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Colder.

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After the very mild start to the month of December, we have our first real cold blast under way as I write which will result in the coldest conditions of the season and the coldest we have been since the middle of February. However, these colder conditions will be rather short lived as we should see a warming trend by the middle of the week and a return to above normal temperatures by the latter part of the week and into the coming weekend. Not only that, but as the first map on the right shows, it looks like a pretty strong signal for above normal temperatures during the week leading up to Christmas as well.

Unfortunately, our prospects for some significant moisture remain rather dismal not only for the coming week but also for the week leading up to Christmas as the second map on the right suggests. That is not to say that we will not have some more cool weather coming our way along with chances of showers over the next two weeks, just that the average over the period suggests that we will see above normal temperatures as the general rule with only spotty showers at best.

In fact, we still have a chance of some wintry precipitation tonight as colder air at the surface and aloft moves over the state. But, drier air is also moving in so even if we do see some brief flurries, it will not amount to much and no travel problems are anticipated.

The real story tonight will be the cold, windy conditions. By morning, temperatures should be in the low-mid 20s and with NW winds still of 15-20 mph that will put wind chill values into the lower teens. Our skies will be clearing quickly from west to east by early morning as well so Monday will have lots of sunshine. However, the cold high pressure ridge will be settling right over the state with brisk northerly winds for much of the day which will be calming down by evening. That will lead to a clear, cold start to the day on Tuesday with most locations in the teens that morning, but at least the winds will be nearly calm.

After that, sunny skies and a return to southerly winds during the day Tuesday will initiate a warming trend which will continue for the rest of the week. Temperatures will be back above normal by the latter part of the week and although another system will push a front through by early Saturday, this looks to be a very weak system at this time. We will have a chance of a few showers for the Friday night into the day Saturday time frame, but the air behind it is just not that cold.

Beyond that, the longer range products are not very consistent. There are some indications that a stronger system could reach us early that following week with a chance of precipitation, but that is not supported by some of the other guidance. So, the coming weekend and into that following week has more uncertainty than usual and the forecast will be updated as better data becomes available.

In the meantime, stay tuned and check back for updates.

Dick Faurot

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