Happy New Year! Fortunately, for those traveling during the evening and overnight hours, there will be no weather related issues as fair skies and southerly winds will keep temperatures relatively mild. Temperatures generally near the freezing mark are expected by first thing in the morning and southerly winds up through Noon should get us well into the 40s before the next cold front arrives that afternoon. Gusty northerly winds behind the front will sharply drop temperatures back into the 20s and the brisk northerly winds will make it feel even colder.
Lots of sunshine to start New Year's Day will give way to increasing cloud cover as the front approaches and overcast skies are expected for the afternoon and overnight hours. A quick hitting system aloft will also bring some snow for that night which will have ended by early the following morning. For most of us, not much more than a dusting is expected, but along the OK/KS state line and into MO/ARK there could be some accumulations of an inch or so creating some slick roads.
This is a very cold system with lows back into the teens Thursday morning and struggling to get above freezing that afternoon along with brisk northerly winds to make it feel even colder. This cold air will quickly move eastward so after a very cold start to Friday morning, a return to southerly winds and lots of sunshine should get us back into the lower 40s that afternoon. Temperatures will continue to moderate for Saturday before the next strong cold front arrives later that day. That system could also produce some light snow Saturday night into Sunday morning, but it will mainly just be a return to very cold conditions that will extend well into the following week. Temperatures during the day will once again struggle to get above the freezing mark for the early part of next week.
Notice the extended temperature/precip graphics on the right which are valid through the first ten days of the New Year. Obviously, 2014 will be getting off to a rather chilly start.
Speaking of chilly, 2013 was quite a contrast to 2012 as 9 of the 12 months were cooler than normal (including December) resulting in an annual average temperature that was more than 5 degrees colder than last year. 2012 was remarkable in its own right as it was the warmest year on record which makes the contrast between the two years all the more noteworthy. We followed the warmest year in the record books with the 12th coolest year on record as 2013 tied a number of other years for that distinction. It was also another relatively dry year as we ended the year more than 7" below normal in precipitation.
So, here's to a Happy and Prosperous New Year!