Monday, 11:30 A.M.
Coming back to Happy Valley on Sunday was very, very hard to do. My wife and I took a side trip to the Delmarva Peninsula on Saturday. While I rode in the SeaGull Century out of Salisburg, Md., she went exploring the southern end of Assateague Island and Chincoteague, and spent some time on the warm, sunny beaches. I have to admit, as much as I enjoyed the ride, I missed the beach!
What made it so hard was the dramatic turn on a dime of the weather. I knew it was going to be warm most of the day with sunshine - and it was; 83 at one point along the ride, and sunny right up through 4:00. We should have been done riding by then, but a couple of flats by one of my riding companions, and a lengthy delay waiting for the SAG wagon to provide a spare tire (which they didn't end up having, anyway) caused us to finish in the lone shower of the day. That shower was the END OF SUMMER.
By Sunday morning, it was hovering around 50, and we drove through some showers all across Maryland until it dried out coming northward through Pennsylvania. And oh, by the way, not only are the leaves quickly changing color, and at a much earlier time than the past two years, but many trees have already LOST their leaves! My how things change in a hurry!
This week? Chilly in a word. Here's a look at the GFS ensemble 7-day temperature means for today through Sunday across the country:
The current press of cool air has pushed a cold front through Texas and off the central Gulf Coast. The only place escaping the drier, cooler air mass is the Florida Peninsula at this point. There will be two more shots of chilly air, one coming behind a cold front sweeping across Montana and the Dakotas tonight, and the Midwest tomorrow, and through the Lakes into the Northeast tomorrow night and Wednesday.
By the time the front is coming across the northern Appalachians, though, it'll be running out of steam, so to speak. Why? Two reasons. Look at the jet stream set up for Wednesday evening:
What you see there over the Atlantic is that upper-level ridge, poking its nose up into Newfoundland. That will force this lead trough to find the path of least resistance, which is more north than east. So even though there will be a decided cool down across the northern Plains to the Midwest and Great Lakes from one side of the front to the other, that contrast will be smaller across New England and the mid-Atlantic states Wednesday to Thursday.
The other reason for the weakening of this lead feature is the fact a second trough is already racing through south-central Canada. It doesn't show up as well at the jet stream level as it does at the surface. Here's the projected map for Thursday evening:
What you see is a weaker storm cutting through the Great Lakes with a relatively small area of precipitation. The front at that time probably runs from northern Lake Huron to Milwaukee to near Kansas City to northern Colorado. There will be another surge of milder air into the Midwest, the lower Lakes, and the western Ohio Valley Thursday ahead of the front, and a bigger push of cooler air behind it into the northern Plains and Upper Midwest, due in large part to a stronger surface high moving in. That, in turn, should promote stronger cooling at night, and set the stage for a chilly end to the week from the Lakes to the Northeast.
After that? Moderation! I'm not saying I'm going to be out cycling in 83-degree weather and back to wearing a single layer of clothing, but if it can get back to normal or even a little beyond in the third week of October, I'll take it. And that appears to be what the models are implying. Here's the snapshot of the very same GFS ensemble 7-day mean forecast for Oct. 15-21:
That image doesn't say it will be warm in the East, just that it should not be anywhere near as far below normal as this week as a whole will be. And much of the western half of the country appears to be warmer. In other words, it's not yet time to trade in the golf clubs, the bicycle, or the running shorts for the skis just yet!
While I'm on the subject of cycling, I should stop here and do a side promo of a company I've crossed paths with in an odd sort of way in the past couple of months. SkirtSports is a maker of women's active wear. Through a series of unlikely events, they've embraced my story of going from a sedentary, obese, middle-aged man to someone who is arguably more fit, trimmer and more active, and how I'm eager to encourage anyone and everyone to do something healthy for themselves - no matter what form that may take. And they've now published that story, with some interesting photos, on their Facebook page:
If you scroll down the left side of the page, the second entry is that story. And yes, that is me in the middle of that picture! Truth be told, though, the result of that evening of easy cycling was more people (in this case, women) coming out to venture out onto the roads, something many have a fear of. And it encouraged more to try it again, and hopefully develop and embrace a healthier lifestyle going forward!
A turn to much colder air over the Northeast and mid-Atlantic states will set the stage for a rain and snow storm later this weekend before it turns much warmer later next week.
It's warm now, but will turn much colder this weekend, with a storm threat later Saturday into Sunday. Warmth will return by the second half of next week.
Though it is cold now east of the Mississippi, with a couple of opportunities for snow into the weekend, a blast of warmth is due for much of the country east of the Rockies next week.
Warm air will once again surge eastward from the Plains to the East Coast this weekend and early next week. A strong storm next Tuesday and Wednesday will then be followed by colder air later next week.
A storm in Southeast Texas will generate severe thunderstorms this afternoon and tonight, and some wet snow on its western flank as it heads into the Ohio Valley tomorrow.
A major spring storm will move from Texas tonight to the eastern Great Lakes Wednesday night, producing heavy rain and severe thunderstorms, with a swath of heavy, wet snow on its western flank.