Sunny & Cold Today, Cold and Wet Monday.
After another very cold day today, temperatures will moderate somewhat on Sunday but look for below normal temperatures to be the general rule through the coming week. Also, it still looks like rain will be a good bet on Monday so be prepared for wet roads Monday and Monday night for any New Year's celebrations that may be going on. After that, basically a dry cold forecast for the rest of the week.
Today will have sunny skies and light westerly winds which usually is a recipe for a nice warm-up. However, since we got off to such a cold start this morning(notice the low temperature map on the right), we are not expected to make it out of the 30s which is still a 20 degree diurnal range.
Tonight will be clear and cold to start with some high level cirrus clouds moving in towards morning. Those clouds will be thickening up during the day Sunday so we will end the day with overcast skies. We will also have light southerly winds overnight which will be increasing to 10-20 mph during the day. As a result, it will not be quite as cold to start the day although lows will still be in the teens but we should at least make it into the lower 40s by days end.
Sunday night could be more interesting as precipitation will be spreading this way from the SW. We will keep southerly winds at the surface along with a warm air advection pattern aloft due to a SW wind above the surface as well. However, the vertical profile of temperature and moisture is such that there could be a wintry mix of rain/snow/sleet developing during the early morning hours of Monday morning. Surface temperatures are expected to be just above the freezing mark, but it will be close. As Monday wears on, temperatures aloft will be warming and at the surface the best we can hope for is mid-upper 30s, but at least we will stay above the freezing mark due to brisk southerly winds. That means a steady rain for much of the day and this could turn to be our best rain day in quite some time. Notice the QPF map on the right which shows widespread ½-1" rainfall totals and some locations will likely receive more than that. Not a drought buster, but it will at least put a little dent in the ongoing drought situation.
A cold front will then push through the state Monday night shifting our winds back to the NW for New Year's Day. Colder air at the surface and aloft will also be spreading back over the state but at the same time the moisture will be moving out. So, the rain should be ending Monday night with the possibility of a brief wintry mix early Tuesday morning, particularly for the more northern counties. Also, temperatures will be in the 20s for Monday night/Tuesday morning so any wet spots left on the roads from the rain will become patches of ice with obvious implications for travel.
After that, look for sunny skies much of New Year's Day, but cold and that will be the general rule for the rest of the week. Temperatures will begin to moderate by the coming weekend as southerly winds start to kick back in.
In the meantime, stay tuned and check back for updates.