Dec-Jan Snowfall Summary & Feb-Mar Snowfall Forecast

Gloomy and Dreary are two words I have heard recently describing the weather conditions in our area. I happen to disagree. This type of weather is in itself some of the best weather we experience living in WI. It is the ultimate difference from typical mid summer weather. Because of the long days and endless sunshine the summer months become excruciatingly exhausting. I consider winter a time of hibernation, a time to complete ideas and reload. The winter of 2010-11 is becoming one of my all-time favorites since moving to Oshkosh in 1996. In my opinion it is providing ample hibernation type weather.

(OSNW3 Weather Brief)
(OSNW3 January Observations)

(OSNW3 January 2011 Summary)

(click on graph for the month summary data - it will open a new tab/window)


Weekly Snowfall
11 of the last 14 days OSNW3 has recorded a Trace or more of snowfall. 6.4" of snow fell in that time period and our snow pack has hovered around 8 inches.

(Jan 15, 2011 - 2.7")

(Jan 18, 2011 - 2.2")

(Jan 22, 2011 - 0.7")

(Jan 27, 2011 - 0.8")


Seasonal Snowfall At OSNW3
Our first accumulating snowfall held off until the second week of December this season, making it the slowest start at OSNW3 since we began recording snowfall in 2006. The second iteration of the 'Great Lakes Cyclone' gave us a nice boost shortly after the slow start which brought us up to typical levels of the recent standard. Since then we have been hovering around the long term average (1971-2000) and coasting into February. See graph below.

(OSNW3 Seasonal Snowfall 2006-2011)


Backyard Snowfall Forecast
My recent study of the LRC has provided a proper introduction into the world of snowfall forecasting. Without the LRC, creating a realistic backyard snowfall forecast would have been impossible and I would still be living week to week with false anticipations and snowfall anxiety. The guidance I have shamelessly acquired from LRCweather and WISN12 have been the catalyst in this endeavor.

I believe calculating and then graphing, thank you Scott, the daily maximum temperature deviation from the long term average has helped me realize that the cycle actually breathes. Analyzing the graph allowed me to line up the temperature peaks and valleys of each cycle to notice the continual change in length. The change in length is not drastic however, which I believe allows for stability in using the LRC for forecasting. The graph below displays the first three cycles, to date, of the 2010-11 LRC using 47 days as a constant. I chose 47 days because that may have been the official length of the LRC when I created my first backyard snowfall forecast on Dec 17, 2010.

(ALTDev - 2010-11 LRC)

Another way to watch the cycle breath is to analyze the 500mb plots. However daunting this task seems it is useful to make self proclamations on the length and to then let the professionals claim otherwise. There is no better way to learn than to learn from mistakes. This philosophy led me to the comparisons below. I will be comparing the plots frequently this forecast period to watch more closely when and, hopefully, why the cycle changes length.

(Oct 31, 2010 - Dec 17, 2010 - 47)

(Nov 14, 2010 - Jan 1, 2011 - 48)

(Nov 24, 2010 - Jan 10, 2011 - 47)

(Dec 2, 2010 - Jan 21, 2011 - 50)

Looking back at the past month it is obvious that this segment of the backyard snowfall forecast is calling for the "signature" storm a few days early. I am determined to not change the original forecast but at the same time correct the mistakes I made for the second forecast. A few mistakes I made were thoughtlessly thinking each storm was to provide snowfall, every snowfall was to bring a 10 to 1 ratio, and that the cycle would be static and easily determined throughout. Hopefully the correction of these ideas will help me provide my household with an improved forecast this time around as we enter the end of the third cycle and beginning of the fourth cycle. Current statistics on my first attempt at a backyard snowfall forecast are listed below. Although it looks close, the actual total of snow does not yet include the 'signature' storm which is my defining point in the forecast period length.

Actual Snow: 15.4" (to date)
Predicted Snow: 14"

I have attempted a second snowfall forecast which extends into March using a 50 day cycle constant. It is located here. It provides information on potential snowfall occurrences and accumulations. Up to 18 inches could fall between now and mid March. That amount would put OSNW3 into some of the winter forecast predictions bulls eye that were made prior to the season beginning. Well, the LRC winter forecast at least.


Front Of House
The snow pack around the property has settled since the snowfalls two weeks ago, but a recent fresh coating has revived the compacting snow. The 2010 year long captures of the FOH and the webcam noon image are updated online and available for viewing here.

(FOH - Jan 27, 2011)