NOTE: This article is edited with updates pertaining to the
Locally there were a few isolated interesting weather events of the past couple of weeks, a few severe thunderstorms in the northern parts, flooding in the Eastern Cape and heat waves in the Western Cape, but I’d like to focus this article on the United States…
For those who have not been following international weather, there has been a somewhat global lack of winter over the past few months, the United States and Europe were places that were most noticeably affected by the lack of winter, more in particular the United Kingdom and the southern U.S states. Generally by February there have been at least 3 or 4 decent snow events in London, but until this weekend it had been extremely void of cold and there were only 1 or 2 days where very light snow was experienced, though this changed this weekend when a cold snap brought snow to parts of England that disrupted flights and public transport, as well as causing numerous deaths.
I really want to focus on the U.S though and their lack of winter weather. The north has been experiencing a few decent snow storms with Colorado getting hammered this weekend and Nebraska even getting a good blanketing. It’s the southern states such as Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi that are left wondering where their winter is though, these states have seen little to no snowfall so far this year and temperatures have been far above normal. The problem is that the low pressure systems that do form are remaining at a high latitude and not passing south enough to bring snowfall to these states, something that is typically related to the position of the jet stream. With this, it seems to result in far more Autumn or Spring like conditions for these areas.
Currently the big news is that there is a tropical invest out in the Gulf of Mexico, this is something very uncharacteristic for this time of the year. These invests are what go on to become potential tropical storms or hurricanes. Granted, the conditions are very very marginal as strong wind shear is still strong at this time of the year and SSTs aren’t as high as they are in summer. But with the lack of frontal activity, the same patterns that bring the snow to the southern states, it means that the Gulf waters are warmer than they typically are at this time as the cold fronts often cause the cooling in Gulf waters.
While it is unlikely for 90L to form into a tropical depression or tropical storm, it’s definitely something I will have my eye on and definitely something unusual for this time of the year. I refuse to say that the US has skipped winter and that we will go straight into an early hurricane season though, I’ve been following weather long enough to know that when you think you’ve got it pegged it will throw you a curve ball.