Thanksgiving is less than 10 days away and I'm already working on the forecast. As you probably know it's one of the biggest travel periods of the year for planes, trains, and automobiles. Airlines for America is out with projections of flier volumes for the travel heavy Thanksgiving holiday, and it expects the Sunday after Turkey Day—November 26—to be the busiest of all with an estimated 2.88 million people taking to the skies. The second-busiest travel day of the period will be Wednesday, November 22, the day before Thanksgiving. A record 28.5 million people will fly on U.S. airlines between Friday, November 17 and Tuesday, November 28, according to the organization’s estimates. That’s an increase of 69,000 passengers—or 3%—from last year. It's bad enough to get around in good weather, it's a nightmare in bad.
Since it's early it's hard to get too fine with the facts but as of Monday I'm seeing a significant discrepancy with regard to temperatures. The GFS and EURO are at odds with how they handle energy entering the west coast this weekend. This is an important thermal detail because the GFS maintains a deep trough over the eastern U.S. while the EURO splits the energy and kicks the trough and its cold east into Canada. One solution is quite cold for the Midwest, the other much more tolerable.
Let's look at the difference. First the EURO. Here's it's 500mb jet stream flow. The worst cold is over the northeast and off the Pacific northwest coast.
That leaves 850 temperature departures positive over the Midwest.
The GFS is in stark contrast and has the trough centered on the Ohio Valley as opposed to Newfoundland.
It's dumping much colder air directly into the Midwest and Great Lakes leading to a temperature departure that looks like this.
You can certainly see the difference in the two solutions. The question is, which model is correct. As most of you know I sing the praises of the EURO but lately it's been as erratic (if not more) than the GFS. I rarely do this but as of today based on a number of teleconnections (especially the EPO) I am leaning toward the GFS. Here's what the GEFS forecasts for the EPO (eastern Pacific Oscillation) November 24th. It's strongly negative (nearly -4).
A negative EPO in November correlates to the temperature anomalies below.
In my opinion the EPO has been the dominate U.S. temperature driver so far this month. Since the beginning of November the EPO has been negative and you can see the impact on temperatures through the 12th. The cold is centered right where the above EPO teleconnection indicates it should be.
Surprisingly, the GFS seems to be handling the overall pattern with better consistency the past 2 weeks so I'm going with the hot hand until I see a reason not to. Expect a cold Thanksgiving.
Cold is not enjoyable but at least you can travel in it. If the EURO is right it's high and dry.
The GFS paints a more ominous picture and even shows some snow Wednesday night or early Thanksgiving morning in some parts of the Midwest. I would not buy into that solution at this distance but it is a trend worth watching. I do think the model is on the right track with its cold temperatures. Still lots of time to work out the details but did want to weigh in on the possibilities.
There you have it, everything but the Thanksgiving menu. Cold or not, I like my Turkey and stuffing. Nobody does it better than Momma Rose. Roll weather...TS