Lots to talk about in the early days of 2016 as the wait for better days is over. Winter is here and is poised to stay for a while. Snow squalls and a burst of some extreme chill will be followed by a succession of drier days in the Wednesday to Friday time frame. Afternoon temps might sneak above the freezing mark on one or two of the sunnier afternoons but this is merely an afterthought with the focus shifting to what should be an interesting weather weekend. Powerful pacific jet energy in a split jet stream will break down the ridge over eastern North America this weekend ultimately turning the eastern seaboard into a tinderbox for storms. Keeping track of the evolving details has been trying for model huggers but one way or another, MRG will be a snowy beneficiary.
The storm system in question is a large one, winding itself up in the plains and occluding somewhat late in the week. A new area of low pressure will form in the southeast U.S. on Friday and begin to focus a broadening area of Atlantic moisture and precipitation on the east coast. Even the interior locations will have minimal cold air to work with and a period of mixed snow/sleet ice is possible early Saturday. As the weekend continues however, the system will prove potent enough to gradually eliminate any above freezing layers within the lower troposphere keeping the precipitation snow. The El Nino fueled jet stream though will not rest. As the threat for at least light snow continues on the mountain Saturday, another potential doozy of an east coast system will gather strength near the gulf coast. This second storm has a ton of potential though models are a bit unsure regarding the details of its impact. By early Sunday however it will likely be churning through the Carolina and looking to take a more northward turn while rapidly gaining strength. It could ultimately miss much of interior New England or it could bury parts of the northeast with snow. Models have been all over the map on this potential storm the last two days, displaying great difficulty exhibiting any consistency but this potential late Sunday/Monday event is worth watching and within a few days we should have a good idea regarding the expected result.
Snow showers and an eventual surge of arctic air follows the passage if this big storm. Though there will be a period of days when drier weather prevails, the pattern will not go dormant. Initially the large ridge in western North America will suppress the storm track but ensembles weaken the strength of this ridge while keeping the all important AO in place. Meanwhile, the Pacific should continue to produce potent storms and the threat for another big system increases for the northeast for the middle of the month. Overall, I think this could amount to a multi-week love-fest that I hope begins in earnest this weekend. Will keep the blog and tweets updated with all the changes.