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IQ Weather: Fall Foliage And Winter Predictions!

Here at IQ Weather, we love the change of seasons!

November brings an acceleration of change as fall starts to allow more frequent visits from the colder air flowing out of Canada. And the daylight grows shorter more rapidly in the Northern Hemisphere.

Daylight Saving time ends this coming weekend so the afternoon hours are noticeably shorter with the earlier sunset. Although this coming weekend will see a warming trend over the middle of the country…and a return to milder conditions nationwide for the middle of November.

And the fall leaf color is rapidly becoming more pronounced, as some areas have reached their peak color for the season, and areas farther south await the change. Here is a map of the current state of the leaf color this year, so far.

With all this change, people start asking, what kind of winter can we expect?  The Old Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a “season of shivers”!  Their prediction is a colder winter ahead!  Their predictions are based on a secret sunspot formula.  Here is what they see coming:

The National Weather Service bases their forecasts on current patterns in the ocean temperatures and a variety of indicies that measure pressure and wind patterns. They do not make exact predictions of weather…but generally indicate whether the temperature or precipitation will be above, below, or near average.  They give probability forecasts for temperature and precipitation…and no real forecast for snowfall. Here are their current forecasts for January thru March:

It appears there is some disagreement between the Old Farmers and the NWS!

This winter looks very active to me…especially over the eastern half of the country. I don’t expect to see major outbreaks of Arctic air, however until after the New Year begins. The Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation is still in its warm phase (see map below) which means that storms will tend to strengthen as they move toward the Mississippi Valley and eastern part of the U.S.  This should tend to allow strong cold fronts to dip deep into the southeastern U.S. I also expect a good ski season for the Rocky Mountains!

Long range forecasting is still a lot of guesswork. Computer models are still incapable of predicting much beyond 8 to 10 days with any degree of accuracy. Our atmosphere is so complex and unpredictable that computers…as good as they are…still cannot calculate all the changes that our planet can throw at them. That’s what makes trying to predict long term trends tricky and fun! 

Everyone wants to know the future…and in the field of weather forecasting…we are still quite limited…but it doesn’t stop us from trying!

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