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Long Range Outlook: Active Pattern in December. But Will it Snow?

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Cool start, unsettled trend by midweek

The week will begin, to the disappointment of many, with colder weather behind a front which shifted through the area on Sunday morning. The anomalously warm, and almost spring-like, airmass which settled into the area during the latter half of last week and this weekend will have been shunted southward. Behind the front will come cooler, less humid air. Monday morning is likely to be quite crisp, with low temperatures in the 20’s and 30’s away from the coast and in the mid 30’s even in the city.

The week will be marked by a transitional weather pattern, beginning with cold air and ending with a gradual warming trend. In between, periods of rain and unsettled weather are expected during the middle part of the week. A low pressure system moving through the Mississippi Valley and eventually reforming off the East Coast will be to blame, with increasing moisture and lift for precipitation by Tuesday and Wednesday.

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Five things to expect during the upcoming winter

Just about a month ago, we released our 2015-2016 Winter Forecast to the public. The forecast featured a tremendous amount of information, research, and data, most of it very technical in nature. With winter only a few weeks away, there is no better time than now for us to lay out the ideas we gathered in a more simplistic form. After all of our work to compile the forecast, there are five general things you should expect during this upcoming winter season.

1) The Winter of 2015-2016 will start off warm

Over the past few weeks, much has been made in regards to the warm pattern setting up for the month of December. Truth be told, confidence has never been higher that December will be a warmer than normal month with less snow than normal as well. Much of this can be attributed to the development and effects of a strong El Nino in the Equatorial Pacific. But some, also, has to do with the surrounding global circulations.

This month, the stratospheric polar vortex (way up there) tightened and strengthened over the North Pole. While this doesn’t totally eliminate any chance for our area to experience cold air, it does make it more difficult. A tighter and more consolidated stratospheric polar vortex means less atmospheric disruption in that region; i.e: Less high latitude blocking, or ridges, to displace the cold air farther south. This vortex is expected to weaken over the next 30 to 50 days, eventually moving and/or splitting and promoting high latitude blocking during the second half of the winter.

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GEFS at 384hr

Long-Range Outlook: Late November and December; December 1 Storm Threat

 

Welcome to our long-range outlook for the next 30-45 days. We hope to provide these outlooks with more in-depth analysis and discussion about every Monday and Thursday. The discussion is divided into several topics to cover all aspects of the model guidance and climate indicators.

For today, we discuss the overall pattern and what to expect going into late November and through much of December.

1. Model Guidance Discussion

The 500mb pattern this week will feature a North Atlantic ridge being suppressed by a deep polar vortex developing over Greenland and Iceland. This is a classic +AO/NAO pattern that typically supports a strong ridge for the East Coast. An -EPO ridge forming over the the Northeast Pacific and Alaska will cause a trough to dig into the Western US. In response, a ridge will build over the Central and Eastern US.

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