Breaking Down Some Numbers

Good Wednesday, all.We have one more chilly day to get through before our pattern takes a walk on the mild side of life. Thermometers are set to head toward the low 60s late this weekend into early next week. As that’s taking place, a strong cold front will be marching our way to put an end to the mild period.

The forecast for the next several days is pretty straightforward. Temps today will stay in the 40s with partly sunny skies. Readings will rebound toward the low 50s on Thursday then keep trending up through the weekend.Temps should hit 60 or better for a few days through the first few days of next week.

60s in December? Oh no!!! Can we just go ahead and cancel winter? I mean… 60s in December NEVER happens around here… right? Out of the past 41 Decembers in Lexington… 33 of them had temps of 60 degrees or better. Even the historic winters of the 1970s had 60s in December. Moral of the story is to chill. ;)

Speaking of chill… that’s exactly what the models are suggesting happens around here by this time next week. The GFS shows the deepest and coldest solution…

The GFS Ensemble Mean has more of a broad trough swinging through, but is still rather cold looking for a day or two…

I think the GFS is overdone with the trough as I expect it to be more transient. That should be followed up by a deeper trough sometime during the December 7th- 14th time frame. That’s the one likely to get the real deal winter started. 

On a related note… It’s the time of year when the weather complaint department goes into overload. The common complaint is that it never snows around here and we don’t have winters like we used to. How about we use Lexington as a point of reference to debunk that myth:

- The winter of 2010/11 was the 9th snowiest on record with 27″ of snow.

- The calendar year of 2010 was the 8th snowiest on record with 34.3″.

-  February 2010 was the 5th snowiest on record.

- December 2010 was the 5th snowiest on record.

- 2009/10 had an average temp of 30.4 degrees with 23.7″ of snow. That was the coldest winter since 1978/79.

- 2010/11 had an average temp of 31.5 degrees with 27″ of snow.

- 09/10 and 10/11 were the coldest and snowiest back to back winters since the 1970s.

As you can see, some of our recent winters have been great for snow and cold. I think some people have unrealistic expectations about how winter goes around here. This is Kentucky, not Michigan. ;)

Have a great day and take care.


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45 Responses to Breaking Down Some Numbers

  1. Tyler says:

    Very well put Chris. a lot of people complain about ankle biters. I just love snow and will welcome any amount at any time of the year. certainly I like big ole winter storms that bring 6″+. But I’ve actually seen quite a few of those in my short life of 25yrs. and I’m for several of those this year and from the looks of things that is very possible. oh by the way we miss you back in here in the wsaz viewing area. I’m from extreme southeastern Ohio and as you know we are often right on the line of rain/sleet/ice/snow we get a great median of them..

  2. Cosmokramer says:

    Ahhhhn, love when Chris uses the four letter “F” word to quash the “Miserable Me” winter myths! Uhhhhh, “Fact”…….shame on you guys; what were you thinkin’? ;)

    • Aaron C. says:

      http://www.crh.noaa.gov/lmk/?n=lexsnowextremes

      February 2010 being the 5th snowiest on record only means that it was the 5th snowiest February, but not the fifth snowiest month. This makes the data look exaggerated. The same goes for December 2010. The fifth snowiest December on record, but not the fifth snowiest month on record.

      Take a look at these numbers, and the truth speaks for itself. Have we seen heavier snowfall events over the past 40 years since the historic snowfalls of the 1970′s? The answer is a clear and uproarious NO.

      Look at the data on the “least snowfall in a season.” Look at how many of those have occured SINCE the 1970′s. Quite a few of them, wouldn’t you agree? The majority of snowless winters have been balanced heavily on this side of the 1970′s. Hence, our snowfall, on average, has been less since that time.

  3. KP says:

    As a native of south Texas, I am always amused by the complaining about the lack of snow. Try wearing your “Christmas shorts” for the seasonal family photos! It’s a whole different world.

    What do people do in big snows that is so fabulous and fun? This southern belle has no clue. :)

    • LD says:

      Large scale snowball fights, great sledding (as opposed to marginal sledding), build snow forts, and if deep enough, snow tunnels etc. I feel sorry for all of the kids in KY who’ve grown up in the last decade or so, who haven’t had the opportunities to do things like these. Playing outside in the snow just has the sort of wonder and soulfulness that you can’t quite get in any other environment.

