Joe’s Weather Blog: Could “real” winter be lurking? (WED-1/13)

Weather

So we’ve had it OK I think so far this winter. I can tell by the number of days I’ve been able to take my walk to get out of the house during these pandemic times. I sort of have roughly a 30° threshold with wind being the key contributor to go or no go. The other limiter is whether or not there is snow on the streets or sidewalks.

I’ve done a lot of walking this winter.

Sure there were a couple of days after the New Year’s snow storm (and a day here or there with colder winds and colder temperatures) but overall I’m getting out about five times a week or so and that is a direct result of the real lack of significant winter weather…temperatures or snowfall. The dryness has also been helpful for these endeavors.

Things may change down the road.

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Forecast:

Today: Variable clouds this morning then more sunshine this afternoon. Mild for mid January…about 20° above average. Highs in the upper 50s. Winds may gust to about 25 mph every so often, especially early this afternoon.

Tonight: Fair and mild with lows in the mid to upper 30s.

Thursday: Partly sunny and windy. Cooler as well…temperatures will be in the mid to upper 40s with stronger winds as well making it feel chillier. There may be a few isolated sprinkles/showers but odds are most will be dry.

Friday: Snow is likely. Accumulations should remain under 1″ but it will be blowing all over the place with strong northwest winds of 30-40 mph possible. Accumulations towards the Iowa border will be up to 2″. Something to pay attention too in case there are a few slick spots that pop up.

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Discussion:

So about the title of the blog.

We all know that deep down, this winter hasn’t been too terrible thus far. Like I’ve said, there have been numerous chances to do things outside…it’s been overall mild…and aside from about a 10 day period, mostly dry.

Statistically…

December was about 5° above average, and January is running about 4.5° above average and that will get more of a boost over the next couple of days.

So yeah, it’s been mild. Today will be the 12th day with temperatures at least 10° above average since Dec. 1. Not bad after about 44 days.

So really winter hasn’t been too bad…I think we can all agree to that.

So things are going to be changing. How much they change and to what degree they may change is still a bit in flux. I’m not totally sure how much winter we’re going to get but things may be realigning to finish the month and start the new month…down the road.

One of the keys to this is we need to get a source region of cold air to develop. Off and on for the last couple of months I’ve illustrated to you the occasional very mild (for them!) bursts of air in the northwest territories of Canada. It’s happened two times…back in December and then last week. In both instances, we had our temperatures soar 5-7 days later. In December, it was into the upper 60s with record-tying heat. This time it’s in the mid to upper 50s. Here is the Twitter thread.

The interesting part of this is that is a significant “source” region for us to get some stronger periods of cold. That source region hasn’t been overly cold for any real length of time (compared to average for them at least). Yeah it’s cold up there, there is limited number of hours with sunshine so it’s supposed to be cold even in “warm” regimes, but still…

When I see something like this, over the past 45 days showing the “warmth” compared to average in Canada and the northern latitudes…it’s tough for us to maintain any chill that comes down from the northern latitudes.

That is just one factor. Another is the lack of snowcover across the northern U.S. as well. I sort of mentioned this yesterday. There is a real lack of snow up there for January.

It’s funny that I started this train of thought this morning, because there are other connectors that some are noticing as well.

And from yesterday…

So where is the truly nasty cold air compared to average? On the other side of the Pole. The North Pole.

See the reds…those are above average temperatures at around 5,000 feet at least. See the blues/greens/purples…that would be the opposite and notice where they’re located. One thing that sort of needs to change to at least to get that on this side of the North Pole.

Don’t get me wrong, we can get “manufactured” cold in the states without this connection, BUT to get real sustained winter, in a faster flow pattern, we need to get more of a “cross-polar” scenario set up. This is when the air mass that comes our way is more sourced from northern Canada and the Pole region as opposed to being “created” here in the states.

Even if the northwest part of Canada gets colder, it would tend to drift towards us to some extent although it’s a bit more complicated.

I saw this Twitter thread yesterday which I found interesting trying to connect many dots from the weather pattern being “modeled” for the end of the month. This tries to draw connectors from the North Atlantic to the Alaska region. Now this is truly a deep dive but I found it interesting, it may be too complicated for many…

So Eric has brought up 1929…

This was the snowfall pattern in 1929, as this pattern evolved back then.

and sure…here was what happened every day in 1929 in January…

So yeah, there was some snow and there was a good deal of cold air, especially during the back half of the month.

It wasn’t crazy snowy, but 10 inches worth.

Can we do that in late January and February?

Well, we’re starting to see the colder air being modeled to either come across or deepen as it forms in the northwest territories and southwestern Canada. So this would certainly be a change from where we’ve been for the last 45 days. Again, let’s show you what’s happening up around 5,000 feet or so…now we’re jumping to the end of the month…the evening of the 26th.

Scroll back up to the top of the blog where I showed you the wide perspective of what’s happening…again note the changes in the southern Canada area from where we’ve been to where we may be going.

Even with this likely outcome towards the end of the month, I’m not 100% convinced that we have longer term cold locking in. In the above map notice the oranges developing in the southern Plains towards the Gulf region. This could be a sign of a developing ridge trying to pop, that would pop farther north with time. That would effectively shunt this colder air building in southwest Canada more towards the western third of the county and allow brief incursions perhaps into the Plains.

This though sort of interests me…For the last week of January: indications of perhaps a more active pattern, or at least the chance of additional moisture. This would be from Jan. 22 onwards to the night of Jan. 29.

That’s an area of wetter than average conditions in the Missouri River Basin centered on the Kansas City region.

Interesting. Rain…snow…ice? Remains to be seen…but perhaps a tell in the weather pattern showing up from a couple of weeks out.

OK that is a pretty deep dive for you (and perhaps too deep a dive) but Eric’s tweets caught my attention yesterday, so I thought I’d bring it up today for you.

The feature photo comes from Randy Cooper.

“Traveling down the turnpike to Wichita in the big rig, had to stop a couple times and get some pics!!”

Joe

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