The weather is (always) an enigma, wrapped in a riddle. And it’s different, every single day. The pattern is never identical. The old saying rings true: the weather never repeats, but sometimes it rhymes. Such is the case this winter, at least east of the Rockies, where an unusually mild and persistent pattern reminds me of 2012. That year flowers were blooming in many northern towns by late March. Not sure spring will come that early, but a strong Pacific flow keeps much of the lower 48 warmer than average into much of February.
In fact 60’s may push across the Plains by mid-February with 50s as far north as the Twin Cities and Madison. That’s common for cities like Denver with a strong chinook effect off the lee of the Rockies, but 50F is typical for April 1 in the Twin Cities – so yes, this would be unusual.
Meanwhile snow continues to pile up over the Rockies; a truly record season for snow amounts as another conga-line of Pacific storms pushes inland again. This time temperatures near the surface may be cold enough for a few few slushy inches of snow as far north as Seattle and Tacoma. Higher terrain from the Cascade and Sierra range into the mountains of Colorado may pick up another couple of FEET of snow in the coming days.
I expect a more active year for tornadoes. 130 tornadoes touched down last month, second most (and second deadliest) since 1950. I suspect America’s tornado drought is over. If I had to go out on a limb I’d predict that 2017 may wind up being the busiest year for tornadoes since 2011, which was an especially deadly and destructive year. The subtropical jet stream is strong, Gulf moisture plentiful – along with ample wind shear and instability.
I sincerely hope I’m wrong.
For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Paul Douglas
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of WeatherNation