Stormy, Wintry December Awaits Northeast

November 24, 2010; 5:10 AM ET
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The clock is ticking on the relative benign weather pattern in the Northeast as advancing waves of cold air from the West are likely to make for a stormy, wintry and messy December.

While this may sound like typical winter stuff at first, a closer look at the pattern change suggests there may be three months worth of winter storms in one month.

The details of each storm are impossible to make out at this point. However, signs do point to a pattern change that will favor rather frequent rounds of travel problems and delays due to wintry weather during December.

It is the type of pattern that could stress the budgets of state and local highway departments due to the heavy load of wintry mix storms. These interests, as well as consumers, may go through a great deal of ice-melting compounds and snow/ice removal fees during December.

The same pattern with its snow will get the skiing season off to a reasonably good start. However, the same pattern will offer some frustration to skiing interests due to the episodes of ice and even rain.

The Setup

Cold air massing in the West will change its orientation over the next couple of weeks. Rather than congregating in the West, it will spread across the northern tier of the nation.

In order to get snow and ice, you need cold air with staying power. It does appear that cold air will take root over northern areas starting during the first week in December.

Once this happens, the storm track will shift farther south and east allowing the door to open for storms to bring snow and ice to the mid-Atlantic, the eastern Great Lakes and New England.

This is not to say the storms will bring all-out snow and/or ice everywhere, as there will still be warm air trying to fight its way in from the south and the Atlantic during just about every storm.

The exceptions to this would be areas far away from the warm air supply, such as the eastern Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence Valley and northern parts of interior New England.

Pure Speculation

Keep your eyes on a storm set to roll through Nov. 30 to Dec. 1. While this storm may start warm, it could finish with snow in part of the Northeast, especially New England.

Another storm could give part of the I-95 mid-Atlantic a dose of wintry precipitation during the week of Dec. 7 and 8.

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