January 13, 2016 – This is out of season, way out of season! A subtropical storm has formed in the far southeastern Atlantic during what is normally the coldest time of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. What is impressive is that it has 50 mph winds, but the forward speed is to the northeast, however will turn north and speed up. This will race into the northern Atlantic over the next three days and be located near Greenland over the weekend.
On a completely separate topic, I believe this will help disrupt the jet stream in a way that may benefit winter lovers in the eastern US. The push of warmer air and water in that region off of the southeast coast of Greenland could help reinforce a blocking pattern that was missing in December. That could help redirect and hold the coast for the Eastern US, which in turn could help more wintry weather and snowfall catch up on lost time. See more below.
Subtropical Storms In January:
Yes, it has happened before.
1978: A subtropical storm developed on January 18 and dissipated five days later on the 23rd. It was a central Atlantic system drifting west. Not the same as this.
2005-2006: At the end of the record 2005 season, Subtropical Storm Zeta formed on December 30, 2005 and lasted until January 6th 2006. The longest surviving subtropical storm in the Atlantic in any January.
Naming Alex: Since we are in a new calendar year, the name Alex is taken from the 2016 list of WMO approved named for the Atlantic tropical season. Should the rest of the season behave normally, then we would pick back up with Bonnie as the next name in June or July.
Summary on Alex at of 5 PM:
- LOCATION…27.1N 30.8W ABOUT 785 MI SSW OF THE AZORES
- MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…50 MPH
- PRESENT MOVEMENT...NE OR 55 DEGREES AT 14 MPH
- MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…990 MB…29.24 INCHES
Impact On Our Winter?
The North Atlantic Block or negative NAO is a pattern that helps direct cold air along the east coast. That was missing in December, but redeveloped recently. Subtropical Storm Alex might help reinforce that as warm water off the south coast of Greenland and help. It is the opposite of what was seen over the summer, when it was cooler than average there. That lead to a positive NAO and along with El Nino why we had a warm end of fall and start to winter. A warm pattern for southern Greenland means a colder pattern for us. All the help we could use to battle El Nino.
Here is an except from my Winter Outlook:2015-2016 that discussed this. While I did not foresee Alex, I did mention the second half of winter would be better for a blocking pattern.
Cooler Greenland Summer Can Mean Warmer Winter Pattern For Us:
While that sounds good on a global scale, it actually does not support a negative NAO that we would want for snowy patterns here. In fact, warm water off Greenland’s southern coast is what is needed for that to develop. If Hurricane Joaquin had taken the original track up the east coast an towards the North Atlantic, that would have helped take warmer water there, and fit my theory of atmospheric memory (more on that in a bit).
This relates to the fast flow, not Flo from the insurance company. This is also not the left wing of the Democrat Party, rather it favors the right side of the map. Essentially the faster upper level winds and lack of blocking will keep storms moving quickly, to the east, or right side of the map. Without blocking, we storms can’t slow down and stick around too long to pile up the stickage. In this pattern, it’s hard to see a blockbuster storm. In fact, many off the southeast coast are likely to move farther out to sea resulting in glancing blows or misses.
Should a blocking pattern set up, then it would be a game changer… That is more likely in the second half of winter.
Again: My winter outlook did not expect the record shattering December, but the warm pattern was built in, and now half way through, the colder and more stormy pattern is expected….
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