It still looks like rather than cold waves with snow & ice in late January & mid-February that the cold with snow & ice risk will occur early to mid-February. That warm-up February 3-10 expected that showed up strongly in Euro, CFSV2 & analog runs is long gone. The SSW from the North Pole has outdone it. However, even saying that, despite the intensity of this Polar Vortex loosening & Arctic Outbreak & all of the snow pack, it is still warmer than what it should be in such an impressive SSW event. So, I still feel we have factors blocking the core of the worst cold.
You get these SSWs due to ozone concentration fluctuations in the stratosphere (occasionally associated with a lack of sunspots). The stratosphere suddenly warms & before you know it, you have the Polar Vortex greatly loosening & unleashing colder air southward.
This is always a forecast wildcard, but you try to forecast months in advance if you can, based on analog.
It has been unusually warm overall (not extreme, but consistent, steady above normal means that have added up) since mid-May & now we will see some of the great below normal temperature anomalies in a year.
After howling winds overnight, they have decreased this morning (still gusts to 33 mph in the area, though), but it appears we have a subtle shortwave noted pivoting through this morning. This is generating light snow & flurries.
Local light dustings to coatings are possible.
Lows this morning ran from 12-20 with wind chills -8 to 8.
I am going to keep light snow & flurries around through early afternoon for the area (moving southeastward though with time) & then as late as evening for our southern & southeastern counties.
Skies look partly to mostly cloudy (more sun northwest half) with highs in the 21-29 range north to south. Winds should be brisk from the west to northwest with gusts 30-40 mph. Watch for blowing & drifting snow.
Winds will diminish tonight with some partial clearing. Areas that clear out could drop to near 0, areas that keep clouds will likely run 10-13. Right now, it seems that our northwestern counties have the best potential of near 0.
Wind chills should run -7 to 7.
We should cloud up Saturday after sunshine. With west-southwest wind 10-20 mph, snow should overspread the viewing area after 4 p.m. & exit by 4 a.m.
Highs Saturday should reach 20-30 north to south over the viewing area.
Strong north-northeast to north, then northwest winds will develop during & after the snow. Winds of 15-25 mph should then increase to 20-40 mph.
With the dry, powdery snow falling atop the rock-hard snow/ice pack & the wind, it should blow & drift everywhere Saturday night-Sunday morning.
I am still going for 1-3" of snow Saturday night, but a band of very strong, impressive frontagenetical forcing will set up with this clipper & Arctic front. There is a sign of highly-efficient snow-crystal making & a deep Snow Growth Zone.
So, this system could greatly out-perform what is currently expected. These totals may go up quite a bit if the next rounds of data show the same thing.
Speed seems to be a detriment with the system for high totals, but I am thinking the POTENTIAL is there to change the 1-3" to 3-6" if current trends hold.
IF more of the persistent thinking & trends hold or the band of greatest frontagenetical forcing stays south of our area, we will keep at 1-3".
With the snow & wind, temperatures will crash to -4 to 4 Sunday morning. Wind chills of -25 to -15 are expected.
Lots of travel impacts are expected Saturday night-early Sunday morning.
Winds will greatly diminish Sunday with some sunshine developing & highs 8-16.
After lows 2-10 Sunday evening, temperatures may rise to 8-16 by early Monday morning.
It will turn cloudy & snow should begin to overspread the area by afternoon & last into Monday night.
Some scattered snow showers are possible Tuesday with breezy to windy conditions from the northwest.
1-3" of snow is possible Monday-Tuesday.
Highs will run 26-31 Monday & 18-26 Tuesday.
We need to watch late week for a stalled front & southern storm system.
It is a good set-up for icing or an ice storm from Oklahoma to New York & Vermont with very mild weather from parts of New England through the mid-Atlatnic to the Southeast.
It would be a situation of 60s & 70s across the Southeast (80s across Florida & 80 as far north as southern Alabama & Georgia), 50s & 60s the mid-Atlantic to as far north as Massachusetts & teens & 20s here & below 0 from Iowa northwestward.
If we are affected, it looks like just snow here. The track will be monitored & just where the front stalls.
On early Tuesday, it looks like it could be a situation where it is 66 at Richmond, Virginia & 30 with freezing rain at Charleston, West Virginia or 67 at Atlanta & 32 with freezing rain at Nashville, Tennessee & 26 & freezing & sleet at Louisville, Kentucky.
Another shot of colder air should flow with highs back to the teens & lows slightly below 0.
Although the coldest wind chills of the winter are expected Sunday morning, the coldest actual air temperatures may actually occur around February 13. This would occur on a morning that is clear with a light wind with snow pack.
February 14-16 shows a good set-up for yet another icing event or ice storm from Oklahoma to New England. Here, it looks like snow, but it could shift & bring ice. We will monitor.
It looks like spring in the Southeast with 70s & even 50s to Massachusetts, but bitter cold winter weather from our area & northwestward.
Overall, it looks quite cold through February 19 with temperatures below to well-below normal with this loosening of the Polar Vortex from the Sudden Stratospheric Warming & the widespread snow pack.
It looks to warm with just rain by Feburary 20.
Usually SSWs cold lasts 30-60 days. We saw one in January that was completely diverted, but this one in February is much more impactful.
So, we should warm up nicely in March for a nice start to spring, but it does look wetter with greater severe weather risk still.
April does too.
May looks to dry out with time, followed by a long, hot, dry summer with drought risk.
Even right now, the long-range models out of the U.S. & Europe & my analog data supports heat & drought.
Still looks like higher potential of first 100s since 2012, a summer "Ring of Fire" Serial Derecho
This, unless, we see more tropical influences in what is expected to be an active tropical season.
That could mean the difference between drought & either less drought or no drought.
Keep checking the blog for these long-range forecasts as tweaks will be made as we get closer to these months & seasons.