2015: The Year That Was
The projections of a Super El Nino going into 2015 surely didn't disappoint. The month of May in particular saw the biggest impacts with it being the wettest on record for much of Texas. It was a complete drought buster.
There were many flash flooding events that month, some events that stand out to me was the closing of many area lakes for the Memorial Day weekend as they were well above conservation pool. Lake Grapevine flooded so much it more than flooded a vital artery connecting Flower Mound to Grapevine, FM 2499.
Also, The Red River reached its highest crest on record as it came right up to the BNSF RR and I-35 bridges at the Gainesville crossing.
Then as if that weren't enough, TS Bill decided to add salt in the wound. The Spring rains in total helped to boost North Texas rainfall into the top 2% percent of annual rainfall.
With the departure of TS Bill came the end of the rains and the climo typical heat and dryness that is summertime in Texas. Things got so dry in fact that DFW hit 3rd all time on consecutive streak without any precipitation/3rd all time. And the heat continued into October as we saw 7 90+ days in the first half of the month.
Then things changed....
Even during hot and dry August/September months we knew that we were in a seasonal lull in record rains with the ongoing super elnino and that going into the fall and winter it was going to come back and hit us...and it did...
The combination of several factors came together late in the month for a sig multi-day rain/flash flooding event: high PW values, pronounced sub-trop jet, slow moving cf, and record setting TC Patricia. DFW only saw 6 days of measurable precip in October, which is normally the 2nd wettest month on avg, but those 6 days came in close succession and were so wet that it even with Oct. being the 2nd wettest month on avg, we reached 2nd all time for measurable rainfall for the month.
And this continued on into November with the Thanksgiving rains being almost a cc setup from that of the previous month, a combination of all same factors came together. That event, in concert with several previous days of nominal rains put November 2015 as wettest November on record for NTX.
The Thanksgiving event in particular was a result of a hemispheric blocking pattern which you can infer from the 300mb map below with NERN Pacific ridge and elongated positively tilted trough from CA to the Dakotas.
This blocking pattern resulted in a parade of shortwaves that helped dump several days worth of rain and freezing rain/ice on the SP as this system (being November) had a little more colder air to worth with than month before it. Below are some ice storm vines from my colleague Chris Sanner.
To put those last 2 events in perspective, my colleague Chris Robbins put together a scatter plot to show just how anomalous those events were...
|I invite you to read his blog here http://bit.ly/1lP0lo3|
The combination of the Fall rains with those in Spring pretty much put NTX over the edge in terms of all time annual rainfall, it was that much, all thanks to a super el nino, one that has rivaled that of 1997 and 1982/1983.
Before we jump to 2016 Id like to look at what is shaping up to be one of the warmest Christmas holidays on record for much of the nation. It has already been an exceptionally warm December with as seen by the graphic below.
This trend looks to continue now as we head into the Christmas holiday as both the GEFS and ECMWF anomalies show exceptional warmth E of the Mississippi.
Now looking ahead to 2016 I particularly focused in one the first 3 months. I used the super el nino of 1982-1983 as that el nino is more mimicking this el nino wrt to national precip/temp records and continental upper air patterns (more on this later). Now before I go any further I must put in the disclaimer that short term teleconnections can and sometimes do trump the longer scale el nino impacts so nothing is clear cut or carbon copy. but what I did find through NCDC was 1 high end severe wx day between Jan 1-Mar 1 for the more climatologically prone severe wx areas of TX/LA/OK/AR/TN. There was also a rare PH tornado on February 2nd and NCDC archives has a nice write up on it. Ive included a snapshot from the PDF below.
Once the calendar flipped to March, however, all nature recognized was meteorological spring and not the typical astronomical spring. I counted a multi day severe event from March 3-5, March 25-26 (which produced a 3 in SERN KS), and regional event in the Ozarks on the 31st.
As for winter wx I have just decided to copy/paste from the NCDC archives
No reports received though a hard freeze (20s) did hit much of OK/TX/AR mid month destroying numerous fruit crops
Now while I did mention earlier that the Super El nino of 82/83 is more mimicking the current one than 97, there is a good blog write up I came upon that discusses this in greater detail and how going into Spring 2016 may actually be more like a more recent spring than 83. Check it out here.