SMOKE FROM A DISTANT FIRE...
We've all heard that saying, where there's smoke there's fire. For the time being, there's no evidence of any flames but far in the distance, the smoke is there from a blaze that could change our weather dramatically around Halloween. Metaphorically, I'm referencing an atmospheric re-alignment that in time (and stages) will bring us a taste taste of the winter ahead. I'll get into the details in a minute.
First and foremost, it's the weekend and for the most part the sensible weather looks straight forward and rather uneventful. The key driver is a clipper that has consistently been shown passing northeast of the region Friday night. Ahead of it, warm advection brings us a mild mostly sunny day Friday with highs in the low to mid 60s. Friday night a few clouds (and perhaps a sprinkle north) will attend a cold front that sweeps southeast. That leads to gusty NW winds Saturday, a mixture of sun and clouds, and temperatures that are several degrees cooler. We close out the weekend Sunday with another dry day and highs in the upper 50s to near 60. Less wind too! Pretty seasonal stuff.
COMPLEX PATTERN UNFOLDS NEXT WEEK...
Yesterday one of the points I stressed about the coming pattern was the importance of phasing in determining the details. If there's one issue that stands out about deep western troughs, it's that models have challenges resolving the interaction of energy within them at long distances. One of the reasons why is the lack of data over the vast waters of the Pacific. Until better sampling goes into model initialization near the west coast, there can be significant spreads in solutions. After reasonably good agreement in model output Wednesday, Thursday brought some uncertainty regarding phasing and pattern evolution. It's not surprising to me, in fact I've been expecting it which is why I keep mentioning it in my posts.
Where it first becomes noticeable is with the first wave of energy that comes out of the SW Wednesday. Yesterday the EURO and GFS were both showing short wave energy coming out of the SW being incorporated into the mean trough digging into the west. Today the GFS still shows that scenario
The EURO is far less phased keeping a split flow with the westerlies across the upper Midwest and the SW energy remaining largely intact over Mexico.
Somewhat surprisingly, despite the different looks both solutions still produce relatively similar results with rainfall that develops Wednesday. The primary difference is the GFS is more organized and keeps the rain going into Thursday morning where the GFS moves is out Wednesday night. Here's what the GFS and EURO suggest for rain from this first impulse.
After this wave departs, the trough reloads and sharpens again over the Rockies. This should be the catalyst for a new round of rain (potentially some thunderstorms) late Sunday or Monday. That is followed by a blast of wind and cold air for Halloween that will also make for a cold start to November.
Again, we may still see some phasing issues crop up since we are still a good week away but at least at 500mb, there's decent consistency October 30th that cold air is plunging into the Plains on its way to the Midwest.
Specifically, the EURO is slower delivering the cold into the area showing these temperature departures November 1st.
The GFS 24 hours earlier has this Halloween evening.
To give you an idea of the potential that exists regarding cold, the EURO has this for temperatures November 1st
The GFS is far worse with readings as low as15-20 the morning of November 3rd
And look at these wind chills the morning of November 2nd on the GFS. That's harsh, if indeed it happens.
Cold of this magnitude would easily be able to support snow. The ensembles of the EURO, GFS, and Canadian GEM do point to some light snow showers or flurries sometime October 31-November 2nd.
The Canadian GEM
By the way, teleconnections do support the cold. The MJO (Madden Julien Oscillation) is shown going into phase1 by November 1st. The phase 1 temperature analogs do point to widespread cold. Above normal precipitation too.
The EPO is strongly negative, a cold phase
The WPO is actually off the grid supporting major ridging in the Pacific with a downstream 500mb buckle in the Midwest allowing the transport of cold as well.
Even the Arctic Oscillation is showing a bit of a negative trend which further more is support for cold.
If nothing else, there is plenty of weather on the table the next 2 weeks. That includes significant precipitation and temperatures that will have the potential to start warm and end substantially colder. We may have to face the piper next weekend. To be sure, we are still at a distance where model skill scores do not lead to high confidence in any specific solution. Changes of some degree are expected going forward in this energetic pattern. Time will tell how it all plays out. Lots of challenges ahead for me! Roll weather...TS
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