Trying to understand what the weather will be like for the rest of the month is like putting pieces of a puzzle together. Most of the pieces are sitting out there on the table with a few missing, and I’m the one left putting the pieces together. That’s where I’m at right now, and as I fit these pieces together, I will continue to get a clearer picture of what is going to take place over the coming days. Let me share with you what I foresee taking place.
The forecast period from now going into February will be very active and is actually going to get somewhat complicated. It was pretty straightforward to me back 2 or 3 weeks ago that a part of the polar vortex was going to split off and give us the recent bitter cold that we recently experienced across the United States. First off, we have two systems that we are going to have to keep an eye on for next week, but I do not think either of these systems will be huge. Some areas will get snow from this, and at some point, I’ll specify those areas in a later article or on the Facebook page. I don’t see this being anything that would give the southern U.S. any snow, and neither of these will be the big storm that I think is going to occur later in the month.
Fast-forwarding to mid-week, we’re going to have a pretty strong trough building in the eastern U.S. while ridging will be building back in the West. While I see temperatures being below-normal, this will not compare to the Arctic event that occurred a few days back. Now before you start thinking it, I’m not backing off my very cold forecast for later in the month. I just don’t want you to get next week’s cool down in the East confused with what I still think will occur later in the month.
If you go back and study previous winters, typically you don’t just have one cold Arctic blast, and then winter just wraps itself up and goes away. Once something occurs, many times it will happen again later down the road. Now I may be totally wrong on this (which I don’t think I am, otherwise I wouldn’t be telling you about it), but the last week of January could end up very cold in the eastern U.S. with a monster snowstorm developing and moving up the East Coast. I don’t think this would be one of those situations where snow/ice would be limited to just the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic, but the Southeastern U.S. would get in on this also. Going back to what I said about things happening in cycles, a winter storm occurring along the East Coast the last week of January is actually supported by Lezak’s Recurring Cycle (LRC). To put it simply, the LRC allows us to make predictions well into the future based on previous events.
Determining how expansive the cold air later in January will be is becoming quite difficult. Next week, models have the ridge building pretty far to the east and actually have areas like the Southern Plains on up to the Northern Plains and areas westward with above average temps. I actually agree with that for next week, but whether or not that ridge continues to be placed that far to the east going into the last week of January is the question. Regardless, the eastern third of the U.S. looks brutally cold to me all the way to the end of the month, particularly the last week of January.
I have a lot more to talk about, but I’m going to end it here for tonight since it is getting kind of late. I will be posting some stuff on the Facebook page so go give it a like if you haven’t already.
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.