2nd Half Summer 2000  Seasonal   Forecast

AUGUST 1st to SEPTEMBER 15  2000

Well here we are at the end of July and the Summer has turned out VASTLY different from what most forecasters and speculators thought we would have at this time. The late Spring and early Summer months from the Plains to the East coast has been rather cool and VERY WET - especially EAST  of the Mississippi River.  The amount of rainfall we have seen over much of the Grain growing areas has been steady and at times heavy.  When drought hysteria reached its peak in early May, the main concern was the deep, dry, subsoil moisture or lack of it, that had developed during a very dry Autumn 1999 and Winter 2000.  The way things were looking was that even a "normal rainfall"  during the Summer months would have produced a significant drought. Additionally, the Climate Prediction Center' s high profile news conferences convinced  many traders and planners that there was going to be a serious drought over most of the U.S. this Summer. Given the established strong correlation   between  Strong La Nina events and  above normal temperatures and below normal rainfall over of the Plains, it convinced many traders, both professional and the small timers, to take long positions.

I don' t want to harp on this too much but there are traders both at the   professional and small timer  that subscribe to Weather Traders Edge  and have told me off losses this Spring  and Summer over over $75,000. If you have not seen my May 15 Summer forecast  please click HERE  and I think you will be ...well "intrigued".  I think its a good one --- perhaps one of  my best seasonal forecasts in a while.  But in this regard my opinion  doesn't matter. Yours does.


In all of the maps you are about to  view, there are several features for your consideration that I have highlighted.  Area   "A" is the western US Heat Ridge,  Area"B" is the Eastern U.S. Trough,  AREA "C' is the Western Atlantic Ridge  ( Bermuda High)   and AREA "D"  is the  Blocking Feature over North central Canada.

na500_2000071500_hr00_lg.gif (32358 bytes)FIG 1 na500_2000072400_hr00_lg.gif (35012 bytes)FIG 2 summer2a.gif (87133 bytes)FIG 3

Back in early July the Eastern U.S. trough was located right along the immediate coast. However since the the July 4th holiday,  the overall Upper Air pattern has been one of "RETROGRESSION"  which means the overall Upper Air patterns are   moving from EAST to the WEST  (as opposed to the normal movement of  West to East).   At Fig. 1 we can see the Eastern U.S. trough over the East coast  ("B")and the Heat ridge over the western Plains ("A")   and the Western Atlantic ridge is way off the coast  ("C").  A week later  (FIG 2 July 15)  we see the  Heat ridge has moved into the Western U.S., the Eastern U.S. trough has shifted inland  and the western Atlantic ridge  has pushed to the East coast. It is also important to note the depth or amplitude of the trough  which is (was)  record breaking. One of the NWS offices in PA recently made the statement  that the Deep  Eastern U.S. Trough -- on the one on Fig 1 July 15-- was perhaps the deepest trough ever seen for July.

Fig3 shows the current pattern as we head into August.  The heat ridge is entrenched over the western US, the mother of all blocking features still dominating Canada  and the Eastern U.S.  still in a rainy pattern. While it has been hot at times in the Deep South,  Richmond VA recorded only 2 days with Max temperatures above 90 for the whole Month!  Overt the northern third of the nation Chicago. Indianapolis  Detroit,
Des Moines, Columbus  Cleveland, Pittsburgh,  Philly, NYC,  Boston  did not see a single reading of 90 F the whole month. Syracuse recorded its coldest or 2nd coldest July on record with the coldest July on record for  Binghamton  and Wilkes-Barre Scranton PA, 4th coldest at NYC, 3rd coldest at Buffalo etc etc

Back on May 15 2000 this was my "Early Call" has to how the overall pattern would be shaping up for the Second Half of the summer season. By the term "Second Half" I refer to the period from  August 1 to September  30)

summer forecast2.bmp (642614 bytes)  Fig 3 


lanina.gif (22842 bytes)  Fig 4

The MEI chart shows that the La Nina has not yet ended. I know it was declared "dead" a while ago  but clearly  the La Nina --weak as it is-- is still holding on. This is rather ominous looking for the Hurricane season. The connection between la Nina events are above normal  hurricane activity is well established and I do subscribe to the still debated theory that Weak  to moderate La Nina events have a tendency  for increased landfalling  Tropical cyclones.



MOST LIKELY  sumer2c.gif (130023 bytes) Fig5                  BUT THERE IS THIS --->  summer2b.gif (94639 bytes) Fig 6

The later half of the summer  Forecast is based on 2 KEY points.

