December 6, 2 PM Weather Forecast Update Now to January

Here is an update on the forecast to January based on the latest forecast guidance.

Posted: Dec. 6, 2018 1:22 PM
Updated: Dec. 6, 2018 2:52 PM

Steady snow should last to mid afternoon in the area.  With temperatures warming to mid 30s prior to the snow, it has had some trouble sticking.  Roads are wet.

Totals vary from trace in the northwest to 1" in the south.  I have measured 0.4" on the snowboard in West Lafayette.  Part of it has melted on the grass & on other surfaces.  It is sticking on mainly reflective, light-colored surfaces & on trees at the moment.  However, temperatures are cooling & there is still some steady snow to get through.  So, watch for a few slick spots by evening.

Totals of 1" or less will be pretty standard, except in the south.  There a few isolated 1-2" amounts are possible.

Snow will exit, though a few flurries & snow showers may follow.  Clearing should take place tonight as temperatures tank to 12-16!  Winds should be light, but count on a heavy frost & the potential of black ice Friday morning.

After a high of only 24-29 tomorrow, lows of 8-14 are likely tomorrow night.

Saturday may see some increasing high clouds with sunshine.  Note the winter storm south of our area.

Highs on Saturday should only run 25-29 with the Arctic high around.  Lows Saturday night should drop to 14-19.

Highs in the 30s & lows in the teens will dominate until Wednesday of next week.  Then, it will cloud up with some cold rain showers in the afternoon-evening.  Highs should run 39-43.  Rain should be with us Thursday with highs of 42-46.

It is looking more & more like we need to watch next Thursday night-Friday.

As Arctic air comes in (not as brutal as first forecast, but still cold), there are good trends suggesting a strong storm system will form bringing a rounds of strong winds & snow to the viewing area.

Ensembles have been focusing on it & the the Arctic front would be the track for it to ride to bring a wave of driving snow.

Making a longer range forecast is a combination of players on a team in a basketball game & it is my job to determine who is going to be the break-out player for a game.  Will it be the center that scores the most due to a height differential with the other team?  Will the shooting guard end up dominant on our team due to just a good night of where his or her thinking/psychology is just right.  What if the power forward on the other team dominates & we lose because they have higher speed now after working out more on footwork?  So, you can have a massive supply of factors from MJO to PNA to PDO to ENSO to AMO, to stratospheric warming to the Polar Vortex & every element is working together to bring about a pattern.  The question is..............who dominates & why?

So, here are the main players of the December 19-31 forecast:

I was originally thinking bitter near/record cold with a snowpack in mid-December with snowpack lasting to Christmas, then we see big MJO shift to warm temperatures after Christmas to New Years.  In this, thinking was for even rainfall & thunder & lots of fog as the snow melts & warm air overrides the cold ground.

A wrench in this thinking lies with what has transpired in the Indian Ocean over the past 1.5 days.  There has been this massive flare-up of convection.  Yesterday-lastnight there were huge clusters of torrential t'storms.

This tells me we are in Phase 3 now of the MJO.

Typically two weeks after you see this phase, it turns mild in the eastern U.S. & southern Canada.  We are dominated more by the Pacific & Gulf in our weather, than the Arctic intrusions from Canada, in that pattern.

MJO is forecast to go through Phase 3, 4, then 5 to 6 up to January 4.  These are warm, wet phases for us (see below).

This would tend to bring the mild weather here by December 20 & keep it here right to at least January 4.

Note how warm these phases are.  It should be spring-like up to early January, beginning December 20.  However, I am not quite going with that completely to to other players on the court.

These phases are also wet ones for us.  There also tends to be an uptick in severe weather from Texas to Mississippi, northward to western Kentucky, southeastern Missouri & Arkansas in Phases 5 & 6.  When these phases combine with highly positive NAO, AO, the Polar Vortex is tight, we tend to get the mid-winter flooding rains here & the winter severe weather outbreaks as far north as Indiana. 

The NAO has been largely negative since mid-October, which corresponds to the chill we have had since then.  It briefly went positive with our 12-hour spring & historic Illinois tornado outbreak.  It was completely positive from mid-August to mid-October, with our pretty consistent summer heat.

