Long Range Forecasts

Current page: 2012-13 Long Range Forecasts

2012-13 Long Range Forecasts
2011-12 Long Range Forecasts
2010-11 Long Range Forecasts


This page will undergo significant changes during the summer of 2013. In the meantime, long range outlooks will occasionally be posted in the main page; outlooks prior to January 2013 can be found in this page. For now, the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season was posted in this page.

This page contains medium range, long range and seasonal outlooks for the Northeast US, from May 2012. To view the long range outlooks issued between June 2011 and May 2012, including the 2011-2012 winter outlook, click here.

-------------- Monthly / Seasonal Outlooks --------------

Posted: June 19, 2013

2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook

An average Atlantic hurricane season begins on June 1st; this year's season got a quick start on June 5 with the formation of Tropical Storm Andrea, which is relatively early compared to recent years but not as early as last year when two storms formed in May. Earlier today, the second named storm of the season, Barry, formed in the southern Gulf of Mexico, although Barry will be a short lived tropical storm, expected to quickly make landfall in Mexico and dissipate. An average Atlantic hurricane season has about 10 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes, taken from the 1950-2000 averages. Since 1995, however, tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic has noticeably increased, with a high frequency of above average hurricanes seasons in recent years. Last year was more active than anticipated with19 named storms and 10 hurricanes, although despite the high number of storms, last year's hurricanes were mostly weak aside from Michael and Sandy, the only two major hurricanes which both briefly held that intensity for 6-12 hours.

Typically, El Niño years have decreased activity in the Atlantic, with increased activities during La Ninas. An El Nino was forecast to develop last year, and did initially develop during the summer, but rapidly collapsed by the fall with neutral-negative ENSO conditions observed during last winter; although it was not officially a La Nina, it was the 3rd winter in a row with negative ENSO. So far, sea surface temperatures have warmed in the equatorial Pacific, but with an absence of an El Nino at this time, and a generally neutral ENSO is likely for this year's hurricane season. This year is generally favored for at least slightly above average activity; compared to last year, the hurricanes that do form are likely to be more intense and closer to the coast, with an increased risk of tropical cyclones affecting the US coast, especially in the southeast US and the Gulf of Mexico.

With the formation of Andrea and Barry, two named storms have already been used this year. Taking these two storms into consideration and the anticipated increase in activity later in the summer, this year's forecast is for above average activity, with 14 to 18 named storms, 6 to 9 hurricanes, and 3 to 4 major hurricanes. An update to this outlook will be posted on August 6th.

Posted: January 5, 2013

Updated Winter 2012-2013 Outlook

Below is the link to my updated winter 2012-2013 outlook:


Posted: November 30, 2012

Winter 2012-2013 Outlook

Below is the link to my final winter 2012-2013 outlook:


Posted: October 3, 2012

October 2012 Outlook

A large part of the NYC area has yet to have a single cooler than average month since early 2011, marking an unprecedented stretch of warmer than average months. September, as expected, was yet another  warmer than average month, although temperatures did not end up far from average, with Central Park 0.8 degree warmer than average. Precipitation for the second half of September was near to above average, with more variation in the overall monthly precipitation; NE NJ, parts of SW CT and eastern LI were drier than average with other areas wetter than average. With September continuing the unprecedented stretch of warmer than average months, the question at this time is if October will finally end the spell.

As with September, October does not appear to be a significantly warmer than average month, although there is some uncertainty on whether the temperature departures will end up on the negative or positive side. The first week of October is expected to be mild, although starting around October 6-7 through the middle of the month, possibly a bit later or earlier, a colder pattern is expected to develop with a strong -EPO/+PNA pattern along with a strong rex block over the NE Pacific, which will result in a more amplified pattern with strong ridging near western North America and a persistent trough over the central and eastern US resulting in colder than average temperatures. The more significant negative departures at this time are expected to stay more to the west, however, and while a moderately negative NAO is expected, there is no strong ridging/blocking in the Atlantic side to accompany the strong western ridging. Towards the second half of the month, signs of moderation in the pattern are showing up as the strong -EPO trends back towards neutral, possibly positive, and as ridging weakens in western North America, which should weaken the eastern/central US cool pattern. At this time, I am expecting temperatures in October to generally end up close to average, slightly on the positive side, although the possibility is there that this month may finally have more locations ending up slightly cooler than average. An update to this outlook will be posted towards the middle of October to further elaborate on this possibility.

10/16: An update to this outlook has been posted with the Long Range Pattern Outlook #2.

Posted: September 11, 2012

2nd Half of September Outlook

By the middle of next week, trends are pointing to a pattern change with increased amplification as stronger and more persistent ridging develops near Alaska and the western US. Having ridging in these areas is key to getting a colder pattern in the central/eastern US, and was almost entirely missing from last year's warm winter pattern. Teleconnection outlooks point to a positive PNA, a falling NAO although without a strong -NAO due to the absence of strong ridging near Greenland, and a negative EPO; during last year's season, the EPO was dominantly positive and was a contributing factor to the warm pattern. With the changes above, a pattern consisting of more troughs may develop for the central US with colder than average temperatures. Some of the cooler temperatures may occasionally spread into the eastern US, although the main trough axis appears to remain near the north central US

Overall, for the second half of the month, temperatures will likely end up near to slightly above average for the eastern US, below average at times, along with near-above average precipitation for the second half of the month; the time period around mid to possibly late next week has a stormier look for the eastern half of the US. Temperatures overall for September are still expected to end up at least slightly above average, continuing the unprecedented stretch of 18 months of consecutive warmer than average months for many places, but should end up not far from average as opposed to significantly warmer than average.

