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Old 02-14-2011, 10:29 AM
 
Location: USA East Coast
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Although signs are that the Greenland block this winter is quickly breaking down, the damage seems to have been down in many areas of the southern tier of the USA in terms of drought. From what I can gather; it seems like the persistent block in the higher latitudes above the USA sends cooler and drier than normal air deep into the southern USA. With less of a chance for overturning and precip…the normally dry winter areas get even drier. Although it’s worse in some places than others, the severe drought seems to be building from Florida westward to southern Arizona. Although typically places like Florida and Arizona are quite dry in winter, the Greenland block over the last few months has made the dry season really dry:


http://i236.photobucket.com/albums/ff141/nomadct/drought2.jpg (broken link)





In Tucson, AZ…since October 1st, only 0.92 inches of rain has fallen (about 20% of normal).

In Midland/Odessa, TX since December 1st, only 0.09 inches of rain has fallen (about 10% of normal).

In Miami-FTL/Palm Beach, FL since October 1st, only 6.7 inches of rain has fallen (50% of normal).

In Naples, FL, since October 1st, only 3.3 inches of rain has fallen (about 30% of normal).


Drought by its nature is slow to develop and slow to dissipate. Some people in the USA and Canada might remember the really bad wildfire season a few springs ago. It will be interesting to see how this develops has we head into the spring months (March, April). More and more NWS stations seem to be sending out wildfire fire danger watches:



DROUGHT INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MIAMI FL
450 PM EST FRI FEB 11 2011

...EXTREME DROUGHT CONDITIONS DEVELOPED IN METRO PALM BEACH COUNTY......SEVERE DROUGHT CONDITIONS CONTINUE FOR REST OF SOUTH FLORIDA EXCEPT MODERATE DROUGHT CONDITIONS SOUTHEAST AND SOUTHWEST COASTAL AREAS...

SYNOPSIS...

HIGH PRESSURE HAS BEEN MOSTLY IN CONTROL ACROSS SOUTH FLORIDA FOR THE FIRST HALF OF FEBRUARY BRINGING DRY WEATHER CONDITIONS. THE ONLY EXCEPTION TO THIS WAS ON FEBRUARY 10 AND 11 WHEN A COLD FRONT BROUGHT ISOLATED TO SCATTERED SHOWERS TO AREAS NORTH OF ALLIGATOR ALLEY. TOTAL RAINFALL AMOUNTS RANGED BETWEEN A QUARTER TO HALF AN INCH OVER THE NORTHERN SECTIONS OF SOUTH FLORIDA, EXCEPT 1 TO 2 INCHES OVER THE NORTHERN PORTION OF PALM BEACH COUNTY.

HERE ARE SOME RAINFALL TOTALS AND DEPARTURES FROM NORMAL AT SEVERAL SITES ACROSS SOUTH FLORIDA SO FAR THIS DRY SEASON, AND FROM JUNE 1, 2010 TO FEBRUARY 11, 2011.

AIRPORTS RAINFALL : DEPARTURE : RAINFALL : DEPARTURE
OCT1-FEB11 OCT1-FEB11 JUN1-FEB11 JUN1-FEB11

PALM BEACH INTERNATIONAL : 7.12 : -11.83 : 32.28 : -16.88
NAPLES MUNICIPAL AIRPORT : 3.71 : -6.27 : 34.40 : -7.90
FORT LAUDERDALE INTERNATIONAL : 6.39 : -11.31 : 42.31 : -7.91
MIAMI INTERNATIONAL : 7.69 : -6.76 : 46.89 : +1.08

SECONDARY OBSERVATION SITES

IMMOKALEE : 4.55 : -6.14 : 22.01 : -10.71
CLEWISTON : 3.86 : -6.18 : 23.69 : -12.52
BELLE GLADE : 3.98 : -5.01 : 33.38 : -7.29
MOORE HAVEN LOCK : 5.81 : -4.58 : 30.68 : -10.22
MUSE : 7.37 : -3.02 : 33.76 : -7.96
MIAMI BEACH : 9.70 : -2.24 : 28.98 : 5.50

