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Weather forecasting and analysis, space and historic events, climate information

12:45 PM | Mid-January Major Temperature Pattern Flip

Paul Dorian


Our current Arctic air mass may very well be just a “warm up” for us as stratospheric warming over the polar region and a weakening of La Nina in the Pacific may very well be setting us up for a major flip in the overall temperature pattern here in the Mid-Atlantic region beginning late next week. This current cold air mass will retreat rather quickly later this week and temperatures will approach or even surpass 50 degrees in many Mid-Atlantic locations on Friday and Saturday. This “topsy-turvy” temperature pattern will then continue beginning with another (moderate) cold shot early next week. That cold shot will once again give way to milder air on Tuesday and Wednesday before yet another cold air mass heads our way late next week - perhaps preceded by a strong storm on Wednesday night and Thursday which will most likely be in the form of rain here. From that point on, however, there are increasing signs that the cold weather pattern will generally hold this time as the overall global weather pattern continues to undergo a significant change leading to a flip in the overall temperature pattern in our region. Recent history suggests stratospheric warming events can very well lead to a complete reversal of temperatures in much of the US from "above normal" to "below normal". For example, December 1984 featured "well-above normal" temperatures in much of the central and eastern US and then a polar stratospheric warming event led to a colder-than-normal January (1985) in the same region. Along with the change to more sustained cold weather, there will be increasing chances for significant snow during the second half of the month.