I met Time Warner Cable News Meteorologist Mike Bono while skiing at Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington, New York last week.
So I said, “Mike, what’s up with this warm weather?”.
Here is what he said:
The direct cause of the warm weather is a warm atmosphere over the eastern US. Primarily responsible for that is the positioning of the jet stream, which usually separates warm and cold air masses aloft. That’s been dipping down in the West with plenty of stormy weather, heavy rain and snow in that part of the nation much of the fall. With the jet stream going further north than usual in the east, that puts us on the warm side here,
keeping our atmosphere warmer than average with low pressure/storm tracks going north of us. That takes the snowy side of the lows well to our north and northwest. We usually get snow when the low center moves just to our south and there’s cold air wrapped around to the north. Time Warner Cable News Chief Meteorologist Mike Bono
So, positioning of the storm tracks and the cold air to the north and west has moved the snow in that direction, leaving us with rain or nothing on the other, warm side of the storm track. Occasionally a colder high pressure system moves in behind a front for a couple of days, but things haven’t synched up for the right combination to produce snow.
Going a step further in causality, we have a very strong El Nino in place right now. That’s
abnormally warm water in much of the eastern Pacific, which is translating to warm air
there too, steering the jet stream in the directions I’ve talked about across the continent.
By the way, they’ve had some very heavy rain storms on the West Coast with snow at
elevation and the Rockies have been catching a lot of early season snow too. The northern Plains have been going back and forth between cold and snow and warm and dry.
If you think it sounds hard to explain what has happened and what we have now, it would be at least as difficult to accurately figure out how the rest of the season will play out.
Looks like, with brief variations to colder, we’ll probably stay on the mild side through Christmas.