Saturday, December 20, 2014

Stormy (and important) weather week ahead

Sunshine will be at a premium for much of this week in the Charlotte area, but the big news will be a storm system that could become strong enough to alter weather patterns in the continental United States for the rest of December and at least a part of January.

First, the local weather situation ...

We'll remain in a cold air wedge pattern through Tuesday, with high pressure based over the Northeast. Sunday is likely to be cloudy and cool, with a high of 50 degrees in Charlotte. A bit of sunshine is possible in the afternoon, but fans attending the Panthers' game against the Cleveland Browns will see mostly cloudy skies.

A storm system expected to form off the coast late Sunday is predicted to bring light rain to Charlotte and the rest of the Carolinas from late Sunday until late Monday.

But the big story arrives Tuesday. It appears as if a pair of low pressure systems -- one in the Midwest, the other moving across the South and then bending northward over Tennessee, Kentucky and into the eastern Great Lakes -- will tug a cold front east across the country. The low will deepen rapidly late Tuesday and Wednesday and eventually move into southern Canada.

Some meteorologists think that low pressure system will become strong enough to cause a buckle in the jet stream and possibly open the way for arctic air to surge back into the continental United States (where it has been largely missing since November).

The midweek storm will bring heavy rain in the East, and the Charlotte region might experience some of that late Tuesday and early Wednesday. Dense fog is likely in the Great Lakes and Mid-Atlantic, but the biggest story will be the winds. The low pressure system will be deep enough to create a strong wind field over the eastern half of the United States. That could play havoc with flight schedules late Tuesday and Wednesday in some of the East Coast's biggest airports.

And as the storm system pushes into Canada, much colder air on the back side will sweep across the Great Lakes and bring a round of heavy lake-effect snow in the usual spots -- upstate New York, northwest Pennsylvania, northeast Ohio, western Michigan and northwest Indiana.

Even in the Charlotte area, Christmas Day is likely to be windy and chilly.

A big question is when the much-publicized "pattern change" is coming -- or if it's coming. Some meteorologists have been talking for weeks about a switch to colder and stormier weather around New Year's in the East and Southeast. But some of the more recent computer guidance is pointing toward the Midwest as the bullseye for the cold weather.

More Christmas trivia ... I've been having some fun with Christmas facts for the last few weeks, and this chapter will look at some of the trendiest holiday gifts in the past. According to an Esquire article from two years ago, these were the most popular gifts of some Christmases in the past (these will bring back some memories, no doubt):

2010: Apple iPad; 2009: Nook eReader; 2007: iPod Touch; 2006: Play Station 3; 2005: Xbox 360; 2001: Bratz dolls (I don't remember these, but Esquire said the dolls depicted teen girl with large heads and skinny bodies).

1999: Pokémon (I remember reporting on fights that started in schools among students who collected the Pokémon cards); 1998: Furby; 1995: Beanie Babies; 1993 and 1994: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers; 1990: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; 1989: Game Boy.

1985: Care Bears; 1984: Transformers; 1983: Cabbage Patch Kids (torture is driving from Charlotte to Cleveland with a 3-year-old daughter playing the "Cabbage Patch Kids" theme song on a tape player in the back seat for 535 miles); 1981: Smurfs; 1978: Hungry Hungry Hippos.

1975: Pet Rock; 1959: Barbie doll; 1952: Mr. Potato Head; 1936: Monopoly.

For pictures and a better description of those gifts (and for some of the other years), be sure to check out the Esquire article.


Anonymous said...

"Even in the Charlotte area, Christmas Day is likely to be windy and chilly."

Ooh, better batten down the hatches. Honestly, this "winter" is getting gayer by the day.

Anonymous said...

More hype. Look over the past "big storm" predictions: they fizzle out into nothing. Pure hype.

Anonymous said...

Yes, just look at the past four hyped-up headlines here:

"Stormy (and important) weather week ahead"

"Weekend storm could hit Christmas travelers"

"2 Christmas week storms, many possibilities"

"Stormy period ahead for Christmas week"

Continually trying to whip up fear with calls for "storms" that do not materialize.

Anonymous said...

Yawn. Just the usual Lyttle hype.

Anonymous said...

Watch local TV stations:
Weather Hype

Watch The Weather Channel:
Weather Hype

Read CO "Weather Guy":
Weather Hype

It's like crack.