11:25 AM | *Winter is off to a fast start across much of the nation and the cold and stormy pattern looks like it will continue as December gets underway*
The winter has gotten off to a fast start across much of the nation and it looks like the overall cold and stormy weather pattern will continue as we head through the first half of December. Colder-than-normal conditions have been widespread through the month of November so far and snowfall has been unusually early and unusually high in many places. Signs point to more widespread cold across the US during the first couple weeks of December and the next ten days may feature copious amounts of snow in many of the same areas that received snow earlier this month.
The month of November has been colder-than-normal so far across a large portion of the US and Canada with 2-meter temperature departures as much as 5 or 6 degrees (Celsius) below normal in a large swath from central Canada to the central US. Looking ahead to next week, the 5-day period from December 2nd – December 7th is likely to result in more widespread colder-than-normal conditions across much of the nation. This colder-than-normal weather pattern will likely continue at least in the eastern half of the US during the following 5-day period (December 8th – December 13th) while the western states may return to near normal. The warm up in the western US during this time period may signal a warm up in the eastern US around the middle of the month of December.
In terms of snowfall, some of the earliest snowfalls ever were recorded earlier this month in such unusual places as Houston, Texas and Monroe, Louisiana. A major storm that impacted much of the I-95 corridor at mid-month resulted in New York City’s (Central Park) heaviest November calendar-day snow in 136 years and the earliest ever for a reading of 6 inches or more (6.4”) as well as a pair of days that failed to get above freezing (Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday). In addition, the 8.1 inches recorded in Allentown, Pennsylvania (Allentown Lehigh Valley Airport) was the heaviest November snowfall there since records began in 1944 (source EPAWA, twitter). The 1.4 inches of snow recorded at Reagan National Airport (DCA) in Washington, D.C. was their first measurable November snow accumulation since 1996.
This past weekend featured a major snowstorm that pummeled the region from the central Plains to the Great Lakes and Chicago’s O’Hare Airport got off to its snowiest start to a winter season since the 1950’s with a foot of snow. In a typical year, it takes until the second week of January for O’Hare to receive that amount (according to weather.com). New England got hit very hard earlier this week with, for example, more than 19 inches recorded at Burlington, Vermont. Snow has even returned to the state of California in recent days after the extensive dry spell ended with the onslaught of storms moving in from the Pacific Ocean. Many spots in the Sierra Nevada Mountains will end up with 2 or 3 feet of snow over the next few days and there will be some serious rainfall along coastal sections of California.
Over the upcoming weekend, there will likely be another major snow event from the central Plains to the Great Lakes as strong low pressure cuts northeastward in that part of the country. This same system will bring more soaking rain to the I-95 corridor from later Saturday into Sunday, but with cold air advancing back into the eastern US next week behind the storm, the chances for snow will no doubt be on the rise again. One storm threat for the Mid-Atlantic/Northeast US may come by the middle of next week (4th or 5th) and then perhaps an even bigger threat may come during the following weekend (8th or 9th).
Stay tuned…the active weather pattern continues.
Meteorologist Paul Dorian