The seemingly, never-ending winter of 2014 is going to continue to be never-ending, at least in the eastern half of the Nation. Computer-generated and human-made forecasts indicate two significant eastern U.S. storms (and two accompanying significant cold air mass intrusions) on the meteorological horizon.
The first storm will develop on Tuesday as advancing cold air from the north and advancing warm air from the south clash over the Mississippi River Valley. The storm will then spread an array of wintry weather across the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys before smashing into the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. The storm has the potential of becoming another “meteorological bomb” (Fig. 1) and unleashing significant snowfall amounts for places already near or past record levels. Depending upon how fast moisture returns from the Gulf of Mexico, heavy thunderstorms could erupt along the advancing cold front across parts of the lower Mississippi Valley midweek.
Once the trailing cold front associated with this low-pressure system clears an area, winds are expected to shift to the northwest and increase significantly. This should help drive sharply colder air deep into the South by later Wednesday and Thursday. In Atlanta, GA, for example, the seasonal daily high-low temperature range sits at 63-43. On Tuesday (before the cold front), the daily range is expected to be 75-50; on Thursday (after the cold front), the daily is expected to be 51-32. That’s a 22-degree daily average swing varying from about 11 degrees above average to 11 degrees below average.
Another storm is showing up on longer-range computer models. Coming a week after the aforementioned storm, this storm could literally become another branch of the polar vortex and set up near New England just in time for the start of spring. It, too, will have an accompanying cold front that will spread cold air far to the south. Fortunately, the computer-models suggest this “vortex” will dissipate fairly quickly.
Meanwhile, California and much of the southwest will remain mostly dry through the end of winter. This suggests that drought conditions have little chance of improving anytime in the near future.
© 2014 H. Michael Mogil