We ended up in the sweet spot this afternoon with a tough of sinking, dry air nosing in, scouring out our clouds. After a few light freezing rain showers/patches of light freezing drizzle late last night-early this morning, the entire troposphere dried out nicely this afternoon as moisture-starved clipper system pivoted through.
We had low clouds with a few snow & rain showers northwest of us & clouds east & southeast of us. The sun allowed us to warm to 43-47, higher than the projected 39-43.
I was a breezy day & now tonight, the low clouds have moved in. A few flurries, quick snow showers are possible in our northern & northeastern counties.
The consistently unseasonably cold weather since November have given some a false sense of security to go ice fishing or just venturing out on lakes & ponds. We have had multiple stories of pets & people falling into ponds & lakes the past few days.
Indeed, ponds & lakes are freezing up earlier than normal, be we have not had near enough cold to support a person on the ice. Now, with it warming, there is absolutely no way no one should even attempt to get atop pond ice.
If the ice is crystal clear, it needs to be +2" thick to support an adult person. ANY ice 2" or less should never be walked upon.
If the ice is more white opaque &/or covered in snow, then you need double the thickness (4") to support a human being.
Take the same for snowmobiles. If it is clear ice, you need 5-6" of thickeness. If it is white or opaque &/or covered with snow, 10-12" is needed.
There will be plenty of cold for ice fishing this winter January-February!
With skies going overcast, scattered chilly rain showers will overspread the area from south to north. The scattered showers will increase & become a steady rain by evening.
I took out the mention of any spotty freezing rain because the rain will not get in here until temperatures will be greater than 36 area-wide.
There will be hours of dry time Friday between some wave of rain with highs in the 40s. The heaviest rain should stay south of the area.
Rain should exit Friday night, but may end as some snow showers.
Thursday-Saturday all look breezy.
Saturday-Sunday look look actually decent with highs in the mid 40s & partly to mostly cloudy skies.
I still think a shortwave may generate a few spotty snow showers Monday. Highs Monday-Tuesday will run in the 30s.
Some rain to snow is possible Thursday-Friday of next week with gusty winds.
With this warm phase MJO (index of phases that is based on the magnitude & position covection & surface pressures over the Indian Ocean & points east), there is not going to be a lot of cold air through next week, but other factors are weighing down the MJO's complete influence. If you take a highly warm, wet phase MJO with a significant normal El Nino & high solar, you get blazing warmth over much of the country in winter (with many temperature records broken).
This is a Modoki El Nino, so the factors are a bit different from your traditional one.
2002-03 & 2009-10 saw a stretch of moderation in December in otherwise long, cold, snowy winters. These were two important winter analogs for the winter forecast. That is happening in the 2018-19 winter.
It will turn colder around Christmas with potential snow from clippers & perhaps a clipper/southern storm merger. We have a couple of opportunities December 22-25.
Colder pattern should settle in after Christmas.
It also appears that a significant warming of the stratosphere over Asia & Siberia will occur as we get into the next week to two weeks. This all points to an Arctic blast, especially around & after New Years.
I still think January & February will be cold, snowy & long. In December we have been cold largely (except 1st & 2nd) right up to this point. This moderation will occur for another 10 days, then stair step to the the really cold air will take place & bottom out in January.