Models show a split between negative, positive & neutral in the forecast.  We continue in a low-solar, increasing El Nino Modoki winter in a pattern of far Northern latitude blocking.  The pattern in that regard supports below normal temperatures from the central, southern & eastern U.S., all the way to western Europe in a band.  While, a band of above-normal temperatures dominate from northwestern U.S., western Canada to far eastern Asia.

So, let's look at the most-similar winter period to 2018-19.  That would be 2002-03.  2009-10 was also a good comparison.

DECEMBER 1-FEBRUARY 28 2002-03 AT WEST LAFAYETTE:

BELOW NORMAL DAILY MEAN TEMPERATURES IN BLUE.

The 2002-03 pattern so far has been so similar to 2018-19 that sometimes I feel as if I could literally copy it week-by-week & it would match to 2018-19.

2002-03 saw the exact thing happen with the MJO!  Between December 12 & 20, we reached the 50s 4 times at the Purdue Ag Farm.  Even in the midst of the milder pattern overall in mid to late December 2002, we had a White Christmas with a winter storm & a major snow storm on the East Coast.

There was quite a bit of severe weather at times from Kansas & Missouri to Oklahoma, eastward to Arkansas, Mississippi, etc. in mid to late December 2002.  Some of the severe weather even included the Mid-Atlantic region, specifically New Jersey.

January-February were consistently cold & snowy.  January 3-February 28 saw only 12 days have a mean temperature above normal.

Blues show days of below normal mean temperatures.  Daily snowfall & snow depth as in red.  The daily highs & lows on on th end.

For example:

This is December 1, 2002......We saw a trace of precipitation, but it was not snow.  It was probably ice, as 0.0" is on the snow tab.  The high was 32 & the low temperature was 10.

V V V V V V V V V V V V V V V

2002-12-01 T 0.0 0 32 10
2002-12-02 0.00 0.0 0 37 13
2002-12-03 0.00 0.0 0 48 9
2002-12-04 0.00 0.0 0 29 10
2002-12-05 0.00 0.0 0 27 15
2002-12-06 0.00 0.0 0 32 9
2002-12-07 0.00 0.0 0 36 9
2002-12-08 0.00 0.0 0 45 18
2002-12-09 0.00 0.0 0 31 8
2002-12-10 0.00 0.0 0 37 10
2002-12-11 0.00 0.0 0 38 16
2002-12-12 0.00 0.0 0 45 25
2002-12-13 0.00 0.0 0 38 29
2002-12-14 0.00 0.0 0 38 31
2002-12-15 0.00 0.0 0 42 28
2002-12-16 0.00 0.0 0 52 24
2002-12-17 0.00 0.0 0 36 24
2002-12-18 0.13 0.0 0 52 32
2002-12-19 0.43 0.0 0 58 51
2002-12-20 0.26 0.0 0 53 33
2002-12-21 T T 0 38 29
2002-12-22 0.00 0.0 0 41 28
2002-12-23 0.00 0.0 0 30 24
2002-12-24 0.00 0.0 0 34 22
2002-12-25 0.46 5.3 5 32 23
2002-12-26 0.00 0.0 4 29 19
2002-12-27 0.00 0.0 4 24 19
2002-12-28 0.00 0.0 4 32 20
2002-12-29 0.00 0.0 2 38 19
2002-12-30 0.00 0.0 0 48 24
2002-12-31 0.06 0.0 0 57 34
2003-01-01 0.00 0.0 0 38 29
2003-01-02 0.00 0.0 0 36 27
2003-01-03 0.48 7.8 7 30 17
2003-01-04 0.00 0.0 7 27 5
2003-01-05 0.12 1.0 8 32 7
2003-01-06 0.02 0.2 6 34 31
2003-01-07 0.00 0.0 4 31 9
2003-01-08 0.00 0.0 3 41 25
2003-01-09 0.00 0.0 1 49 33
2003-01-10 T 0.0 0 45 25
2003-01-11 0.00 0.0 0 27 8
2003-01-12 0.00 0.0 0 24 6
2003-01-13 0.00 0.0 0 31 6
2003-01-14 0.04 1.0 1 32 16
2003-01-15 0.00 0.0 1 20 2
2003-01-16 0.01 0.1 1 21 4
2003-01-17 0.06 1.0 1 24 6
2003-01-18 0.00 0.0 1 21 0
2003-01-19 0.03 0.5 1 19 0
2003-01-20 0.04 T 1 33 0
2003-01-21 T 0.0 1 22 9
2003-01-22 0.00 0.0 1 20 -1
2003-01-23 0.00 0.0 1 19 -5
2003-01-24 0.00 0.0 1 9 -6
2003-01-25 0.00 0.0 1 16 -3
2003-01-26 0.08 1.1 1 31 14
2003-01-27 T 0.0 1 14 -13
2003-01-28 0.00 0.0 M 27 -9
2003-01-29 0.18 1.8 2 34 24
2003-01-30 0.00 0.0 2 30 -1
2003-01-31 0.01 0.0 2 35 5
2003-02-01 0.23 1.8 3 35 30
2003-02-02 0.08 0.8 3 35 31
2003-02-03 0.00 0.0 1 45 31
2003-02-04 0.25 0.1 0 54 22
2003-02-05 0.00 0.0 0 27 9
2003-02-06 0.02 0.2 0 28 10
2003-02-07 0.01 0.1 0 33 11
2003-02-08 0.00 0.0 0 20 7
2003-02-09 0.00 0.0 0 32 7
2003-02-10 0.03 0.3 0 29 11
2003-02-11 0.03 0.5 1 31 9
2003-02-12 0.00 0.0 0 36 6
2003-02-13 0.00 0.0 0 24 6
2003-02-14 0.00 0.0 0 38 14
2003-02-15 0.27 3.2 3 36 24
2003-02-16 0.01 0.1 3 24 14
2003-02-17 0.00 0.0 3 22 15
2003-02-18 0.00 0.0 3 28 16
2003-02-19 0.00 0.0 3 35 25
2003-02-20 0.00 0.0 1 38 19
2003-02-21 0.00 0.0 0 41 22
2003-02-22 0.05 0.0 0 41 25
2003-02-23 0.11 1.5 1 M 13
2003-02-24 0.06 0.6 2 27 14
2003-02-25 0.00 0.0 1 23 1
2003-02-26 0.00 0.0 1 22 0
2003-02-27 0.00 0.0 1 28 7
2003-02-28 0.00 0.0 1 32 10

