Good morning and happy Tuesday from the weather center! Many of you I am sure are wondering where we stand this Winter with the overall pattern and whats coming for Feb and even into Mar. Several things are at play right now and several of these are in our favor expect for 1 outlying factor which I will talk about in this blog. First thing is first and that is we are forecasting some snow tonight. Anywhere from 1-4″ depending on your location, higher amounts will be in southern IL and IN where Winter weather advisories are in place until 12pm Wed. We are watching a disturbance come from the central plains that will bring snow late tonight and during rush hour Wednesday morning. While most data suggests around 1-2″ I would not be shocked if this went up by an inch or 2 once it gets into the HRRR data range. Reason being is the northern piece of energy I think is being underplayed by some of the models..we will cover that IDEA in our update to zone and commercial clients this morning. If you’re interested in becoming a zone or commercial client click here.
Looking ahead into next week and even beyond we have plenty of support from all models and their ensembles that we need to watch yet another potential winter storm to come through the Ohio valley. Timing and location are impossible to nail down and precip type is even more impossible but the signals are strong for another Ohio valley storm system next week. Note the ridging out west aka where my red lines are..this ridge in the west helps to amplify the storm over the Ohio valley and provide cold air from what we call a cross polar flow.
Its also crucial to note the lake effect snows are not going anywhere anytime soon as only 9% of the great lakes are ice covered compared to nearly 30% this time last year.
So what about the rest of Winter..is there a warm up coming? Yes there is but we need to think about what “warm ups” relative to whats actually normal for this time of year. For the end of Jan and 1st week of Feb the normal temp is ~28.5°F even if we were to run 5 degrees above normal that’s only 33 which to me puts us no where near the red zone. Models are only 60-70% sure the warm up is sustained anyways. Cold temps return quick by 2nd week of Feb I do believe.
When we talk about a retreat in high latitude blocking it means the Arctic air supply essentially backs off but it doesn’t mean snow potential for the Ohio valley backs off. One thing I see happening on all the data right now is a rather significant pattern change in the upper levels of the atmosphere that could provide a very stormy Feb and Mar. Its what we call a sudden stratospheric warming event and its what happened the last 2 Jan and Febs. Right now the polar vortex is over Greenland and we don’t want that, we want it away from there and we want to see a tilt and or a split in the polar vortex. Well the models are getting aggressive in advertising that for Feb which would be huge for us as this would seriously aid in a good high latitude block pattern.
So is it all about blocking? Well this Winter yes..another thing working strongly in our favor right now is the drastic cooling of ENSO regions 1+2 which if you have watched me over the last several months you know what this means and how important it is. In the graphic below I illustrate that the warmest waters west and not near the coast of south America is a key piece to the puzzle. It pulls the Aleutian low back and allows for high latitude blocking to setup in central and western Canada and NOT eastern Canada..where we do NOT want it to be located. The cooling helps with this drastically.
Another key piece to this puzzle is the MJO and if the ECMWF is right which I think it is then we move through a very active phase 4/5 and 6 which this time of year mean active and wet. Now again its impossible to know precip types and what not at this distance but the overall point here is I am in no way worried about snow the rest of the Winter. With that being said I’ve been wrong before and if I am you’ll know why.
As for the next 7 days..don’t write anything off folks models will shift within 12 hours of the storm coming..its already happening this morning! Meteorologist Joseph Copper is writing a very detailed update on the storm tonight and what the latest data is hinting at. Again if you want access to our daily short and long range forecasts be sure to visit Bamchase.net and sign up today for the zone forecasts! Remember if you’re a business you’re prohibited from using our forecasts unless you have contacted us with commercial account setups and approval. Until next time folks! M.