Friday, 11:30 a.m.
Any of the long-time readers of my posts through the years have long since figured out that I am someone who leans warm. There are many reasons for that. One simple fact is that over the past 30 years, the climate has warmed, though that level of warming has evened out since the late 1990s. Many of the climate normals are what we refer to as sliding 30-year averages, so when you look at a seasonal or even monthly forecast, it's based on averages for the preceding 30-year increment. The last adjustment was updated last year to the 1980-2010 averages, so those cold winters of the 1970s are left behind. That should make it a little harder to remain above normal on a consistent basis.
Another reason is that since 2006, I've done more or less of a 180 in my own personal life, losing a bunch of weight and embracing exercise. As a result of that, I no longer like winter's cold and winter weather and instead prefer something warmer! So when I stare at the pattern then look at the computer forecasts, it makes me want to scream, as I see a rather stable set up going into March, one that favors an extended period of chilly weather for more than just my backyard, for a large part of the nation as well. And for me to being playing the cold card, chances are good it will be cold!
The worst of the arctic air on the playing field is now retreating across the Great Lakes and Northeast thanks to one storm that has cross the Mississippi Valley and is heading for Wisconsin. It dumped over a foot of snow on parts of Kansas and Nebraska and half a foot or more on parts of Missouri, Iowa and Illinois. It's still snowing in Wisconsin and Minnesota, though this storm has clearly had its heyday.
There is, however, one more facet to this storm. It's back in Utah, seen here on the satellite imagery:
By early tomorrow, that feature will be coming out of the southern Rockies and across the southern Plains:
With the broad west-southwest flow ahead of this feature dragging moisture from the eastern Pacific up over Mexico and across the northwest Gulf, expect more rain and thunderstorms to flare up tonight and tomorrow, quickly spreading across the Southeast into the mid-Atlantic states. By the end of the day, low pressure will be moving to the mid-Atlantic coast, bringing enough warm air along for the ride that a chilly rain ensues for much of the mid-Atlantic and even into southern New England.
Tomorrow night as the storm moves off the coast and passes southeast of Cape Cod, a band of heavier precipitation, some rain along the coast, and snow or rain changing to snow, will follow through much of New England.
What chilly air remains behind the storm now fades coming east, so that by Sunday, with a return to some sunshine downwind of the Appalachians, it will actually feel almost like spring! Baby steps, I know, but you have to start somewhere, like anything in life in general.
Meanwhile, upstream it is pouring on parts of Vancouver right now, and that heavy rain and strong wind is also moving into Washington. That beastly little feature will blow inland tonight, spreading rain and mountain snow across the interior Northwest. As it continues digging southeastward tomorrow night, snow will follow into the Rockies. By Sunday, low pressure will form over the Texas Panhandle, and we'll start the process all over again of developing a storm in the southern Plains that will spread snow across the central Plains toward the Midwest.
There will, of course, be differences with this next storm, but in the grand scheme of things, it will behave in much the same way:
1) It will dump more snow on the Plains and Midwest;
2) Some severe weather is possible over the lower Mississippi Valley and across the South;
3) A secondary area of low pressure will develop south and east of the primary low, bringing wet weather from the South and Southeast up into the Appalachians and mid-Atlantic states;
4) There will be enough resistance to the arrival of warm air ahead of the storm to allow for some wintry precipitation in the Great Lakes and interior Northeast;
5) The chilly air following the storm through the Northwest into the Rockies will grow stronger with time as the upper levels cool dramatically early next week.
Later next week, once that storm matures over the Great Lakes and Northeast, it will force a trough underneath it, thereby suppressing the jet stream well to the south. Look at the Canadian ensembles for Thursday morning:
Note the ridge extending westward from the North Atlantic back into northeastern Canada. Also note the ridging starting to develop on the West Coast. This setup is a fairly stable one, so as we go into it next week, I would fully expect it to last a while, with the cold air left to just slowly fill and fade with time, the emphasis being on the word 'slowly.'
It's not a pattern that makes me happy at all, but as I've faced some of my weight issues before by taking the offensive, I'll do the same with this chilly-looking pattern. It's coming, it's upon us, and I'll deal with it, one way or another, and I'll get through it, just as everyone else will. Of course, now I've gone and upped the ante personally by agreeing to a mutual commitment to a healthier eating campaign! Just like my dad always did when diving into the cool, refreshing waters of the backyard pool on a warm summer day, the best way to face it is to just dive right in and get on with it! The rewards were always worth it, and I'm confident they will in this case, too!
Now, where did I put that log book, anyway...
A few more days of storminess and extreme cold lie ahead before some relief in the pattern is on the way this weekend into next week.
A couple of storms will bring rain, ice and snow over a wide section of the country from the Plains to the East Coast this week, with another extremely cold air mass to follow late in the week.
Bitterly cold air covers much of the country today. A series of storms into the middle of next week will generate snow, ice and rain, followed by another blast of arctic air late next week.
With 23 days until the official start of spring, there is little sign of the season to come, with more bitter cold as well as snow, ice and rain in store for much of the nation from the Rockies to the East Coast.
The East and the West are on opposite sides of the spectrum in this extreme pattern, with record cold from the Mississippi Valley on East and record warmth in parts of the West.
Historic snow and cold has gripped the Northeast this month, especially New England. The bitter cold and snow are not yet done this month.