So, in summary..............December 20-January 4:

1.  Warm, wet phase of MJO is arriving earlier than expected.

2.  There is some lowering of the surface pressures towards Alaska, decreasing the ridge there, which promotes less Arctic intrustion here after December 20 to December 30.

3.  Models are split on the NAO/AO, so there could still be some below normal days thrown in at times.

4.  We are still in a low solar, El Nino Modoki winter with the entirity of the moving parts of the world-wide weather pattern favoring a colder & snowier than normal winter here.

5.  It looks like a milder, wetter pattern overall December 20-December 30.  I moved up the warmer, wetter pattern up about 7 days based on this early explosion of Indian Ocean convection.

6.  This DOES NOT mean we will not see any snow December 20-30.  I have seen renegade snowstorms of +6" of wet snow occur in mild periods.  You can still get a big snowstorm at 32 & it could be 40 a day later.

7.  This December 20-30 pattern does look active & stormy with rain & snow at times with many days of 40s & 50s.

8.  MUCH COLDER pattern should arrive in early January.  In fact, I think the bitter cold could get in here at New Year's Eve to New Year's Day.  Early January looks to start out COLD & STAY COLD.

9.  This does currently look as bad as a 1970s-style winter, but still rougher than normal.  Reason is slightly lower pressures over western Canada & all of the CO2 we have pumped out.  What gave you brutal winters in the 70s, may not give as brutal of a winter now due to different atmospheric concentrations of gases.  2018-19s atmospheric composition of CO2 is different than that of the 1960s & 1970s when we had low solar then.

Article Comments

West Lafayette
Clear
29° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 29°
Kokomo
Scattered Clouds
34° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 29°
Rensselaer
Overcast
30° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 30°
Fowler
Overcast
30° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 30°
Williamsport
Clear
29° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 29°
Crawfordsville
Clear
30° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 30°
Frankfort
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 34°
Delphi
Clear
29° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 29°
Monticello
Clear
29° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 29°
Logansport
Clear
30° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 30°
Clearing Skies Through Sunday
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Community Events