NOAA Winter Outlook 2010-11

***Watch WISN 12 News for live radar updates all weekend long!***

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 Blog!  Over the past 10 months exclusively in the blog, I have introduced and used a weather pattern theory called the LRC to make long range forecasts.  According to the theory the weather pattern that will occur this winter, and right through next summer is just forming.  Once the pattern is set, it will begin to cycle and then accurate long range forecasts can be made.  By mid-November I will put all my analysis together, and present the winter forecast for our area, including a range of how much snow I think will fall.

Before that time arrives, to wet your appetite and also for comparison sake, the winter forecast for 2010-11 from NOAA/NWS was just released.  In this blog entry we’ll go over the NOAA winter outlook, and also take a look at how this forecast was created.

The biggest question most people ask is, “how much snow?”  While NOAA does not answer that, it does place far southeast Wisconsin on the edge of the wetter than average precipitation outlook.  The core of the above average precipitation according to this forecast should reside in the Ohio Valley and parts of the Midwest, along with the Pacific Northwest.  Just click on the map to enlarge.


Now let’s check out temperatures.  A large part of the nation is in either the equal chances for above average or below average temperatures, or the chance of warmer than average temperatures.  In our area it looks like we fall around average according to this forecast.

In reading the discussion that accompanied the NOAA outlook the #1 factor they used to make the forecast was this:

A moderate to strong La Niña will be the dominant climate factor influencing weather across most of the U.S. this winter.

Both maps above pretty much follow the blueprint for a La Nina winter, according to NOAA.  A point that was made in the discussion that I disagree with is this:

This seasonal outlook does not project where and when snowstorms may hit or total seasonal snowfall accumulations. Snow forecasts are dependent upon winter storms, which are generally not predictable more than several days in advance.

While I admit that predicting exact snowfall amounts for a storm days, weeks, or a month in advance is extremely difficult, I do think by using the LRC, as I did last winter, accurate long range forecasts that pinpoint storms that will occur based on the pattern is possible.

If you remember back to this past summer the long range forecast that we posted here in the blog based on the LRC, out performed the NOAA summer forecast which called for below average temperatures in southeast Wisconsin.  At this point, since the pattern is not set, I can’t point to specific parts of the NOAA winter outlook that I agree or disagree with.  

I am excited to show everyone that reads this blog the new pattern and what it means for our winter here in southeast Wisconsin.  Look for our winter forecast coming up later in November!  Could our active weather in the next 2-3 weeks hold the key for this winter?  The analysis continues and remember, the weather pattern is still forming! 

If you have questions on the NOAA outlook I’ll do my best to answer, or on the weather pattern theory that I use for make long range forecasts!  Make sure to check out WISN 12 News for the latest on weekend rain showers, and track the rain on our interactive radar, just click

Jeremy Nelson


7 Responses

  1. Hey Jeremy, great discussion! I like the numerical models that the NWS has for the NAM, GFS etc as they do a decent job with short/intermediate range forecasts. But the long range stuff they just looked at a typical La Nina pattern and slapped it on a graphic. You or I could do that. After following things here last winter, I am anxious to see the LRC at work again. It is the best long range forecasting tool I have seen. The best thing about it is the logic it uses is easy for the non- meteorologist to follow. Thanks and keep up the great work. Btw the Badgers are going down tomorrow but thanks from a Michigan fan for taking down Ohio.State.

    • Bryan,

      I think there are aspects of the NOAA outlook that will line up with my forecast, but I’m still weeks away from putting all my eggs in one basket:) Badgers have a challenge in front of them tomorrow. I think the last time they won in Iowa was back in the last 90s during one of the Rose Bowl years!


  2. After popping in on this blog the past couple months, I am intrigued by the LRC. I’ve discussed the LRC with amateur and professional forecasters and so far it’s a wash, 50/50. I am also anxious for your winter outlook, Jeremy. Keep up the great work.

    • Josh,

      Thanks for reading and adding your thoughts. When I heard about the LRC for the first time in 2006 I was a huge skeptic. But after learning more and watching it for a year I was one of it’s biggest supporters. It is still a theory, but research is ongoing. Maybe at some point I can share some, but for now I think it is best to keep it simple and just have people follow the pattern for a year to understand how the theory works.

    • Josh – I have found that more “operational” type forecasters/meteorologists struggle with the theory. In talking more with researchers and climate folks – because of other cycle theories already accepted, they are more able to understand and see its merit.

  3. I find it striking that this year’s NOAA forecast looks almost identical to this…

    Ever bake a cake with just an egg? A forecast needs several points to analyze. Not just one. Sad.

    Did the CPC look at the 2007-2008 La Nina?

    Point is – the composite views of past La Ninas is singularly the mean of past anomalies. Putting them all together in a single composite doesn’t really tell you anything at all. The reason is that each year’s weather pattern is unique. If they were not, then you wouldn’t need a composite, rather it would be a very consistent pattern.

    It isn’t.

    I wonder when everyone is going to see through the El Nino/La Nina smoke screen.

    This year’s pattern will have its own unique features – a tenant of the LRC theory.

    • That winter of 07-08 is one that will not be forgotten in Milwaukee soon! Like the blog that I posted a few weeks ago on La Nina fact and fiction, there is too much credit given to La Nina or El Nino for specific weather events and forecasts. They do play a part, but not the only part.


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