As January dwindles toward its last day, the month has proven to be a fickle one. After one of the coldest starts ever to a year the extreme cold retreated and now it looks like the month will end up close to or even slightly above average. Here's where we currently stand.
In Cedar Rapids we have really been on a ride with temperatures ranging from 24 below to 58 above...an 82 degree spread. I could only find one other year with a greater January spread and that was 1897 at 84 degrees. If you include the wind chill of 49 below January 1st it felt 107 degrees warmer on January 26th.
While the next few days won't be near as extreme we will again undergo some pretty healthy temperature swings. In Cedar Rapids we should warm to near 44 Wednesday before we drop into the low 20s Thursday and Friday. Then we go back to 40 Saturday and crash to 12 on Sunday. ENOUGH ALREADY!
The looming chill is the beginning of what appears to be a colder pattern that could be with us much of February. The EURO weeklies from Monday show this for temperatures the next 32 days.
This seems like a realistic projection as the EURO EPS control has the EPO (eastern Pacific Oscillation) running largely negative...and at times strongly negative starting February 1st.
A negative EPO in February correlates to a temperature anomaly that looks like this. Very chilly for much of the eastern 2/3rds of the nation.
In a general sense this implies a broad trough extending from the northern Rockies into the lower Mississippi Valley and out through the mid-Atlantic states. This leaves the door open for some amplification of energy as it approaches the Midwest. That's significant since it has the potential to bring more moisture into the region. While I doubt it brings heavy precipitation it could leave the door open for a couple of respectable storms, what I call hybrid clippers. The EURO EPS mean depicts this for 32 day precip. Better but still below normal for the period. Very little of this falls in the next 7 days.
However, if the EPO does what it's known for and keep temperatures cold, the majority of what falls could be snow. The EURO EPS mean senses that and shows this for 32 day snowfall.
As much as this would please a snow lover like myself, I just don't like the fact that we're so locked into dryness. There's an old saying that goes in times of drought, signs of precipitation don't pan out. And since May 1st we have a precipitation deficit of 10.60" in Cedar Rapids. The grand total for November, December, and January is a scant 1.85". Much of the southeast half of Iowa and NW Illinois (the heart of my area) is in abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions.
Here's a tighter view of my region.
The bottom line is the potential is there for a more active and wintry pattern but I'm to the point where I won't believe the snowy part until I see it. Too many disappointments already this winter. Roll weather...TS