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Met Winter 20-21: Pattern Drivers & Evolution

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While there's reasonable agreement on a -AO and -NAO persisting into early January, there is some uncertainty WRT whether or not the Pacific side offers any help or not. The EPS develops a +EPO into e

I'm starting to get a little more excited for early-mid December. It looks like the Pacific jet will retract significantly, which is the real reason for the retrograding Alaskan LP. Upper level diverg

Hey all!   I apologize for my absence as i'm currently in the "heat" of finishing up my undergrad, working on some side projects, and working with my advisor regarding, well grad school; tha

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Today was partly sunny and breezy. Temperatures generally topped out in the lower and middle 40s across the region. Tomorrow will be a similar day.


During the second half of January, there will be some potential for snow events in the Middle Atlantic and southern New England regions, even as the forecast AO-/PNA- pattern is typically not a very snowy one. There continues to be ensemble support for a possible light snow event in the region during the January 21-23 timeframe during the passage of a strong cold front. Another timeframe highlighted by the ensembles is January 25-28. The latter period may have greater potential. However, neither period is likely to produce a significant snowfall (6" or above) for the Washington, DC to Boston corridor.


AO-/PNA- patterns are typically not snowy. The frequency of measurable snowfall is just over 90% of climatology in Boston and Philadelphia and around 80% of climatology in New York City for the January 21-31, 1950-2020 period. The frequency of 2" or more daily snowfall was just above 90% of climatology for Philadelphia, but fell sharply to 50% of climatology in New York City and 65% of climatology in Boston. For daily snowfall amounts in excess of 2", the frequency fell sharply for Philadelphia. As a result, such patterns typically have produced significant snowstorms (6" or above snowfall) in the northern Middle Atlantic and southern New England regions during late January. The biggest snowfalls during an AO-/PNA- pattern during the January 20-31, 1950-2020 period were as follows: Boston: 7.3", January 21, 2011; New York City: 4.2", January 21, 2011; and, Philadelphia: 3.0", January 20, 2000.


Afterward, the evolution of the AO will determine whether potential for measurable snow events will continue into February.


The ENSO Region 1+2 anomaly was -0.8°C and the Region 3.4 anomaly was -1.1°C for the week centered around January 6. For the past six weeks, the ENSO Region 1+2 anomaly has averaged -0.77°C and the ENSO Region 3.4 anomaly has averaged -1.07°C. La Niña conditions will likely prevail at least through the winter.


The SOI was +20.69 today.


Today, the preliminary Arctic Oscillation (AO) figure was -1.579.


On January 16 the MJO was in Phase 4 at an amplitude of 1.143 (RMM). The January 15-adjusted amplitude was 1.148.


Following a significant stratospheric warming event, the stratosphere is now cooling. The cooling will likely accelerate during the second half of January. As is typical for vortex-splitting events, the major piece of the polar vortex migrated to Eurasia. The end result has been an absence of severe cold in much of North America.


The significant December 16-17 snowstorm during what has been a blocky December suggests that seasonal snowfall prospects have increased especially from north of Philadelphia into southern New England. At New York City, there is a high probability based on historic cases that an additional 20" or more snow will accumulate after December. Were blocking to disappear, snowfall prospects would diminish.


Based on sensitivity analysis applied to the latest guidance, there is an implied 83% probability that New York City will have a warmer than normal January. January will likely finish with a mean temperature near 35.2°.


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