      In the spirit of total disclosure, I’ll be right out there with them *IF* we ever get the chance again. ;-)

      • Teacher Nate says:

        Most kids now a’ days would stay inside anyways, and play their X-Stations and Play Boxes or get on the internets with their Face Space or My Book.

        **Get off my lawn!!!

      • KP says:

        I would have loved doing those things as a kid in Texas, with no other ways to amuse myself on a cold winter day. However, I gotta agree with Teacher Nate and say many kids today would rather stay inside and text and play on their many devices. The parents would probably throw them outside and MAKE them have fun. I loved riding my bike as a kid and I never see anybody out my way on a bicycle. Could I be that old and out of touch??? :)

  4. Andy Rose says:

    To bad we don’t all live in Lexington

  5. Lincoln says:

    We all love a good old fashion ice storm, we have had a slew of those too in the last decade. Nothing better than waking up at 10 a.m. because you didn’t wake up because the alarm didn’t go off, followed by hearing that beautiful crackling noise of branches breaking and snapping your powerlines, oh how I yearn..

  6. Dawnp007 says:

    “You can’t get mad at weather because weather’s not about you. Apply that lesson to most other aspects of life. ”
    Doug Coupland

  7. Neil says:

    It was a veritable winter wonderland on my drive in to work this morning, with the ice fog covering everything. It looked almost like snow – quite beautiful!

    • endleswavz says:

      Neil… excellent point! I run 5 days a week at 0530. This morning when we left my friend’s house on our morning jaunt it was crystal clear, a huge, bright moon and very crisp! I came in, showered and opened the garage at 0700, and it looked like something out of a Stephen King novel! You could barely see the end of my buddy’s driveway! It was awesome!

    • Andy Rose says:

      we had no frost or fog in Knox this morning was supprised when Chris mentioned widespread frost this morning

  8. Dawnp007 says:

    “It is no use to grumble and complain; It’s just as cheap and easy to rejoice; When God sorts out the weather and sends rain – Why, rain’s my choice.”
    James Whitcomb Riley

  9. BengalFan says:

    “The blocking showing up for December can lead to some extreme weather across the eastern half of the country. This looks fun!” Chris a few days ago….”sometime between 7th and 14th” that could be the middle of december…Its probably me, but I think the blog is hyped alot, and then were told to hold on for it…Its a week away.

    • Lincoln says:

      The eastern half of the country is a large area.

      • BengalFan says:

        Of course it is , but of course its going to be cold in the northern eastern part of the us..that’s typical! But it was made on this KY Blog, hinting its going to be here.

        • Tyler says:

          just wait!! you’ll see, 7-14

        • Pierce says:

          With all due respect, Chris is trying to accomplish one of the most difficult tasks in most fields of work. Forecast aspects of winter 2 weeks out in KY. Before you criticize Chris of “hype”, do your own look into what is the models are forecasting to happen. He’s not hyping at all, and actually his dates are pretty right on. It’s looking like the pattern might flip around the middle of the month.

          • Marsha says:

            I don’t understand why you all come on here and read Chris blog if you only want to take shots at him go to another blog and do it,sorry Chris don’t want to start trouble on here but get over if you don’t trust the blog go else where…

  10. Reeneyinky says:

    Well as one who grew up in the 60′s and 70′s, seems like we did have more snow, deeper and longer in duration…the winter of ’76-’77 was awesome! We had somewhere around 20+ inches on the ground for weeks! It was also COLD! Yes, the snow is wonderful, just can’t shoot the messenger! If Chris could “make it snow”, he would be one wealthy man! Thanks, Chris, for the time-consuming task of the Blog…Even though you left WSAZ, I can still get my weather “fix”…my husband says I’m a “weather junkie”. Well, there are worse things! Have a blessed day!

  11. Coffeelady says:

    Thanks, Chris. Appreciate you taking the time do break it down. Looks like a fun way to start winter to me. But as I have a couple more things to put up outside over the weekend, I will take a couple of armer days, as well! ;)
    Have a great Wednesday, everyone!

