Time posted: 1:40 am

Searching For Fall Weather and Talking History

Good Monday, everyone. Our toasty September rolls on across the bluegrass state as we head into a brand spanking new week, but this week shouldn’t be anything like last week. Can a hot September give us any clues to the rest of fall or the winter ahead? I’ll take a look at some numbers here in a bit in what may be one of the longest blog posts in KWC history.

Let us begin with the toasty present. Highs today are back into the 90s for much of the state, but a weak cold front could touch off a scattered shower or storm this afternoon and evening. This front is dropping in from the north and that’s initially where the storms fire up. Here are your tracking toys…

That front may slow down across the state early Tuesday, keeping a shower or storm around…

This boundary will knock the numbers down from today, but we are still likely to roll on the warmer than normal side for many.

From there, things continue to run MUCH warmer than normal through the week. Timing a few fronts into the area from late week through early next week remains tough because of a stubborn pattern, due in part to the tropics. Humberto continues to look like a fish storm…

cone graphic

There’s also a system behind Humberto that should develop into a hurricane in the coming days. Plus, a sneaky little system may try to ramp up near the Texas coast…

Let’s talk about this hot September and how it stacks up with similar years. As you are aware, we are on pace for one of the warmest Septembers on record. I’m going to use Lexington for this little trip down memory lane.

The top 5 warmest Septembers go like this:

1. 1925   2. 1939   3. 1936   4. 1998   5. 1954 & 1941 (Tie)

1925 featured 14 90+ degree days in September and was very dry. The following October turned cold after the first week and turned into the snowiest October on record with nearly 3″ late in the month. The cold kept going into November with the following winter turning even colder relative to normal and very snowy.

1939 featured a whopping 18 days of 90+ and was very dry. The rest of the fall turned much colder and the following winter turned very cold and gave us one of the snowiest winters on record with nearly 40″.

1936 gave us 14 days at or above 90 and had near normal rainfall. This was during the dust bowl era and we had just wrapped up the hottest summer on record. As we made our way into October, temps skewed much colder and we had a little snow toward the end of the month. November was very cold with an early month snowstorm and other lighter snows later in the month. The winter averaged a little warmer than normal with near normal snowfall.

1998 only gave us 9 days of 90+ and was a very dry month. This was coming off of the, at the time, strongest El Nino ever recorded and was transitioning into a potent La Nina. The fall temps were normal and with a pretty wimpy winter that turned warmer than normal with below normal snowfall.

1954 gave us 12 days at or above the 90 degree mark, but was wetter than normal thanks to a 3″ rain day later in the month. The following October produced much colder temps and it snowed on the final 3 days of the month, giving us the 4th snowiest October on record. November gave us a few inches of snow with the following winter averaging slightly colder than normal and a touch above normal snowfall.

1941 featured 16 days of 90 or better for temps and was very dry. The rest of fall was normal for temps and snow. The winter started warm then went cold for January and February with near normal snowfall.

What about more recent years that have been similar? The year that keeps jumping out at me is 2010. That September gave us 10 90 or better days and was also super dry. That warmth and dry weather lasted through October. November made a slow transition to colder and then it was on. December was one of the coldest and snowiest on record with nearly 17″. The rest of the winter followed suit with the 10th snowiest overall on record with bitter cold.

2016 gave us 13 90 degree days and was very dry. I put an asterisk beside this year because of the tainted thermometer at Blue Grass Airport. Even the NWS is finally admitting to me it is running too hot and they’re trying to find a solution to it. Regardless,  that was a warm fall and warm winter with very little snow. But, this was similar to 1998 in that it was coming off the strongest El Nino Ever and transitioning to a La Nina.

2018 is another year with an asterisk but “officially” gave us 8 90 degree or better days. Where it’s a horrible match is it was also the wettest September on record with nearly 11″ of rain. Get this… even with all that rain, the airport thermometer still manged to give us the 7th warmest September ever. THIS is why I rail against the official thermometer in Lexington. Anyway, last winter was actually very close to becoming a big one around here, but the southeast ridge kept the core of the cold just to our north and west.

