Travis Meyer's Winter Weather Outlook: An Active Season
TULSA, Oklahoma - We've already seen snow in Oklahoma this season, and it's not even officially winter yet. I think we're in for an active winter.
2018 so far has been so weird, because we had April, which you'll remember, was the second coldest ever in Tulsa. May was the hottest on record.
Then April - July was just bone dry and then we follow that up with tornadoes in August. So it's been strange and most likely it will continue to be that way.
Now we're monitoring what is going on in the Pacific. Why? Because that is where a lot of our weather comes from.
Temperatures are much warmer along the equator also in the Gulf of Alaska and just off the northeast coast of the United States. So what does that mean? El Nino is messing things up. Normally we'll have wind that is moving out to the west, but because of the warmer ocean waters it is now moving east. That changes things up big time.
What does it change? Basically El Nino will change the atmospheric wind flow, which in turn changes our U.S. storm track and that changes what happens in Oklahoma. So when we look at all these things together it is obviously a big deal. We also have snow cover. Snow cover this year has been near normal. Not a whole lot of change, so we keep an eye on that just to find out if we're going to have major arctic outbreaks.
Our latest forecast just coming out today from the CPC says warmer than normal from the northwest, here in Oklahoma near normal. Precipitation near normal. Southwestern Oklahoma a little bit higher.
My forecast is a little bit different. It's only different in the sense that I think there are two parts to the jet stream that are going to be really affecting us. One where the northern branch is going to dive south, occasionally giving us cold snaps, arctic air, cold rain and snow. Similar to what we just went through and usually they don't last long.
But sometime in December, early January we could see the southern branch getting more active. What that would mean is the cold blast not as likely, but if we have cold air in place we're going to get some heavy snow or rain and there are slower systems that take them longer to evolve.
So the way the forecast is shaping up is we're going to have some radical temperature shifts. We know that. And precipitation is going to be higher than normal, that could cause problems in the winter because with these arctic outbreaks would give us higher probabilities of a little bit of ice storms or snow. It also could be a very wet winter.