Today was nice & mild at 45-50, but no where near the record highs of the low to upper 60s in 1997 (West Lafayette 66).
I knew I should have put more stock into 2009-10 than 2002-03 winter analogs.
2009-10 was a sandwich winter with cold fall (coldest October since 1987) & rough onset of winter, then mid-winter break with 60 & t'storms (with multiple 40 & 50s days & sunshine), followed by an intense second half. The very cold weather even brought frost quakes & a Blizzard Warning to our northwestern counties twice. The winter broke in mid-March as piles of drifted snow were at the edges of fields (even on a day in the 60s). I distinctly remember taking a picture of the last vestiges of drifts melting north of the Purdue Research Park (before Walt's Pub & other businesses were built) back in March 2010. I cannot locate this images, however.
I still think the stair step downward to much colder, snowier weather will get underway, beginning mid next week.
Mid January onward thinking colder weather will begin to become more consistene twith waves of colder air of longer duration between temperatures that attempt to warm up.
Late January to early February looks ROUGH right now.
Watch the pattern changes with the cold, cold air lobes dropping southward one after the other around mid-January & onward to late January.
Shots of cold, cold air will continues to work through late January through the first week of February.
Some of the cold could be intense with multiple nights well below zero as widespread snow cover is laid down.
Projected snow depth January 15:
Projected snow depth February 4 (Note how far south the snow cover is.................I don't doubt snow cover DEEP into the southern U.S., but I am not sold on 12-20" on the ground from Texas & Oklahoma to Arkansas....................I think higher totals are more likely here like +7" with more heavy icing down there):
Projected January 31 temperature anomalies (would equal temperatures around -1 here at 6 p.m. & -17 in northern Illinois)
This projection shows morning temperature around January 30 around 40 degrees below normal. This would equate to a low around -22.
The players are on the table & the analog shows that this is.
Pattern for cold & snow will continue right through the first week of February. This is a temperature projection for February 4.
The temperature may warm a bit after this cold wave, but it makes sense that additional lobes of bitterly cold air will pass mid to late February.
Analog suggests peak in snow depth for the winter in mid to late February.
Several snows (couple significant) & big Nor'Easters (think one could be a BIG one for the Northeast with +30" amounts) are on the table mid-January to late February.
Below normal temperatures with snowfall potential will likely roll into March.