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2013 hurricane season ends with a whimper

2013 saw fewest number of storms since 1982

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Most of the tropical storms that formed in 2013 didn’t develop into full-fledged hurricanes and many of them stayed well out to sea.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Despite early projections for above-average hurricane activity in the Atlantic, the season ended Nov. 30 with a whimper after the fewest number of hurricanes since 1982. Even so, the storms that did form killed more than 140 people and resulted in $15. billion in damage.

In a release, NOAA attributed the low activity to persistent, unfavorable atmospheric conditions over the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and tropical Atlantic Ocean — especially early in the season, when dry and dusty air dominated the atmosphere off the coast of Africa and into the central tropical Atlantic.

This year is expected to rank as the sixth-least-active Atlantic hurricane season since 1950, in terms of the collective strength and duration of named storms and hurricanes. Continue reading

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Climate: Is the Southwest ‘stuck’ in a drought pattern?

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NOAA’s winter outlook offers little relief for Arizona, New Mexico

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Drought conditions may persist across the southwestern U.S. this winter and may redevelop across the Southeast, according to the seasonal outlook from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

“Even though we don’t have La Niña, the atmosphere across the Pacific seems to be stuck in a La Niña mode … It’s been quite surprising to us, how persistent the pattern is,” said Mike Halpert, acting director of the Climate Prediction Center.

Parts of the Southwest, especially New Mexico, have been experiencing one of the driest periods on record, and Halpert said there is “decent agreement” in the CPC’s models on the climate signal that has resulted in the persistent trend. Continue reading

Weather: NOAA predicting active Atlantic hurricane season

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Hurricane Sandy near peak strength on Oct. 25, 2012. Photo courtesy NOAA.

Feds say now is the time to get ready

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Federal weather experts said they are expected an above-average to active Atlantic Hurricane season this summer, urging residents of coastal and near-coastal areas in the southeastern U.S. to start preparing now.

Based on a combination of climate factors, NOAA predicted as many as 13 to 20 named storms, with seven to 11 of them developing into full-fledged hurricanes and potentially three to six major hurricanes with winds of more than 100 mph.

Factors involved in the forecast include a continuation of overall climate conditions that have resulted in an active pattern since the mid-1990s: Above average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic and ENSO-neutral conditions in the Pacific which leads to less windshear, lower air pressure and overall atmospheric circulation that’s more conducive to hurricane formation. Continue reading

Colorado: A warmup, but no snow in sight

Drought expected to persist; water supply outlook grim

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Colorado’s snowpack hasn’t been above average since the big winter of 2010-2011.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Temperatures will begin to moderate across the Colorado high country the next few days, with highs climbing back to near seasonal norms, which is only in the lower 30s, but that should feel downright balmy after enduring an Arctic air mass the past few days.

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Dry conditions persisted across Colorado in the autumn of 2012, especially in the plains.

The nicest weather will be up on the mountain slopes, because warmer air aloft will trap cold air on the valley floors, and with no incoming weather systems to stir up the atmosphere, those inversions are likely to persist for the foreseeable future. That also means there’s no snow in the forecast for the next 10 days unless there’s a dramatic shift in the jet stream, which will stay far to the north for the next week at least. Continue reading

Colorado: Mostly dry into December

Is Colorado facing more drought?

So far, the pattern of storms across the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies shows little signs of changing, with most of the weather action far north of Colorado.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Ullr, why has thou forsaken us?

If you’re holding out for more snow before heading out to make turns on the hill, you may want to reconsider. The outlook for the next 10 days is mostly dry and warm, with perhaps a chance of snow brushing the northern mountains Sunday night into Monday morning. Beyond that, another ridge will build into the Southwest, bringing more dry weather and a return to above normal temps for much of next week. Continue reading

Colorado snowpack off to a poor start

Precipitation lagging behind last year

Last year’s line is green; this year’s is orange.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — It’s still early in the season, but so far, this year’s snow pack in Colorado is running behind even last year’s meager totals for this time of year, as the little bit of snow that fell last month melted away some of the SNOTEL sites.

The Copper Mountain SNOTEL site was reporting 4 inches of snow a few weeks ago, but is now back to zero, for example, and numerous other SNOTEL sites are also reporting at zero.

Exceptions are in the far north, where the Tower site is reporting 5 inches on the ground, and the Never Summer site, leading the state with 10 inches. Grizzly Peak is reporting 3 inches, while Fremont Pass is at 4 inches. Continue reading

‘Wavering’ El Niño vexes winter weather outlook

Not much drought relief expected this winter.

NOAA calls for warmer-than-average conditions in the West

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY —This year’s wavering El Niño isn’t just vexing Colorado forecasters. Forecasters with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say that getting a handle on the winter forecast has been tough.

“This is one of the most challenging outlooks we’ve produced in recent years because El Niño decided not to show up as expected,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “In fact, it stalled out last month, leaving neutral conditions in place in the tropical Pacific.” Continue reading

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