2018 Off to a Really Slow Start

Discussion in 'Advanced weather & chasing' started by Warren Faidley, Feb 6, 2018.

  1. Warren Faidley

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    I doubt I'm the only one who has noticed a very slow start (or no start) to the 2018 severe weather season. Although the SPC reports only 16 tornadoes in January (which is not too uncommon), the overall thunderstorm potential has been very low. When you look at the long range models, there is no real indication of any robust activity in the near future as long as the Gulf is shut down.
     
  2. Dan Robinson

    Dan Robinson WxLibrary Editor
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    This season reminds me a lot of 2010 - persistent ridging out west and multiple reinforcing arctic air intrusions. At least this winter, I've seen lightning (a couple of weeks ago). My 2009-2010 winter was completely thunder-less.
     
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  3. Andy Wehrle

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    A few reports in the South yesterday and today. Not too atypical for early February.

    If we're still looking at a similar pattern by late March and especially into April, then I'll start getting worried.
     
  4. Bob Schafer

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    I spent last night in a motel room in Shreveport. It thundered well into the wee hours. Loved it.
     
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  5. Jonathan Beeson

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    There's not much to be worried about. Honestly.. if you look at larger scale patterns over the years, a hyperactive DJF can often mean a very quiet and uneventful AMJ. Of course this isn't perfect, and there are some cases like 2008 that had sustained activity the entire first half of the year, but it's generally a good baseline.

    However, we are seeing signs of the western ridge-eastern trough pattern beginning to break down, and this is including perhaps some chances of rain for the southwest and great plains.
     
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  6. Jeff Duda

    Jeff Duda Resident meteorological expert
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    Is this opinion based on any quantitative information? Looking at climo, the median number of tornadoes in January from 1950-2010 was only 15. Even if you take the typical 85% of the initial reported tornadoes to estimate the final true count (which we won't know for sure until January's Storm Data is released, but that won't be for about six months), that still means there were about 13 or 14 tornadoes, which is right smack dab in the middle of the distribution.

    It's January...the dead of winter, and the middle of the cold season. It is typically not considered to be a very active month for deep moist convection. So I don't think there's much data to make any major conclusions on, but also not much numerical data to assert that January 2018 was meaningfully anomalously quiet. We're also in a La Nina winter - a pattern not particularly favorable for storms.

    Wait until Feb and March get underway before making judgments about whether 2018 is going to be a good or bad year.
     
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    #6 Jeff Duda, Feb 8, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2018
  7. Randy Jennings

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    SPC WCM page says we are at the top of the bottom quartile so far (chart from http://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/adj.html):

    torgraph.png
    It is interesting to note that it really isn't until late March or even April before you start to see much of a difference between a bad year and a good year as far a quantity is concerned. Of course one can find years that started out slow and ended up great. I'm not writing it off yet. I've already had once chase this year (Jan. 21 in NE TX) and saw one probable tornado (after dark). That event was warned for over 200 miles and confirmed 3 tornados (one an EF2 - details at http://www.weather.gov/shv/event_2018-1-21_severe ). Here's to hoping if we don't get quantity that we at least get quality.
     
  8. Warren Faidley

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    Just to be clear, I was not implying below average thunderstorm activity relates to a bad chase year. Thanks for posting the Percentile Ranks.
     
  9. Andy Wehrle

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    I'd take another Bowdle and June 17th!
     
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  10. DanWerts

    DanWerts Lurker

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    I might be wrong here, but it's my understanding that the influence of La Nina is keeping the jet stream further north. Which in turns affects low pressure system tracks and overall high pressure locations in the U.S. As such, there is no High pressure ridge in place at the time pushing warm moist air northward.
    Keep in mind I'm only a Hobbyist when it comes to Meteorology. My main focus really is in RF engineering and Geology. So I could very well be wrong about this.
     
  11. B. Dean Berry

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    As an aside - Man, there is really nothing more relaxing than hotel thunder. One of my favorite situations.
     
  12. JamesCaruso

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    Or another Campo!




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  13. James Wilson

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    2010 was my worse year by far ... this year is similar thus far.
     
  14. Jeff Duda

    Jeff Duda Resident meteorological expert
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    • Informative Informative x 2
  15. Dan Robinson

    Dan Robinson WxLibrary Editor
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    I looked at some past drought monitor maps, and it appears there is little correlation between Plains precip through mid-February and the quality of the following chase season. You could say that no-drought conditions might increase the odds of a good season (IE 2010 and 2016), but 2013 and 2011 don't fit that mold. Source: http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/Maps/MapArchive.aspx

    drought-feb.png

    drought-feb2.png
     
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    #15 Dan Robinson, Feb 14, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
  16. JamesCaruso

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    The good news is the article also mentions how active the previous year's winter was, and we all know the 2017 chase season sucked, so when looking at this winter hopefully there is an inverse relationship to chase season, or (at worst) no relationship at all.




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  17. Jonathan Beeson

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  18. Jeff Duda

    Jeff Duda Resident meteorological expert
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    You would be best to assume there is little to no correlation between general t-storm/svr activity during the winter and during the subsequent spring. You're not going to be able to make any skillful predictions based on this. Too much noise in the signal, and too many other factors that impact severe weather activity in both seasons that themselves are not strongly correlated (between seasons).
     
  19. Drew T

    Drew T EF3

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    This is great info Dan! Thanks for posting this as I'd always thought there was more of a correlation between the two. Clearly my thinking was wrong.
     

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