If you read our posts last month, we wrote about was how unusually warm December had been for many across the nation, and how widespread rain and fog events were more the norm than the typical snow and extreme cold we tend to start to see at the start of the winter season. For those who enjoyed a mild December, January sure has been a harsh and very cold wakeup call!
Much of the country has started the New Year off much cooler than normal, with wintry precipitation spreading as far south as the desert Southwest and West Texas. Snowfall made it to the desert floor around Las Vegas last week, while areas of frost impacted coastal sections of southern California, and widespread freezing rain fell in West Texas, resulting in treacherous travel conditions. This storm, Winter Storm Frona, brought about a significant change to overall, milder weather pattern the country had been experiencing. Frona resulted in a strong dip in the polar jet stream, plunging deep into the southern tier of the country, with very cold and rigid, arctic air filtering in behind it.
This is not all that unusual for early the winter season, where it often takes a “game-changer” such as Frona to bring about a reinforcing shot of cold air into the lower 48, paving the way for more systems to bring about snow, ice, and cold conditions in its wake, reminding us that once again, it is winter.
This week has been much of the same. An Alberta clipper, or Winter Storm Gorgon, brought accumulating snowfall to portions of the Midwest, Ohio Valley, and Mid-Atlantic Tuesday and Wednesday, resulting in generally light to moderate snowfall accumulations across many Southwest stations. The largest accumulation was observed in Des Moines, where 6” of snowfall was reported. Arctic air will maintain a tight grip across much of the Midwest and Great Lakes through the week’s end, with wind many wind will advisories and warnings in effect across our system.
Here are the forecast high temperatures for stations expected to see perhaps the coldest conditions through the weekend:
Forecast High Temperatures (°F)
Luckily for those dealing with the extreme cold, there are no, major winter storm system on the horizon through the weekend. Forecast models show ongoing snow showers across much of the Great Lakes over the next several days, with generally light snowfall accumulations expected. As always, make sure you bundle up and stay safe this winter season…we’ve got a long road ahead of us!
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May 15 marked the official start of the Eastern Pacific hurricane season, and thus far, one named storm has already formed. Tropical Storm Amanda formed well out to sea on Friday May 23, over 700 miles southwest of the southern tip of Baja California.
The next day, Amanda strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane, quickly becoming a major Category 4 hurricane by Sunday with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph. Amanda now holds the record as the strongest May hurricane ever observed for the Eastern Pacific. Still meandering across open waters, Tropical Storm Amanda will continue to gradually weaken over the next few days, posing no major threat to the U.S. or Mexico coastline. However, moisture associated with Amanda will bring increased rain shower activity to much of western and central Mexico through the weekend.
In the Atlantic, hurricane season kicks off on June 1, and thus far, no organized tropical activity has been observed. The million-dollar question many seem to ask at the start of the season is, how active will this year be? Each year, you will find varying answers to this question, as it is not easy science to predict. Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center believe that the development of El Niño, or a warming of the equatorial Pacific, will add to stronger wind shear in the Atlantic, thus reducing the strength of Tropical Storms and Hurricanes this year. However in the eastern Pacific, forecasters expect impacts of El Niño to aid in a more active season as it decreases wind shear, allowing for stronger Tropical Storms and Hurricanes to form.
For those on the east coast, don’t let this forecast lull you into a false sense of security. Last year, forecasters predicted an active season, when in reality, the overall hurricane season was quiet. In fact, the Atlantic hurricane season was the least active since 1950 and had the least number of hurricanes since 1982. In addition, no major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher) formed in either the eastern Pacific or Atlantic. 2013 marked eight years in a row without a major hurricane making U.S. landfall since Hurricane Wilma (2005). We are hopeful to extend this positive stretch into the 2014 season, but we have a long and uncertain road ahead of us. Both the eastern Pacific and Atlantic hurricane seasons generally peak in activity in September before concluding on November 30, making for a long, six-month season.
Here's a look at the Atlantic and Pacific hurricane names for the 2014 season:
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An active week is in store in terms of weather, with ongoing scattered to numerous showers and T-storms expected across a large portion of the country. A cold front located across the central U.S. will be the main source for weather this week; with rain showers and T-storms extending from the upper Midwest south into Oklahoma and north Texas, moving east toward the east coast by mid-week. Though no major, organized severe weather outbreaks are anticipated this week, pockets of stronger T-storms will be likely across the central and southern Plains.
Here are this week’s weather highlights:
Periods of scattered to numerous showers and T-storms will continue early this week across much of the Southeast (BHM, JAN, ATL, GSP, CLT) and northern Florida (ECP, PNS, JAX). Drier conditions are anticipated across the Southeast by mid-week, with ongoing, widely scattered T-storms expected across much of Florida.
Occasional, scattered showers and clusters of strong T-storms will be confined to the central and southern Plains (AMA, LBB, MAF, DAL, OKC, TUL, LIT) throughout the week, with no substantial, severe weather outbreaks expected.
Heavy rain and T-storms associated with the aforementioned cold front will reach the east coast by Tuesday, with periods of moderate to heavy rain and low ceilings likely across portions of New York and New England (ALB, EWR, HPN, LGA, ISP, BDL, PVD, BOS, MHT, PWM). A few scattered showers and low ceilings will linger into Wednesday and Thursday.
Rain and T-storms are likely across the Mid-Atlantic Tuesday and Wednesday (IAD, DCA, BWI, PHL, MDT, ABE, RIC, ORF, RDU). By Thursday, the cold front will move out of the region, and the Mid-Atlantic will begin to dry out with scattered showers mostly confined to the extreme coastal sections.
As expected this time of the year, daily chances for isolated T-storms are expected across DEN this week, mainly in the late afternoon/evening timeframe. The main threat from nearby T-storms will be periodic, gusty winds from strong T-storm outflows.
Have a great week!
This information is not intended for dispatching purposes.
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