Weather Update: Fall Tornadoes and Winter Outlook

Air Date:
Heard On The Larry Meiller Show

Larry Meiller learns what conditions led to the devastating tornadoes that hit the Midwest earlier this month. Plus, the winter outlook from the National Weather Service.

Featured in this Show

  • Forecast For Winter Weather Doesn’t Give A Lot To Go On

    Especially when much of the state wakes up to unexpected snow, it’s natural to want a reliable forecast for the winter season.

    Steve Ackerman, director of the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a professor of atmospheric sciences, said accurate weather forecasting can be tricky.

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently released their national forecast for the winter. Ackerman explained that instead of specifics, NOAA generally breaks it down into “above normal, below normal, or equal chances of being above or below.” He said that according to NOAA, for Wisconsin and the rest of the Upper Midwest the forecast is “equal chances of either one. Not a lot of help!”

    Ackerman couldn’t resist pointing out that his usual partner on “The Larry Meiller Show,” Jon Martin, had last month predicted a warmer than usual November and December for Wisconsin. That was based on the lack of a snowpack in Canada, he said. But, the data for November so far shows a colder than average month. Martin, a UW-Madison professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences, wasn’t there to defend himself, but he would likely say that it points to how difficult it can be to do long-range forecasting.

    Since many people travel over the holidays, the forecast for other areas of the country may be of interest as well. Here is the NOAA forecast for the rest of the United States:

    The temperature outlook for December-January-February (DJF) 2013-14 indicates elevated chances for above-normal temperatures for parts of the southwest, the southern Rockies, the southern Great Plains, Texas and parts of the southeast. Above-normal temperatures are also favored for much of New England. There are increased odds for above-normal temperatures in western Alaska. Enhanced chances for below-normal temperatures are indicated for parts of the northern Great Plains, as well as in the Alaskan panhandle.

    The (December-January-February) 2013-14 precipitation outlook calls for elevated odds of above-median precipitation in the northern Rockies. Below-median precipitation amounts are favored in the southwest, southern Rockies, and western sections of the southern Great Plains. The chances for below-median precipitation are also elevated in parts of the southeast. Below-median precipitation amounts are favored for most of the Alaskan panhandle.

Episode Credits

  • Larry Meiller Host
  • Judith Siers-Poisson Producer
  • Steve Ackerman Guest