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At the NOAA/NWS Climate Prediction Center, climate scientist Michelle L’Heureux put together a comparison of anomalies (departures from average) in the 500-mb wind (about four miles above sea level) for the Dec-Jan-Feb period (see Figure 5, below).
“What is pretty clear to me is that the Pacific jet is shifted north of its normal position,” L’Heureux told me.
Hot temperatures may add to the discomfort: San Diego just notched the warmest February in its 142-year climate record, only the latest in a series of heat records set over the last two years. However, there is something of an analog, according to Michael Ventrice (The Weather Company).
Ventrice has analyzed the location and strength of the semi-permanent equatorial trough, or standing wave, in the Pacific that corresponds to each strong El Niño of recent decades.
Blue colors indicate lower-than-average heights (corresponding to upper-level troughiness); red colors indicate above-average heights.
Mild weather has limited the winter snowpack over the Midwest, but saturated soils and near- to above-average streamflows will heighten the risk of moderate flooding this spring over the middle and lower Mississippi Valley, as well as the far Southeast and recently hard-hit east Texas and north Louisiana (Figure 1).
But as we’ve been saying for the past year, no single year perfectly matches the ‘typical’ pattern.
These sort of shifts are not unexpected to us, which is why our forecasts are probabilistic.
“The Northwest and northern California saw the bulk of enhanced rainfall. Given the lack of intensely cold air, a nighttime snowfall would be more likely to produce accumulations in the D. Steve Gregory examined the prospects of significant snow, and the longer-range U. Emeraude underwent an eyewall replacement cycle later on Thursday, bringing down its intensity. The most recent split-jet pattern has primarily been moving so much moisture across Mexico (from the E-Pac) across the Gulf of Mexico/Gulf States, that the Southern part of California, with the exception of a heavy rain/flood event a few months back, has been left pretty dry by this particular El Nino pattern of recent weeks and flow continues to bypass them to the South: What's cool about that drought prediction for Spring is yes, Virginia, there's some "drought development," but not a sign of "drought intensifies."Most recent archived drought outlook I can find...
Southern California was fairly dry.”Ventrice added: “We probably won’t see a repeat of April 1992 for the western U. pattern in April, as other external forcing mechanisms [including a recent strong split in the stratospheric polar vortex] are expected to overpower the El Nino base state and drive the pattern across the Northern Hemisphere during April. Weak steering currents have allowed Emeraude to linger and pull up cooler water with reduced oceanic heat content, hastening its decline. Bob Henson Rogue hail storm crossed central OK again this morning. CPC's own depiction of their skill with seasonal drought forecasting...