Sunday, August 30, 2015

Warm winter forecast

Commercial service says mild December and January.

Warm winter forecast

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As we reported, Accu-Weather has weighed in with a call for a snowier-than-normal winter, now comes a second opinion.

WSI Corp., a Massachusetts outfit that supplies forecasts for energy interests, sees a warm December and January in Philly and most of the East.

The would-be El Nino event, the above-normal warming of waters in the tropical Pacific,  isn't happening, says WSI meteorologist Todd Crawford.

Crawford thinks the defining feature will be Alaskan high pressure that will drive cold air into the Pacific Northwest. 

Meanwhile, the East, except for the Southeast, generally would benefit from a warmer southerly flow.

The wild car in all this again would be atmospheric patterns in the North Altantic. Historic North Atlantic blocking led to the heavy snows of the 2009-10 and 2010-11 winters.

Last year, that blocking was scarce, and Crawford suspects that conditions might be similar this winter.

Unfortunately for the people who make a living from long-range outlooks, those North Atlantic patterns aren't predictable beyond several days.

And, of course, we don't have to caution attentive readers that seasonal forecasting remains a primitive art, relative to the short-term forecasting.

Inquirer Weather Columnist
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Everyone talks about the weather, and here we write about it.

When we’re around and conditions warrant, we’ll keep you updated about what’s coming, but we will do our best always to discuss weather and climate developments in context and remind you that nothing in the atmosphere happens in a vacuum.

Tony Wood has been writing about the atmosphere for The Inquirer for 26 years.

Reach Tony at twood@phillynews.com.

Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
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