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  • Writer's pictureTodd Yakoubian

The last week of January! We have been hitting on this time period for at least 2 weeks now for the return of winter. Now that we're getting closer, we see a potential storm system interacting with the colder air. If that happens, there will be a chance for snow for portions of the state. As I always say, NOTHING is guaranteed in weather until it happens.

Let's watch next Tuesday/Wednesday. The operational GFS is not aggressive with this feature, but the Euro ensembles and Canadian ensembles are and that gets my attention! How much? WAY TOO EARLY! Where? WAY TOO EARLY, but I will say this may not be confined only to the northern mountains due to the track of the low. Let's dive into the details.

Euro ensemble shows a good chance for at least 1'' of snow for much of western, northern, central, and northeastern Arkansas. This is calculating the chance from 51 runs of a model with each ensemble member having slight variations.

The Canadian ensemble looks fairly similar

The GFS ensemble not as aggressive, but still shows the snow

The track of the low from the Weather Prediction Center. A low tracking south and east of the state is favorable for snow in Arkansas.

What could go wrong?

If the track changes, snow chance may increase or decrease. How much cold air will be drawn into the system to produce wintry weather? How strong will the upper level system be as it moves through the region? Strong lift can cool the atmosphere further which would be favorable. Weaker, not favorable.

Assuming it does happen, this is a fast moving system which may limit amounts PLUS, once it leaves, temperatures will QUICKLY rebound above freezing. This would limit the time of any accumulation.

Many things can go right and many things could go wrong, but there is a chance next week and it's greater than average. We'll give you the newest info.

  • Writer's pictureTodd Yakoubian

Is that it? Will the above average temperatures continue for the remainder of the winter? Where is the cold? If you have been asking those questions, I'm here to help answer.

Let's first remember, we had a November to Remember! We had 3 or 4 snows across northern Arkansas. Then a noticeable pause took us all the way into late December, then the temperatures tanked. Little Rock dropped to only 2° and that was WITHOUT snow on the ground. Truly remarkable.

We've had quite a bit of winter, and in my opinion, it got too cold. I know! That's strange hearing that from me. I like cold, but that was way too cold!

If you follow me on Facebook, I often talked about the source region of our air masses. With a huge ridge going up into Alaska, the flow around that dislodges the cold air and sends it south. That's how we get cold. If there's a trough in the eastern Pacific, the flow of air is directly off the Pacific. It then downslopes off the Rocky Mountains. This will warm and dry the air out.

Birdseye view of the northern hemisphere right now according to the Euro initialization.

Above, you can clearly see the big trough in the eastern Pacific. This is NOT favorable for any cold air around here. However, the mountains of the western United States have been receiving a ton of snow. Small disturbances come out of that massive trough and that's why we get periodic rain and storm chances.

Now, let's look a couple weeks down the road.

The massive trough is replaces by ridging along the west coast up into Alaska. This is a favorable pattern for cold to return. All long range models I have looked at show the same pattern. When? Probably the last week of the month, but there's a small chance it gets here a little sooner than that. How cold? It's impossible to know the magnitude of it and where the core of the cold will end up.

For all those screaming winter is over, I'd hold off on that for a couple more months.

  • Writer's pictureTodd Yakoubian

This Christmas should end up MUCH different that last year when we had record breaking highs in the 70s and low 80s!

While nothing is every guaranteed, all the the modeling points toward a very cold period for much of the United States, especially the Heartland. Another way to look at it, I have NOT seen any evidence of warm weather this Christmas. How cold? This has real potential to be the coldest Christmas in many years. In 2017, we had a high of 37. In 2012, the high was 43. Remember, that was set early in the day with falling temperatures. The big snow came late Christmas day. We had a high of 39 in 2010, 2004, and 2001. The high on Christmas 2000 was only 26°. While it is impossible to predict specific high temperatures this far out, this Christmas has potential to challenge those years.

Look at the 5 day period, Wednesday December 21st through Monday December 26th on the European ensemble run this Monday. It indicates temperatures may be 10 to 15 degrees below average. An ensemble is a group of models with small variations in each one. What you see below is a mean. Some will be colder and some of the members of the ensemble will be warmer. This is remarkable to see such cold show up in this long range period. FYI, the Euro ensembles include almost 50 model members if I remember correctly.

So if you have cold in place, what about precip? Remember what Meteorologist Barry Brandt says, "If arctic air is in place, anything can happen".

I debated whether or not to post this next map, but it's the Arkansas Weather Blog so why not? It's the probability of at least 1'' of snow over the next 15 days. For example, this does NOT mean there's a 20%, 30%, 40%, etc chance for 1'' of snow. It does say there's something brewing. I find it hard to believe we escape the remainder of this month without winter weather.

Summary, the cold is coming, but it's impossible to predict how cold and if there will be any snow/ice. What I can tell you is the chance for some sort of snow/ice around Christmas is greater this year compared to average and compared to many previous years. Christmas 2022 should end up MUCH different that last year. Don't get your hopes up! Please, don't do that. However, there's potential with this pattern!


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