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Really Now, Where Is Winter?

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Surface Temperature Anomalies During a Negative NAO. Notice the Central Plains experiences colder conditions during a negative NAO. Surface Temperature Anomalies During a Negative NAO. Notice the Central Plains experiences colder conditions during a negative NAO.

I would hope I'm not alone when I say it just hasn't felt like the holiday season as of late – weather wise. When I think of Thanksgiving weather I envision snowflakes sailing through the air, harsh winds that cut rather than gently blow and cold that can only be driven from one's bones by a responsible serving of a festive libation. Part of this is due to the fact that I grew up in the colder climate of Pennsylvania, but the other comes from the understanding that by the end of November it should be cold enough to force me to wear winter weather apparel. I got away with shorts and a t-shirt for much of my Turkey Day vacation here in Oklahoma.

So, what gives with the cold simply not taking hold? Sure, we've had some cold spells over the course of this month, but the warmth is beating back the cold. In Oklahoma City, the overall average temperature for the month so far is a respectable three degrees above normal with even greater, warmer departures from normal across the rest of the state. For one possible explanation we have to look to the ebb and flow of the global weather patterns known as Teleconnections. Simply put, Teleconnections are weather changes at one location being possibly related to weather changes at other remote locations.

I could fill books writing about these global weather patterns, so for sanity's sake I'll include some supplementary reading material/websites so you can brush up on your knowledge of global climate patterns!

Arguably the most infamous Teleconnection is the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) - El Niño and La Niña. The past trends and latest observations favor ENSO-neutral conditions. Basically, the effects of ENSO on Oklahoma are negligible for this quickly approaching winter season. A very quick examination of various other Teleconnections, e.g., the Arctic & North Atlantic Oscillation (AO & NAO) and the Pacific/North American (PNA), depicts patterns at odds with one another. Some forecast Polar and Arctic air making its way south into the contiguous United States, while others favor continued warm and dry conditions into the first half of December. This "Pattern House" divided could be an explanation for our proverbial temperature roller coaster ride we've been on the past 30 days, where we've experienced great highs (70s & 80s) and great lows (10s and 20s).

Our forecast here at News 9 for the next seven days calls for continued warm and dry conditions. The next opportunity for rain will be with a quick-moving system next Tuesday, and it's a slim chance at that. Peering farther down the road to days 10 through 15, December 7 – 12, gives some hope of a usurping of our current warm & dry upper-level pattern with colder air making a push south out of the Canadian Prairies. Precipitation chances during this time period also appear to be leaning towards the promising side.  

Be sure to follow me on Twitter: @NickWxBender and "like" me on Facebook!

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