I do not have the news most were looking for 3 weeks before Christmas. The dominant chess piece through mid-December will indeed be the upper air ridge in the mid-latitude Pacific. This will make life very difficult for those of us hoping for some good early skiing this December. I had hoped that other pieces on the chess board might mitigate the pain but we will instead be forced to deal with a few rounds of milder weather, rain and a minimal build-up of snow through the next 10-12 days. This is not to say that wintry weather is completely out of the picture through this period. The storm I had alluded to in the previous post could still provide a bit of that Monday, but that is a best case scenario at this point.
Temperatures should get a little closer to seasonable levels late this week but only for about 36-48 hours. Thereafter, another surge of milder temperatures is expected as the pattern turns more meridional. This essentially means that colder weather advances south across the western half country while the milder weather pushes north across the eastern United States. There will be a rather intense clash of airmasses in between which sets the stage for some very active weather across the Midwest this weekend into early next week. Interior New England could also be a part of this clash if we can get a little push-back from the building cold across Canada. This is a big "if" right now however and I would expect more in the way of rain or perhaps some freezing rain Saturday from the first wave of low pressure. The second wave brings precipitation late Sunday or Monday and could have a bit more cold air to work with but only in a very limited variety. Snow or mixed precipitation is a bit more likely in this period but the models have been trending toward this warmer scenario I have been detailing and we would need to reverse this soon if we were to get any love from this.
Temperatures will turn colder for a brief time during the middle of next week but the pattern will fail to break down. In fact, a vigorous disturbance over the Yukon will drop south and re-invigorate the trough over the western states. This is one of those really unwanted byproducts of what we should refer to as the "evil empire" or the mid-latitude Pacific upper ridge. As a result, we should see another round of milder temperatures between the 13th-16th of the month. After that, there is some evidence that the "evil empire" will migrate northwestward allowing the Pacific Jet to loosen somewhat. There is even some evidence of some splitting in the flow and would thus make it considerably more interesting right around the time of the holiday.
Sorry about the crap news. It is very east to lose heart especially after a year like 2011-2012 but it's very early and there are plenty of reasons to remain optimistic. If we get another 10 days of lousy weather we might as well get it now because it can be much more disruptive once the season begins.