By: Al Kaprielian – Oct. 2016
Fall is now officially here and many of the trees are changing color. Peak color will occur around the middle of October. The summer was hot and mainly dry. Temperatures averaged out hotter in August compared to July. It was a great summer for the beach and vacations.
However, we are still in a long term drought. How can a drought be broken?
A tropical system with all its rain can make a large dent in the drought. We are watching Hurricane Matthew and time will tell if he will affect us or make a curve and stay out at sea. Some computer models keep him southeast and more out to sea. Now with fall here the sun is lower in the sky and temperatures will continue to cool as we go through October. The last day of hurricane season is November 30th, so, we still can see some storms into November.
The peak time for hurricanes is mid August to mid September. Hurricane Matthew became quite strong over the warm ocean waters of the Caribbean. Hurricanes thrive over warm ocean waters where the temperatures are above 80 degrees. When they move over land they weaken as they lose the heat from the warm ocean waters. Also, the friction from the land lowers the wind speed. Still, hurricanes can produce dangerous flooding as they weaken over land due to the heavy rain.
What can we expect this winter? This will depend on the jet stream and how much phasing of the northern and southern jet streams. A storm that forms in the Gulf of Mexico will depend on whether the two jet streams phase. If they do not phase, this storm will pass too far south and we would miss it. With a miss for us this could be a hit with a snowstorm for Washington DC and the mid Atlantic region.
Also, in the winter we look to see if high pressure forms up in Greenland, known as the Greenland high. If this forms, this tends to keep the jet stream to our south and causes colder and possibly stormier weather for us. Time will tell if this will occur.
Now is the time to prepare for winter. If you have an outdoor sprinkler system, now is the time to have the water drained and have the system closed for the winter.
Bring in all outdoor furniture you had outside for the summer.
Make sure your heating system is working efficiently. If it needs some maintenance, now is the time to have that work done. Be prepared for winter and some very cold days. How about snow fall this winter? Last year we did not see great amounts of snow and we saw some mild days. One reason for this was El Nino. This occurs when the ocean waters of the South Pacific Ocean are warmer than normal. This causes the jet stream to be more suppressed over the western U.S. This results in more toughing and stormier weather for the west and lots of snow for the Rockies.
We saw this scenario last winter. In the eastern U.S., during an El Nino. the opposite occurs with less in the way of storms. Also El Nino can cause milder weather for us as it keeps the jet stream further north in Canada putting us on the milder south side of the jet stream. When this occurs, the Sub Tropical high pressure off the east coast can be stronger causing the milder conditions. We saw this pattern at times during last winter. Now El Nino has gone and the waters of the South Pacific Ocean are colder.
With El Nino gone, we could see colder and snowier weather this winter. This is how I feel, but by far this is not an exact weather forecast. All I can say is be ready for colder weather and possibly more snow this winter.
Time will tell if this will occur. Next month we will wrap up the hurricane season and take a look more at what our winter weather may be.
Al Kaprielian is a meteorologist who worked for 30 years on New Hampshire TV news for WNDS, and WBIN, and provides weather reports for several radio stations in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. You can email Al at email@example.com