Weather: Dry spring?

Climate Prediction Center February to April will be warm and dry

The 2012 late December snowpack in the U.S. was the lowest in recent years.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — After several months of forecasting increased odds of above-normal snowfall for the 2011-2012 winter season, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center has shifted gears and has upped the odds for below-normal precipitation for February through April.

According to NOAA, La Niña has peaked at about half the strength of last winter, and hasn’t influenced the weather as expected, at least so far. While the last few weeks have seen a shift in the larger pattern, the jet stream is still staying mainly north of Colorado and not driving down from the Northwest with abundant moisture like last winter.

Check out NOAA’s snow analysis web page for animated maps of precipitation and snow cover.

The jet stream pattern in Oct. 2011. Click on any of the images to see the entire powerpoint presentation covering the Feb. through March outlook.
The jet stream in December 2011, starting to line up in a pattern that's move favaorable for bringing moisture to Colorado.

The persistent position of the jet stream led to below-normal precipitation across large parts of Colorado the first part of the winter.

Precipitation patterns were spotty across Colorado from October to January.
Percentage of normal precipitation, October, 2011 through January 2012.

The next map, showing precipitation as a percentage of average between late December and late January.

Bullseye of precip in central Colorado.
The past month has seen temps well above normal across nearly the entire state.

Odds are better than even that above-normal temperatures will persist through late winter and early spring.

Temperature outlook for Feb. - April 2012.
Better than even chances for below normal precipitation in late winter and spring, according to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center.

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