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Long Range Pattern Change Gets Underway As 18 Ends & 19 Begins
As we digest our Christmas dinners snow lovers are wondering why it doesn’t look very Christmas like outside. I have always felt that Charles Dickens in a Christmas Carol did us all a disservice by planting the illusion of a White Christmas in our heads. For the most part they don’t happen too often in our area. In fact the rain storm in the Eastern US wiped out a lot of the snow cover in the Northeast. Most winters December is not a particularly snowy month. It is just that every so often we do see a big snowstorm in December and that distorts the averages. In many winters we see a pattern change get underway around this time give or take a week or two and it seems like that change is getting underway now. This could ultimately lead to what I would call the primary pattern that we will see in January and February.
The two indices that are front and center are the Pacific North America Index and the East Pacific Oscillation. The Pacific North America index or PNA goes strongly positive beginning this weekend and last thing through the first week of January. This strong move means that we will be seeing the trough shift to the East and a ridge in the west. Now we need a polar connection. This is our soon to be turning negative East Pacific Oscillation. By going negative is signally the establishment of a cold polar flow from Canada into the Eastern US though who gets the brunt of it remains to be seen.
These change manifest themselves in the GFS & Parallel GFS today as a colder flow gets established across Canada and into the Eastern US later next week. At this stage it is not a strong polar flow but it is a beginning. If all the other trends in the long range continue we would expect that polar connection to strengthen further as we get deeper into the first week of January.
In the transition next weekend we do have some shortwave energy coming at us and this could mean some rain or snow as a low passes to our south. Weather models have been going back with this but a lot will depend on the energy that follows in the west and whether there is enough room for it. Too much energy overwhelms and weakens system. The fact that the North Atlantic Oscillation is slightly negative would favor a more southern track. The latest European run does suggest that we could see rain or snow this coming Sunday as well as the Parallel GFS model. How cold and how much room remain to be seen.
In summary we think the recent “warm-ish” pattern is about to come to end and we are going to see the evolution of the weather pattern that will take us through most of the next 2 months. The signs all point to..well..winter!
MANY THANKS TO TROPICAL TIDBITS FOR THE USE OF MAPS
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