Since winter, from a climatological point of view, is considered to be the calendar months of Dec-Feb, we are now half way through the winter of 2013-14. Needless to say, it has been interesting so far with several ice/snow events along with extreme cold. It has also been quite a contrast to the previous winter. In fact, a comparison shows that this winter is running 6.5 degrees colder on average than last winter which is a very remarkable change from one winter to the next. Also, we are running much below normal in precipitation so far this winter despite several bouts of wintry weather.
Fortunately, we have turned the corner so to speak in recent days with much milder conditions which, with the exception of this Friday, will continue to be the general rule through this forecast cycle. Gusty NW winds today behind another dry cold front will bring more dry, cool air back into the state for tonight and Friday. The gusty winds and low humidity levels will also result in hazardous fire weather conditions for this afternoon.
Despite the gusty NW winds, we will still make it well into the 50s this afternoon as the colder air will be settling in tonight and Friday. Friday looks to be the coldest day of this forecast cycle with morning lows in the mid 20s followed by afternoon temperatures in the mid 40s. Actually, that is only a few degrees below normal and much above normal temperatures will return for the weekend. Lots of sunshine through the weekend along with a more W to SW wind component should push daytime temperatures to near 60 Saturday and well into the 60s to near 70 on Sunday.
Another cold front will arrive Sunday night with northerly winds for early next week, but that will only result in a modest cool-down with temperatures still running near or perhaps a bit below normal. In other words, no arctic blasts are foreseen during this forecast cycle.
These frontal passages all look to be dry as well. In fact, the 7 day QPF map on the right shows a relatively dry pattern for much of the country through that period.
Hard to say how the rest of the winter will go, but looking at some extended guidance out to 14 days as shown on the temperature/precipitation maps on the right suggests we will have another bout with colder conditions to end the month but not much in the way of precipitation. Of course, that is certainly subject to change and the way this winter has behaved so far, it could get interesting again before it is all over with.
So, stay tuned and check back for updates.