  12. Todd says:

    I think most snow lovers here just want a snow say 10 inches or better, the ankle bitters add up if you get enough of them but they melt a day or two later in these parts, the bigger snows hang around a while and everyone gets their snow fix!
    Thanks for the weather stats Chris!

    • Aaron C. says:

      I can’t wholeheartedly recommend this website for 100% accurate data representation. It’s done on an hemispheric and even global level—and all of the “departures” and “snowy days” data is visualized in a very pixellated way. It’s good for a general synopsis—but until they can get it down to the state level…it’s not going to do much good for local forecasters and scientists on a small scale. Especially those folks who live in the “Snow Dome.” It’s kind of difficult to tell who got more snow than others since each pixel takes up about a 50 to 75 mile by 50 to 75 mile radius.

      Not only that—-I can’t find any data there dating back to 1998 that shows any sort of realistic snowfall amounts or “anomalies” from that year when we supposedly got our big snowstorm. Judging by those maps, that storm never even happened. So, no, I’m not sure if I can trust their data completely.

  13. eyewall says:

    I don’t get the craving for big snows. Yes, it is fun in the moment, particularly the “everything shuts down” aspect. The aftermath, however, is miserable. For those around Lexington in 76-77 and 77-78, do you not remember those huge piles of dirty, plowed snow that lined the roads until April? Awful.

  14. Shelley says:

    people always complain about the weather! I would love lots of snow, but like you said… this IS NOT Michigan. love your blog!

  15. Aaron Carrington says:

    It might have snowed a lot statewide in the past couple of winters but here in Clark Co. it NEVER snows. We are always on the edge of the snow line wether it be north, south, east, or west.

  16. victoria says:

    What dose this mean for Bowling Green Ky

  17. Matthew says:

    Are the storms coming in Friday going to have any risk of severe weather associated with them?

  18. Aaron C. says:

    Could be too, that back when the storm of ’98 hit, I was only…14 years old. Nineteen inches of snow then seemed like a huge dump. Now, when we get six inches of snow, I just look at it and go…meh, this isn’t all that much. Still, though, I think 19 inches on the ground at one time would still probably look pretty doggone deep.

    The odds of that happening again are probably 1 in 100—wonder if anyone else thinks that was a 1 in 100 year storm? Or maybe even higher?

    • Aaron C. says:

      The past 10 years might have been good for snow, but yes they were full of ankle biters. I remember that one report 3 years ago that said Richmond got 8″ of snow from a storm. I still to this day wonder what part of Richmond got that much, because we were lucky where I was to get 4″ out of it.

      Now last year…that was a miserable year for snow. I think we might have gotten 4″ of snow all winter. There was the one clipper that came through that gave us 3″ in Richmond–Lexington got a bigger clipper later in the winter that we missed out on and they got 5″ (we got nothing) and that was it.

      • Pierce says:

        Snowy winters seem to occur every other decade as well. 50′s, 70′s, 90′s, and now we’re in that other decade. I think we’ll see some big ones before this decade is done.

  19. Mike says:

    I don’t live in Lexington, I have live just south for the last eight years. During that time we haven’t had 24 inches of snow total, not in any one year, but over the entire eight year time span. The most we have ever seen at one time in my yard was five inches. LExingotn must be in the “sweet spot”.

    Bye the way – I DON’T believe in GW – man made or otherwise. I don’t see the science or the models backing it up.

    • Aaron C. says:

      The “snow dome” lives in Danville, Nicholasville, Richmond, Lancaster, Stanford, Liberty, Somerset, down to the border and then arches back to the west and southwest once you get down into Tennessee through the middle part of the state. I remember growing up hearing “oh, these big snowstorms are coming up out of Arkansas—–you don’t hear about Arkansas getting much snow anymore, either—and that’s where a lot of the big storms that hit our area used to originate.

  20. flat run creek says:

    winter in the late 70′s was no peach. no gas to be found ’cause big rigs stay off the road. no bread or milk for the same reason. people who work at stores are stuck at home. state police would cite you if you were caught out. something about state of emergency. power out ’cause heavy snow broke tree limbs. careful what you wish for..this went on for several weeks..

  21. Matthew says:

    anyone know if the storms coming next week will pose a severe threat?

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