Our brief visit from spring came to a crashing end on Sunday night as a very strong cold front blasted across Columbus. Highs only made it to the freezing mark on Monday and temperatures will not make it much higher than that today. The warm weather already left its mark on Columbus boosting this month’s temperature anomaly to a whopping five degrees above normal. That could be erased as we head for the remainder of the month however.
Expect a little sunshine for the first half of Tuesday; however moisture will be on the increase from the south higher in the atmosphere causing clouds to form later in the day. A wave of low pressure will ride along the front that is now well east of the region during the nighttime hours tonight. This will cause a thin area of snow to develop and trek northeast through southern Ohio. The counties just southeast of Columbus stand the best chance to see this light snow. Some folks could pick up a dusting in these areas by Wednesday morning. For Columbus, expect nothing more than clouds and perhaps a few flurries. Isolated slick spots will be possible Wednesday morning for the commute especially the farther southeast you head from Columbus.
Central Ohio will be under a northwesterly flow regime in the upper atmosphere for Wednesday and Thursday reinforcing the chilly air we already have in place. After the few flurries early Wednesday morning, the weather does look dry for the remainder of the week. The winds will begin to turn more southerly by Friday allowing temperatures to head back for the 40 degree mark. This will only last for two days however as even colder air heads this way by the second half of the weekend.
Forecast models are still honing in on the potential for multiple rounds of major league arctic air to come spilling down into the lower 48. As pointed out in the last article, several indications in the atmosphere are supporting this potential. One of the major indications is warming in the stratosphere. This causes the large “polar vortex” weather system over the North Pole to break apart into several pieces causing frigid air to plunge southward towards the mid-latitudes.
This same phenomenon also often results in high pressure replacing the low pressure (polar vortex) over the arctic. If you read my winter forecast, you may remember that high pressure over the arctic is what we call the negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation which is an example of blocking. This combined with blocking over Greenland (negative North Atlantic Oscillation) will dump cold air into our region and lock it in place for an extended period of time.
The bottom line is that you should have all of your serious winter gear ready to go by this coming weekend. This will almost certainly be the coldest air we have seen this season and perhaps even in two years. The last time we dipped below zero was in January of 2011. Could this happen later this month? It is too early to forecast specifics like that, but the upcoming pattern will have that potential. Stay tuned for the latest forecast updates!
The full 7-Day forecast and a look at one of the forecast models for next week is in the slideshow!
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