Cold shots have a bark, but not much bite


Now that the latest storm is over let’s look out on the horizon and see what’s in store for the next few weeks. Anytime I look beyond 5 days there is of the possibility things will change, however the computer models are getting better and better at forecasting general trends. They are still, however, not great at getting the specifics nailed down much beyond 5 days into the future.

If you are not sure what a weather model is, think them as a huge set of math and physics equations that help predict the weather. In a future blog I will explain more about the models. Right now, I am looking at several models that forecast out as far as late January. One trend that is emerging for the next couple of weeks is two cold shots that don’t last more than 2-3 days with warm-ups on either side. In other words, some January cold that won’t be able to hang on for weeks in a row. Specifically, it looks like another blast of arctic air comes in briefly around the 18th for a few days but like all the cold air has done this winter that blast will also end up heading back up into Canada.
The models show another major warm-up for the final week of January and that warmth may shatter some records especially across the Plains and upper Midwest. Take a look at this weather map which is a forecast for the 28th of January. All the arctic air is locked up in Canada and mild air is forecast to stretch from coast to coast. This is pretty amazing and if it verifies would mean we will be enjoying or cursing, bare ground to close out the month. Then it’s February and the pattern is subject to some change.
This mild winter is in stark contrast the past two winters when the arctic air flowed south so far into the USA that areas up around the North Pole saw very mild conditions (mild for the North Pole that is). This year, the cold air is locked up across the top of the planet and shows no signs of heading south. So I don’t see us having a bitter cold period for an extended period of time. Since home heating oil is at very high historic prices, there is a lot of savings happening thanks to the mild conditions.
While February can be cold and snowy, as many years have shown us, by the end of that month the sun is stronger, the light longer and it’s just a few weeks till spring. I might be rushing things a bit, but as I see it, the biggest thing about the winter of 2011-2012 may very well be the storm that happened in fall.
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