Saturday, January 22, 2011

Why February will be more Moderate

Unfortunately we will need to survive a serious Arctic outbreak to reach a warmer and more gentle period of temperatures.  During the past couple of days the Stratospheric warmth over the North Pole has broken down.  This is usually a precursor to a +AO (Positive Arctic Oscillation) and a retreat of the coldest of the cold air back to polar regions.  The lag time in my experience from this breakdown to the effects here in Central NC and VA is 10-14 days. 
Source: NOAA Climate Prediction Center
Do not break out the tanning lotion and shorts just yet.  This time of year the rising sun angle is one of many variables which warm the heights of the Rockies relatively faster than eastern lowlands. This favors a High Pressure system called the +PNA (Positive Pacific North America) which sets up in the Northern Rockies and tends to funnel continental Canadian air towards the south. 

Therefore the Outlook through mid February is expected to be near average (which should FEEL warm) and feature quite a bit of back and forth as fronts come and go.

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