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Cold Weekend.

Posted: Updated:

That quick blast of snow that moved through the state today is rapidly moving on eastward and will be followed by clearing skies tonight. Much of the snow melted, but some locations may have picked up as much as 1" or so. With some snow on the ground and clear skies overnight, Saturday will get off to a cold start with morning lows in the teens.

Bright, sunny skies are then expected for Saturday along with a light westerly wind. As a general rule, a westerly wind is a warming wind for us as it is a downslope wind, but given the very cold start and the shallow, cold air in place, temperatures should only slowly rebound into the 30s to near 40. Brisk southerly winds will return for Sunday and that should get us back into the 40s for daytime highs.

Look for clouds to be on the increase during the day Sunday as another, stronger storm system will be headed our way which will be followed by a good chance of precipitation on Monday. As you can see by the QPF map on the right which is valid from 6PM this evening through 6PM Wednesday evening, we stand a chance of receiving up to ½" of precipitation. All of that will occur during the day Monday ending Monday night or early Tuesday.

Of course, the big question is temperatures during the event and the precipitation type. All available guidance at this time strongly suggests this will be a liquid event with a cold rain for much of the day Monday. Southerly winds at the surface and a veering wind profile aloft imply warm air advection which would keep temperatures above freezing through the bottom mile or so of the atmosphere. That would be enough to ensure a cold rain with surface temperatures generally holding in the mid-upper 30s. Quite frankly, it is extremely rare for us to receive any wintry precipitation of any consequence and also have a southerly surface wind.

Towards the end of the event Monday night or early Tuesday as our winds shift back to northerly behind the next cold front and colder aloft moves overhead, there may be a brief transition to a wintry mix. However, drier air will also be spreading overhead at the same time so it currently does not look like it will amount to much.

After that, temperatures will remain below normal for that first week of the New Year.

By the way, despite this recent bout of cold weather, this December will still go down in the record books as much milder than normal and the calendar year of 2012 is still on pace to be the warmest calendar year on record.

At any rate, stay tuned and check back for updates.

Dick Faurot

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