Starting to look a lot more interesting for Thanksgiving Day and for that matter much of Thanksgiving week. The coldest air of the season is still headed our way next week and the timing/intensity/location of the major features are starting to come into a little better focus. Before we get around to that though, a very dynamic system has passed directly overhead early this afternoon. Notice for example, the surface wind map on the right from the Ok mesonet. Despite the lack of moisture, the very strong dynamics are still wringing out some light rain and showers that will be widespread this evening and early tonight. This system is moving very rapidly so the rain will quickly come to an end tonight followed by clearing skies by early Thursday morning.
Thursday morning temperatures will be tricky as north winds and clearing skies may inhibit maximum radiational cooling. Even so, we expect to be near the freezing mark to start the day and sunny skies along with light southerly winds by days end should get us back into the 50s. Friday morning temperatures will also be tricky as southerly winds are expected overnight, but should be light enough for temperatures to once again reach the low-mid 30s. After that, a warming trend will extend through the weekend as gusty southerly winds return in advance of the next storm system. As moisture returns with the southerly wind component, we will see more cloud cover on Saturday and a chance of showers or even some storms for Sunday and Monday.
For all this week, I have been spending some time dealing with the longer range guidance and how it is handling the events leading up to and including Thanksgiving Day. On several occasions I have mentioned how the guidance will often flip-flop solutions from one model cycle to the next and that we try to determine trends by monitoring the spatial and temporal consistency of the various model solutions. Experience has shown that in some situations one model will perform better than another…..usually, with today's model runs a perfect example of that.
For the last couple of model cycles, the European model had been keeping a consistently dry Thanksgiving Day with the next major storm system moving through our neck of the woods on Tue or Wed. On the other hand, the GFS model has been more erratic and therefore has been deemed less reliable, but has been generally showing a colder, wetter Thanksgiving Day. Well, guess what happened with the model runs today. The European model has flip-flopped and is now showing not only a potentially wet early part of next week, but also showing the colder air moving in on Thanksgiving Day along with a good chance of precipitation. At least for now, those two are in pretty good agreement that Thanksgiving Day will be cold and wet. Precipitation amounts and type remain questionable, and the solutions may well flip-flop again with the next model cycle which will not be available till early Thursday morning. Oh well, at least that does keep things interesting and gives us something to talk about.
In the meantime, stay tuned and check back for updates.