Thursday, December 12, 2013

Bitter cold for Christmas ... but in Midwest?

The long-range weather computer models are painting a very, very cold picture for Christmas over parts of the United States, but if you believe those advance forecasts, the worst of the cold is headed for the same place that got it the last time -- the Midwest, down to Texas and northern Mexico.

If the models verify, it appears as if the Carolinas would get a glancing shot from the arctic outbreak, much as we did with last week's surge of cold air.

All of this is important, because any storm system that moves into or near this cold arctic air would produce frozen precipitation, and that could be a big deal during the Christmas holidays, with millions of people traveling. If you buy what the models are selling, the risk of snow, sleet and freezing rain would be in places like Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and possibly western Tennessee.

If you remember, the last arctic outbreak dropped temperatures to what we'd call "chilly" levels here in the Carolinas, and a low pressure system produced a bit of freezing rain last Sunday before temperatures climbed above freezing.  Something similar would be possible with a storm system that is forecast to develop around Dec. 26 or 27.

All of this could change, however. And as one professional meteorologist told me Thursday, the winter computer models sometimes tend to exaggerate the amount of cold air in these situations. "When the time comes, temperatures often are not as cold as advertised," he said.

It seems safe to say that we won't be seeing an extended period of mild weather during Christmas week.

Instead, it looks -- for now, at least -- as if we can expect seasonal conditions from this weekend through much of next week, followed by stormy conditions and cool temperatures around Christmas.


Anonymous said...

"When the time comes, temperatures often are not as cold as advertised."

So utterly true, tremendous hype notwithstanding.