Wednesday 9 a.m.
With a high pressure area anchored over the Middle Atlantic states, dry weather with moderate temperatures seems assured until Saturday. After that, computer models show a stormier pattern. There is no great consensus on exactly where each storm will go, or in how snow and rain will be distributed, but there will be a more active weather pattern than we have this week.
We're in one of the atmosphere's quiet times. Last summer's leaves lie crinkly and still on the forest floor, only the oak clinging to the tattered remains. The next couple of mornings, in outlying areas, cartops, the roofs and the grass blades will be dressed in a fragile lattice work of frost that the sun will chase quickly. The morning's chill will mellow somewhat under the coaxing of the distant, low December sun.
Some day soon, we'll hear of some storm causing heavy snow that may be whipped into car-capturing, bus-blocking, truck-trapping drifts, knowing some of that snow at high elevations may lie untouched til May or June. But here, it's a time for quiet, stillness and peace. The happiness of the holidays lies before us.
All too soon the bitter blusters from the arctic north will freeze our faces and numb our thumbs. We'll awaken to sleet ticking against the window pane or the sound of scrapers toiling against windshield ice. A time for the mittens and scarves, parkas and hoods, a wintry time in the ice box fortress of winter's dim domain.
Icy needles of wind will be marauding through the Midwest, whistling through Wisconsin, irritating Illinois, icing Iowa and mesmerizing Minnesota. The cold will penetrate Pennsylvania, nip New Jersey, cool Connecticut, rush through Rhode Island, march through Massachusetts, dash through Delaware and torque thru New York.
But though the physical cliff of winter lies before us and there is no going back, the atmosphere isn't pressing the issue today through the weekend. It's a quiet time, perhaps a moment to collect our thoughts about where we've been, what we're doing, what's happening in our world and what is coming next in this life of opportunity and chances... and hoping the Mayans' calendar was dated.
This map shows last night's GFS forecast for the time when Santa is completing the rounds early Christmas morning:
All foliage colors have peaked across much of the interior sections of New York and New England, but this weekend will offer plenty of dazzling color farther south. This barn and wooded hillside scene was photographed 4 miles west of State College, Pennsylvania, this week.
A storm strengthening off the Middle Atlantic coast will cause episodes of rain and cool gusty winds from Maryland to Maine. The heaviest rain today is focused on the Washington, D.C., to New York City area. Later tonight and tomorrow, the heaviest rain and strongest winds (gusts of 30-40 mph) should spread northeastward across New England. As the storm slowly departs, the weather will improve from southwest to northeast. This map shows the circulation around the storm as of 9 a.m. ET.
The reason for this is a growing and then stalling storm aloft. This map shows the predicted circulation around the storm on Wednesday evening, showing how the moisture could keep going round and round until the storm leaves.
This mornng, showers were moving across the lower Great Lakes region. A band of thunderstorms developed near Chicago before 6:30 a.m. CT and reached the southwest Michigan shoreline an hour later (8:30 a.m. ET). The following maps show the shower zone and Chicago area lightning.
The tropics have been more active recently. This map shows various entities that area being tracked and analyzed. Hurricane Gonzalo stands out clearly.
A couple of days ago, the storm entering the East had a stronger circulation than it does now. Here is the pressure analysis from earlier this morning. Several minor disturbance can be seen, and trough lines representing those have been sketched on the map. Note that there is little difference in temperature from western Pennsylvania to Wisconsin.