THE ARCTIC HOUNDS ARE HOWLING...

January 2, 2018

I'm sure most of you loyal readers recall how jacked up I was around December 10th when evidence began mounting that the MJO (Madden Julian Oscillation) was headed into phases that equate to the holy grail of cold. I made no bones about the fact that cold was coming for Christmas and beyond and when it came, so too would the snow.

 

The cool thing about that forecast was that it did not involve 500mb storm tracks, surface highs and lows, or traditional forecasting methods. It was straight teleconnections based on long standing observations of what specific MJO phases bring to the sensible weather pattern.  What I'm saying is the MJO when properly interpreted points to key trends before the operational models. You want to get a leg up on mid to long range forecasting (especially in the winter months) understand the MJO and its relationship with the SOI (Southern Oscillation Index). 

 

With the cold air dominating the pattern into mid January one of the things the Midwest will see plenty of is Arctic High Pressure. Currently, a massive 1050 high is allowing bitterly cold air to pour into the country.

This produced numerous record lows New Years Eve night and a bunch more are going down Tuesday morning. Not only are we breaking lows, we are smashing them. The New Years low in Cedar Rapids hit 24 below eclipsing the coldest temperature ever for the date (-14) by a full 10 degrees! It's very rare to break a record by more than a degree or two, let alone 10.

 

After the core of this frigid air mass passes several more will sweep the Midwest in the next 2 weeks. Nothing looks as potent as this Arctic outbreak but strong enough to keep readings well below normal for the balance of the next 15 days. Here's the forecast temperature departures from the CFSv2 through January 15th in 5 day increments.

 

Days 0-5:

Days 5-10: 

Days 10-15.

After that the MJO is showing signs of a push into warmer phases. That could spell a nice January thaw but I'm not ready to bite big on that just yet.

 

As it stands now I don't see much in the way of storminess or snow until late in the weekend (Sunday) at the earliest. The system in that time frame has some potential but phasing will be an important issue if this is to become a player. Right now confidence on any snow solution is very low. At least it will be warmer.

 

The EURO EPS mean shows this for total snowfall the next 15 days.

 The GEFS mean has this for total snowfall over the same 15 day period.

 

 That's the latest and greatest for now. Stay warm and think spring! Roll weather...TS

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© 2019 Terry Swails