What a difference a day can make! Around this time yesterday, we were tracking strong tornadoes as they made their way across Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky. There were around 70 tornadoes yesterday, but it’ll take days to survey all of the damage and determine the exact number of tornadoes and their ratings. Nonetheless, it was an impressive late-season outbreak, and it’s incredible that all of this has happened in a record-low tornado season. We had the EF-5 Moore tornado in May, the El Reno, OK tornado, which ended up being the widest tornado ever recorded, and then yesterday’s outbreak. As I’ve stated countless time, these not-so-active seasons can sometimes be the most memorable and still cause a lot of damage to life and property. Let this tornado season be an example of that.
Now I want to start looking towards this weekend and next week as we begin getting closer to Thanksgiving. As you’ve probably noticed, the weather has been quite bi-polar over the last few weeks, and it would not be shocking to me if this trend continues for the rest of November and well into December. We’re still early in the season and haven’t technically started the meteorological winter yet, but many times, October and November can give us a hint as to what we may be dealing with during the winter months. I don’t see us locking into a several-week, non-stop cold pattern in the near future, but we will most likely see several Arctic blasts and then warm-ups in between over the next few weeks. With that said though, you can get several winter events that can be quite impressive when the Arctic air is in place, which is why we could have a lot to talk about especially as we head into December. By the time we get into January and February, I could see us actually locking into a cold pattern in the eastern half of the U.S., and by that time, we will all probably be wishing for spring to hurry up and get here. Hopefully that gives you a hint as to what I foresee taking place down the road.
In the more short-term, we’re going to have cold, Arctic air blasting south due to a Canadian high that is going to start moving southeastward into the United States this week. By mid-week, this cold air will begin moving into the High Plains, and by this weekend, temperatures will be quite cold well into Texas. The cold air will begin to spread east and southeastward into the eastern U.S. by late weekend/early next week with freezing temperatures likely all the way down to the Gulf coast and into Florida. This Canadian high will be quite strong and is looking to be very impressive. Given that we are moving closer to the winter months, this may be our coldest air so far this season, but we’ll just have to keep an eye on everything throughout the week.
Another feature that I am watching and may actually do a separate article on is a low pressure system that is going to cut-off and strengthen as it tracks across the Southwestern U.S. I know that it is early in the season, but this needs to be watched. Given the impressive high pressure system that will be pushing the cold air well into the Southern Plains, you have to be careful not to dismiss a possible winter event even despite how early we are in the season. At this point, I’m not making a forecast but am keeping a close watch on the possibility. Models have this system sitting around for a few days and then moving east over the Southern Plains next week. It all depends on how much cold air is in place, and as always, timing is key. Even if this were to be an all-rain event next week, there could be some wintry precipitation this weekend.
I know this article ended up being a little more lengthy than usual, but there is going to be a lot to talk about in the upcoming days. As always, keep following our updates on Facebook throughout the day. Have a good Monday, everyone!
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.