So, what can we take from all this, if anything? It’s always difficult to find a direct correlation to anything with weather, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find clues. For instance, several of the years did feature some snow in October and that certainly stands out. The majority of the following winters were near normal snowfall or well above normal snowfall, a few even historic.

We can whittle a few years off the mix fairly quickly. 1998 and 2016 were coming off the two strongest El Ninos ever recorded.. 2018 was the wettest September and year on record, so most of it can be thrown out. 1936 could be another one to throw out because of the historic dust bowl and overall historic heat/drought of that entire year.

I hope you enjoyed my little trip back in weather time. 🙂 My next update will focus on a few long range computer forecasts for the winter ahead.

Make it a good one and take care.

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Time posted: 1:48 am

Slowly Changing It Up

Good Sunday, folks. Temps are on the rise over the next few days, but the pattern continues to slowly evolve from obnoxious heat to one more typical for this time of year. How fast this happens over the next week largely depends on the evolution of the tropics.

Temperatures out there today are back deep into the 80s, but humidity levels stay pretty decent.

Temps then increase to the upper 80s and low 90s on Monday as a weak cold front drops in from the northwest. That front may spark a shower or thunderstorm from late in the day into Monday night…

The GFS keeps that front and a couple of thunderstorms hanging tough into Tuesday…

Temps should come down a bit behind this boundary, but the numbers are still well above normal through next week.

Humberto continues to increase well to the east of Florida and should become a hurricane today. The track of this storm continues to trend farther and farther to the east…

cone graphic

The farther east this storm trends and the faster it goes, the better it is for us to change the pattern around here. The models are already responding to this farther east track by bringing a weak front in here by the end of the week. A deeper trough then digs in behind that next weekend or early the following week…

This could bring one heck of a cool shot to our part of the world.

We will still have to watch for additional tropical development behind Humberto…

The behavior of those systems can play a role in shaping the overall pattern across North America over the next few weeks.

I’ll get into the hot September talk and what it means for fall and winter with my next update. Make it a great day and take care.

6 Comments

Time posted: 1:45 am

A Nice Break In The Heat

Good Saturday and welcome to the weekend. A cold front continues to push to our south and east, bringing cooler and drier air behind it. You had better enjoy it because temps are set to take off once again as we head into the start of next week. The overall pattern from there is going to be dictated by what happens with a couple of tropical systems.

The first thing you’re going to notice about today is the drop in humidity levels. This happens from north to south and it will actually feel comfy out there. Temps range from the upper 70s to low 80s in the north to the low and mid 80s across the south and west.

We will also have to watch for a shower or thunderstorm early on across the south and east…

Lows by Sunday morning drop deep into the 50s for many areas but should quickly rebound as the day goes on. Readings are deep into the 80s by afternoon, but the humidity still isn’t that bad at all.

Monday finds thermometers back into the upper 80s and low 90s with more humidity back into the mix. There is a weak cold front dropping in here from the north Monday night and this could touch off a shower or storm…

That should knock the numbers down a bit into Tuesday, but this is still a MUCH warmer than normal setup through next week.

A few days ago, it looked like a tropical system would cross Florida and get into the Gulf and bring rain our way. Obviously, that’s no longer the case as our system continues to trend farther and farther east. As a matter of fact, Humberto now may have very little impact on the United States. Here’s the latest from the National Hurricane Center…

cone graphic

Additional systems are being tracked farther out in the Atlantic…

So what does all this likely mean for us? Humberto developing into a full blown slow moving hurricane in the Atlantic is not something we want to see. This is basically throwing up a stop sign to systems trying to cross the country behind it. That keeps the above normal temps and mainly dry conditions going a while longer. Once Humberto finally moves out of the way, the deepening trough should show up.

For years, I’ve been telling you how the behavior of tropical systems can absolutely alter patterns across North America. Humberto looks to do just that and not in a good way.

In the coming days, I’m going to be sharing some interesting research I’ve done on hot Septembers and what they can mean for fall and winter. 🙂

Have a great Saturday and take care.

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