It will be very interesting to see what does or does not develop in the Caribbean this week. There are numerous areas of disturbed weather which might affect the United States or could end up being much ado about nothing. All interests from Texas to Florida and from Florida to North Carolina must keep at least one eye squinting at the tropics.
The system off the east coast of northern Florida will produce high tides and potentially heavy rains as it drifts west. If it stays far enough south, it could emerge from the west coast of Florida in few days and once in the Gulf of Mexico could develop into some kind of a hybrid storm or even a tropical storm. Although no one is stating this possibility in any forecasts, there is the potential for a “Fay” type event in the exact same areas Fay attacked earlier in the summer.
The system south of Puerto Rico is currently labeled “invest” and certainly needs to be investigated. The models are all over the map and although the potential to curve northeast exists, there is greater probability the system will head toward Hispaniola and from there who knows where. The other current “invest” is not anything to be concerned about.
With two Mexican storms hitting along its west coast, coupled with the front making its way across the United States, there is always the potential for the tail end of these systems to stall in the Gulf and turn into a tropical system. The western Caribbean and western Gulf of Mexico must be watched this week for any development.
Boise, Idaho had its earliest recorded snow the other day. Does this mean anything? Probably not, but it is indicative of some very cold air in the area. Of greater interest is the abundant snow in Wyoming. Most of the state received a very heavy early season snow the past few days.
Most independent experts are calling for the high probability of a much colder and wetter early winter this year. This translates into the potential for November snows over much of the Midwest, Ohio valley and northeast. The wise traveler would at least take this into consideration when thinking of the very late Thanksgiving this year.
I live out west of St. Louis, Missouri and remember distinctly early November of 1991 when we had a high temperature of 21 degrees followed by 6 inches of snow. Both were records for so early in the year, but proof that even this far south, it is possible to see a very early winter. What is interesting to note is that winter ended up being very mild after the brutal early start.
The pattern this year favors more what we saw during the winters of 1989-90 and again in 2000-2001. December 1989 was one of the most brutal periods much of the country ever saw so early in the winter. I remember days where the HIGH temperature was -10 degrees in St. Louis. This had never happened and hasn’t happened since. January of 1990 was as mild as December was cold. February of 1990 was almost as brutally cold as December had been.
These “bookend” winters are some of the most extreme. Not only is there the swinging back and forth to deal with, there is the problems associated with bad weather in December and all the traveling and shopping that take place then. On the other side of the coin is the fun and games associated with a mild January. I recall vividly the Pope riding through St. Louis with everyone in short sleeved shirts as the temperature hit 70 in the middle of January 1999.
Regardless of how this winter plays out, there is bound to be hardship due to the economic situation. A bad November/December could be disastrous for many who are already strapped for money. I recall vividly the almost $500 natural gas bill we had after the wicked December cold in 1989. That was a lot of money to pay for gas back almost twenty years ago.
If people are faced with super high utility bills on top of everything else going on, this early winter could be the straw that breaks many homeowner’s backs. I pray that either the long range forecasts turn out to not be as harsh as possible or that something breaks in the financial realm to soften the blow of what could be a very difficult couple of months coming up.