A BLANK SLATE, AND SURGERY...
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A VERY BLANK SLATE...
Looking out the window Thursday, all I could see was a blank slate. The clouds, the snow, the horizon, all blended into an endless palette resembling a sea of gray. A canvas badly in need of color. My daughter once said," fog is like living in a bowl of mashed potatoes". How do you argue with that?
As dreary as it's been this week, it's not all that unusual. As you can see below, next to December, January is the 2nd most "cloudy" month of the year. Typically, 42 percent of its days are overcast. Currently, the number is at 50 percent. That's well below the most dismal January 2017 when 73 percent of the month's days were overcast.
We'll build on the cloudy day syndrome, with plenty of pattern driven moisture merging with that fueled by melting snow. Low clouds and periods of fog are pretty much a sure thing through Sunday. As for precipitation, a vigorous disturbance continues to slowly pivot E/NE towards the Ohio Valley early Friday. A cold rain that's been falling overnight will end over the south this morning and do the same across the north later in the day. Additional amounts should be no more than .25" in the far NW to less than .05" far south. It's also likely that areas of fog and drizzle will occur where and when the rain ends due to the degree of saturation occurring in the low levels. Dense fog is also possible and at the time of this post, the NWS has a dense fog advisory in effect through at least mid-morning. Visibility could be quite low in spots.
Temperatures in this stagnant weather set-up will show very little movement into early next week. Spreads between highs and lows will only be a handful of degrees. Both the GFS and EURO meteograms show the trend. They have also shown a tendency to shy away from the low 50s they had been promoting for early February. Now the GFS is no warmer than 45 with the EURO at 47 in the Quad Cities. Still, at the coldest time of the year, that's hardly anything to complain about.
With an omega block in place at 500mb, much of the period Saturday through next week should be on the drier side, something most can appreciate with the rain and melting snow of this week.
The next major focus for me is what becomes of the pattern after February 10th. I am of the mindset that winter has a few more punches to throw the last two weeks of February, perhaps into early March. The new EURO weeklies did nothing to blunt that belief, pushing teleconnections that are strongly supportive. Here they are:
The AO (Arctic Oscillation) It reverting to a negative phase, which means the Polar vortex and the westerlies are weakening, allowing colder air masses access to the Midwest again. Pay more attention to the means (in green) of the coming graphics than the control, which is a more extreme solution in blue.
The EPO (eastern Pacific Oscillation) is going negative, which is a strong signal that the ridge over Alaska and the Pacific NW is returning, opening the door for Polar air instead of Pacific.
The NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation) is also set to trend negative. That's a sign of high pressure and blocking at northern latitudes that produces an active storm track for the central and eastern U.S.
The PNA (Pacific North America) is strongly positive, which means troughs more in the central and eastern U.S. along with below normal temperatures.
The WPO (western Pacific Oscillation) is also negative, which is favorable for ridging in the Pacific. That in tandem with the EPO is a signal for cold air access to the Midwest.
The Japanese model (highly unrated), in the week 3-4 period mid-February on, is very bullish on showing the 500mb pattern that the teleconnections discussed above would produce. Look at the big ridge over Alaska and the high heights all across Canada. That brings colder air. The jet is cutting underneath, which should make it energetic and active with respect to storms. That definitely has the look of winter all over it.
Vertical velocities which imply lift and forcing are high over much of the nation as well as the western Pacific off the east coast of Africa. They are low over Australia. All of this implies the MJO is shifting into the western hemisphere and likely to enter the colder phases 8, 1 and 2.
We are still far enough away from the change that the deterministic models ensembles are still struggling to pick up on the trends of the teleconnections. Some see it others don't, which in totality is holding them back from going all in. If I'm interpreting things correctly, they will pick up on the signals within a few days and start trending colder after February 10th.
TODAY IS SURGERY DAY, TERRY GETS HIS TICKER TWEAKED.
I'm not sure how this will impact my Friday night post, but I am having surgery today for an irregular heartbeat. I had the issue (which is electrical in nature) corrected 5 years ago. For whatever reason, it fell out of rhythm again, and I'm headed for the operating table once more. (It must have been all the snow). I'll follow that up with hip replacement surgery in 2–3 months. If I want to, I have Achilles tendonitis with 5 bones spurs on my heel and can get that surgically repaired as well. My sister says I'm falling apart, but hey, they put Humpty Dumpty back together again. Why not me? Roll weather...TS P.S. Please consider a donation to the site. The future of TSwails depends on your generous contributions. Thanks for anything you can do!