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.
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!
Updated: Dec 5, 2022
We all know one, right? You spend hours and hours trying to find the perfect gift for that special someone obsessed with the weather. I have a list of my top 5 gifts in no particular order.
The best home weather station on the market, in my opinion. I have had this for several years and it works great. I have to change the batteries a couple times a year, but now they make a solar powered version. These are a little pricey, but should last many years based on my experience. You can check the current conditions and rainfall amounts from your smartphone.
Love looking at models? There's more weather information on this site than anywhere on the web. It's almost information overload, but weathergeeks love it! If you decide to give a subscription to weatherbell.com as a gift, your special someone will be immersed in so much data, you might need to increase your data plan. Might be an exaggeration, but there's a ton of great info.
I have never bought from this store, but it does have a lot of cool weather apparel. They have shirts, leggings, socks, stickers, and footwear.
4. Radarscope or RadarOmega App
While the KATV weather app is great to have and it is free, if you want to take it up a notch, download one of these apps. You will have access to every single doppler in the country and all the products needed to do some serious storm tracking.
5. Storm Chase Tour in the Plains
Very pricey and a bit dangerous. Instead of going storm chasing on your own, there are several tours with trained chasers as your guide. You'll ride along in a van with other weather enthusiasts from around the world and chase storms in the Plains. I produced a story several years ago with Roger Hill of Sliver Lining Tours and it was incredible. A man came all the way from Australia to chase storms. Also, I featured a blind man who always wanted to chase storms. I found his story fascinating and you can watch it below. It's from MANY years ago.
Again, these are pricey and beware! While these chasers are very well trained, it is dangerous. There are several different companies and I'll list a few below. The only one I have experience with is Silver Lining Tours so I can't give you any insight into the others.
Silver Lining Tours
Extreme Storm Tours
***UPDATE... BONUS IDEAS***
My friend, Ben Williams, mentioned a guided fishing trip would be a great gift. I agree! If you know someone who wants to catch A LOT of trout, check out Spiritual Ministry Outdoors
How about crappie fishing? Jerry McCready is the man! Great guided trips on Greers Ferry Lake! CLICK FOR FOR MORE INFORMATION
***DECEMBER 5TH UPDATE***
Gift ideas keep coming to me. How about a snow machine? They are pricey, but you can also make your own and greatly reduce the cost. Watch this story which aired on our company's "National Weather Desk". It was produced a couple months ago. Also, you will find all snow making packages and free plans to build your own on WWW.SNOWATHOME.COM