As our brief cold shot of air moves north and east away from us, we look towards the upcoming new year with clues that upcoming storm tracks will be focused on the east coast. With a +NAO currently, there is a lack of blocking to truly allow cold air to become entrenched in the region. This was evident with our coastal storm which brought mostly rain to New Jersey. However, as the NAO is forecasted to become negative towards the second week of January, a genuine shot of cold air is forecasted to provide an adequate environment for a snow storm.
However, before we get to that potential, the first few days of 2017 feature above average days.
For NYE, temperatures should not drop below 35F as ‘warm’ southerly winds gust through the night before the passage of a weak cold front moves in to ring in 2017. Passing snow flurries in the warm sector of a weak front are expected as a weak moisture source is tapped into from our east. The timing of the flurries will mostly be between 10PM on December 31st and the early evening of January 1st. On January 1st, expect temperatures as high as 45F after reaching a morning low of 30-33F.
Despite NW winds from 10 to 15mph on the 1st day of 2017, temperatures should rise to 41-44F with clear skies. Clouds move in again for Sunday night as warm air moves back into the region from high pressure sitting just to our east.
Over this period of time, a ridge at 500mb begins to build over the eastern United States, establishing the SE ridge. This ridge pattern resembles the ‘ring of fire’ pattern which in the summer produces daily afternoon thunderstorms and unsettled weather. As a result, rainy conditions are likely to move in on Monday afternoon. With warm air surging from the SW, fog is also a threat.
A storm originating in Texas will move across the southeast, pulling up moisture into our region and bringing a heavier rain threat for Tuesday. This southeast system will interact with a strengthening cyclone moving across Minnesota at the same time. How these two systems interact is our wild card which may lead to heavy rain Tuesday afternoon with temperatures crashing on Wednesday. This brings the potential for a flash freeze situation.
If the cyclone’s forward speed increases, the cold sector with cold air may be able to allow for a cold air damming effect as the storm in the southeast moves north. This would bring a freezing rain threat to Pennsylvania and Appalachia for Tuesday, however the timing is subject to change as this is the wildcard event.
The cold front associated with the cyclone that moves in Tuesday will bring a reinforcing shot of Arctic air during Wednesday. As this air becomes entrenched over the northeast through Saturday…
We see the potential for a deep trough/cut off low situation at 500mb around the North Carolina coast. The upper levels support development of a potent mid latitude cyclone, and with sufficient cold in place, the weekend of January 7th and 8th may see a snowmaker somewhere along the east coast.