More Winter Weather Clues?

The subject line of this post ends in a question mark for a reason.  You never want to go ‘all in’ this far away from winter, pursuant to items that discuss winter weather possibilities…especially with how poor the models were last year at diagnosing what was to come.

What once looked like a promising winter, with a La Nina background state, burned away with a climate that was acting as though it were in an El Nino state.

However, while we may feel singed now and then at The Propane Buzz, we will get back into the ring and share what the experts are talking about.

This has been discussed quite a bit as of late, and the official weather service of the United States just released their latest ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation) report and they believe we will experience a ‘La Nada’ for the rest of this year. A La Nada can be a coin flip. The historic HDD data I have dating back to 1995, when I total the January and February HDD data at several locations, shows 8 ‘La Nada’ years. Four of them showed colder than average Jan-Feb’s, four of them showed warmer than normal Jan-Feb’s. The winter of 2013-2014 came out of a ‘La Nada’, for example, but so did the brutally ‘warm’ winter of 2005-2006. You can click on the chart below to enlarge it.


As many of us open our windows the last few days, we have experienced well below normal temps. This should continue through much of August. It may continue beyond that:

High latitude blocking is high pressure ridges (which are warmer regimes) setting up in the higher latitudes north of the CONUS (Continental United States), in say Greenland or around the Hudson Bay. You can see from the images on Ben Noll’s tweet, the first image with more reds is for August 11th through the 26th. The second image with the yellows over the box in Canada is for August 27th through September 10th. These are the most recent model runs from the JMA, the Japanese Meteorological Agency.

When you have high latitude blocking in these areas, that is typically a cold signal for the CONUS.

This is another rendering of the above August 25th through September 9th time frame, and the areas in red are the high latitude blocking areas. To quote Michael Clark of BAMWx from his morning video, when he was discussing this image and model projection, “If this were January, it would be bringing unbelievable cold down into the United States. This could be a sign of things to come.”

For the nearer term, this lends some support for seasonal to colder than normal temps for at least the first third of September. You will recall from two days ago when I showed you that BAM was looking to update their September forecast for below normal temps in the area to the east and north of the purple line drawn over their original September forecast:


This leads me to a tweet I noticed this morning, which led to an article discussing the downstream (future) effects of an atmospheric state where there is a negative QBO happening concurrently with a ‘low solar’ time period. I wrote a bit about this two days ago.

The item was behind a paywall, but here is the lede they shared:

“Take a deep breath — sit back, and relax. You are about to read our first post detailing some early thoughts for the Winter of 2017-2018. August is a bit of an odd time for it, we know. Not every year offers the opportunity to discuss the road to the winter ahead during the month of August. Some years require patience until September or October before we can start discussing early signals with confidence. This year, however, we’re seeing important signs for the cold season already as we speak.”

While I could not read the rest of the article, I have an idea what his conclusions are, because I have seen several mets discussing this very thing.

Here is an analog blend of some negative QBO winters, WITHOUT factoring in the impact of low sunspot numbers:BamNegQBOLowSolar

I shared that with you two days ago. Since then, the European models have churned out their latest monthlies…the following for images, in order, are the 500mb Euro Monthly projections for October, November, December and January, as presented by BAMWx from a recent video:





To quote Michael Clark from the video, pursuant to the last image from above which is January 2018, “Look at January. I have never seen one this substantial…this is a formula for massive amounts of cold.” The formula is a negative AO (Arctic Oscillation, which you can see in those red cores at the higher latitudes), a negative QBO and a positive PNA. The arrow depicts cold pouring down into the CONUS, in each of these months.

As I often say, you like having cold driving factors show up as opposed to the alternative…these don’t guarantee a colder winter ahead, but you sure like seeing these cold weather drivers on the table now, and the models producing what they are producing. You always have more confidence in the looks closer in, and we may not have a torch for September for the fourth year in a row.

I am trying very hard to not become a victim to only finding what I am looking for, or in this instance, wanting. I search every day to find ideas that run counter to what ‘I want’ to have happen…and when I see those, I will share them. Right now, it’s hard to find much disagreement…but it’s still early in the process.

And oh by the way, spot propane prices are up five to six cents since Tuesday.

Jon Miller
Marketing Representative for NGL Supply Wholesale in Tulsa Oklahoma. Follow me on twitter @PropaneBuzz

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