A PUZZLE WITH MANY PIECES...
Let me start by saying, the next week is going to be a challenge to forecast. Every major model has its own idea of how energy phases and where. That impacts the intensity of any storm, its track, and precipitation. The long range pieces of the weather puzzle are not fitting together yet and in some cases, I'm not even sure they are all on the table (I'm missing a few). What it all means is that after about day 5, all bets are off until clarity presents itself.
One thing is for certain, we have two more days of Indian summer to enjoy before temperatures return to more typical levels Friday. Wednesday looks to be a sensational day with mostly sunny skies, a gentle breeze, and highs in the mid 60s, roughly 20 degrees above normal. Very nice.
Thursday we keep highs in the mid to perhaps upper 60s but the signs of the coming change will manifest themselves with increasing clouds and a blustery SW wind of at least 30 mph (maybe some gusts of 35-40). So, while it will be an exceptional day in terms of temperatures, it won't be near as pleasant as Wednesday. Still a keeper though.
THE COOL DOWN...
Late Thursday evening the cold front swoops in with a short period of forcing that should generate scattered but light showers. With meager moisture and rapid movement rain totals of .01 to .05" are indicated. A couple lucky spots may see 1/10th of an inch, especially east of the Mississippi.
Friday winds have turned to the NW and will continue gusty. By daybreak Friday temperatures are down in the upper 30s and low 40s destined to rise only a few more degrees before falling again in the mid-afternoon. By evening readings will be in the low to mid 30s, nearly 25 degrees colder than 24 hours earlier.
Wind chills Friday morning will be in the upper 20s NW to low to mid 30s SE. So much for the springlike temperatures. By the way, this also ends a 5 days stretch with highs in the 60s.
After that the weekend looks quiet and cool. With sunshine highs will reach the upper 40s to low 50s with lows in the mid to upper 20s. That's pretty much in the ballpark for mid-November.
WHAT TO DO WITH THE WESTERN TROUGH?
Thanksgiving week is when we run into all sorts of issues tied to phasing. For those not familiar, phasing is when the northern (polar jet stream) and southern (sub-tropical jet) try to consolidate. This can be a full on bundling of energy or just a partial merger. Your more intense storms result when the cold of the polar jet is allowed to integrate with the warm moist air contained in the sub-tropical branch. This often leads to a full-latitude trough and a significant surface low. Below is an example of a phased 500mb jet stream and a deep trough dumping cold air into the central U.S.
The first attempt at phasing takes place Monday of next week. Three major models, the EURO, GFS, and Canadian GEM all have different ideas on the process as you can see by looking at their 500mb jet structures.
The EURO is the least phased with the northern branch. It does have enough interaction between the streams to wrap up a decent closed low that would bring rain to the region later Monday and Monday night. There is some chance that the deformation zone NW of the surface low could could undergo a transition to snow for a time.
The Canadian GEM is the most ominous solution for cold next week. I also think it is the most unlikely depiction. It merges the southern energy with a northern stream disturbance dropping down from Canada. That merger bombs out a surface low in the NE Lakes.
It completely consolidates both chunks of energy and locks the storm in for several days next week. Very cold air, high winds, and snow showers would be the end result leading up to Thanksgiving. These are the surface features indicated on the GEM the day before Thanksgiving. That is really ugly set-up with sub-zero wind chills and up to an inch of snow. I think the chances of this occurring are slim and none.
The GFS is somewhat similar to the GEM in that it phases energy out of Canada with southern stream energy. However, it happens further east and north. It's also not as strong and kicks the system east sooner than the GEM. It has the least snow out of this period generating just scattered snow showers or flurries. However, it brings in another system next weekend that produces a nice snow. Confidence on that is low.
All of these scenarios do bring varying amounts of colder air just before Thanksgiving. The GEM is by far the coldest and the EURO warmest with less northern stream interaction. I suspect the EURO ends up closer to reality.
As I said earlier, until we see all the pieces of the puzzle there are several reasonable outcomes. The truth lies in the amount of phasing which may take several more days for models to fully discern. Meantime, enjoy Wednesday's outstanding day. Change is rustling in the wind! Roll weather...TS
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