Tuesday, 11:00 a.m.
Finally! The weather is starting to look as if it is going to resemble mid-May across the country! It's about time! The pattern that has kept on giving for months now is finally breaking down, allowing warmth to take over. In the short term, there's some bona fide heat in the Plains, but in short order that will be squeezed to the south. However, this time around, it's not going to be beaten back by a strong cold front and a major buckling of the jet stream that will draw arctic air from the remote, frozen hinterlands of the north!
If you're a regular follower of this blog, you'll know that for years now I have been an avid cyclist, and one that has come to embrace warmth and sunshine. I'm adding running to the mix this year, with the goal of running in a half marathon in 26 days in Boulder, Colo., put on by Skirt Sports. So, imagine my disdain yesterday after work as I don the appropriate gear and head out for a long run, and I see snow flurries. And little sun. With temperatures stuck in the 40s. And winds gusting well over 20 mph, making it feel that much colder on my bare legs. And then to wake up with a coating of frost on the top of my car this morning. This is May? I doth protest!
One visceral reaction is to say 'get used to it.' As the Pacific remains in its cold cycle, and the sun becomes less active as it heads back to the bottom of the 11-year sunspot cycle and the Atlantic approaches the end of its warm run, the stage is set for more reluctant springs in the years ahead and probably shorter growing seasons as the planet heads into a cooler regime. But I'll save that discussion for another time and another place.
The other reaction is to keep the protest to a minimum. As I outlined in Monday's post, after today, we're clearly going to have an arctic disconnect from this point forward. Tomorrow, the warmth now spreading across the Mississippi Valley and Midwest into the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley will force its way into the East. There won't be 90-degree heat there, especially from central Virginia on north, as the heights won't be nearly high enough to accommodate that kind of heat. That said, it will at least be in the 70s, with many places having a day or two with highs in the 80s.
Take a look at the 6z 14 May GFS model forecast of 6-hour, 2-meter maximum temperatures for this afternoon and evening:
With a cold front darting from the northern Plains today to upstate New York back into the northern Ohio Valley late tomorrow, the heat will be trimmed from the northern Plains and Midwest tomorrow but will be squeezed across the Ohio Valley into the mid-Atlantic states. Look at the same model projection for tomorrow afternoon/evening:
You do see a 90-degree contour east of the Blue Ridge, and while I can see that, I think it will fall a bit shy. Regardless, it will be a dramatic turnaround from frost this morning to nearly 90 in some places tomorrow - well over 50 degrees difference inside of 36 hours. And that's why the title - flurries (in parts of Pennsylvania and New York state yesterday) and frost (central Appalachians, parts of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York into interior New England this morning) to frostees (nice ice cream treat). That'll be a good treat on the Plains today, in the Ohio Valley and mid-Atlantic tomorrow and anywhere across the South in the days ahead.
Not to be forgotten in all of this is the incredible warmth the past couple of days in the West. Records have fallen the past couple of days across parts of California, with many sites over 100 in central and southern sections of the state. The heat there will be trimmed in the coming days.
A building upper-level ridge of high pressure in the West will promote hot, dry weather in the Northwest, while a downstream trough brings cooling through the Midwest into the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley.
A pattern more typical of late July and early August is shaping up around the country, one with heat and humidity, but with fewer incidents of severe thunderstorms and flooding.
There will be plenty of heat and humidity from the southern Plains to the East Coast this week while much cooler air prevails for a time over the Northwest to the northern Plains.
Severe thunderstorms raked across the Midwest and Ohio Valley in the past 24 hours, with more on the way this afternoon. The pattern will repeat itself over the next week.