HOW DO YOU SPELL RELIEF? T-H-A-W!
Make no mistake about it, the past 5 days have been brutal thanks to a pre-Christmas onslaught of winter weather we haven't seen in decades. Snow, extreme cold, and vicious winds have made life miserable and snarled traffic in many parts of the nation, including places in the southern U.S. where such things are rare.
Temperatures of zero or colder were seen in 44 states, with all 50 states reporting a reading below 32 degrees. Even the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii reached a low of 30 degrees.
Temperatures over the past 5 days have averaged 20-25 degrees below average around the central United States.
Here's a rare event too, snow fell in 47 of the 50 states during the cold snap.
This year 56 percent of the nation had a white Christmas.
Last year that number was anemic with only 26 percent of the country experiencing a white Christmas. It was green from Iowa or Illinois and points south.
Another remarkable difference between this Christmas and last year are the temperatures. December 24th last year the high was 60 in the Quad Cities with a low of 34. This year the high was 13 and the low 0. If you take into account wind chills, which hit 35 below, this year felt approximately 95 DEGREES COLDER!
The final phase of this round of cold was initiated with a burst of snow Christmas night. The clipper responsible, left its snow and a reinforcing shot of cold air that is already on the way out Wednesday. Here's the snow totals from Christmas night.
A larger perspective of the corn belt.
WARMER DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN
Tuesday temperatures will begin to modify as the atmosphere responds to the MJO (Madden Julian Oscillation) swinging into phases 5 and 6 for the remainder of December. You can see it here as forecast by the EURO.
During December the temperature analogs for both phases 5 and 6 are very much on the mild side.
The EURO is on the MJO band wagon with highs in the 30s and 40s.
Where snow cover is minimal in the south Thursday, readings in the 50s are possible. Look at the 60s in Missouri. Now that's a nice change from below zero a week ago.
Back to the MJO forecast above. Check it again and you will note that the MJO gets into phase 7 and eventually 8 by January 18th. That means readings will likely cool to near normal the first week of January with the potential of going below that if we get into the colder analog of phase 8 the 2nd or 3rd week of January.
Having said all this, I don't see any real strong teleconnections indicating major warmth or cold after the first week of January. Certainly nothing like the bitter cold we just went through.
Short term, I don't see much precipitation either. There is a shot at some showers Thursday night, mainly over the SE but they appear to be light. Here's the total precipitation forecast on the EURO through Saturday. None of this is snow.
That is gonna do it for today. Temperatures will still be a little chilly but the ride up the roller coaster is just beginning. Hope you all had a fantastic holiday! Roll weather...TS