Archive for February, 2009

AFTER A NEARLY PERFECT SPRING-LIKE WEEKEND, THE WORK WEEK DOESN’T LOOK THAT BAD EITHER… WHEN WILL THE COLD RETURN?

I hope that you had a chance to get out and enjoy the weather this past weekend. A cold front slipped through the area on Sunday night dropping temperatures to more normal levels. However, the air behind this cold front isn’t really that cold. The core of the arctic air mass is way up north in Eastern Canada. A light onshore flow on Monday will keep us in the 50’s. On Tuesday as the high slips offshore, the winds should turn more southerly which will bring up warmer air.  Another front will approaching bringing just a slight chance of a shower as we head through mid-week. No significant precipitation is expected here locally. High temperatures will most likely flirt with the 70 degree mark again as they did on Sunday. By the time we get to the weekend, forecasters will be watching a weak system sliding in the southerly branch of a split-flow jet stream. Normally, when you have a split-flow (northern and southern branches of the jet stream) it means a wetter pattern for our part of the world. And, we sure can use some moisture. We haven’t received much precipitation this year thus far. Maybe this will mean that next week will be wetter. Although next weekend looks to be cooler, there is no sign of arctic air returning in the near future.

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AFTER A WARM SUNDAY, WE COOL DOWN ON MONDAY ONLY TO WARM BACK UP TOWARDS MID WEEK

The roller coaster ride that the temperatures have been on is going to continue. Think about it… On Thursday, we couldn’t make it past 29 degrees for a high temperature and on Saturday we were in the 60’s! On Sunday, we approach 70 degrees in some areas but a cold front will be dropping through the region late on Sunday. Although the air behind this front is not as cold as it was last week, temperatures will drop to more normal levels for February. The chill will not last this time. By Tuesday, we begin to warm up again. What about precipitation this upcoming week? Right now, forecasters are predicting a chance of showers on Thursday but that is not a certainty right now. Note that we’re now close to 3 inches below normal for 2009 already. Precipitation has been lacking since 2009 began. Of course, one or two storms could easily erase the current deficit and there are signs of a more active pattern begining later in the week.

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MILDER AIR MOVES IN JUST IN TIME FOR THE WEEKEND… THE ARCTIC AIR MASS RELEASES ITS GRIP ON THE UNITED STATES

As if right on cue, mild air is moving in which will make for a beautiful weekend for early February. Temperatures should peak out around 60 degrees on Saturday and on Sunday, it might be a bit warmer. However, a cold front will be slipping through on Sunday which will bring us back to near normal on  Monday. Believe me, 60 degrees will feel quite nice after a week of bone chilling temperatures. Forecasters say that the flow will be zonal next week meaning that upper level winds will be blowing predominantly from west to east. This prevents arctic air from infiltrating into our region for the most part. It can also prevent Gulf moisture from coming northward. The pattern will most likely change later in the week. Speaking of moisture. We are starting the year quite dry as we are close to three inches below normal.

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AFTER A BEAUTIFUL SUNDAY, THE FORECAST GETS TRICKY AS MODELS WAFFLE BACK AND FORTH ON TUESDAY’S LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM

Sunday will be a fantastic day for the 1st day of February. Temperatures approaching 60 degrees and bright sunshine all day. The only issue might be the gusty winds but by winter standards, even the winds won’t be that bad. After another mild day on Monday, the forecast gets complicated. The computer models that forecasters use to predict the weather have been all over the place with the low pressure area that is expected to develop along the Gulf Coast. Initially, the models all seemed to agree that a major east coast storm was in the offing. Then, on Saturday, some of the models backed off and inidicated a  more out to sea scenario. The early Sunday model runs have returned to their earlier forecast of a major storm… so what to do? Forecasters are proceeding with extreme caution and are not yet buying into the “big storm” option. Over the past several years, computer models have had difficulty with winter storms, especially here on the East Coast. What is strange to me is that the models seemed to perform better in previous decades. For example, back in 1993, there was an incredible winter storm that affected more real estate than any other storm in recorded history. It was the March 13th Super Storm and I was living up in NJ at the time. A very heavy wet snow affected the NYC area and blizzard conditions affected numerous states. Florida had a severe wind and tidal flooding event during that storm. Well, the models predicted this storm from one week out! In 1996, the models did an excellent job predicting a very heavy snow event in the Northeast from about one week out which dumped 30 inches of snow in some spots near Phila and NYC. Even back in 1982, computer models accurately predicted a rare April blizzard for the Northeast that “snowed out” the NY Mets home opener. Why did models do a better job predicting the weather decades ago than they do now? The answer is quite complex but it needs to be addressed soon. So, getting back to the present, it’s still up in the air as to what we will see on Tuesday so I recommend that you monitor your local forecast from the media and the NWS.

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