  1. First  point is whether the overall pattern Retrogression will continue or if it has ended.

  2. The interaction between the very stubborn North central Canada block  ( the area marked as "D" on these maps)  and the intense Polar Vortex (hereafter known the PV) that has been rotating around the arctic regions this summer.

Earlier in July, when the Eastern U.S. trough was at its Max amplitude, the PV was EAST of the Block  -- in other words located over Hudson's Bay-- and was dumping some very cold air for middle July even by Canadian standards. By the 22nd of July the PV has shifted east and was over Greenland. This enabled  the Eastern US Trough to lose its amplitude and kept the overall pattern  fairly flat and zonal.  As we head into August the PV is currently located over NE Siberia.  My concern is that when the PV slides east over the Canadian Block  ( the area marked as "D")   it will re-energize the Eastern US Trough and send a shot of very cool air  southward. 

On this basis I think there will be an early Frost over Manitoba   and Ontario Canada  before  or around September 1. It has been too cold there in July for one NOT to be at least concerned about this threat. moreover,   unlike the US Grains  their planting started late and they are very exposed to the Frost threat. Traders should watch this carefully  -- in particular the Wheat and Oats.  This also has some implications for the US Grains as well but in anticipation of the Drought much of the US Crops were planted early so the "window" of Frost opportunity is that might do damage and rive up prices is smaller than normal.


Fig 7f_g50usa2000072200_week_03.gif (23517 bytes)    Fig 8f_g50usa2000072200_week_04.gif (24113 bytes)

Here is the latest versions of the RSM or REGIONAL SPECTRAL MODEL.    This is a rather unknown and unused model that has been developed by NCEP and the Scripps institute out in California. they run it weekly out to 30 days and it has done a really GREAT job this summer. These two panes that I have presented here are the mean (average) 500 MB patterns on a weekly basis.  Note  the yellow line.   Fig 7 is the period from  Aug 6 to 12. If you have seen the models in early August you will have seen strong indications of another large Eastern U.S. Trough developing during the period Aug 6-12. Fig 8 is the week from  Aug 13-19.  The pattern here has relaxed a bit but as you can see the  eastern us trough has still not yet really dissipated or lifted out.  


The depth of the western Atlantic ridge  this summer has been very strong -- at times nearing 600 Dm. The subtropical ridge that sometimes extends from the African coast to the SE coast vicinity has been very strong, deep and  will ensure  long tracking tropical origin Hurricanes ( a.k.a. Cape Verde  'canes) that may not have little chance to turn out to see. 

This type of pattern is also quite threatening to the East coast   IF the Eastern U.S. trough is amplified when the Hurricane is approaching the US mainland. Certainly given the depth of the trough for July which, as I mentioned above, has been evaluated as one of,  if not the deepest  ever seen for July,   then it is NOT unreasonable to be concerned that come later  August, September   and October the trough may be even amplified! It is possible that we may be looking at a near ideal situation  --something akin to what we saw in the 50s East coast hurricanes-- pattern wise for Major East coast hurricanes.    Whether this scenario is likely or not I have no idea. But I am certain about this point.

The size of the tropical waves coming off the African coast have been very large-- stunningly large IMO. Given the near TEXTBOOK "tropical conveyor" which has already been in position since mid July-- a uniform High pressure ridge extending from the Cape Verde Island to the western Atlantic Ocean-- I think there may be a large number of  Major hurricanes that threaten landfall. There may be a some sort of development out by 50 or 60 longitude that will turn these developing 'canes out to sea. But I am concerned  about this pattern. 

   hurr1.gif (106898 bytes)

Of course IF the PV is on the other side of the globe when the hurricane approaches  then the eastern US trough will be fairly Flat  and the long track Hurricanes may be more of a threat to Florida and the Gulf. 

On the other hand IF the retrogression does continue ,   then a Gulf track  would be more favored with a turn into the mean trough position. This could pose a real problem for the Deep south's Cotton crops and offer the risk of heavy flooding due to saturated ground in the eastern US.

     HURR 2.gif (102107 bytes)



500.gif (16289 bytes)  temps.gif (22283 bytes)  precip.gif (25162 bytes)

PERIOD   OF  JUNE 1   TO AUGUST   1       +/-  10  DAYS

This summer forecast covers the period from June 1 to August 1. At the bottom of the page is the forecast for the latter half of the summer. Essentially a weak La Nina summer usually have 2 distinct phases; an early summer and late summer pattern. The early summer pattern is a continuation of the one that developed in May.

