Jan 2, 2011: Cold Pattern Becomes Established

Today was a cloudy day across the area with scattered showers this morning due to a cold front moving through. A wave of low pressure brought a round of light to moderate rain to the central and eastern parts of the area this evening, which is now starting to end in the eastern parts of the area. High temperatures peaked in the upper 40s to lower 50s across the area, and with a cold air mass moving into the area and becoming established for most of this month, it will not get this warm again for a while.

Tomorrow’s Outlook:

Tomorrow will be a mostly sunny day across the area with colder temperatures as 850 mb temperatures drop to near -10c. High temperatures will be in the upper 20s to lower 30s inland and in the lower to mid 30s for the rest of the area. A few mid 30s cannot be ruled out in the western parts of the area. A west northwest wind is expected.

Tuesday – Wednesday: Chilly, Dry

On Tuesday, as a weak low pressure moves through the Great Lakes, temperatures will briefly warm up, reaching the upper 30s to lower 40s across most of the area as the 850 mb temperatures slightly warm up before cooling down again as the low pressure exits the region and another cold air mass moves in. This low pressure will bring scattered snow showers to the Northeast, and while a few isolated rain or snow showers are possible in the area, the best chance for that will be to the north and east of the area.

For Wednesday, as previously mentioned a cold air mass will return with 850 mb temps dropping slightly below -10c, leading to high temperatures similar to, if not slightly cooler than those of tomorrow.

Thursday – Saturday: Potential Snowstorm Update

On Thursday, cloud cover is expected to increase in the area as a low pressure from the Great Lakes starts to approach the area, bringing scattered snow showers by Thursday night to the area. There is still uncertainty with the storm as each model does something different, however the models have nailed down a general track area and some potentials scenarios.

The low pressure will originally start out near the Great Lakes and will move east or ESE from there, and will bring widespread light precipitation, meaning that regardless of what the storm does once it exits off the coast, most of the region as well as the NYC area are likely to see at least some snow during this time frame, even if it’s just flurries. There is uncertainty afterwards, however, with what the storm does once it moves off the coast, as intensification is expected to take place but the question seems to be when and where, and with the models still showing different solutions for this time frame, it may not be until at least Tuesday when we get a better idea of the likely scenario for this time frame.

At this time, it is possible that the storm simply moves out to sea and produces a little heavier snow for New England just as much as it’s possible that the storm quickly intensifies and slows down closer to the coast with heavier snowfall from the NYC area further north/east lasting through Saturday and early Sunday. Despite this range, however, most models do agree that New England has the best chance of seeing a potentially significant snowstorm, the southern Mid Atlantic is the least likely place to see heavier snowfall, and that this storm will likely be nowhere near the magnitude of last weekend’s blizzard for the area. In addition, windy conditions are possible once the storm moves away from the area. Stay tuned for more information on this storm and how it may affect the area.

Longer Range: Cold Pattern Continues

Regardless of what the storm does, it will get cold behind it, with the coldest temperatures so far this January. The latest models show high temperatures in the 20s for at least parts of the area for Sunday, which is reasonable at this time. Temperatures will moderate a little afterwards, however I am keeping an eye on the longer range with what could be a much stronger arctic air blast around the third week of January. More details on that potential will be posted with tomorrow’s winter outlook update and also once we get closer to that time range.

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