Winter is back but does it stay? (2-2-13)

<B>(7:45 am Saturday February 2nd)</B> The lake effect snow has come to an end and Punxsutawney Phil is predicting an early spring. Could he be on to something?
The saying goes “you can’t see the forest for the trees” and this week was certainly the case. in the weather office.  There was so much going on between record warmth, flooding rains, damaging winds and finally lake effect snow that I’ve kinda lost track of the longer term patterns a week or two down the road. I’ve been living and working in the here and now. But now that things are settling down, here is what I see for the first half of February.  First, in the short term it looks chilly. Certainly it won’t be as cold as last week but we will be flirting with the upper teens for highs on one or two occasions into early next week.

Now take a look at what the jet stream looks like just 4 and a half days later, at least from the perspective of the GFS model:

The one branch of the jet stream that is delivering the cold air to us now moves well to our north and the southern branch moves from west to east which means a ‘zonal’ flow and relatively mild air by February standards. Beyond the middle of next week, it looks like the pattern could get tweaked a bit more.  Check out these GFS & European means in the 8 to 10 day time frame, centered on next weekend:

Seasonal Snow Surges Past Last Winter: There are a couple of loose ends to tie up after our active week.  We are now officially past last year’s snow total.  With the lake effect from Friday, Syracuse’s seasonal snow total for this winter now stands at 56.9”  That puts us well above the 50.6” that fell just last winter.  However, we still stand about half way to what we consider ‘normal’ winter snowfall.

Punxy Phil & Syracuse Weather. Of course, today is also Groundhog’s Day.  That means Punxsutawney Phil wcame out of his hole and  . Ok, so he was probably nudged out.  Is there any nugget of information we can glean from his prediction and what the rest of our winter here in central New York might hold?  Not really.  A while back, I looked at Phil’s prediction (6 more weeks of winter or an early spring) and found there is not much difference in the amount of snow we get the rest of winter.

Punxsutawney Phil’s Prediction

Syracuse Snowfall from February 1st on

Early Spring


6 More Weeks Winter


So you can see there is not much of a correlation. If anything, there is a tendency for just a bit more snow if he predicts an early spring. The real takeaway from this is that, on average, we tend to see about 4 feet of snow during these last 6 weeks or so of true winter.
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