Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Big change coming for mid/late December?

Weather bulletin boards have been abuzz for several days with discussions about a major change in the weather pattern coming later this month for the central and eastern United States, including the Southeast.

This could have major ramifications on a lot of people's travel plans over the Christmas and New Years holidays.

The consensus seems to be that two changes are headed our way:

-- Wetter conditions, which seems rather likely.

-- Colder weather, which is not quite a certain bet.

The computer models, for the most part, show a shift in the pattern at higher latitudes (i.e., Alaska, Canada, Greenland, northern Europe) that would allow much colder air to slide southward into the United States. Some of the models have been inconsistent on the details, but it seems likely that the colder air will at least reach the northern half of the country.

That, in turn, will push the storm track -- which has been north of the Carolinas -- a lot farther south. We could see a hint of that next week, with wetter conditions in parts of the Southeast.

Eventually, the thinking goes (at least for some meteorologists), colder air will seep even farther south. Add that to a much wetter pattern, and you have the chance of cold rain or frozen precipitation in parts of the south.

When will this happen?  The consensus seems to be somewhere around Dec. 20, just before Christmas.

My brother Michael, who I've written about before, has been harping about this to me for several days. He's much better at interpreting the models, and Michael insists a colder and stormy pattern will descend into the central and eastern part of the country as December progresses.  I'll take his word.  He correctly predicted the major pattern shift in mid-February 2011, when the Southeast turned balmy after 2 1/2 frigid months, and last winter's very mild conditions.

Some signs point to the eventual arrival of cold air in the Southeast. There's a negative North Atlantic Oscillation and Arctic Oscillation, and the computer models show signs of high pressure building in Alaska. Those are conditions that mean cold in the eastern United States.

But there also is a persistent trough in the Pacific, which has blocked the southward movement of cold air. 

I suspect this is a topic we'll be following closely over the next 10 to 14 days.


Anonymous said...

Didn't you just do a column a week or so ago saying that December's weather was going to be warmer than usual, due to something going on out in the Pacific?

Anonymous said...

The article about forgeting a cold December was posted Nov, 27 2012.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Jut wait, no matter what, the weather changes. Just because it seems like a certain pattern is likely, the pattern changes, volia! a different weather pattern results in different weather! Don't let it upset you - nothing is fixed in the weather-it changes daily! Good guesses, best shot, computer models always go on previous patterns, no guarntee it will be the same in future. Don't sweat it. God is in charge of it anyway!

Anonymous said...

If I could get a few days warning, so I can get the fixins for french toast, I'd appreciate it!


Panicked Shopper

Anonymous said...

Don't you just love these "six of one, half dozen of the other" type articles?

Anonymous said...

Will you please let your brother pen the articles, because you suck at it. And thanks for reading Brad Panovich's blog and writing this...what a joke.

Anonymous said...

Does this include the northeast? I live Just South Of Boston Massachusetts. I've never seen two unusualy mild Decembers or winters in a row..... I know there's many factors as to why. I've noticed the cold is building in Siberia, Alaska, Canada. sooner or later the other shoe has to Drop

Anonymous said...

Someone wants gto fix some French toast. I just want to fix the guy's French language who said,'Volia!The word is "Voila!"