Jan 30, 2012: 60 Degrees Possible Again

Forecast Highlights:

– Warmth returns for Tuesday and Wednesday, 60 degrees possible on Wednesday
– Colder but still warmer than average for the weekend; isolated rain/snow showers?
– Slightly colder pattern likely to begin developing next week


With the third cold front over the last 3 days moving through the area last night, temperatures were colder today, with partly cloudy skies and highs reaching the mid to upper 30s inland (NW NJ/SE NY) and the upper 30s to lower 40s across the rest of the area. Yet another front is approaching the area, but instead of a cold front, this time a large warm front extending from the Mid Atlantic to North Dakota is pushing northeast, and will completely remove any strong cold from the region by tomorrow night, leaving the entire United States with a mild air mass with the strong cold bottled up in central/northern Canada and Alaska. Prior to the warmth, the warm front is currently resulting in widespread light snow in the Northeast, which will affect parts of southern Connecticut later tonight, but little, if any accumulations are expected.

With the warm air spreading across the entire United States, very mild temperatures are expected for tomorrow and Wednesday that will bring temperatures into the mid to upper 50s across the area, making this the third time over the last 10 days that temperatures end up significantly warmer than average. On Wednesday, parts of the area may even reach 60 degrees, making it the third time this month that the 60 degree mark could be reached in parts of the area. Colder temperatures will return for the late week and the weekend but will remain warmer than average, and while uncertainty increases for a potential storm either in the weekend or early next week, indications still show that the pattern is likely to gradually become colder starting later next week and into the long range.

Tuesday and Wednesday Outlook: Very Mild

With mostly sunny skies and a southwest wind, much warmer temperatures are expected tomorrow, reaching the mid 50s in NW NJ/SE NY and the mid to upper 50s across the rest of the area. These temperatures are nearly 20 degrees warmer than the average for this time of the year. With a weak cold front approaching the area on Wednesday, even warmer temperatures are expected, reaching the mid to upper 50s with parts of the immediate NYC area possibly reaching 60 degrees. Mostly cloudy skies are expected with scattered showers from the late afternoon through the overnight hours.

Thursday – Sunday: Storm Potential Uncertainty; Still Warmer Than Average

The weak cold front will move through the region overnight with mostly cloudy skies for Thursday. The ECM model which showed a storm yesterday backed down from its previous solution, joining the model consensus for mostly cloudy skies and the potential for a few isolated showers. Temperatures will be cooler but still warmer than average, reaching the mid to upper 40s across most of the area and the upper 40s to possibly near 50 degrees in the immediate NYC area. Although these temperatures are noticeably colder than those of Wednesday, they are still at least 10 degrees above average.

A high pressure with a slightly colder air mass will move in for Friday and Saturday, bringing temperatures back into the lower to mid 40s across most of the area. There is still uncertainty regarding a potential storm for the weekend, but the models do agree on an important aspect of the storm, showing a cutoff low developing in the western United States. This development, which is becoming more likely, would allow the cold to move out of the region prior to the arrival of the storm, potentially around early next week, making it more likely that the storm would affect the area with rain rather than snow. The ECM model shows a light rain/snow potential for Saturday with no storm early next week, although right now it is the only model showing such a solution. Even though there is still uncertainty and changes are expected with the storm, at this time it appears unlikely that this storm turns into a notable snowstorm for the area. Stay tuned for more information on any storm potential.

Longer Range Update:

The latest model guidance continues to signal changes in the pattern starting next week. Unlike the previous attempts of the models to show a pattern change which failed, this potential is already within the 10 day range while most of the other failed potentials were in the 10-15 day range. The GFS was the main support for the previous attempts of a pattern change, while the majority of the models and the ensembles in this case support changes in the pattern. Although little or no blocking develops, the biggest change in the pattern is the development of a +PNA and a western US ridge. This western US ridge will bring the potential for slightly more sustained cold in the eastern US, although the placement of the ridge is the main question as the ridge may not be as strong or may spread too far east which would limit any cold/snow potential for the area. In addition, the MJO, which has been stuck in phases 4-6, is moving out of these phases and towards phase 7, possibly 8, again signaling that some changes are possible for the longer range.

This is not a complete pattern flip; any changes are not expected to stick around through the rest of the winter, and at this time appear to be more likely to focus around the mid February time frame. In addition, some aspects of the current pattern are still in place, such as the lack of any -NAO and Greenland blocking. Despite this, however, minor changes are possible with the pattern starting next week and through at least February 15, if not a bit later, which is when the area may see some more cold and at least one snowstorm potential. The latest model guidance is signaling a storm potential around February 10, and while it is too early to know any specific of the set up this far out, this time frame will be watched for any snow potential. Stay tuned for more information on the longer range.

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