It certainly took longer than expected, but our skies finally cleared this afternoon which means a clear, cold night tonight. Lots of sunshine for most of the day Monday along with a return to southerly winds will also start a warming trend which will extend till New Year's Eve. That is when the next cold front should be pushing through the state.
The trajectory of the wind flow over the next several days also suggests that low level stratus clouds will be a possibility for Tues and Wed which will hamper the warm-up to some extent. As the moisture increases, there will also be a slight chance for some light rain showers and quite frankly, we could use a good rain. Notice the chart on the right which shows the percentage of normal rainfall over the last 90 days. We have obviously been quite dry during that period.
This dryness together with the strong and gusty southerly winds on Wed and Thu could lead to an enhanced fire danger situation. As you can see by looking at the extended graphic, Thursday will be by far the warmest day of the week and if we get a little more of a westerly wind component it could turn out to be even warmer yet.
After that is when things start getting interesting. The longer range guidance has come into reasonable agreement on bringing a cold front through during the day Friday and the timing suggests temperatures will be falling dramatically by afternoon. Showers and storms will be likely along and ahead of the cold front so New Year's Eve could turn out to be a wet, stormy day.
As for New Year's Day, that could be even more interesting. The European Model is usually a little more reliable at the longer time ranges and the last several runs are strongly suggesting cold air in place at the surface with a disturbance moving overhead and some significant wintry precipitation for us. On the other hand, the GFS model has also been consistently showing absolutely nothing in the way of precipitation for New Year's weekend. With such divergent options, I have leaned toward a cold, cloudy solution with only a slight chance of any measurable precipitation. Wish we could be more precise, but it will take at least another day or two of consistency with subsequent model runs before we can more confidently pick one model over the other. In either event, the New Year will get off to a cold start.
So check back for updates and as always, stay tuned.