Sunday, January 13, 2019

Update - January 13, 2019

It's been a while!  This past five weeks have been a little stressful with personal obligations, end-of-the year activities at work, and now the partial government shutdown.  My job at the NWS is one where we continue to work providing forecasts and data to continue the mission of the organization.  But we are NOT allowed to do any travel, presentations, or do anything that does not provide life and property saving activities.  The biggest kick in the chin is that while we work, there won't be a paycheck until the standoff in DC ends (have already missed one).

Since this free blog you are reading is done on my own personal time, my motivation has been lacking. I'm passionate about weather and especially long range forecasting.  But the physiological wear of current events is dragging me down. is a quick rundown on what's going on...

 I wish I would have had the gumption to do a blog entry back in early January.  Based on my knowledge of the pattern that set up this fall, I was able to inform quite a few folks in person (as early as January 3rd) about the storm that just happened.  I did this even though there were NO computer forecast models predicting any precip for a long stretch of time.  Models didn't pick up on the possibility until about 4 days out.

This past 30 days have been exceedingly wet across much of the central U.S. and here is a map showing hefty amounts, especially for winter!

Really this just continues the wettness that has persisted for some time.

All the rain and snow that has occurred this fall and winter across the mid section has wiped out the longterm drought.  Plus, the drought across the four corners region should be seeing a big dent too!

This evening the satellite image showed several important features.

The first feature is the system coming into the west coast.  It won't be much of a weather maker for the high plains as far as precipitation as it will be weakening quite a bit.  But as it moves across the area Tuesday and Wednesday, it may help to hold low clouds across the region, especially where there is snow cover.  In general, this may be a cloudy and chilly week, especially across the eastern parts of the high plains and points east.

The blue H on the satellite image represents an upper high that is ridging towards the north pole.  A very cold airmass (Arctic) is developing across the high latitudes and is poised to race south into the U.S. later in the week. The first shot will be behind a system that has not yet developed but will be moving across the central U.S. this coming Friday and Saturday (18th-19th).  That system will likely combine with the Arctic air to bring more snow (less moisture this time), but those details of snow are not forecastable at this point.  Temperatures though will plummet with very low wind chills.

After the brief shot of Arctic air late Friday/Saturday, there may be a day or two that temperatures moderate a bit, but not a lot.   A bigger shot of Arctic air is likely that following week!  Which takes us to the robust MJO that is on the bottom left hand corner of the satellite image.  This feature has already produced a response in the atmosphere this past 2-3 weeks.  The additional forcing with that and the combination with flow across high latitudes will likely bring much below normal temperatures for the period January 21-31.  Between this coming weekend and through the end of the month, I will be very surprised if we don't get below zero temperatures (wind chill readings will be much lower).  There may be additional snow too beyond this late week system

Going into February, it could remain relatively active.  I'm guessing above normal snowfall and below normal temperatures.