Monday, December 13, 2010

The Tale of Two Winter Storms

We in the Raleigh, NC need to keep in mind that no matter how cold it is in December the climate simply does not favor snow.  In fact this morning's trace of snow at the airport set a snowfall record for today. 

As much as MJO Phase 5 and a La Nina increasingly argue for warm it is amazing how the Arctic Oscillation is freezing the warm signals out by reaching pretty extreme negativity for the second December in a row.  This pattern does not bode well for hopes of extended  mild weather in January.  In fact, keep your coats and gloves available.  There is a glimmer of hope for at least a brief break in the form of upper stratospheric cooling over the North Pole.
Warming in Stratosphere over the North Pole send cold air south.
Source: NOAA Climatic Prediction Center
Thursday's Weak Winter Storm
There is a weak disturbance that is expected to pass near NC and VA on Thursday morning.  Currently model runs are trending toward a later arrival and further north path.  This would favor a light snowfall in Central VA and a mix to rain in the Raleigh, NC area. 

Small systems like the one on its way for Thursday tend to be moisture starved and small areal coverage.  No one should depend on those storms for dependable results!  Therefore children in school should complete all homework and be prepared for any tests or quizzes.

Potential for real Trouble Saturday-Sunday

Models seem to agree on the formation of an east coast storm system this weekend.  Amazingly enough on Dec 19, 2009 a similar system mostly rained on the Triangle (NC) but postponed my extended family Christmas party!  Could it happen again?

Keep in mind that this is Monday night and snow anytime here in NC is often an exercise in frustration as conditions need a level of perfection to bury us.  Below is a very entertaining GFS scenario that would cause a great deal of consternation in NC and VA.  My opinion so far is that this storm is targeting Central VA.
Low Pressure predicted by the GFS to be dumping pretty heavy precipitation Sunday morning
Source: Plymouth State Weather Center

Stay tuned as both storm systems develop or BUST!!!

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