I have always found, the best way to predict the future is to look at the past! And that is very true with the weather. Well believe it or not, winter in coming to the Southeast. I know a lot of you thought it would never get here. This winter in the Southeast has been colder than last Winter with regard to day-time highs. However, we have not had any real cold or snow yet! The key word here is: yet. But, it is on the way. This Southeast block has not allowed any cold weather into the Southeast, but we expect this ridge to start breaking down in about 8 to 10 days! This will allow very cold air to come down from the Arctic. When I look back at December of 2010 when it got very cold and we even had snow on Christmas Day, we expect about the same setup in the upper air circulation in the coming days. This will produce very cold air and snow perhaps in late Jan. For example, in December of 2010, we had a negative Arctic Oscillation (AO) and a negative NAO at times. We also had a La Nina in 2010 but not this year. So, we had cooler-than-normal sea surface temperatures in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. Since the La Nina Winter did not act as most meteorologists thought it should, we are not sure how that will affect it at this point if any.
The temperature and precipitation pattern for December of 2010 matched what is expected from the negative Arctic Osillation in the Southeast, U.S. Florida and Georgia had the coldest December in the 1895-2010 record and the Carolinas ranked 3rd coldest. These below normal temperatures contributed to the Southeast regions ninth coldest for the period. Places like Atlanta, Ga recored its first White Christmas ever recored. Locations all over the Southeast had a White Christmas. Anderson, S.C. in the Upstate recorded 7 inches of snow. The last time a recorded White Christmas took place in Anderson was 52 years before.
So, what does this have to do with our future forecast? Well, we are thinking the same type of pattern may set up for the rest of this Winter of 2012-2013. All indications point to the NAO and the AO turning negative in about ten days. The 2010-2011 winter started early in the Southeast, and the Winter of 2012-2013 is going to start late. But believe me, when winter gets here it will make up for lost time. . .about the 18th of Jan. We expect the NAO to be well into the negative. The AO is forecast to be very negative also. We expect the ridge in the Southeast to break down and allow Arctic air to move in behind a very strong cold front. We expect the whole Southeast U.S. will turn very cold and stay that way for quite some time. Feb. and March will be very cold with one or two snows, and we even expect a very bad ice storm for sometime in Feb. and/or March. And it can snow big time in the South. On this date back in 1800 it snowed 18 inches in Savannah, GA. and 10 inches in Charleston, S.C. So, it does snow big in the Southeast and it will again at sometime in the future. By the way, Jerusalem got 7 inches of snow today and parts of Lebanon saw accumulations of five feet. That’s what I’m talking about. Bring it on! Len R. Holliday