It’s the final day of 2018, and the start of 2019 will begin with an active weather pattern as we track several storm systems that will impact the nation. This comes as a pattern change will take place beginning mid-January, lasting through much of the remainder of the winter season. This is your 5 Things to Watch this week.
New Year’s Eve Rain:
As 2 million people pile into Times Square in New York City to witness the ball drop, which signifies the new year, it will unfortunately be raining. Rain has been a common occurrence for the East this year with numerous cities recording a top 10 wettest year on record, so this New Year’s Eve rain seems quite fitting. A steady rain will impact the Northeast this afternoon and into tonight while the rain has already begun in the Midwest. That rain will end by the evening, however. There will also be some rain in the Mid-Atlantic but it will not be as long-lasting as we watch a line of moderate rain pass through in the evening before a weakens near the coast. Rainfall totals in most areas will be less than 1 inch. Meanwhile in parts of northern New England, there will be snow, especially in northern Maine where it will be solely snow tonight. Accumulations will generally top off at 2-6 inches in that part of the state.
The model guidance continues to hint at a new area of low pressure forming over the southern Plains late-week. While moisture flows in from the Gulf of Mexico, bringing rain to parts of the Plains and Gulf Coast states, there may also be cold air pouring in from the north, leading to potential snow and freezing rain across parts of the southern Plains. At this time, the best chance for any wintry weather will be central Texas and Oklahoma as well as the Texas Panhandle. As that storm moves to the north and east during the weekend, parts of the Ohio River Valley and maybe even the Northeast may deal with some snow. Those details are yet to be determined, however.
Following the second storm, which may bring some snow to the South, there will be a third storm that will begin to impact the West this coming weekend. It’s way too early to discuss this next storm in depth, but there is the risk for widespread rain and mountain snow across a large portion of the West. It will then track toward the East Coast, bringing snow to parts of the Midwest before then and lastly to the Northeast. And yes, the I-95 corridor will be at risk for snow with this system, but it’s too early to speculate. We’ll keep you updated here at WeatherOptics.
Mild Start to 2019:
Following a brief blast of very cold air across the central US this week, dropping temperatures to as much as 40 degrees below average, warm air will settle back in with temperatures at generally 5 to 15 degrees above average. This warmer spell of air will begin this weekend and should last through mid-January overall across most of the nation. Since it is the middle of winter, however, don’t expect summer-like temperatures!
All signs are pointing to a large scale pattern change beginning in mid-January, favoring cold and snow risks across the eastern US. Our Chief Meteorologist Joshua Feldman discusses in this week’s Sunday Storm:
The Climate Forecast System (CFS) and other climate models are forecasting the breakdown of the ridging of high pressure near Alaska. The breakdown of the ridge can be partially attributed to an eastward propagating complex of thunderstorms over the tropics known as the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO). It is forecast to propagate across the Pacific Ocean over the next few weeks. As it does so it will generate atmospheric waves known as Rossby Waves that act much like ripples observed when dropping a stone in water. Some of these waves are likely to reach the arctic and weaken the polar vortex, thereafter weakening the jet stream and allowing cold air to flow into the mid-latitudes.Joshua Feldman
For the WeatherOptics team, have a happy new year!