Near Record Highs & Pattern Check

***Watch WISN 12 News at 10 p.m. for Milwaukee’s most accurate forecast!***

Thank you for stopping by the Weather Watch 12 Blog!  Another stretch of mild weather is upon us in southeast Wisconsin.  High temperatures for the next several days will be well above average.  Keep in mind the average high is now in the 40s in most areas!

In today’s blog we’ll look at the possibility of record highs for our area, and also do another check of the weather pattern.  Let’s start with the warm weather! 

Monday’s high was 66 in Milwaukee, and today should be another day on the right side of 60 too.  By Wednesday, south to southeast winds will keep the mild weather locked in with highs again in the 60s.  The record high in Milwaukee on November 10 is 65 degrees set in 1999.  If winds stay more south, versus southeast on Wednesday, I think we stand a good chance of making a run at this record.

Below is the latest forecast temperature map for Wednesday at 1 p.m.  This is from the NAM computer model.  Notice the 60s pushing into southeast Wisconsin.  The only question is how quickly winds turn to a southeast direction and move some of the cooler air above Lake Michigan inland?  This will be the big determining factor in whether or not we break a record on Wednesday. 

The mild weather will hang around our area for much of this week.  Could this be a trend for the winter?  What does our current weather pattern say about what’s ahead?  These are all questions that I’m working on answering.  Last week I did a blog titled “Is The Pattern Set?”  In that entry I discussed a weather pattern theory called the LRC that I use to make long range forecasts.

Remember, the weather pattern just began to set up in early October.  Determining the cycle length then allows us to make long range forecasts based on the pattern and locations of the long term longwave ridges and troughs.  Last week I talked about the possibility of the cycle being 36-38 days this year, but mentioned that this was a very early estimate.

A quick way to check on the pattern is by looking at the upper level 500mb charts.  Let’s first look at an archived 500mb chart from October 5.  Remember this is a map in the middle of the atmosphere.  It shows upper level lows in the East and West, basically an Omega Block pattern.

Now let’s compare this to the cycle length that I proposed in the blog last week of 36-38 days.  The map below is a forecast 500mb map for November 10, Wednesday.  This map shows an upper level low over the East, and a broader upper level trough over the West, with a ridge in between.  The map below and the one above are 36 days apart! 

Please keep in mind as the jet stream strengthens and moves south, an omega block pattern with cut-off lows will likely not occur.  So the broader trough in the West is a good sign of how the pattern will act with more flow.  Overall this still looks like a good match to me…but is this really the cycle length for the next 9 months?

I will post the winter forecast including how much snow I think will fall in southeast Wisconsin here in the blog the week of Thanksgiving. 

What are your thoughts on the theory and possible pattern?  Just let me know in the comments section of the blog.  And make sure to watch WISN 12 News at 10 p.m. for more on our possible record warmth!

Have a great day!

Jeremy Nelson


8 Responses

  1. I’m thinking the first cycle of each year’s pattern doesn’t really do a good job representing what is going to happen in subsequent cycles. What makes me think this? Well, last year’s cold October didn’t translate the same in the following cycles. Now we have a cold spell coming in next week that lines up with a period in the previous cycle during early to mid October where we had 7 straight days in the 70s and 80s.

    Now I know there’s this difference between the mid level and surface setup you mention as well as the changing jet stream, but if someone told you we went through a portion of the cycle with temps 15-20 degrees above average, would you really be able to derive from that the next time through we’d be below normal. I think it takes two full cycles to even begin to get an accurate idea of what lies ahead.

    • Daniel,

      I will say yes and no. Obviously when we are two cycles into the pattern making a long range forecast is much easier than right now when I’m trying to pin down what the cycle length is, and what it will look like in the winter months.

      With that said, I think overall the surface is lining up fairly well. Keep in mind that there is generally a cycle range of dates, let’s say around 35-38 right now as an estimate. Who knows it may be completely different.

      But if you go back 35 days we were starting a mild stretch of weather, well above average. What are we in right now? A mild stretch of weather with a near record high in the forecast for Wednesday. And our mild days should continue through Friday before a cold front moves through. Back in October a cold front came through to end that warm stretch too…about 35 days ago from this Friday-Saturday.

      For anyone that is new to the theory I always say follow along for a year from start to finish. Last year when I introduced the theory the pattern and cycle length was known, this year everyone gets to see theory in use from scratch.

      So yes, what happens in October is a big part of the pattern in the overall long term longwave ridges and troughs and their positioning. What happens at the surface is tied in, but sometimes microclimate or microscale things can alter a day which we forget about when looking back a month or so later(like did a lake breeze occur, or were winds right off the lake all day). Lots to think about…


  2. Jeremy, if this cycle is 35-38 days is that the shortest one you can remember? Do you have any theory as to what determines how long or short the pattern is each year? Like global factors such as El Nino or La Nina? In orther words is the length of the pattern each year totally random or is their a logic or theory behind the length of the pattern, and why does it set up in October and not say September or November? I know these are questions that might not have clear answers but have been on my mind for a while.

    • Bryan,

      A cycle in the 30s would be the shortest I have ever seen, but remember the pattern has likely always been cycling for years and decades or longer. So there could have been a shorter pattern in the past.

      Next, there would have to be a trigger or something that sets the pattern up each year. I don’t think it is just random. There are thoughts on how the pattern sets up and why it is in September and October, but I will hold off on that until more research is done.


  3. I’ve been trying to somehow verify last years cycle for my own sake. In my opinion, I have. I followed two storms through the 60-62 day cycle by means of precipitation and radar. I understand these factors are not something an educated professional would bias a theory on, but it works for me, a weather enthusiast and a potential LRC “bandwagoneer”.

    Perhaps I am off my rocker. 🙂

    My blog entry is linked below, any feedback would benefit.

    • Josh,

      You are welcome to come along for the ride:) No bandwagon, because that means people get off and on. I’ve never seen anyone who believed in the LRC then go back. It is a fascinating theory and one that someone really needs to follow for an entire year. The good thing is this years pattern is setting up and possibly cycling already! So now is a great time for anyone new to follow along.

      Good work with your blog!


  4. Jeremy, has anyone from the NWS shown iny interest in studying the LRC? They should it would improve the accuracy of their forecasts.

    • Bryan,

      I know there are a few NWS employees around the country using the LRC, but not naming it in a discussion. Not sure about anyone at the Milwaukee office. But remember, this is a theory, I believe it and use it, but right now it is not taught at any academic institutions. So with that said, unless people see it first hand and experience it for a year, it would be tough to accept at face value.

      In the years to come I think the amount of people using the theory will expand and include people from all weather backgrounds.


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