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Weather Patterns Collide

posted on Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010 at 9:46 pm
Texas Snowfall Totals, Image: NOAA

Texas Snowfall Totals, Image: NOAA

It’s snowing again in Texas! Snow showers have been falling all day in the Lone Star State. Dallas, Texas has very few accumulations (snow on the ground), but hill country areas such as Waco have 3 inches of snow on the ground.

The National Weather Service has issued Winter Storm Warnings for Texas, California, New York and other parts of the Northeast.

US Watches and Warnings, Image: NOAA

US Watches and Warnings, Image: NOAA

Two weather patterns are colliding over the United States this winter to produce storm after storm for the southern Gulf Coast and the Northeast. The El Nino Southern Oscillation is a weather pattern that causes a warming of the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Central America. This winter, El Nino is being credited with the surge of moisture and added rainfall/snow events in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and the Gulf Coast.  At the same time El Nino is occurring, scientists are also examining the effects of a Negative Arctic Oscillation. The NAO is associated with cold winters across the Northern Hemisphere, as more cold air descends from the Arctic to the nearby continents of North America, Europe and Asia.

Temperatures Anomalies, Image: NOAA

Arctic Oscillation, Image: NOAA

The above graphic is data taken from the entire month of December 2009. What this graphic shows is average temperatures across Asia, Europe and North America have been substantially cooler than normal, whereas temperatures in the Arctic, Africa and parts of the Mid-East have been warmer.

Forecasted Lows, Image: NOAA

Forecasted Lows, Image: NOAA

Take a look at the large dip of cold air across Minnesota, Iowa and the Dakotas. Once again, folks in Minneapolis will be waking up to below freezing temperatures. Look at the forecast lows across Louisiana… below freezing. If you add the extra moisture coming in from the Pacific due to El Nino and the cold air due to the Arctic Oscillation, you have the perfect recipe for snow.

TV forecasters in Shreveport and New Orleans, Louisiana are reporting once again on the unusual snowfall events.  In the Northeast, where snow has caused massive transportation problems, another round this week is expected.

-Dawn Brown

Southern & Western Wallop

posted on Wednesday, January 20th, 2010 at 11:01 pm

Yet another El Nino system is pulling into the California coast.  One to three inches of rain has already fallen across the foothills surrounding the Sacramento Valley and more is on the way, creating flooding across many of the lower elevations.  Up in the mountains near Lake Tahoe, near blizzard conditions are happening right now with a good 8 to 16 inches of snow on the way for skiers.

National Satellite Image, Image: NOAA

National Satellite Image, Image: NOAA

Click here for the latest national satellite imagery.

In the meantime, yet another El Nino storm is moving through the Deep South. This has provided for a couple of inches of rain across the central Gulf Coast and tornado watches from just north of New Orleans, all the way up into Mississippi, east Texas, and southern Arkansas.  Tornadoes were even spotted Wednesday afternoon over portions of Southeastern Louisiana.  Tornado Watches are in effect for cities like Jackson, MS.

US Watches & Warnings, Image: NOAA

US Watches & Warnings, Image: NOAA

California Climate Expert Calls It “Arctic Oscillation”

posted on Wednesday, January 20th, 2010 at 12:53 pm

A California climate expert is blaming heavy rains and mudslides in California on an arctic oscillation, the same climate pattern that caused an arctic outbreak in the Midwest and East Coast. The CBS affilate in Nashville, Tennessee has some cool graphics as well as a lengthy explanation of this climate pattern as well.

Rainfall Forecast, Image: NOAA

Rainfall Forecast, Image: NOAA

Rain continues to fall across most of California today. Up to 20 inches of rain is possible in isolated locations across Southern California. In higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, that could translate into more than 10 feet of snow!

Check out the latest TV forecast in San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles, and San Diego.

Skiers and snowboarders are loving this! Go to my Mammoth Mountain and Tahoe webcams under Ski Weather for the latest conditions.

-Dawn Brown

More Storms Threaten Lives, Homes out West

posted on Tuesday, January 19th, 2010 at 10:23 am
West Coast Radar, Image: NOAA
West Coast Radar, Image: NOAA

Click for the latest radar imagery

Heavy rain storms continue to pound the West Coast. Mudslides have forced the evacuation of homes in California. A series of storms is lined up in the Pacific Ocean.

Tonight's Forecast, Image: Unisys Weather

Tonight's Forecast, Image: Unisys Weather

This is a computer model forecast for tonight’s rainfall. You can see the entire state of California will be swamped by this Pacific storm. 

3-day Rain Totals, Image: NOAA

The National Weather Service is forecasting more than 7 inches of rainfall for Southern California over the next 3 days.

It will begin to dry out by late Saturday night into Sunday.

We are currently in a moderate El Nino pattern. El Nino is  a term to describe a change in the weather pattern in the western Pacific Ocean. An El Nino winter in California can lead to torrential rainfall.

-Dawn Brown

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