The return of winter weather....(1-14-13)
I know it wasn’t a great weekend for winter enthusiast but for everyone else it was nice to have the 50 degree plus weather if only for a couple of days. I had a chance to open the windows in my house to let some fresh air in plus I got a nice long hike in Green Lakes where just a week or so earlier I had been cross country skiing.We’ve talked about the cold returning to central New York after this January Thaw. I also mentioned that the cold for the end of the month would come at us in waves. While we expect colder weather Thursday and Friday we may briefly try to warm back up over the weekend. Here is what I wrote at the end of last week:The thing to keep in mind about the return to colder weather is it probably won’t come at us all at once. It is likely going to tease us. It may take one or two cold fronts after Thursday’s to get into the core of the cold. (January 10th, 2013)That core of cold does seem destined to move in next week and not at the end of this week.. Here is a look at the ensemble means for the time frame of Monday through Wednesday next week (January 21-23rd):
So up at the jet stream level, the western ridge, eastern trough and Greenland block should all conspire to bring us Winter 2.0. The cold seems to be a given but how much snow we get is really up to the winds and lake effect. We’ll have to wait and see what happens but given the the cold air aloft and a warmer than normal Lake Ontario, the POTENTIAL is there for some heavier lake snows over parts of central New York.
There has been a lot of press already about the cold building in over the next week and that it will be the coldest weather in ‘years’ Of course, that is a blanket statement that doesn’t really take into account the climatology of cold weather here in Syracuse. I did some digging to put things into a better perspective. I looked at when the last time was we reached certain benchmarks in terms of cold weather.
Now we don’t know exactly how cold it will get next week but even if we get a morning that is around -10 F it will just be the coldest morning since 2010 or just three years ago. Even if we get just below -15 F that is still territory we’ve been in over the last 10 years. If we were able to get to -20 F that would be a bigger deal. How cold we get depends on the route that the air takes to get here.When cold air comes out of central Canada due south into United States in the heart of winter it comes in un-modified. However, here in central New York that air usually has to travel east over the Great Lakes modifying it and making it warmer by the time it gets to us. In addition, if the wind direction is out of the west-northwest we are likely to have lake effect clouds (and snow) which makes it tough for temperatures to drop below zero.If we are going to get some unusually cold weather (say -15 F or colder) we really need the cold air to move due east through Canada then drop south from Quebec into the Northeast. In that case, the lakes don’t get a chance to have an impact. So to pinpoint the cold we will have carefully track how the air gets here.The bottom line is winter is headed back to central New York but I’m not doing anything special to get ready. It's not like it will be pleasant if we have below zero weather or we have to contend with lake effect squalls from time to time. However, it is the middle of January and it is, after all, the middle of winter. As the numbers above indicate, it does get cold around here this time of year so if you are prepared for normal CNY winter weather you are probably all set for next week.
|Last Time < 0 F||January 16th, 2012||-1 F|
|Last Time < -5 F||January 15th, 2012||-5 F|
|Last Time < -10 F||January 24th, 2010||-13 F|
|Last Time < -15 F||January 28th, 2005||-18 F|
|Last Time < -20 F||January 6th, 1996||-24 F|
|All Time Low||Dec 1942, Jan 1966, Feb 1979||-26 F|
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