FEBRUARY, WILL THE LION WAKE
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IN LIKE A LAMB, OUT LIKE A LION...
I'm a month ahead of the traditional folklore, but if ever there was a time for the saying, in like a lamb, out like a lion, it may be this February. First of all, if you are one of the weatherheads who frequents this site, pat yourself on the back, you are a weather freak. Not only that, you probably recall my statement (issued multiple times, a much as 10 days ago) that the signals were there for another healthy shot of winter starting around February 15th. Today, the good old boys drinking whiskey and wine tell me the lion is waking. More on what that means in a moment.
First, feast your eyes on the 500mb jet position indicated February 2nd on the EURO, That big paint bomb is an upper level high that is diverting the winds aloft to southerly as far north as Hudson Bay in Canada. This is also called a rex block, with troughs to the west and east. These are hard to break and can last up to 10 days.
Look at the temperature impacts in Canada. Readings as much as 50 degrees above normal were a reality Wednesday in southern Canada. That is a remarkable feat!
A closer view shows readings in NC North Dakota, not far from Minot nearly 44 degrees above the norm.
This is eerily familiar to December when a similar pattern produced the warmest December on record for many Midwestern States, including Iowa. Every state in dark red was the warmest in 129 years of records!
The bottom line is, we've seen this before. It ended with a 3-week period of severe winter weather across our region, with up to 30 inches of snow and 10 days of harsh, wind driven sub-zero cold. Then came the snap, and now we've bounced back to the warmth seen in December, with a lot of that January snow being vanquished.
DOES THE PENDULUM SWING COLD?
This begs the question, does history repeat itself by allowing the pendulum to swing cold once again? Most certainly that won't happen anytime soon with the rex block holding cold air at bay. In fact, above normal readings should last through the next 10 days. However, right on cue February 15th, long range guidance shows the breaker getting flipped with the first signs of cold the 15th.
The teleconnections certainly support the flip, with the AO (Arctic Oscillation) going strongly negative around February 19-20th. That certainly indicates the westerlies are weakening, allowing much colder air access to the mid-latitudes.
The PNA surging positive implies a ridging over the west and s trough centered somewhere over the central or east. A combination of the AO and PNA should allow the cold to do its dirty work mid-February on.
One of the unknowns is where that ridge to the west sets up. Further west is the sweet spot for bitter and prolonged cold. If the ridge is more over the Plains, the cold may be more progressive and come and go quickly, or in bursts. That is a key issue that needs to be resolved in the coming 7–10 days.
Anyway, let me show you the 7-day temperature departures for the period February 5th-12th. Quite the blow torch for early February (the lamb).
Then the 7-day departures, February 20-27th. That's a significant reversal from about 15 degrees above normal to 10 degrees below. That 25 degree reversal is the lion.
At this distance, it's very hard to define the short wave storm track, so it's difficult to say what that means for snow. I would certainly think accumulating snow returns, but it's very unlikely to the degree we saw back in early January. For what it's worth, the 46-day snowfall forecast off the Euro extended control is bullish through March 17th.
Again, these are early trends, but the deterministic models seem to be sniffing what the teleconnections have been pointing at. As a result, I see good reasons to believe another plunge into winter is coming starting in about 2 weeks. Meantime, enjoy the lamb grazing in your yard. Roll weather...TS PS Due to my recent health issues, I'm in need of your donation to the site more than ever. If you use it and find value in it, please consider a donation. Thanks to you who have already pulled the trigger!