could be favorable for tropical formation next week, it's something to watch. Another area to watch is near Bermuda as a cold core low could cut off and become a Subtropical system, these are very typical of late season systems. I believe chances for "Ida" in my opinion are about 55-60% before the season ends on November 30th, 2009... Not anytime earlier then that!
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Quoting presslord:
Island packet 31'
WOW, those are supposed to be incredibly well built.... Sweet
Member Since: August 25, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 633
Island packet 31'
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Quoting eyesontheweather:
Press, what kind of vessal is that (I assume) you are at the helm of?


Id say a sail boat, considering hes in the back. =)
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Quoting presslord:


the strategic placement of which they determine using their flat globes....
Fell on floor laughing........Wonder how many engineers it took?
Member Since: August 25, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 633
Quoting presslord:
in case you haven't heard...I am going to be a guest on Barometer Bob tomorrow night @ 8P EDT...
Press, what kind of vessal is that (I assume) you are at the helm of?
Member Since: August 25, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 633
Quoting eyesontheweather:
sounds like 2 paper cups and a sting


the strategic placement of which they determine using their flat globes....
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Quoting presslord:



actually...their radios should work much better...as the signal is straight line and uniterrupted...
sounds like 2 paper cups and a sting
Member Since: August 25, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 633
229. bwahahaha! LOL
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227. LMAO...touche'! line-of-sight rules!
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Quoting StormChaser81:


Oops ya i see now Need to take that south out of the sentence.


Sorry USF, it was University of Florida, Im scared now I work on USF campus, there coming to get me now.


There are quite a few Zombies at UF. They sit in the Plaza of the Americas, eating stuff that looks like it has already been digested once and obstaining from the shower for weeks. They have "free food" for those that want to listen to their Zombie speak. Couldn't pay me a million dollars to eat it.
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I'm not banned!!!!!!!!

( for once )


;)
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 317 Comments: 31946
Quoting pearlandaggie:
in case you haven't heard....flat-earthers don't have radios....LOL



actually...their radios should work much better...as the signal is straight line and uniterrupted...
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Quoting presslord:
Portlight.org and the awesome generousity of the Weather Underground community....
That is great. Is this due to the recent accomplishments of portlight's response to the sunami? BTW, did everyone just get banned. Never seen it so quite in here
Member Since: August 25, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 633
in case you haven't heard....flat-earthers don't have radios or tv or the internets....LOL
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Portlight.org and the awesome generousity of the Weather Underground community....
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Quoting presslord:
in case you haven't heard...I am going to be a guest on Barometer Bob tomorrow night @ 8P EDT...
Was not aware of this.. What is the subject going to be? anything in particular?
Member Since: August 25, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 633
in case you haven't heard...I am going to be a guest on Barometer Bob tomorrow night @ 8P EDT...
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I am just catching up on reading here. I have learned 2 things on the blog today A) there is a lot of hmmm. how shall I describe in weather terms... wind blowin here and the geography of FL has changed significantly
Member Since: August 25, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 633
press....I'm just now getting the joke I didn't intend ...


guess even when I'm trying to be good, my subconcious mind has other things planned....

;)
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 317 Comments: 31946
Quoting presslord:


Good grief!!!!!!!!!!!!! Would you please just stop it?!?!?!?!


hahaha she's leaving herself open for comments ;)
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8339
Quoting NRAamy:
come again?

..."I'll have what she's having.")

Again, I'll have to leave the sports analogies to the guys, e.g., "set up the tee".

Still laughing, hope I won't be late now...totally worth it continues...

(Modified so I can see who and who doesn't get banned.)
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Quoting NRAamy:
come again?


Good grief!!!!!!!!!!!!! Would you please just stop it?!?!?!?!
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216. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
023
TCNA21 RJTD 281800
CCAA 28180 47644 MIRINAE(0921) 25162 11340 13244 250// 92715=

18:00 PM UTC October 28 2009

TY Mirinae (T0921) [System #25]
16.2N 134.0E
Dvorak Intensity: T5.0
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 45301
come again?
Member Since: January 24, 2007 Posts: 317 Comments: 31946
Quoting NRAamy:
me? why would I be banned?????

I haven't posted any photos today!!!!

...sittin' on the dock of the bay...
ST-RIKE!

I mean you hit a homer! Shoot, I don't know what I mean. Leave the sports analogies to the guys, e.g., "set up the tee"

I was laughing too hard.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.