The 500 MB pattern will feature the a mean trough over the Northern Rockies and Upper Plains. This means that there will be a ridge over the West coast and off the Southeast coast  (a.k.a. the"Bermuda High") and I place the Mean Jet in a southwest to northeast orientation. The southeast ridge is a text book example of the summer influence of the "Bermuda High".

Temperature wise,  the Western High Plains and Northern Rockies will see below normal temps --in some areas Much below normal as they will be either under the mean jet position OR North of it in the cooler air mass.  As the mean trough shifts--which it will do from time to time-- to the West coast or as far east as the Western High Plains, the ridge in the eastern Pacific will move inland bringing,  searing heat to the West coast for a few days only to re-set as the next North Pacific short wave arrives.

Temperatures over the Plains will average Near normal   but this is somewhat deceptive. When the mean trough is over the Rockies, MOST of the Plains' regions, the Mississippi valley and points East will have Above normal temperatures. But when the short waves from the North Pacific and Pacific NW push inland, the fronts will drive south and east into the central Plains and Ohio valley areas, producing above normal rainfall due to prolonged periods of rain as the fronts stall in an west to east direction. And this also mean Below Normal temperatures for several days in a row. So the average temperature forecast is somewhat deceptive.  

I think as a whole the summer 2000 will be rather wet. The inflow of high dew points  and water vapor into the Deep South  is of course,  nothing new. But in this position, for a prolonged period the Western Atlantic ridge will pump the very high dew points  QUITE far north.  I expect to see MANY days of dew points  near or above 70 F over  Chicago, Detroit, Syracuse, NYC.  With the mean trough out by 110 Longitude the western high Plains will see Above Normal rainfall -- and damage to the wheat crop may be a real problem.

In the Northeast US, it looks to be a  wet summer for New England and rather off & on temperature wise with the jet not far away and these front laying close to the region with high dew points to work with.  Over the Middle Atlantic region it will be a warmer  summer and mighty sticky.

With the close proximity of the 500 MB ridge off the southeast coast I think we will see 3 major effects:

  1. Dew points and water vapor will run well above average across the eastern half of nation. This being so, rainfall over the
    MOST of the Deep South will be near normal or even above Normal in the Tennessee valley -- where in this 500 Pattern the
    fronts will come to stall and enhance rainfall amounts 
  2. Over  the Southeast states -- GA  SC eastern NC and Florida  there WILL be a much higher chance of the drought continuing. The reasoning here is that the close proximity of the Western Atlantic ridge will keep this area under a  subsidence effect .
  3. HURRICANE activity for the first portion of the season will likely occur over the Caribbean and Gulf; besides the fact that climo favors this area,  the strong 500 MB Southeast ridge will ensure this kind of a tropical track and prevent partial recurvature  reducing the threat to the southeast coast   and the US east coast. 

Any tropical cyclone activity  that moves inland from the Gulf has a good chance of causing SERIOUS FLOOD THREAT to the Tennessee valley and lower Ohio Valley. These  areas are going to see Normal to above normal rainfall anyway over the next 45-60 days.  A dying tropical system in the pattern I have forecasted will get stuck in a COL  or weak spot in the atmosphere  where no weather feature is dominated.  Thus in  this pattern --assuming I am right--   tropical systems would to to far away from the Bermuda high and to far south of the mean Jet. This is the recipe for serious flooding threat.

However after the pattern flip -- within 10 days of August 1  either way--  the Heat ridge that CPC has been looking for over the Plains states will set up... and this places the mean trough over eastern US. If the trough is off the east coast far enough  then we may be facing a re-curving seasoning   like 1995 or 1949.  I will make a call later in the season about this.


Even a cursory glance of my summer forecast shows that my forecast is as diametrically opposed to the the now infamous drought forecast that have been coming out of Climate Prediction center  as you can have. I really respect the folks at CPC.  They are some of the best long range scientists in the world, IMO. Over the last 5 - 7 years, their seasonal forecasts are MUCH improved. Their   hurricane forecast  in June 1999 was right on the mark and their Seasonal Winter forecast over the last 3 winters in the U.S. as close as one can be  ( although they missed the significance of the Ireland Greenland Monster block that lasted 4 weeks  in Mid Jan to Mid Feb).

A large part of my forecast is based on the collapsing La Nina and the overwhelming climatological evidence regarding what sensible weather conditions that occur during STRONG  La Nina and WEAK La Nina events. It is well known that the strengths and location of the La Nina events have major impact upon the Summer and Winter forecast over the U.S.  The recent issuance of the Middle June summer forecast from CPC is to me utterly baffling. Considering that  the main premise for the HOT & DRY summer forecast that CPC has been issuing since March was that the La Nina would stay strong right through the summer. Yet as CPC is well aware of, that La Nina went through a major collapse during late April and May. That being so, why would anyone stick with a HOT & DRY forecast when the premise of the forecast  (strong La Nina conditions will continue through the summer..) is no longer valid?

