Friday, December 23, 2016

Storms on Christmas - look ahead to January

This is my last blog update before the holiday, so I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. And if you haven't heard, we are not getting a white Christmas this year. Disappointing for some, but anyone on the roads Sunday will appreciate the news.

We still have a powerful storm that will be passing through the Plains this weekend. I'm still so baffled by how much the setup looks like something we'd see in April or May. And if it were springtime in the Plains, we'd have ourselves a big severe weather episode.

What I think will happen with the storms on Sunday is that they will develop around mid-late morning in western Kansas and then move very quickly to the east. The biggest threat will be damaging wind gusts that might be close to 60 or 65 mph. There may be some small hail too, but in the last 36 hours, I'm seeing more and more signs of this being a wind event. You don't expect your holiday decorations to be torn down by severe thunderstorms in December. Amazing. The severe threat should be out of our area by 4/5 p.m. Sunday evening. As for rainfall amounts, looks like less than .25" for western Kansas, but central and eastern Kansas might be closer to .50" (if you get more... Merry Christmas)

So what can we expect heading into New Years and the month of January?

Much of next week (Dec. 26-30) should be quiet. There is one system that will be close to Kansas on Wednesday, but it's been looking the moisture will basically miss us to the east. Some Arctic air may sneak in here around New Years Eve/Day. I don't expect this will last very long at all before temperatures rebound. And it's probably not going to be quite as cold as the weather we had just a week ago.

We do know that Arctic air will be coming back in a big way. But how long will it take to show up? After looking at several pieces of data, I think mid to late January could be quite cold. Now that's not to say we won't have some chilly days between now and then. The cold I'm referring to would be highs in the teens/20s with single digit lows.

Arctic Osciallation - Now and looking ahead!

One thing to consider is the Arctic Oscillation right now is positive, but goes back negative after the first of the year. A negative AO increases the chances of bitter cold to move south into the US.

The other piece of data from one of our long range models has the bitter cold taking over much of the country later in January too.
Around January 9/10/11

Around January 21/22/23/24

Will we have snow? It's a much more difficult question to answer this far out. but I don't see us getting much snow at the beginning of the month. Better chances for stormy weather will return during the 2nd half of January too.

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