I have began the process of emotionally detaching myself from this 2012 winter. It is a necessary evil at this point and it is being done to preserve my mental health. We were hopeful that the current pattern which has most of the ingredients necessary to bring us away from these dark times has not come through. We got some bitterly cold weather which will persist through the weekend, we got a few inches of snow, but I had hoped for one of those 30-40 inch weeks. It never happened.
The polar vortex will gradually rotate out of southeastern Canada early in the upcoming week and temperatures will begin a slow moderation. For the first time this winter, we have legitimate split flow in the jet stream. This stems from energy in the jet stream undercutting the deteriorating ridge in western North America. We just can't get enough split flow and I want to say I am happy to see it, even for a little while, but remember I am not making the emotional investment. It's just not worth it. That being said, a significant weather producer will move from the Rockies into the Plains Wednesday. We will be running low on cold weather by then. Temperatures Tuesday and Wednesday might even sneak above freezing during the afternoon (although overnights should remain chilly). By Thursday clouds should arrive and precipitation should follow either later in the day or at night. What happens from there depends on a few different variables most important of which is the track of this storm. Right now the system appears as it it wants to make a run at the eastern Great Lakes but transition its energy to the coast. This would bring some decent snows to the region but lets just wait and set ourselves up for another big disappointment.
The storm's energy is significant energy enough to yank down some Canadian chill. Much of Canada will in fact be free of arctic air by next weekend meaning that temperatures will be seasonable but considerably warmer than the current weekend. This is the all important president's day holiday which should be free of any rain, free of any bitter cold, hopefully have at least some fresh snow from Thursday's system and perhaps some additional snow from any weak disturbance in the jet stream or some simple terrain enhancement.
The "classic" La Nina structure of the jet stream which is expected to take shape by next weekend will have the effect of re-positioning a lot of the action out west by the 20th of the month. I think next weekend into president's day is safe. Beyond that however all bets are off. Are we going to preserve enough of the high latitude blocking either across the North Atlantic or the Polar regions to thwart another big thaw ? Maybe. It's disconcerting but the only thing we can do at this point is to lower expectations and write off any rain event as a byproduct of a very bad winter.