EVEN WITH THE RAINFALL THAT OCCURRED ON FEBRUARY 10 AND 11 OVER NORTHERN PORTIONS OF SOUTH FLORIDA...THERE IS STILL A LONG TERM DEFICIT OVER THE AREA. THEREFORE...PALM BEACH COUNTY HAS BEEN PUT INTO AN EXTREME DROUGHT CONDITION (D3). SEVERE DROUGHT CONDITIONS (D2) REMAINED OVER REST OF SOUTH FLORIDA...EXCEPT MODERATE DROUGHT STATUS (D1) OVER THE METRO AREAS OF MIAMI-DADE...AND COLLIER COUNTIES.

HYDROLOGIC IMPACTS...

WELLS OVER SOUTH FLORIDA HAS REMAINED IN THE 10 TO 30 PERCENT OF NORMAL LEVELS FOR THE FIRST HALF OF FEBRUARY...EXCEPT FOR NORTHERN
PALM BEACH COUNTY WHERE THEY WERE STILL RUNNING AT THE LOWEST 10
PERCENT OF NORMAL LEVELS.

THE UNDERGROUND WATER RESERVOIRS IN PALM BEACH COUNTY WERE RUNNING AROUND 16 FEET WHICH IS 0.7 FEET BELOW NORMAL. THE UNDERGROUND WATER RESERVOIRS IN BROWARD COUNTY WERE RUNNING AROUND 11.6 FEET WHICH IS 0.6 FEET ABOVE NORMAL, AND IN MIAMI-DADE COUNTY THE UNDERGROUND WATER RESERVOIRS WHERE RUNNING AT 9.2 FEET WHICH IS 0.5 FEET BELOW NORMAL. THE LEVEL OF LAKE OKEECHOBEE WAS AROUND 12.4 FEET AS OF FEBRUARY 11, WHICH IS ABOUT 2.2 FEET BELOW NORMAL FOR THIS TIME OF THE YEAR. THE LEVEL OF FISHEATING CREEK WAS AROUND 1.6 FEET, WHICH IS AROUND 39 PERCENT OF NORMAL FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR.

FIRE DANGER IMPACTS...

AS OF FEBRUARY 11, THE KEETCH-BYRAM DROUGHT INDEX (KBDI) WAS IN THE 600 TO 650 IN BROWARD COUNTY, 550 TO 600 RANGE IN WEST PALM BEACH AND COLLIER COUNTIES, 500 TO 550 IN GLADES, HENDRY, AND MIAMI-DADE COUNTIES, AND 450 TO 500 IN MAINLAND MONROE COUNTY. THIS PUTS MOST OF SOUTH FLORIDA IN A HIGH OF WILDFIRES, EXCEPT VERY HIGH IN BROWARD COUNTY, AND MODERATE IN MAINLAND MONROE COUNTY.

OUTLOOK...

HIGH PRESSURE WILL REMAIN OVER SOUTH FLORIDA THIS WEEKEND INTO NEXT WEEK KEEPING THE WEATHER MOSTLY DRY ACROSS SOUTH FLORIDA.

THE CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER`S PRECIPITATION OUTLOOK FOR THE NEXT 8 TO 14 DAYS IS FOR BELOW NORMAL RAINFALL ACROSS SOUTH FLORIDA. THIS WILL CONTINUE TO KEEP THE DROUGHT CONDITIONS ACROSS SOUTH FLORIDA. THE CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER`S LONG TERM OUTLOOK FOR MARCH AND APRIL CALLS FOR A 60 TO 70 PERCENT CHANCE OF BELOW NORMAL PRECIPITATION.
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Old 02-14-2011, 10:39 AM
 
Location: Spots Wyoming
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I live in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming. We have been in what they've called "The 11 year drought". Problem is, it's lasted about 15 years. There have been a couple years that were better, but for the most part we've been very dry.

