By Joseph D’Aleo, CCM (Certified Consulting Meteorologist)
Last winter was a brutally cold one for the nation’s midsection. For Chicago, the period from December through March was the coldest in the entire record back to 1872. It was the third snowiest winter behind only the 1978/79 and 1977/78 winters. In Detroit, it ended up the snowiest ever on record back to 1880.
Weatherbell called for this winter even as NWS and many forecasters called for a warm winter.
It has been a cool spring and summer in the central. Now as we approach the peak of summer a very strong trough for summer and cold air mass for July
will be driving into the central and east.
The warm pool of water in the North Pacific and the warm tropical Pacific waters moving west to the central Pacific is a classic scenario for a cold winter in the central and eastern US. It also leads to a cooler, wetter summer as we forecast.
The combination of that warm pool, an El Nino Modoki (central Pacific biased), easterly QBO and other teleconnections suggest this next winter will be like last one but with the cold biased further east.
Last winter, residents of many parts of the north paid as much for electricity as in all of 2014. Some plants came within two days of running out of oil in New England. During the winter of 2014, coal was the only fuel with the ability to meet demand increases for electricity, providing 92 percent of incremental electricity in January/February, 2014 versus the same months in 2013.
With the projected closure of 60 gigawatts (GW) of coal plant capacity, virtually the entire U.S. is rapidly reaching the brink of significantly higher prices for electricity and being unable to meet either the summer or winter peak demand for power. Unless immediate steps are taken to halt coal plant closures. (PDF)
In a major cold outbreak, the grid may fail and large areas may be in the dark during extreme cold. This 1989 blackout from a failure of the Canadian grid may be a preview of our situation for which politicians will likely blame power companies instead of their own bad policy/regulations.
Join Joe Bastardi, Ryan Maue, Tom Downs and I at weatherbell.com to follow the evolution of another winter to remember.