If you’ve been following this site for any time now, you have probably seen me rant about how forecast models should only be used as a tool and not as an actual forecast. With how the internet and social media has evolved over the years, you get a lot of sites, Facebook pages, etc. that will post these models, get everyone all hyped up, and have to totally flip on their “forecast” by the next model run. See, I have no problem with posting forecast models on Firsthand Weather and will continue to do so. So am I being a hypocrite by criticizing other sites and pages for doing the exact same thing? Not at all. The problem is posting models and not trying to understand the WHY behind what that forecast model is trying to tell us. I could teach about anyone how to interpret a forecast model, but the real skill is knowing if that particular model run makes sense or not. So I’m giving away my secret to all of you forecasters that read this blog. Understand the WHY, and you will continuously learn new things for decades to come. Taking that simple advice would make forecast accuracy go through the roof!
Okay, I’m going to finally start talking about what you came here to read. We just had one of the coldest Arctic outbreaks in decades, and I’m pretty sure people thought we were a little crazy back when we started predicting this. We’re going to get a little warmup, which will really begin this weekend and will go into next week. Parts of the West may cool off, but in general, everyone is going to warm up.
After this warmup, it’s going to get very cold again by mid-January, and we could actually lock into a cold pattern in the central and eastern U.S., which could last well into February. We’ve actually been thinking this could happen for quite some time now, and there is absolutely no reason for us to back down on that forecast. In fact, we could be dealing with a sequel to what just happened, except this time, we may not get the warmup to follow. Another big difference is that there could be a couple of systems that ride up the East Coast in the mid to late January timeframe. This would give even the Deep South a snowstorm, and the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast could absolutely get hammered.
For areas especially in the Eastern U.S., this next round could be worse. But this time, many would get snow that hasn’t seen a lot so far. We’re seeing things happen right now that haven’t happened in decades, and it doesn’t look like it’s about to stop. In other words, this last cold blast was not just a one-time thing. In my next couple of articles to be released over the next few days, I’m going to get deeper into why this will likely happen and start setting up a detailed timeline of when all of this will take place.
Until then, be sure to like our Facebook page, and follow our updates! In case you missed it, here’s our 2013-14 winter forecast for the rest of the winter! It looks like it’s going to be a fun ride!
Matthew Holliday is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, where he completed a B.S. in Meteorology and a B.S. in Geographic Information Science. He is currently pursing his master's degree in meteorology and climatology at Mississippi State University. Matthew founded Firsthand Weather in 2010 as a senior in high school and maintained the site through his undergraduate career. Research that was conducted by Matthew while at OU involved determining the synoptic environment in which various types of wave clouds (including vertically propagating waves and trapped waves) develop in Boulder, Colorado and Norman, OK. Matthew also did research on spatial changes in tornado activity across the United States . The goal of this study was to determine if spatial changes in tornado activity had occurred and if those changes could be linked to changes in average surface dew point temperature. Matthew has completed coursework in dynamics, thermodynamics, cloud physics, calculus and differential equations, statistics, remote sensing, GIS, synoptic meteorology, and mesoscale meteorology. His goal is to provide his audience with a deeper understanding of what drives our weather and climate, while making it easy and enjoyable to learn.