CLIMATE DISCUSSION: SUNDAY, OCTOBER 1ST, 2017

For the first day of the new month, and with almost no high-impact weather on the horizon, we'll take a look at a longer-term outlook for the month of October. As far as the immediate weather is concerned, mild and clear conditions will continue throughout the remainder of the weekend and into the beginning of next week, with a gradual warming trend in store for our area throughout the upcoming week. The tropics have quieted considerably over the past 48 hours, and new development is unlikely in the immediate future.

Before I begin, I'll provide this discretionary statement: long-term climate outlooks are not "definitive forecasts". They are simply measures to tell what kind of temperatures and precipitation amounts are the most likely for the period in question. With that being said, let's examine what the Climate Prediction Center says may be in store for the month of October.

SECTION 1: TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK: A PROLONGED SUMMER?

 

Climate Prediction Center Temperature Probability Outlook for October 2017. Warmer than normal temperatures are indicated in the orange shading, while cooler than normal temperatures are indicated in the blue shading.

Climate Prediction Center Temperature Probability Outlook for October 2017. Warmer than normal temperatures are indicated in the orange shading, while cooler than normal temperatures are indicated in the blue shading.

If you are ready for cooler weather, you may have to wait for a while. The CPC Temperature Outlook shows a 50% chance of above-normal temperatures for the month of October (compared to a 50% chance of at-normal or below-normal temperatures combined). The most likely explanation for a temperature outlook would be a pattern like we are going to see this upcoming week, where we have a digging trough in the western United States combined with a high-amplitude ridge in the eastern United States. This will allow a warm southwesterly flow to be the predominant pattern for the month. However, the most profound effects of this high-amplitude East Coast ridge will be felt in the Northeastern United States, where unseasonably warm temperatures have already been felt in the area over the past week. In summary, you may yet need to hold onto those shorts and t-shirts for a few more weeks.

SECTION 2: PRECIPITATION: AN EMERGING DROUGHT POSSIBLY ON THE HORIZON

Climate Prediction Center Precipitation Probability Outlook for October 2017. Drier than normal conditions are indicated by the brown shading while wetter than normal conditions are indicated by the green shading.

Climate Prediction Center Precipitation Probability Outlook for October 2017. Drier than normal conditions are indicated by the brown shading while wetter than normal conditions are indicated by the green shading.

As of October 1st, most of the state of North Carolina is not under any drought classification, with only abnormally dry conditions being reported in Central North Carolina. However, things may change as October will likely be a drier than normal month throughout the region. The Climate Prediction Center forecast suggests that there is a nearly 50% chance that our area will see drier than normal conditions (compared to a 50% chance that we will see either near-normal or wetter-than-normal conditions). This would also be the likely result of a pattern similar to the one that will setup over the Northern Hemisphere over the next week. With a ridge of high pressure occupying the space over the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States, any mid-latitude weather systems would most likely follow a path through the central United States up through the Great Lakes and into Southeast Canada, missing us well to the north. Any substantial precipitation (if this pattern holds) would have to come from tropical-type precipitation, which would also be suppressed with a blocking ridge over the Eastern United States. Regardless of whether this comes to fruition or not, PLEASE be careful if you are doing any outdoor burning in the foreseeable future. We do not need a repeat of last year's wildfire season to occur!

Thank you for reading

Chase Scott Graham