New Weather Model Predicts “Blowtorch” and Dry Winter 2009-2010


I’ve been doing a lot of seasonal weather forecasts lately and frankly I find it really fun. And then, at the end of the season, we grade the forecasts and see who was most accurate.

The latest winter forecast I’m going to share with you is downright depressing if you are a cold and snow fan and absolutely heaven if you are a fan of the dominate weather pattern this month.

There is a European weather model called the ECMWF and it has daily, weekly, monthly and seasonal weather updates each month. Why do we care about some European model? Because it predicts weather for our area and has proven itself fairly accurate, mostly in the short term. For the third month in a row, the ECMWF is predicting what weather geeks call a “blowtorch” and dry winter.

The definition of blowtorch is simple: VERY warm. The information from this weather model comes from Brett Anderson, Candian Long Range Forecaster on This is the forecast:


Colder than normal from the Northwest Territories down through northern BC and the northern Prairies.

Fairly zonal (west to east) flow across southern Canada with a lack of extremes in terms of temperatures and precipitation. The model basically does not commit to anything.

Fairly dry and mild pattern over most of western Canada. This also includes the Pacific Northwest.

Unusually mild from Alaska through the Yukon Territory and down through BC and the Northwestern states.
–Rainfall and/or snowfall below normal from BC through the Pacific Northwest and into Alberta.
February (model showing a continuing extreme pattern)
Much above-normal temperatures from interior Alaska through most of western Canada and into the Pacific Northwest.

Model showing major blocking pattern from the North Pole down through northern Canada.
Still above-normal temperatures over BC, but not as much so compared to January and February.

This forecast doesn’t exactly give me a warm and fuzzy feeling, being a fan of storms, snow and cold temperatures. If this forecast model proves right it would be a textbook version of what El Ninos typically bring as far as winter patterns here. Can things change? Absolutely.

I guess we’ll have to stay tuned, won’t we? 😉

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap