Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Wednesday Night: Cold Shot Ends Next Week

Happy New Year. This week will remain very cold with highs not getting out of the 30's and lows entering the teens for north jersey. There is a slight chance of a storm forming for Sunday and Monday but I would not say that is likely at this point. Past this week, we will see a seasonal warm up for most of the nation before more brutal cold is likely to return by the middle to end of January. Before I get into detail on this, lets look at totals from the last snow event on Saturday:

This is the only map I could get, but it shows a general area of 3-4 inches of snow for most of north Jersey which higher amounts up in Sussex county. Not a bad moderate event by any means. I measured 4 inches in Morristown NJ. We are generally above average for snowfall this time of year which is not a bad start to winter. We have yet to have a big storm, but if you like snow we have at least seen it on several occasions.

Right now there are several signs that the pattern will reverse for next week and the week following leading to some  mild weather for our region. This is not uncommon for January and is referred to as a January thaw. We can see this in the graphic below (from

 However, as this "thaw" is occurring as the upper levels of the atmosphere over the North Pole are warming. When the upper atmosphere in this region warms, it compresses the lower levels underneath and results in the cold air locked up in the pole to collapse and flow out of the polar region. This usually results in cold outbreaks for the USA. Generally there is a 2-3 week lag time before this happens hence why it will be warm over the next two weeks. Thus, expect our next shot at cold and snow to have the best chances of occurring towards the end of the month into February. 

That does not mean a storm can not sneak up on us in the meantime, in fact as I mentioned there is a outside chance a storm might want to organize itself on the east coast on Sunday night. However, this will be much more likely once the atmosphere reloads in a few weeks.

I think we are on pace for a winter that will see frequent snow events and potentially 1 or 2 major events before season end. Keep checking in.

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