Monday, November 24, 2014

Toasty forecast for early December

I know people who want cold temperatures during the weeks leading up to Christmas. They say it gets them in the holiday spirit.

I also know people who have been shivering this month and are not happy about November's cold weather.

Here is some pleasant news for the latter group:  The first part of December will be warmer, according to just about every long-range forecast.

The change to milder weather is likely to start at the end of this weekend and early next week, when the overall atmospheric pattern across the United States changes to a zonal flow.  Instead of the huge kink in the jet stream that sent arctic air cruising southward into the United States in recent weeks, we'll be looking at more of a west-to-east flow of weather systems.

That means warmer temperatures.

The polar vortex will intensify at the North Pole, which will bring the frigid air back to the far north. And that will allow milder air from the Pacific Ocean to dominate weather across the United States.

The best guess from meteorologists is that temperatures will run somewhere in the ballpark of 4 to 6 degrees above average for the first two weeks of December. Normal highs and lows in Charlotte at that time of year are around 55 and 34 degrees.

This month is likely to finish among the 10 coldest Novembers on record in Charlotte. As of Sunday, the average temperature in the city was 5.3 degrees below seasonal norms.  That deficit decreased with Monday's mild weather, but it will build again with chillier conditions returning for the rest of the week.

That means your heating bills will be a lot higher than usual for November.

How long will the mild trend last?

The long-range forecasts for December show question marks after the first two weeks of the month. Meteorologists who specialize in seasonal forecasts have said that December and early January are likely to be changeable, before a cold snap arrives in the latter half of January and into February.


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