Thursday, February 09, 2012

Europe Freezes/US Drought

Things are fairly quiet right now, looking at the bigger picture. Yes, it will get cold this weekend, and yes there may be some snow. Since my column generally doesn't focus on specific forecasts, you can certainly check our latest write up on the potential weekend snow shot for up to date information. Of course, it looks like mild weather is ready to return once again beyond this upcoming cold snap.

So I'll use today's post as a mish-mosh of sorts.

First, Europe continues to get absolutely pulverized by cold weather. This has been one incredible cold snap over there, and it's very reminiscent of what we've seen in parts of Europe and North America over the last couple years. However, this may be as bad as it has been. Just awful, lethal cold in Eastern Europe and nasty cold elsewhere. The models continue this cold snap for at least the next week to 10 days, with potential for another major storm next week that could hit Eastern Europe especially. I think in about 2 weeks this will have scaled back some overall, in addition to the fact that averages this time of year are beginning to tick upward.

US Drought Monitor's Latest Southeast Update
Kind of an IMBY note. I was curious because pollen is horrible here in Florida right now. I mean, cars are encased in it, and it's as bad as I've ever seen anywhere. As an allergy sufferer, frankly, this is terrible. So my curiosity lead me to check local precip data and somehow, I found that we've had a total of 0.30" of rain here since December 13th. That's pretty terrible. And while the drought in Texas has improved some (and note the 3 month change... 65% in D4 3 months ago... 23% now), it has decidedly worsened here in Florida and Georgia. We're now solidly in D3-4 and probably on our way to D4 very soon. It has been bone dry, and it's been frustrating to watch lines of thunderstorms rock Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, only to dry up in Florida and southeast Georgia. With the La Nina continuing, the precip pattern continues and I don't foresee much help for us until maybe late this spring as the Nina wanes and daily t'storms start.

Another area of major increase in drought is the West. Though not yet as severe as it's been in the Southeast, note the tremendous increase in D1 (moderate drought) since early November....jumping from 18.55% to 41.53%! The West continues to see meager precipitation, outside the Northwest (they've been dry of late too, though that should change). But they had enough precip in parts of Washington and Oregon earlier this winter (and carried over from last winter) to mitigate things. The Denver area has also done fairly well this winter, sitting at 50.3" of snow (normal is 35.3" at this time). Some decent skiing in parts of the West this spring, though you have to know where to pick them (California, not so good...Colorado, not terribly bad). But everyone should hopefully be able to make some new snow with colder temps hopefully in store out there.