Should we cancel spring and declare winter re-started?

An April Fools’ commentary, only partially tongue-in-cheek

Last week’s pronouncement that winter was dead was clearly poorly-timed.  Winter lofted a giant egg at my face Sunday, and it left a big mess to clean-up.

Making matters worse, it may have reserves.

An optimist at heart (which perhaps motivated last week’s announcement), I’m starting to lose faith in spring.

Sure, it’s nice and springlike here in Washington, now.

But then there’s this statement from Capital Weather Gang’s Matt Rogers, who specializes in long-range forecasting:

While the month is opening on a warmer note, we still see signs of familiar pattern signatures returning in the next one to two weeks with more Alaskan ridging and Hudson Bay troughing returning to offer cooler risks to the weather for the middle third of April

That Alaska ridge referred to by Rogers, responsible for redirecting cold air from the Arctic towards the eastern U.S., needs a serious beat down.

GFS model shows big ridge or bump in the jet stream over the West Coast, extending into Alaska next week (WeatherBell.com)

GFS model shows big ridge or bump in the jet stream over the West Coast, extending into Alaska next week (WeatherBell.com)

It starts to show up again in another week, and model simulations bring back more wintry doom to the East in about 10 days.

European model forecast: Cold rain and/or wet snow on April 10

European model simulates snow 10 days in the future. Note: this model has little to no accuracy at this range.  (StormVistaWxModels.com)

European model simulates cold rain and snow 10 days in the future. Caution: this model has little to no accuracy at this range. (StormVistaWxModels.com)

GFS model forecast: Cold rain on April 9, snow possible in the mountains

GFS model simulates a chilly rain 9 days from now. Caution: models have little to no accuracy forecasting at this range.  (WeatherBell.com)

GFS model simulates a chilly rain 9 days from now. Caution: models have little to no accuracy forecasting at this range. (WeatherBell.com)

Yes, these models predict unseasonably chilly weather and cold rain or even wet snow (!) around April 9-10. Granted I appreciate these are 10-day forecasts, which are pretty much useless and may change markedly — but they’re not predicting sunny and 80, that’s for sure.

As painfully slow as the onset of spring is here in Washington, it’s much, much worse in other places.

Consider, over 67 percent of the Great Lakes is still covered by ice – on April 1.  The “normal” ice cover at this time of year is 12 percent.

Snow is forecast on the Big Island of Hawaii, with up to 2 inches expected today on the high peaks (actually, that’s not terribly unusual).

And, if you think the weather can’t get any weirder, there was a tornado warning and blizzard warning in effect at the same time in a county in Minnesota yesterday.  Writes Minneapolis Star Tribune weather blogger Paul Douglas:

In 40 years of tracking the weather I have NEVER seen a tornado warning and a blizzard warning in effect (simultaneously) for the same county. That happened yesterday in Yellow Medicine county; tornadoes moving at 40 mph causing structural damage near Saint Leo – the county under a blizzard warning for high winds and snow expected to move in Monday night. A new level of weather-whiplash. A new level of bizarre.

The extremely rare issuance of simultaneous tornado and blizzard warnings also occurred in southeast South Dakota (see where the red polygon – indicating a tornado warning –  overlaps the larger orange colored area, highlighting the blizzard warning):

(National Weather Service)

(National Weather Service)

Monday’s winter front in the Plains was so intense that, in southeast South Dakota, the temperature dropped from 79 degrees to 10 degrees in just “a few dozen miles“.

Winter is still killing it.

Capital Weather Gang’s Ian Livingston originally suggested I declare winter re-started as an April Fools’ joke.  But it’s not really a joke when winter is seemingly kicking spring’s back side in every way.

Now I know what will happen next.  When winter finally decides to go home, we’ll go straight to forecasting 90s – skipping spring entirely.

 

 

[Fine print: It's still spring in Washington by our criteria and has been even since last Friday when we declared winter over as we expect: 1) no more snow remaining on the ground more for than 12 hours, 2) no period longer than 2 days with highs in the 40s or colder and lows below freezing.  But even if it winter is over by these technical criteria, it's looking a like a slow spring - with the occasional bout of wintry weather - at least through mid-April.]

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