Posted: July 30, 2012
*Slightly revised 8/5/12

Updated 2012 Hurricane Season / August Outlook

While 2011 was notable for many extremes, 2012 so far is notable for having early extremes that end up as false signals; the earliest significant snowstorm on record for NYC was observed during October, followed by very little cold/snow during the winter months. The tornado season had an early and strong start followed by a sharp decline in tornado activity, with the year to date tornado count notably below average. The hurricane season was no exception, as following a record early start to the season, with 4 named storms and 1 hurricane before July 1st, not a single tropical cyclone was observed during July, with little, if any activity on the way for the start of August. An El Nino is currently developing, with an El Nino typically resulting less tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic Ocean than average. Years that had La Ninas or neutral conditions leaning towards La Nina transition into an El Nino by the second half of the year typically had lower tropical activity, with recent examples including 2002, 2006 and 2009.

Conditions remain unfavorable for tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic Ocean at this time, but signs of activity are slowly increasing with several tropical waves in the Atlantic Ocean moving out of Africa. Considering that the Atlantic hurricane season typically does not become much more active until August and September, the lack of activity during July is not unheard of; 2009, another relatively inactive hurricane season with an El Nino, didn't have a named storm until August 11. So far, 4 tropical cyclones have been observed with 1 hurricane. With this kept in mind, along with the additional activity expected this season but without a very active season, the outlook (slightly revised 8/5/12) remains the same with 12 to 16 named storms, 4 to 7 hurricanes, and and 2-3 major hurricanes.

August Outlook: The hot pattern which started in late June lasted through most of July, with the recent pattern consisting of less heat and more frequent storms. The ridge is expected to focus over the central/western US again for most of August, as it has for most of July, with more frequent weak trough influence over the Northeast US compared to July resulting in more storm potentials. Although temperatures are still expected to end up slightly warmer than average, less frequent and weaker surges of heat are expected compared to July. Precipitation is likely to end up slightly above average.

Posted: June 3, 2012

2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook

A typical Atlantic hurricane season does not begin until June 1st, but this year's hurricane season got an unusually early start with the formation of tropical storms Alberto and Beryl, making this year the first time in over a century that two storms formed in May. Just because the hurricane season is off to an active start, however, does not mean that the remainder of the season will be active as well. An average Atlantic hurricane season has about 10 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes, taken from the 1950-2000 averages. Since 1995, however, tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic has noticeably increased, as seen with many unusually active seasons such as 2004, 2005, and the last two years. Last years hurricane season did not have a lot of hurricanes but had a lot of named storms, with 19 tropical storms (18 named and 1 unnamed), 7 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes. Despite the increased activity, the yearly total still generally depends on the ENSO state, with an El Niño generally resulting in decreased activity and a La Nina generally resulting in increased activity. The last 2 years had a La Nina with increased activity, while a weak developing El Niño in 2006 and 2009 led to decreased activity. In 2009, interestingly, the first tropical depression formed in late May, but the next tropical system did not form until August. Despite the inactive 2006 and 2009 seasons, an El Nino does not always result in less activity, as 2004 had a weak El Nino but with slightly above average activity.

With the formation of Alberto and Beryl, the season is already slightly closer to the average as of June 3rd than an average season would be. As I am expecting generally average activity between June and December in part due to a developing El Nino, the overall forecast including the first two named storms calls for slightly above average activity, with 12 to 16 named storms, 4 to 7 hurricanes, and 2 to 4 major hurricanes. An update to this outlook will be posted on August 1st.

June Outlook: Still Warmer Than Average, But Not As Much

May continued the unprecedented stretch of warmer than average months, but following the pattern flip in March/April departures were not as positive as those observed in the winter months, with temperatures ending up 2.7 degrees warmer than average in Central Park. Despite a few stretches of cloudy and seasonable conditions, the warmth surges, especially at the end of the month, made the month nearly 3 degrees warmer than average. The largest positive departures focused over the western Northeast, with most of the US except for the Northwest ending up warmer than average.

June is already to a somewhat chilly start, with a trough settling over the region resulting in slightly cooler than average temperatures for this upcoming week. After this week, however, the trough will move out, with a strong ridge and heat spell building into the central US and a trough sticking offshore keeping slightly warmer than average temperatures in the NE US, but without any extreme heat. This overall pattern is likely to continue through June, with the majority of the heat focusing over the central US west of the Appalachians, with June ending up slightly warmer to warmer than average in the Northeast but with no significant positive departures likely at least at this time. Some heat surges will reach the region, with above to well above temperatures possible a few times, but at least the persistent heat is expected to stay to the west. Following the pattern change in the spring, precipitation is likely to end up at least slightly above average.

To view the long range outlooks posted prior to June 2012, including the 2011-2012 winter outlooks, click here.