Monday, January 9, 2012

Big pattern change? Maybe not

A significant low pressure system will cross the central and eastern United States at midweek, and some meteorologist speculated a few days ago that the storm might be enough to help change the mild winter pattern we've seen so far.

But the latest evidence indicates that any change won't be a real game-changer ... the kind of change that would leave the Southeast prone to snow next week.

The idea was that as low pressure moves into New England, the counter-clockwise flow around the storm would drag cold air down from Canada. In short, the system might open the flood gates from the north.

Certainly, colder air will follow the storm. High temperatures from Friday into early next week will be held to the upper 40s, although I've seen a few forecasts that take those highs into the 50s over the weekend.

But there is no sign in the next 10 days of a bitterly cold air outbreak, the kind needed for a bout of snow or ice.

Several factors are needed for snow or ice in the Southeast. For starters, cold air is necessary. If high pressure were to build over eastern Alaska, the clockwise flow around the high could send arctic air into the eastern United States. There also would have to be a storm track out of the Southwest, with the center of the storm passing across the Southeast -- not up the Ohio Valley, as has been the case several times this winter (and will be the case with this week's storm).

Clearly, there are signs that a cooling pattern is ticketed for the eastern United States during the latter half of January, but the real question is how far south the really cold air will get. Many of the computer models indicate it won't get cold enough in the Carolinas Piedmont for wintry precipitation in the next 10 to 14 days.

We'll keep an eye on the models over the next few days, to see if that changes.

In the immediate future, we'll have Wednesday's storm system to deal with.

Today's clammy conditions -- light rain and temperatures in the upper 40s -- will be replaced Tuesday by partly sunny skies and highs near 60, as weak high pressure builds into the region. Then showers will move into the Charlotte region before daybreak Wednesday.

At some point Wednesday afternoon or evening, the atmosphere might get unstable enough for thunderstorms. Regardless, a significant rainfall is likely, and we should get another soaker to keep ground water levels from shrinking. It has been quite dry over the last 10 days, and the rain will be appreciated.


Anonymous said...

I need to become a weathercaster. You have a 50 percent shot of being right and you can still keep your job.

In any other line of work you'd be fired for such stats.

Frank S. said...

So you think all meteorologists should be fired?
Do you think cancer researchers are wrong 50% of the time?
Probably more like 99%.
Should they be fired?
Do you know how much our military depends on weather forecasts?
Should they just throw all that info out the window just because it might not be 100% correct?
What exactly is your point?

Anonymous said...

Take a deep breath Frank S. It's going to be okay.

Anonymous said...

Well Anon 3:00, you certainly did strike a nerve with Frank S. ('s Frank Straight perhaps?)

But seriously your comment is both JV and Busch League. Not because it's stupid and wrong, but because it's played out and not funny.

The weather is hard to predict. Cut the weather nerds some slack.

Anonymous said...

What I use as a predictor does not bode well for any snow here in the near future. Unlike this "weatherman"; my forecast is built on a more metaphysical forumula....My company's recievables are maintaining a 48 day cycle; my son's grades are still hovering around average...Now if my clients start paying me on my 30 day billing cycle; and my son's grades improve to a "B" or better, we will experience the next ICE AGE, and Heck Will Freeze Over!!!...It'll be colder than we want....I'll let you know when to buy snow tires by the first semester's grades...

Anonymous said...

I agree...anonymous 3:00 seems to have nothing better to do. I actually enjoy learning more about what all they look into to predict Charlotte's weather. Get some common sense and just enjoy reading the article.

arejaye said...

Frank S....settle down and breathe. The sky isn't fallin'.
Personally, I like the weather so far this winter, even though gloomy days like today are kinda blah,and great for sleepin, it keeps my electric bill managable, and affordable enough even to take Frank S. to the clinic for his valium. lol

Anonymous said...

I have been pleased with this winter and I hope it continues...could this mean a milder summer perhaps? Since both winter 2010/2011 and Summer of 2011 was pretty rough...

Loving the mild conditions because of the modest power bills it brings!

Frank S. said...

I never said the sky was falling, now did I?
I think meteorology is a very refined science, and the first comment was that they should be fired and just struck a nerve.
Any science is inexact.
Should all scientists be fired?
Of course not.

Anonymous said...

Fired? Wow, that's ignorant. Just read. It's science you idiot! It will never be exact in our lifetime. That is what's fun about predicting it. Long range forecasts are nearly impossible. But pioneers of the weather industry take a stab at it.

Anonymous said...

The unfortunate thing about Steve Lyttle is that everything he writes, EVERYTHING HE HAS EVER WRITTEN, is completely made up. I'm not kidding. If he says it will rain, plan a vacation. If he says there will be a drought, I send my kids to school with an umbrellas and rain suits. If he says it will snow, I turn on the AC. Don't believe me? Check it out yourself.