Although some students have already returned to the classroom, many of you will be heading out of town this weekend for a final frolic of summer. Labor Day weekend does mark the unofficial end of summer and Monday marks the start of meteorological fall.
Those of you who read the blog regularly know the meteorological seasons are different than the astronomical ones. The warmest 90 days of the year around this part of the country is generally June 1st to August 30th. (Some use the 5th of June to the 5th of September). The point here is we are entering meteorological fall next week. I’ll blog more about this in the coming weeks, but this year, it’s looking like September is going to be a warm one. By the way, tomorrow looks like the coolest day for a while.
There are several media and private forecasters predicting a warm month ahead. The National Weather Service puts out a long-lead outlook, but so much of the time it just says EC or “equal chances” for what they are prediction. I think they should at least try to commit more often, but that’s another blog.
This September, their map shows the northeast with above average chance of an above normal month temperature-wise. Remember, a month can still end up above normal even with a cold period and vice versa. If the first part of September is way above the average, it becomes very difficult for any cooling trend to overcome the early warmth.
This year, the start of the month is going to be warm, there is little doubt of that. If we do transition into cooler weather later in September, it likely won’t be enough to keep us on the cool side of average.
A warm September doesn’t tell us too much about the upcoming winter, but there are several factors starting to align indicating a cold and snowy winter in New England. Some of you have likely heard the Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a cold and snow winter here too. Like any other long-range prognosticator they will sometimes get it right and other times get it wrong. Remember the very mild winter three years ago? That was also supposed to be cold and snowy.
Several main drivers of the upcoming winter are going to be the strength and location of the El Nino, the temperatures of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the sun’s cycle, and of course the North Atlantic Oscillation, and the Arctic Oscillation. El Nino will however be the biggest of all the players.
Meteorologists use analog years to help determine what this winter might be like. Depending on which factors you favor one analog year might look better than another. The winters of 2009/10, 1968/69 and 1976/77 are currently some of the favorites. Since no two years are identical we won’t repeat the exact pattern of any of those winters, but if for example we have a winter like 1976/77, any money we’ve saved on cooling this summer will pale in comparison to what would spend to keep warm this winter. My grandparents saw snow in West Palm Beach that winter.
We don’t have snow in the forecast, or anything close. Sunshine prevails through Saturday with comfortable temperatures and low humidity. Great sleeping weather too. Humidity returns Sunday with warmer air and then we have a chance of some shower activity late Sunday and again Monday. If you so see rain Sunday night or Monday, it doesn’t look like much right now.