WHERE THE COMPASS IS POINTING...

We are on the cusp of December, personally my favorite month of the year for a number of reasons. One of the biggest is snow and Christmas, to me they go hand and hand. At least growing up in the 60s and early 70s it seemed that more were white than not. That certainly hasn't been the case for me or much of my area recently. These are the temperature departures for December the past 9 years. I knew it was bad but this even surprised me! Not a single part of the continental U.S. showing cold during December. Pathetic.

So what are the prospects for this December? Well as I indicated in my previous post there are strong signs of blocking in Canada the next two weeks which would allow colder air access to the Midwest. The MJO is relatively neutral so it's not a big player and that means other teleconnections become stronger factors, including the AO, EPO, NAO, and PNA. However, those are wide ranging with some in warm phases and others trending cold. Over the past 24 hours models have wavered warm and cold. Averaging out all the available signals, I give a nod towards near to below normal readings December 1through December 15th. That in itself would be a victory for cold considering the mild nature of the past 9 Decembers.


After that my concern is that the MJO does its usual soiree into the warm phases and we end up with more of the same, mild weather the second half of the month. In all honesty the case is circumstantial and I would not want to bring it before a judge. Personally, I would be thrilled if we could just come close to normal on December temperatures and squeeze out a bit of snow to get the mood flowing before Christmas.


As it stands today, the GFS and EURO have this for snow the next two weeks ending around December 14th. (A reminder that what you are seeing are composites of numerous forecasts, some with more snow and others with less). The EURO incorporates 51 solutions in its 15 day snowfall output below. With the two week average coming in at 1 to perhaps 2" over the next 15 days. Overall, the NW flow is not great for much in the way of snow around my area into mid-December.


The EURO

The GFS is just as paltry. Not what you want to see if you are a fan of the white gold.

As for temperatures December 2-12th, this is what models are currently showing for departures. For the most part near to perhaps slightly above normal readings in my area.


The EURO

The GFS is pretty much in the camp of the EURO, close to normal.

I guess the big take away for me is that there is a great deal of uncertainty regarding how the pattern evolves over the next 1-2 weeks, continuing through the rest of winter. I do see some hope for wintry periods but I also see some major challenges that blur the lines of how the winter plays out. I hate to sit on the fence but as I've been saying for more than a month, my overall grade for the winter as a whole is a C+, perhaps a B-. That equates to slightly above normal temperatures and near to below normal snowfall. I think the next two weeks will tell us a great deal about where the compass is pointing. Give me a few more days to follow the trends. This is a tough call as my area will be close to the storm track. A small shift one way or the other could make a big difference! Roll weather....TS


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