January 3, 2011 - A New Year - New Weather Worries

By: Mallory Brooke
By: Mallory Brooke

We rang in the new year with temperatures well above average. However, that ship has sailed - and it's not returning for a while. Some "interesting" weather is returning to the Valley - read all about it in today's blog!

First and foremost - Happy New Year everyone! I can't believe it's already 2011. The anniversary of Mallory's Weather Blog is on January 20 - how should we celebrate?! Maybe some fun weather...?? Hmmm.

The first few days of the year will be uneventful. Temperatures remain around seasonal averages with mostly sunny skies. The only exception is Tuesday - as some clouds build in ahead of a weak cold front and we warm to the mid 40's (southerlies ahead of the front). After Wednesday, however, everything seems to go haywire in the models. There's so much disagreement in precipitation, I don't even know where to begin. However, they all agree on one thing. It will be cold.

Let's pick apart the models a little bit this morning.

The WRF is our short term model - going through 84 hours - or mid Thursday. We're not expecting anything too tretcherous in that time period, but the WRF does bring an area of light snow just to our north - in Pennsylvania and New York.

Let's move to the GFS (the model that first picked up the western shift in the low pressure system for the Christmas weekend blizzard) - it brings in a strong upper level disturbance Friday morning which could bring in some light snow showers. Beyond that, it keeps major storm systems off to sea until January 11th. However, going into the following weekend, Jan 13-16, the weather remains unsettled, with the potential.

Now to the more "fun" (not sure if that's the right word) models. The Canadian and the Euro.

The Euro is just full of fun right now. It has not one, but two coastal systems within the next 10 days. One would be for this weekend and the other would be in the middle of next week. With the model discrepency right now, I'm not jumping on board with either. Given the trend of the season and the current forecast of other models, I'm going to have to side with the "out to sea" or "too far east" option that the GFS is going with. We'll be cold, but we just might not be close enough to the low pressure for snow. Next week is a different story altogether. Our teleconnections (the NAO, North Atlantic Oscillation, and the AO, Arctic Oscillation) are showing signs of a flip (positive reading going to a negative reading). Usually when we have those inflection points, interesting weather occurs - like it did on Dec 26-27. I think we'll make the teleconnections our topic for tomorrow.

The Canadian is kind of a worst case scenario. First, it brings through a light area of snow Saturday morning. Nothing too crazy, but could make for some slick spots. A system starts gearing up along the coast of the Gulf and begins to move up here to the Valley. However, after about 2-4 hours of snow here, enough warm air would make it into the mid-levels to start some icing. This would last for about 12 hours, and then it would change back to snow for another 6-8 hours. With the ice, that storm would be more dangerous than if it was all snow. In addition, it has signs of another energized system behind this one.

Now that we've broken the models down, you can see why the door is open for many possibilities. As I mentioned, with the pattern we've been in and what we've seen in December, the probable solution is that most of these systems would end up off the coast and not bother us. We could have a few small snows here or there, but for another "big one" to occur here, we'd need all the pieces of the puzzle to align just right.

I think we'll talk over teleconnections tomorrow, as they are a good indicator of the short term forecast for our winter months.

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