Our Reservoirs have been hitting about 60% of fill and spring rains have helped get them up to about 80%. Our irrigation district would normally provide irrigation from May til September. But in the last 15 years, they've run out of water for irrigating by the first or second week of July. So farmers and ranchers have only received about 45% of the water they needed. As such, hay crops have been way down and prices way up.

This year, we've had a great deal of snow. Our reservoirs are at 70% or better and when the snow melts, we'll be at 100%. So Spring rains will carry that water even longer. So if we get Normal (not the last 15 years) rains this Spring, hay crops are going to be terrific. Small grains that are irrigated will be great. Pasture land will last a lot longer.

All in all, it looks like a stellar year. I, for one, am tired of trucking hay in 250 miles. It will be nice being able to get good quality hay, locally.
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Old 02-14-2011, 11:15 AM
 
Location: USA East Coast
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Originally Posted by ElkHunter View Post
I live in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming. We have been in what they've called "The 11 year drought". Problem is, it's lasted about 15 years. There have been a couple years that were better, but for the most part we've been very dry.

Our Reservoirs have been hitting about 60% of fill and spring rains have helped get them up to about 80%. Our irrigation district would normally provide irrigation from May til September. But in the last 15 years, they've run out of water for irrigating by the first or second week of July. So farmers and ranchers have only received about 45% of the water they needed. As such, hay crops have been way down and prices way up.

This year, we've had a great deal of snow. Our reservoirs are at 70% or better and when the snow melts, we'll be at 100%. So Spring rains will carry that water even longer. So if we get Normal (not the last 15 years) rains this Spring, hay crops are going to be terrific. Small grains that are irrigated will be great. Pasture land will last a lot longer.

All in all, it looks like a stellar year. I, for one, am tired of trucking hay in 250 miles. It will be nice being able to get good quality hay, locally.
If the pattern develops the way they think it will in the last weeks of winter, the upper Western states/Intermountain West should do well precip wise. They think the rest of winter will see a trough or at least a weakness centered near 40 North and 105 W. So precip should be normal in the northwestern states. At least that is what they (the weather service ) are saying.

Still, this was a tough cold season for many farms/agricultural regions in the USA however. There was modest cold /frost damage to the citrus districts in California, Arizona, and Texas. Florida seemed a little less effected but still had some damage from what I saw a few weeks ago. Although I have a tiny operation, I farm ornamental bamboo, and this year I had modest wind chill damage to most of the smaller plants. I hate winter and am always glad to see it go.
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Old 02-14-2011, 11:24 AM
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Location: Western Massachusetts
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Originally Posted by wavehunter007 View Post
If the pattern develops the way they think it will in the last weeks of winter, the upper Western states/Intermountain West should do well precip wise. They think the rest of winter will see a trough or at least a weakness centered near 40 North and 105 W. So precip should be normal in the northwestern states. At least that is what they (the weather service ) are saying.

Still, this was a tough cold season for many farms/agricultural regions in the USA however. There was modest cold /frost damage to the citrus districts in California, Arizona, and Texas. Florida seemed a little less effected but still had some damage from what I saw a few weeks ago. Although I have a tiny operation, I farm ornamental bamboo, and this year I had modest wind chill damage to most of the smaller plants. I hate winter and am always glad to see it go.
Do you know what was causing low precipitation in the NW? And what pattern the NE USA is supposed to get the rest of the winter?
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Old 02-14-2011, 01:50 PM
 
Location: New Jersey
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Originally Posted by nei View Post
Do you know what was causing low precipitation in the NW? And what pattern the NE USA is supposed to get the rest of the winter?
Looks like this thaw we're having will last at least a week or two, but as we all know, old man winter isn't dead yet. It's only the middle of February. March may end up being more favorable for snow and cold than the rest of this month. Depends on a number of things (NAO, AO, EPO, etc.)

