Weekend Storm – Weather Pattern Theory (LRC)

***Watch WISN 12 News today at 5, 6, & 10pm for the latest on the weekend storm!***

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 blog! You will find no other weather blog like this in the Milwaukee area! We love to talk about and share our weather knowledge with you. The best part is you can always jump into the discussion by leaving your thoughts and questions in the comments section.

In today’s blog I will talk in-depth about a weather pattern theory that I introduced right here back on December 12. I will reintroduce the theory since we have many news bloggers that have joined the discussion in the past month, and also revisit the forecast that I made back on December 29 for the month of January. All of this ties in directly to the large storm that will impact the region this coming weekend! The weather is about to get exciting again!

Back in 2006 I started working at a tv station in Kansas City. I was introduced to a weather pattern theory called the LRC – Lezak’s Recurring Cycle. Once the theory was first explained to me I was the biggest skeptic since it sounded too good to be true and really unbelievable. I was told to follow along for a year, learn, and then form my opinion. I agreed since I was really more curious than anything. After just 3-6 months of watching and studying the pattern, it became very clear that there really was something to this theory.

I have been very excited to introduce this theory to viewers here in Southeast Wisconsin. Here is what the theory states:

  • A unique weather pattern sets up every year between October 1st and November 10th
  • The weather pattern cycles, repeats, and continues through winter, spring and into summer. Identifying the cycle length helps tremendously when making long range weather predictions.
  • Long term long-wave troughs and ridges become established and also repeat at regular times within the cycle. These dominant repeating features are a clue to where storm systems will reach peak strength, and where they will be their weakest.
  • The LRC is a winter-long pattern! There is a pattern! It isn’t just one long-wave trough, storm system, or ridge. It is a sequence of troughs and ridges that are cycling across the Northern Hemisphere.

To put this in very simple terms, the weather pattern that occurs in October and November repeats thru the Winter, Spring, and into the Summer. The cycle length will vary each year. Determining the cycle length each Fall really holds the key in using the LRC to forecast into the future. A very good idea of the cycle length is usually determined anywhere from late November thru December. Once the pattern goes thru its second cycle a period of days can be placed on the cycle length. As I have mentioned in previous blog entries, the cycle length this year is about 60-62 days.

Now that you have been introduced, or refreshed on what the LRC is and what I am referring to, let’s look at the storm coming for this weekend. Back in late November a strong and wet storm system brought the Milwuakee area over 1″ of rain. Roughly 60 days later that same storm is headed back our way. Let’s do a 500mb map comparison, this is the middle of the atmosphere and really a good way to visually see the pattern.

The map below is an archived 500mb map from November 24. This shows a large area of low pressure over the nation’s mid-section. Also of note are the 2 upper lows in Canada, the trough/low off the Northwest Coast, and also the area of high pressure near Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Again, this was back on November 24.

Now let’s fast forward roughly 60 days and look at the forecast 500mb map from the 12Z GFS(Global Forecast System) for this coming Sunday, January 24. The upper low is right over the nation’s mid-section, the 2 lows are over Canada, the trough off the Northwest Coast, and the high over Haiti and the Dominican are all in place. So it is no surprise to us that another potentially wet storm with rain and snow will impact Milwaukee!

Hopefully you had a chance to read the January forecast that was posted in the blog back on December 29. I broke the month down week by week. Here are the exact words that I said about this storm, again from December 29.

January 16-23

This week of January picks up with the storm described above. Back in November the storm impacted the area from the 15th to the 19th. We could see snow showers early in the week with cold temperatures, and then a warm-up around the 20-23. The warm-up around the 20-23 into the early part of the following week could bring us our warmest high temperatures of the month, possibly a January thaw. By the end of this week the focus will shift to a potential storm.

January 24-31

The last week of January looks to be the most exciting and wettest of the month for our area. Let’s start by looking back to November and our wettest storm of that month. This is a 500mb map from November 24. ***This map is the first one in this blog entry***

If we are going to see a major winter storm during January, I think this would be the storm and timeframe for our area. Again, the question will be where does it move, but unlike the storm around the middle of the month, this one should lift north into our region. This storm could be rain, sleet, snow, or all of the above. This storm should be followed by a push of arctic air that likely will end the month cold.

As we get closer to this Saturday/Sunday it appears likely that this storm will start as rain and then eventually transition over to snow.  The bulk of precipitation may fall as rain, not great news if you were looking for a big snowstorm.  There will be some snow, but we will talk amounts when we get closer to the weekend.

So the question is now when will other big storms occur? I will try to issue a February forecast in the coming week. But until then…remember what happened on December 8-9 in Southeast Wisconsin? Here is the map from that timeframe. I would think that another storm should be around the Midwest somewhere in the February 7-8 timeframe.

A lot to think about in this blog entry, and I encourage you to ask questions and I will do my best to provide an answer. We will continue to update what to expect for this upcoming storm, which again looks like it will be rain, and then snow. Still likely more ‘wet than white’ as Mark likes to say.

Have a great day!

Jeremy Nelson


2 Responses

  1. I scanned over your article regarding the weather pattern and thought to myself, these patterns do make sense. I have to travel either the 3rd or 4th week in January every year and every year there is a major weather system that sweeps through just in-time to leave Milwaukee or returning. Here we go again, we leave Friday and will return Wednesday, will see what the weather does.

    • I think your timing should be good to avoid the storm! The weather pattern is unique each year…so whatever happens this January has no bearing on what we see the following January. The weather pattern sets up each Fall, then cycles for the next few seasons. Thanks for the question/comment.


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