Well, we have been talking about the pattern change for around two weeks now, and things have transpired according to plan across much of the Northern Hemisphere. We have a massive area of ridging set up over the West Coast that has caused record high temperatures as well as wildfires across California. Our second area of ridging has taken shape over Greenland and both of these features have led to a deep trough digging into the central US and east, which we’ll discuss in further detail in just a bit. Today was a cooler and calmer day across the entire Northeast after the passage of a rather large cold front that moved through yesterday evening. While the immediate temperature change didn’t occur for hours, the front did bring in a new Arctic source region for our airmass for the duration of the week. This new Arctic airmass has been modified somewhat was leftover Pacific air, but partly cloud skies and cooler temperatures aloft allowed highs to only get into the upper 30’s and lower 40’s this afternoon, with some slightly warmer readings closer to the coast. The main story behind this front was the dramatically decreasing dewpoints across the entire Northeast, signalling the arrival of a dry continental polar airmass. Additionally, winds were a bit gusty this afternoon, on the order of 15-20 miles per hour, which certainly added to the winter chill in the air. Calm conditions should continue throughout the evening, with light winds from the southwest taking over. Despite the southwesterly winds, cold air advection is expected over much of the area, with decent conditions for radiational cooling to take place. Overall, expect a rather chilly night with lows in the upper 20’s and lower 30’s near the New York City metro, and lower to middle 20’s further to the north and west.
Thursday and a Close-Call On Friday
The large area of trofiness will continue to dig into the central and eastern portions of the US tomorrow morning, allowing a massive and intense upper level jet streak to work in over the Northeast. This jet streak may provide some high level clouds tomorrow, but the majority of the active weather will likely stay over portions of the deep south and Gulf of Mexico throughout the day. Conditions should be mostly sunny tomorrow with light subsiding winds, so expect near-normal temperatures across the area, with highs likely reaching into the upper 30’s and lower 40’s. This should be right around normal for this time of year. These calm conditions will likely remain throughout the day as a secondary jet streak to our north creates large-scale sinking air over the Northeast. Temperatures Thursday night should be able to fall a little steeper this time around, with lows likely dipping into the middle to lower 20’s across much of the Northeast, with locations farther north and west likely seeing upper teens and lower 20’s for lows, which will be a good bit below-average.
As mentioned, things become a bit more interesting on Friday as the same upper level jet-streak begins to intensify as energy from the deep-south begins to quickly head north as the trough over the eastern third of the country begins to tilt. This tilting will cause the jet streak over the east coast to retrograde , or head westward throughout the day on Friday. Some more high level cirrus clouds are expected during the day, with another shot of cold air in the lower levels also likely. This should allow highs over the region to remain in the middle to upper 30’s, with locations closer to the coast likely hitting the 40-degree mark. The aforementioned strong upper level jet streak will work with copious amounts of energy just off the east coast to produce widespread precipitation along a frontal boundary.
This frontal boundary could have a wave of low pressure develop along it that may allow precipitation to affect portions of the coast, and possibly into the NYC area. Model guidance has been going back and forth with this frontal system, showing light to moderate precipitation over the area on one run, just to show virtually of the precip off the coast on the next. At this time, we think that there is a decent chance that far eastern locations near the coast (especially Long Island) may see some light snow out of this frontal system. Depending on how things transpire over the next day or so, there is a rather low risk of accumulating snowfall west of central Long Island, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see some snow falling across the lower Hudson valley on Friday night, as many of these weak frontal systems with strong jet-stream energy tend to tick north and west in the last 24 hours. We will certainly be monitoring this system over the next two days and will provide updates when necessary!
Potentially Active Period Next Week
With the massive ridging over the west, deep trough in the central/eastern US, and limited blocking over Greenland, we could be looking at the potential for a few light snow events over the next week. The first would be possible on Sunday as the upper level low from the storm system on Friday begins to rotate over the region. Only snow showers would be possible with this system, but we should lake effect snow increase quite substantially from this system as cold low level air moves over the still-warm lakes. The next chance for something of substance would be on Tuesday as a large amount of energy dives down from Canada and into the base of the trough over the east. The models have been extremely inconsistent with the handling of this piece of energy, but it seems that this system may try to phase with a very strong upper level low over the Great Lakes region, which would promote a storm developing just to our south or over our region. At this time, there is no support for a sizable storm, but with a setup like this and a good deal of energy involved, its always good to watch these systems as they come down from Canada. Lastly, we look at late next week and into the weekend when more energy begins to dive down from Canada. This energy may have a better shot at successfully phasing with that same strong upper level low over the Great Lakes, but it will be a couple of days before this potential system comes into the reliable range of the computer model guidance. With an active period shaping up for the rest of December, remember to check back for updates as they come out!
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Have a great evening!