This warm up is nice, but I do hope to see more wintry weather.
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Old 02-14-2011, 03:53 PM
 
Location: USA East Coast
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Do you know what was causing low precipitation in the NW? And what pattern the NE USA is supposed to get the rest of the winter?
From what it looks like there has been no “low precipitation” in the Northwest, at least in the Intermountain West/interior West. As Elk hunter above mentions they did quite well this winter with snows up there, and as they go into melt season next month they should be in great shape.

From what they are saying, the pattern looks like it will try to morph into a more typical La Nina mode, and/or there should be fewer and less deeply amplified swings in the long wave pattern for the rest of winter. Of course that is not much of an earth shattering forecast considering what happened over the last two months – we all knew those huge and deep dips in the jet would end sooner rather than later (lol). So just a guess this means (by region):

The southern tier (below 35 latitude/Arizona to South Carolina) should cruise quickly into spring, with warm temps, sunshine, and unfortunately likely a building drought. There will be a bit of a cool down be weeks end in the deserts (Palm Springs, Tucson, Yuma…etc) – but I think we’ll see more and more 80’s showing up by the first week of March and beyond. In the Gulf/South Atlantic, the southeast ridge normally comes back to life in March, so there will be more bouts of a southerly flow (tropical) and fewer times will the flow be out of the north (continental).

In the middle zone (say 35 to 40 latitude – Denver – NYC) , it might end up with the typical late winter battle of cold vs warm and sun vs storm…though again there looks to be no real chance of the huge cold anomalies in cold we saw in Dec and Jan across the center of the nation. Most of the storms/lows that now pass through the center on the country will drop rain more than snow (except for the higher elevations in the West of course).…

In the northern tier (north of 40 latitude or so) it is only mid/late February, so it’s reasonable to think that the storm track will still be active for another month or so. In New England/Boston where you are, the big ocean storms that dropped all the deep snow up there seem to be done for the season. If the neg NAO builds back in, it is likely not do so as deeply. I think the rest of the cold season will feature more clippers type systems (both snow and rain) up in the Midwest/Great Lakes/New England. The storm track should change to seeing more lows cut toward the Great Lakes. So it could be a bit more wet in the Lakes, and drier toward New England. Even here, there should be much fewer huge anomalies of cold like we saw in December and January. Again, that’s not saying much since the pattern was so extreme we just came out of.

I guess we're going to find out soon enough.

Last edited by wavehunter007; 02-14-2011 at 04:03 PM..
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Old 02-14-2011, 06:44 PM
 
Location: New Jersey
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Yeah if the NAO does go negative again, temperatures will probably be below average which might allow for more snow. However, springs during a typical La Nina year tend to be cooler and wetter, so this year there are a few possiblities to consider with regard to the forecast over the next month or so. Just don't expect this March and April to be anything like last year (thankfully).
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Old 02-14-2011, 07:12 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Western Massachusetts
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Just don't expect this March and April to be anything like last year (thankfully).
One can hope.
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Old 02-14-2011, 07:14 PM
 
Location: New Jersey
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Originally Posted by nei View Post
One can hope.
Not me. Could do without 90 degrees in early April.
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Old 02-14-2011, 08:47 PM
 
Location: USA East Coast
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One can hope.
I know you had a warm spring and a torrid hot summer up in Massachusetts last year…as did much of the USA.

While this spring will likely not be as warm/dry as last year, the pattern looks like it will at least be average in terms of temps. So I think you should fair pretty well up there to as we head into spring. This might finally turn out to be a spring of just normal temps across most of the USA (lol). Although the first 90’s of spring reach NYC/Tri-State area before they reach New England...I remember last April when NYC/Philly had that week with the 90’s, Boston was still in the middle 80’s. You sound like a summer fan, so the warm weather gets there soon.
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