Prolonged Period of Cold and Stormy Weather Appears on the Way
(State College, PA - January 8, 2007) - The unseasonably warm winter experienced by much of the country is likely to "turn on a dime," in the words of AccuWeather.com Chief Long-Range Forecaster Joe Bastardi.
Bastardi said that the weather pattern from mid-January through mid-February has a chance to mimic the winters of 1965-66 and 1957-58, each of which ended cold and stormy after a warm start. A worst-case scenario would be if this winter plays out as did the winter of 1977-1978.
Similar to this year, 1977-1978 was a winter with a waning El Nino. After a tepid start, the second half of the winter was noted for its cold and remarkable storminess, including back-to-back-to-back blizzards in the Northeast.
"Those who think that winter 2006-2007 is going to remain mild are in for a shock," said Bastardi. "Winter is likely to come with a vengeance. A week from now, we'll start seeing truly cold air across much of the country, and we expect this change to last."
Added Bastardi, "Whether we end up with seasonably cold weather, or something far worse, remains to be seen. There are indications that this winter could parallel severe winters of the past. Even should we not see an extremely cold and snowy conclusion to winter, you can be sure that by the end of the month, when those in the Northeast are shoveling out their driveways and sidewalks, the mild weather we're experiencing now will be a distant memory."
Where Will Winter Go From Here? The first signs of change will be noticed this week. A passing shot of cold air will knock temperatures down to typical January levels in the northeastern part of the country for a few days. Temperatures will return to unseasonably warm levels by the latter part of week and last into early next week. The seeds for the more-lasting change, however, will be planted in the western part of the country.
Arctic air from western Canada will pour southward into the Pacific Northwest, northern Rockies, and northern Plains this week, and this will mark the beginning of a true winter weather pattern that will encompass much of the nation over the next couple of weeks. The core of the coldest air by the latter part of the week will be centered in the Rockies and northern Plains, and the arrival of the cold air will mean another round of accumulating snow for Denver later this week.
The cold air will slowly push southward and eastward from this weekend into early next week and will likely arrive in the eastern part of the country by the middle of next week. Much of the nation will then have a cold weather pattern for the second half of the month.
Long-range forecasting expert Bastardi points out that it's too early to say with certainty that the change in the weather pattern will be long-lasting or produce heavy amounts of snow. However, he believes that if the weather pattern reaches its full potential, the dramatic change from warmth to cold could result in "one of the top-five coldest 30-day stretches in the past half century."
To speak with a meteorologist about this story, call the AccuWeather.com 24/7 media line, (814) 235-8710.
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