Friday, January 6, 2012

Signs that winter is lurking around the corner

Meteorologists and weather weenies have been watching for weeks, looking for what they see as the inevitable -- the arrival of truly cold weather and ice/snow threats for the Carolinas.

For the first time this winter, the computer models are at least hinting of something in the works.

The time frame will be after Jan. 16 or 17, it appears. And as is the case, any time you look at computer models beyond a few days, there's a lot of "what-if" going on.

However, meteorologists seem to be agreeing that a major pattern change is in the offing. The starting point could be next week, with a strong low pressure system that is predicted to cross the country, from the Southwest up to New England. It will be a "warm" storm for the Carolinas, as we'll be on the southeast side. That means the chance of heavy rain and even the rumble of thunder on Wednesday.

But while that storm won't be a winter weather-maker for us, there's a chance it could open the dam for cold air pooling in northern Canada and the arctic. That's the theory, at least.

Several of the computer models show cold air surging into the Midwest and East, sometime after Jan. 16, and staying in place for a few weeks. So far this winter, any outbreaks of cold weather have been short-lived. According to the models, the next one will hang around.

So with cold air in place, any storm systems that happen to move through the area could bring trouble.

Here's the problem ... unlike last year, when high pressure was parked over Greenland and bitterly cold air streamed into the Southeast, there isn't really that much cold air available so far this winter. That could change, if a strong Greenland high develops. But there's no sign of that happening.

The likely scenario, then, would be low pressure systems that cut across the Southeast, and the Carolinas are on the border between frozen and wet precipitation. That is exactly the scenario laid out several months ago by Brad Panovich, chief meteorologist at NewsChannel 36, the Observer's news partner. Panovich theorized that ice storms could be a problem somewhere in the region.

And without a lasting source of cold air, the late-January chill will die out, sometime around the end of the month. That's what the models say, at least.

Regardless, the moral of the story is to enjoy this weekend's mild weather, because changes appear to be in the offing. The middle of next week could be stormy, and then the cold air could follow.


Anonymous said...

The usual Chicken Lyttle hype. He and CO's news partner - WCNC's Brad Panicovich are always trying to scare up some doomsday scenario. Panicovich was the guy who last year at this time was going off the rails about a "blizzard". The one that didn't give us a flake of snow.

Anonymous said...

Did you even read the article? He's hyping what? Rain?

Anonymous said...

@Anon 2:36..

You mean the storm that affected a huge chunk of the carolinas last january? the one that dropped 4-6" from Columbia to Charlotte and over a foot down by raleigh? that storm?

shut the hell up unless you know of what you speak.

Anonymous said...

so far I like the winter we are having...really don;t car to see a repeat of last year...just two more months..hope it stays like it is "off and on and off"

Anonymous said...

Mr. Lyttle, you're no weather weanie. You're a weather COCK.