Now It Turns Wonderful & Windy

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After another gray morning around these parts things have now rapidly improved with plenty of sunshine and temperatures that have gone above average for this time of the year. By the way, just so you have some perspective as far as averages go…oh and I hate the word “normal” in describing climate information…in my opinion there is no real normal when it comes to weather, the average high for this time of the year is 49 and the average low is 31. So today, here we are with about 6 hours of sunshine and temperatures have already warmed into the 50s. Tomorrow, with enough AM sunshine and strong gusty S/SW winds of 20-35+ MPH we should easily get into the 60s. Now the record for the highest temperature on Thanksgiving Day is 70°. this has occurred 3 times in the past including the years 1998, 1966 and 1926. The record high for the date (remember the actual date of Thanksgiving varies from year to year) is 73° in 1990.

The negative about tomorrow, will be the winds. Again I anticipate wind gusts over 30 MPH and there is potential, IF we don’t have a lot of cloud cover, that the winds may gust to 40-45 MPH. I was thinking about hanging some Christmas lights outside to take advantage of the balmy weather, however hanging lights on tall trees with all that wind is probably not the smartest of ideas. The winds on Friday while still strong and gusty, may not be as strong. I’m expecting another day with highs int he 60s on Friday, we’ll be starting very mild as well for all the shoppers Friday AM. IF you plan on getting out there for the midnight shopping early Friday morning, yes it will be cool and with the winds blowing at 20-30 MPH even at that early hour, it should mainly be in the 40s.

Our next change in the weather will be Friday evening through Saturday AM…as another system and associated cold front moves into the area. In reality there are two separate pieces of energy that will be moving through. The 1st piece, which is off the West Central part of CA will barrel through the SW part of the country giving NM some rain, the second piece of energy off the coast of Alaska is going to be the dominant player in things and was the piece that was giving the models so many fits for the past 3+ days of runs. Here are those pieces on the satellite picture…

Piece #1 will sort of break up in separate chunks and some will eventually get absorbed by piece #2 that will be plowing through here. Piece #1 will bring us moisture, while piece #2 will tap the cold air to the north. The bottom line about all this is that we should get about a 3-12 round of rainfall, amounts look to be under .50″, and if we only get 3 hours worth, the amounts may be under .25″. Then during the AM on Saturday a seasonably strong front will be moving through allowing colder/drier air to into the area. So it’s more likely that there will be sunshine during the afternoon, but with the wind blowing @ 20-30 MPH it will feel considerably colder than that (heads up KU/MU fans). Here is the front just before daybreak…

If you remember from the previous couple of blogs I wrote, there has been widespread model discrepancies with regard to the evolution of this change. Various models have had this turning into an upper level low nearby, on top of us, to the south, to the east, and in reality all over the place. I never really bought these solutions for the system to have such heavy impacts but by the same token I wasn’t that confident about what exactly was going to happen. I started getting more confident yesterday AM and my thought process hasn’t changed since. Basically we’ll have a couple of chilly days, (the weekend) and a quick shot of milder air on Monday, followed by another 1-2 day shot of chilly weather on TUE-WED, before things start to moderate once again.

What I didn’t have a chance to talk about yesterday is that for the first time since I had my original winter forecast ideas in mid-late OCT, I started wondering whether or not it will pan out. MT and I were discussing this very thing this afternoon. Right now, and again it’s so early in the process, I just don’t like the direction the weather patterns are going, and in particular the state of the pattern in the Pacific Ocean. Things there are just moving so fast, and we’ve had split flows so many times, I’m just starting to wonder. The cold air that’s been historic in AK for the last week or so, actually has a correlation going back to 1988. Back then the well below average and brutal cold was a big deal up there. What’s interesting is that it had a very difficult time getting down to us till FEB hit. As a matter of fact we had VERY little snow until FEB of 1989, when we had about 7″. The total for that winter season was a whopping 8.8.” One of my colleagues from the NWS that I was visiting with about informed we that we were into a very strong La Nina pattern as well. Which IS NOT the cast this year. So the years aren’t perfect matches but I do find this interesting.

We talked this afternoon about potentially, if need be, doing an updated Winter Forecast on the first day of the winter season later in DEC. We’ve never done that before and we probably should have. In the past though, we’ve always done our winter forecast during this week…this year they had us slotted for the 1st few days of NOV…which was wayyy to early in my opinion. Who knows, maybe we won’t have to change anything. It is something though that we’ll think about for the next several weeks. Of course I just write a paragraph about all this and the new EURO comes out suggesting a powerful Arctic Blast heading our way sometime around the 5th of December. The other models aren’t even close to this and considering all the flipping and flopping the EURO has been doing lately, I have little to NO confidence that this thought is close to possible.

It certainly though has been crazy cold up there. Check out how things have gone in Fairbanks for the past week or so…wow! Many of those are record temperatures!

Click on that image to make it larger. The date is on the far left…then the high/low/day’s average/departure from average. Brutal for sure. As of this writing Fairbanks is at -3°. Keep in mind as well they only are getting 5 1/2 hours of daylight today and are losing some 6 minutes per day.

That’s about it…I’ll probably take a blog break on Thanksgiving. So I’ll try and catch up later in the week or over the weekend as weather events dictate. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I’m off for the next week, but will certainly make every effort to keep the blog somewhat up to date as time permits.

Joe

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