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Don Paul: No Saturday flakes, and no big chill next week

Don Paul: No Saturday flakes, and no big chill next week

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Back on Monday, I’d written there could be a few wet snowflakes on the hills Saturday morning. Those flakes have been expunged from my forecast, though there wouldn’t have been anything unusual about them this late in October. If you see any white out there early Saturday, it will be from some patchy overnight frost. What also has changed since Monday is this current shot of seasonably chilly air will be short lived, and some moderation will return by Sunday.

After some lake effect rain showers on the Niagara Frontier in Saturday’s predawn hours end in the morning, skies will partially brighten, with afternoon temperatures reaching the low- to mid-50s range, along with a fairly brisk southwest breeze. Sunshine will be in limited supply on a milder Sunday, with modeled extensive cloud cover by midday.

Sunday readings will return to above average in the low- to mid-60s (average is 59), with a brisk south-southwest breeze coming up to 15-25 mph. That means bike riders will have a nice tailwind heading north, and a stiff headwind heading south. It appears there is still some decent foliage to be seen this weekend closer to Lake Ontario, especially from eastern Niagara into Orleans and Genesee counties, and in the southern Finger Lakes. There are smaller patches of surviving bright foliage elsewhere, as well.

Scattered showers will be returning Sunday night, and some more widespread rain may develop during a slightly cooler Monday, with a possible rumble of thunder in the morning.

Confidence is low on the timing of a few periods of showers next week because models are in poor agreement for the timing of cold frontal passages in our region. As of this writing, more occasional showers seem likely Monday night and Tuesday, with general drying arriving for a portion of the midweek, ahead of more showers and possible thunderstorms late in the week. The broad brush term to describe next week is unsettled, with temperatures running a little above average after reaching the mid-50s on Monday.

Looking out to the six to 10 day period, the Climate Prediction Center has higher probabilities for above average temperatures dominating in the East, with below average temperatures pocketed in the North central and Northwest states.

Of course, we need to keep in mind that what are above average temperatures at this time of the year would be considered cool earlier in the month, relatively speaking. In the longer term, the American GFS ensemble projects a return to cooler than average conditions in the Great Lakes region from the upper air pattern by later in the month. A colder trough returns to the east, with a warm ridge migrates again to the west.

On another topic, through September, the United States has tied the annual record for multi-billion dollar weather and climate disasters. The highlighted events do not include the recent passage of Hurricane Delta through already-stricken southwest Louisiana last week.

Last month was the warmest September on record globally, though that was not the case regionally over much of eastern North America.

The National Center for Environmental Information projects 2020 has a 65% chance for dislodging 2016 as the warmest year on record.

For your interest, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its winter outlook on Thursday, with a good proportion of it tied to a typical moderate to strong La Nina climatology.

As I’ve written in the past, I’m not a big fan of seasonal outlooks because there are a number of quick-change variables that can override such influences as La Nina for shorter periods. The phases and strength of these variables simply cannot be foreseen more than a couple of weeks in advance. So, even if this NOAA outlook verifies well, there can still be one or more temporary drastic disruptions bringing much wintrier periods, which are not predictable at this time range.

The Buffalo News: Good Morning, Buffalo

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