Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas Weather: Past and Present

You may not think twice about it, but while celebrating the holiday season, weather plays an important role. 

You may find yourself asking several weather-related questions, such as:
  • What will the roads be like?
  • Will our flight be on time?
  • Do we need to dress warm?
  • What kind of jacket do I need?
  • What kind of clothes should I pack?

Whether you're heading down the road or across the country, national weather patterns can drastically impact the holiday season and success can be measured by how much our original plans had to change. 

Flexibility is key. 

Thankfully, this Christmas was uninhibited by 'bad' weather in the Toledo area. Northwest Ohio residents were treated to above average temperatures, dry conditions and some sunshine on what is notorious for being the coldest holiday of the year.

Thanks, El Nino.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Wind Damage Wednesday Evening, December 23rd

Wind damage has been reported shortly after 6:00 PM at several locations in our viewing area.  This damage is at the northern end of a severe weather outbreak that includes numerous tornadoes in Illinois, Tennessee and Mississippi.  As of 8:00 PM Wednesday two people are reported killed in Ashland, MS.

6:10 PM:  A barn was reported collapsed on township road 118 in northwest Hancock county.

Several wind reports came in from near the state line up into parts of Lenawee county.

6:08 PM:  A barn destroyed with debris scattered up to 50 yards.

-First Alert Chief Meteorologist Robert Shiels

Monday, December 21, 2015

Delivering Record Christmas Week Warmth

Who exactly was it that asked Santa for record breaking Christmas week warmth?  Long gone have been the hopes for a white Christmas.  Onward to record highs on Wednesday of this week with temperatures reaching into the low 60s!  That's an astounding 25 to 30 degrees above average.  In fact, each day through Christmas day will be well above average.

The Set Up: Record Warmth Christmas Week

I'm nearly certain this December will be the warmest in over 100 years...and could very well rival one of the warmest December's on record.  

Warmest December's:  

2015** -- 41.2°
1889 -- 41.1°
1887 -- 40.3°
1881 -- 39.4°
1923 -- 38.8°
1931 -- 38.1°

**Thru the first 20 days

December Summary To Date
In addition, this December is very likely to end with no measurable snowfall for only the 4th time in Toledo's recorded history!

~Meteorologist Chris Vickers

Friday, December 11, 2015

Record Weekend Warmth

How about this December warmth? New record highs are ahead! Here are the current standing records for this weekend:

Saturday -- December 12th -- 63° (1949) -- Forecast: 64°
Sunday -- December 13th -- 62° (1975) -- Forecast: 66°

High Temperatures: Well Above Average

High temperatures will be a solid 20 to 30 degrees above normal through the weekend.  Although it will be cloudy with areas of fog and drizzle much of Saturday.  Sunday will also be cloudy, but mainly dry for most areas.  Despite the clouds, bring on the warmer weather. A parade of strong Pacific Coast storms will drive a wave of energy into the southern Plains of the United States.  This well drive a developing low pressure system and a surge of unseasonably warm air into the lower Great Lakes.

Surge of Warmer Air
Highs this weekend will reach record highs. Only 8 times in Toledo's history has a high temperature reached above 65°.  This weekend will likely add one, and possibly another day to that count.

December 29, 1889 -- 70°
December 5, 2001 -- 70° 
December 6, 1998 -- 69°
December 2, 1982 -- 68°
December 3, 1982 -- 68°
December 10, 1971 -- 67°
December 31, 1875 -- 66°
December 5th, 1998 -- 66°

December looks to turn cooler late next week.  No doubt, the buzz will turn toward the chance of a white Christmas.  Historically, the chance for northern Ohio is around 30-40%.  An early look at this year will bring a lower than average chance at a white Christmas, likely less than 20%.

Historical Probability of a White Christmas

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Big Weekend Warm-up

Record highs are in jeopardy this weekend thanks to an unusually warm pocket of December air heading our way. 

We are currently forecasting highs in the low/mid 60's. This would mark Toledo's first return to the 60's in December since early December 2013. 

Records for this weekend are: 

Saturday --- 63
Sunday --- 62

With the warm air also comes a return of tropical moisture. This will likely produce very heavy rainfall by December standards. Rain totals over 1" between Sunday and Monday appear very likely.

Stay tuned to WTOL and Fox 36 for the latest information on the weekend warm-up and potential heavy rainfall.

Be sure to download the WTOL First Alert Weather App too! It's a free download. You can easily access an exclusive 10-day forecast from our weather team on it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Winter Weather Outlook

Winter is officially on the clock with the start of Meteorological Winter on December 1st.  I've called your bluff Old Man Winter and time will prove this true. A colossal El Niño will dominate.   El Niño, which is classified by the warming of the equitorial Pacific waters off the coast of South America can and does alter global atmospheric circulation.  Typically, this ties the polar jet stream up north into Canada which can significantly limit the frequency and intensity of cold air outbreaks. The impacts of such an occurrence have driven our winter weather pattern in the past and will very likely dictate our winter weather this year too. 

Here is a look at historical El Niño winters.  Since 1950, there have been five "Strong" or "Very Strong" El Niño years:

El Niño Winters:


El Niño Winter Temperatures
 Every winter with a strong or very strong El Niño resulted in a warmer than average winter.  The strongest El Niño on record during 1997-1998 brought an exceptionally warm winter that averaged nearly 7 degrees above normal!  Do you remember this winter?  I do! Winter snow rarely, if ever covered the ground and spring flowers bloomed in January.  (I recall playing golf TWICE in January!)
El Niño Winter Snow
 Snowfall during the 1997-1998 El Niño resulted in less than 4" of snow for the entire winter!
After two historic and brutal winters the past two years that brought all time record snow -- 86" of snow in the winter of 2013-2014 -- and frigid record shattering cold --3rd all time coldest calendar month on record in February of 2015 -- winter this year will bring a welcome change.  The winter outlook for our area will be warmer than normal with below average snowfall.

Winter Temperature Outlook
 +2 to 4° Above Average 

Winter Outlook Temperatures

Winter Snowfall Outlook
15 to 20" Below Average (About 50% of Normal Snowfall)

Winter Outlook Precipitation
This blossoming very strong El Niño will drive very mild weather this weekend and through next week. Much, if not most to the United States will be well above average through the middle of December. 
GFS Temperature Anomaly valid Thursday, December 10th
While any winter will feature some snow and cold, that is inevitable. Occasional cold snaps or even the possible snow storms are part of any winter.  These can and still will happen.  There are several factors beyond El Nino that can influence winter weather.  But, overall, get used to the more regular mild winter weather that lies ahead this season.

~Meteorologist Chris Vickers