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Good morning folks. I am sorry for the lack of updates this week. I am away till tomorrow night at a conference in Austin, TX so my time has been limited. Obviously, the big talk this week has been the buzz on a potential coming cold pattern. I do think we are going to see scold for the Rockies, Plains, and Midwest but I am not impressed with the cold potential for the East except for perhaps New England.
Before any talk of cold occurs, we are in for an amazing warm spell in the southeast. As I have said, I have not had the time to sit down and look at the daily forecast images this week, but a quick look at the MOS shows forecasts in the low to mid 70s from Saturday through Wednesday! And this factors in climo which usually dampens out the extremes. Low to mid 70s in January is unbelievable for this time of year, obviously.
It is going to get colder, but it will likely be 1/18 to 1/19 before any significant colder air makes it into the mid-Atlantic or Southeast. I tweeted yesterday that there was potential for a winter storm in this time frame. A few GFS and ECMWF ensemble members still show this potential so I am keeping my eye on it, although the operational GFS/ECMWF are not showing it at this time.
The big drivers to a cold change appear to be a –NAO/-AO and a –EPO. This would put in theory, dual blocking signatures in the Gulf of Alaska into Alaska which would tap significant arctic cold and drive it into southern Canada and the US and if this were to link up with the –NAO/-AO block it would likely force a cold polar vortex into the central/southern Canada likely carving out a deep cold trough across the central and eastern US.
HOWEVER, the models also show the PNA staying negative as it has been most of the winter. Following the 00z ECMWF ENS mean, it looks like cool air will final arrive to the Northeast around 1/17 and at least normal mid-January temperatures will return to the mid-Atlantic/Southeast by 1/18 to 1/19. A trough is forecast to split leaving a piece of energy behind over the southern plains with the main piece swinging through the Northeast. This is where the possibility of a winter storm could exist. If the leftover piece over the southern plains moves east with the right timing, cold high pressure will likely be located over the Lakes/Northeast and we could see a winter storm. However, that is just a possibility at this time.
The Euro Ensemble shows the cooler look in the east through 1/23 or 1/24 but as the PNA turns negative, a new trough builds in western Canada and the western US and this would argue for another warm-up for the last week of January in the east. The NAO remains negative, but so far this winter this has not helped promote lasting cold in the eastern US. The CFS weeklies and Monday’s ECMWF weeklies continued to promote a cold pattern for much of the US including the east for Jan 23rd through Feb 5th, although certainly most concentrated in the Midwest. So it is possible that even if the ensembles are correct with the trough in the west by 1/23 to 1/24 it will progress out quickly and not be a long term pattern. So far this month much of the US has been below normal except for the East and northern Plains. The coming pattern will continue to re-enforce cold anomalies in the Rockies, West and Plains and turn the northern Plains and Midwest cold. But the East is destined for an above normal January with the insane warmth coming this weekend into early next week.
I will try to post again tonight or tomorrow, with a normal daily set of discussions out Friday.