COLD TODAY, HOTTER TAMALE...
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COOL TODAY, HOTTER TAMALE...
Wooooo doggie, Thursday was a cold one. The high temperature at the NWS office in Davenport reached just 33 degrees. That's the coldest max since March 1st when the high was only 32. In other words, this was the coldest day in 8.5 months. We even had a few snowflakes floating around to add some atmosphere. Here's the 3:00pm readings.
Brisk NW winds were producing wind chills in the upper teens to mid 20s. My dog did not get walked today.
The wave train is in a progressive state right now meaning weather systems are tracking across the Midwest on a regular basis every 2-3 days. That allows big swings in temperature but little in the way of precipitation with the fast flow limiting moisture. In this animation of the 500mb heights you can see today's trough and associated cold air lift out Friday only to be followed by another Sunday and finally a third one around Thanksgiving.
With southerly winds developing Friday temperatures after a cold start in the 20s should rebound into the range of 40-45 come late afternoon. With ridging over us Saturday and south winds continuing highs will be even warmer with all but the far north putting up highs in the low to mid 50s.
Sunday, the next cold trough emerges in the Midwest with another potent fast moving cold front. A few showers are possible across the south early Sunday morning with the passage of the front but amounts would be light. Of more importance is the arrival of what looks to be the coldest air of the season Sunday night and Monday. The wind whipped air mass will create falling temperatures Sunday afternoon and by Monday morning lows will be in the upper teens north to low 20s south. Even worse, wind chills in the single digits still seem likely. See below.
That trough moves east Tuesday and following another crisp day in the low 40s, southerly winds are blowing by Wednesday setting the stage for highs in the 50s on the biggest travel day of the year. Readings cool with the passage of another cold front Wednesday night but this one won't have the same pop as the previous two and highs Turkey Day are likely to be seasonal in the low to mid 40s. Breaking it down, here's what temperatures look like through black Friday on the latest edition of the EURO. Up, down, and all around.
I mentioned earlier how dry the current pattern is with minimal moisture available for any fronts or forcing to work on. From now through black Friday rainfall totals on the EURO and GFS look like this. Flat our boring.
LONG RANGE RAMBLINGS...
Switching gears let's touch bases on the long range aspect of the forecast, especially December. This period has been of particular interest to me for some time due to my long held belief it was going to be a wintry month. The long range MJO forecast came in on the EURO and its encouraging in that it sinks up with the way I've been leaning. If you follow the pink dots on the phase diagram you can watch the period December 1 through December 18th. The model begins early in the month in phase 6 which is actually fairly mild in December. However, by the 6th it has entered phase 7 and appears to be trending towards phase 8. In December phase 7 is cold and wet. Phase 8 is significantly cold over much of the nation. So just using the MJO, it implies the first few days of December may be mild but a big change to colder weather should evolve after that which could run the table through months end. The little yellow lines are the ensemble members (they make up the mean forecast in pink). In many cases these are far from the center of the diagram. That indicates amplitude in the pattern and the more of that you get, the stronger the chances for bitter cold. The danger here is that this is a forecast and if the model wets the bed that means the sheets (in this case the forecast), need to be changed.
Further reinforcing the MJO's idea is the 46 day temperature outlook off Thursday night's weeklies. On average, it's showing below normal temperatures from November 18th to January 3rd. As a rule, the EURO has trouble seeing cold, especially at long distances. So while this may not look all the wicked, it's actually a cold run for this model and often times it ends up even colder. Again, a lot of speculation here but it's tied to many years of looking at these goofy maps!
Last but not least, (just because it warms my snow loving heart), here's the 46 day snowfall forecast ending January 3rd. That's a heck of a nice run there and one that I would take in a heartbeat. Remember this is the average of a bunch of members but what's encouraging about the look is that the snow is plentiful throughout the central Midwest. As a forecaster, never do you bet on the specific numbers but the trend is often your friend. I'm hoping this one becomes my best buddy!
The precipitation departures over this 46 day period are quite substantial, 1.5 to 3 inches over all my area. That would be a significant reversal of the dry pattern we are currently in. I did mention above that phase 7 of the MJO in December is not only cold but wet, meaning the weeklies do fit the overall teleconnection of the MJO.
Before I sign off, I do want to stress that I'm really getting out of the box here and most forecasters won't even look at this road let alone travel it. I'm just stacking dominoes based on data and theory hoping they don't tumble. If they do, it ain't for lack of trying.
By the way, I'm doing a hit on the RFD radio network about the long range pattern with Jim Taylor tomorrow. I don't know when it's due to run since its recorded. However, I will try to snip the recording or podcast and put it up on the site when it's available. They probably have a program listing on their site too if you are interested.
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