Go figure. I cannot. Let me be clear. I am  NOT dumping on the "Hot and Dry"  forecast. It is quite possible that CPC may turn out right and I may be wrong. I just do not see the logic of keeping the same forecast when the underlying conditions have utterly and completely  collapsed   (yes Ii know about Lag time effects).    

So I kind of have to take issue with the   "Drought"  forecast.  I suspect this will be somewhat controversial to some and I suppose that is just they way I am... but in order to have a drought,  it has to be NOT raining. I am fairly certain about this. I remember the day I was taught this  in undergraduate school like it was yesterday. The professor said  "Droughts are usually dry"  or words to that affect..


lanina.gif (26545 bytes)

This chart comes from the Climate Prediction center La Nina page which is the best Net site in the world regarding la Nina and El Nino events.This chart plots the biggest  La Nina events since 1950. The dashed black line is the CURRENT L La Nina. At point "A" the la Nina reached its first Nadir in the winter of 1998-1999. The turn around from the monster Peak of the El Nino just a few months ago was the sharpest and fastest turn around ever seen in the El Nino- la Nina cycle. The 1998-2000 La Nina was NOT the strongest La Nina (at -1 standard deviation) but it fell  from the warmest Peak, as it were. The La Nina began to weaken slightly  at point "B"  only to re-strengthen in the winter of 1999-2000.

Point C shows the current  status of the La Nina. Note the rapid the "rise" on the dashed black line as it heads towards the zero line. The rise shows weakening and it has all occurred in the last 2   months. Therefore I think it is safe to say that we can no longer use the Climatology of "STRONG" La Nina as a forecast guide. We have to use :"weak La Nina"-- and in the June 15 discussion CPC  said the same thing.


strong  lanina temps.gif (23027 bytes) strong Lan precip.gif (31777 bytes)

These climo maps are pretty self explanatory. Strong La   Nina has a high correlation to Hot & Dry  (drought).


weak lanina temps.gif (28819 bytes)   weakla precip.gif (31630 bytes)

Weak La Nina have a high correlation to WET and COOL. .. which is clearly what the current weather patterns  are depicting..


       500  MB  PATTERN                                                      500 MB  PATTERN  EARLY
     15 - 20  MAY    2000                                                       JUNE    2000

       SUMMER_MAPS_small.gif (5581 bytes) FIG 1                                                                      FIG 2

I will start out with a review of May and early June. This summer forecast, first issued to some private clients has not really changed much and I don't think it will either.  The month of May saw a large increase in monthly rainfall totals with several MAJOR weather systems bringing heavy rains to Chicago   (200% above normal)  waterloo Iowa  (4.50" above normal rain), Wisconsin, the eastern Corn and Soy belt etc. However, south of Interstate 80 much less rain fell and the drought was still going as the month came to a close... with more substantial rain  over much of the nation east of the Rockies memorial day weekend. In fact  FIG 1 shows a pattern that,  I think, will be  the mean pattern is going to be the first half of the summer as a whole.  On the 500 MB chart there is a Flat ridge center over the southern Plains which serves to protect the drought areas from seeing much rainfall.  There are 2 mean troughs --one off  on the west coast   and the other off the east coast  (near 70 Longitude).  The trough off the eastern US coast is transitory. The PJ  (Polar jet) ran very active and VERY strong the whole month of May (which is typical in a La Nina event)  and was constantly dropping into the central and Northern US which in turn drove strong cold fronts pretty far south and helped to make the month rainy.

This pattern has continued for much of June.  In   early June  (figure 2)  there was  change. The pattern briefly amplified  with a major ridge developing  over the west coast of North America -- this is known as the  Positive PNA pattern -- and it brought in more usually strong cold air masses that drove into the middle of the nation and placed the eastern US in the mean trough.  For several days the Ridge over the Canadian & US Rockies shifted eastward and the Plains did heat up. Many locations in SD & Nebraska reach 100 to 105 for 3 or 4 days.  However, this heat did not last long as more energy came in from the North Pacific and ripped the top of the plains ridge off.  

The problem with a Hot and dry forecast is that the   Pacific jet remains VERY strong and the flow over the central Pacific remains   split. The NP oscillation  has been in a positive phase as well,  which means strong Pacific systems will crash into the Pacific NW and prevent any sustainable "Heat Ridge"  from locking into place .