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February Forecast: Pleasant Start, but Winter-Like Changes Coming

Will February be more like Winter?

A rather cold day as we enter the month of February with a very cold evening on the way. What kind of weather will February bring? Let's take a look. 

Back on my January 19th blog post I talked about the upcoming weather for the remainder of January and part of February and how it would be getting colder, and possibly very cold. We've had shots of cold air but not the bitter cold that we had anticipated. So what happened to it? 

Most of January had very cold arctic air poised just across the border in Canada. But other than brief shots of cold here in the south, we haven't really seen much cold air. The indices had been pointing to a major blocking regime that would have forced cold air south, but significant blocking hasn't happened, at least not in the spots that are favorable for us. An active Pacific jet has overpowerd the other teleconnections and oscillation indices this winter season, but winter is far from over and I still believe that we'll have more chances for winter weather before it's over with.

Here's what I said in that January 19th blog post:

  • Jan 24 - 25 - Stormy
  • Jan 26 - 29 - Cold shot
  • Jan 31 - 02 - Reinforcing  good cold shot
  • Feb 02 - 04 - Warm-up
  • Feb 05 - 07 - Stormy/ good cold shot
  • Feb 07 - 11 - Stormy/ cold shot

Since then the forecast has actually been pretty good, we did have a system come through around the 25-26th of January which brought us cold air, we just had the January 31-02 shot of cold air, and the Feb 02-04 warm-up is on the way. So far my original projections have been on target. Our next focus is on next weekend and here is a good synopsis of that upcoming period from a meteorologist in Texas. My comments are in ().

"Winter Storm Potential February 8th-15th

As the trough to our West deepens, a general unsettled pattern develops across the West Coast/Great Basin/Southern Rockies/Southern Plains as pressures fall and an increasing onshore Gulf flow becomes established. During the later half of next week the ensembles are in rather good agreement that a strong storm system will drop South Southeast from the Gulf of Alaska. This storm appears to have some colder air associated with it as it pulls Canadian air into the Great Basin. There are indications that a potent Winter Storm will begin to slowly develop and eject East Northeast along the southern stream and a clipper system rides East Southeast along a stagnant Polar jet across the Great Lakes into the Northeast. Heights falls across Alaska and a PNA Ridge develops off the Pacific NW flooding Western Canada with ‘warmer air’ while the meandering somewhat cold core upper low is energized by the noisy STJ (Sub-Tropical Jet stream). The time frame that is of concern would be near February 8th, +/- a couple of days. The guidance continues to hint that some NE Atlantic blocking may occur near this time frame. This is a complex and complicated forecast due to the influence of the MJO, a Kelvin Wave as well as a changing pattern across the North Pacific and a tanking AO. As has been mentioned, there are indications that some chilly Canadian air will be dropping South in the mid February time frame. With Clipper systems streaming SE along the Polar jet and an active Southern Jet, potential arises for wintry precipitation from the Mid West on East."

This active period would fall right in to the dates I outlined on January 19th and appears to be a very busy time for winter weather in the US. Time will tell how significant this period will be,  but right now it seems that we will have plenty of weather to watch beginning the middle of next week right through the middle of February. 

For now, enjoy the nice weather for the next 4 -5 days, I believe we're going to be in for some winter like changes in about a week.

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North Georgia Weather February 04, 2013 at 11:06 PM
Terrie, the part of Georgia we live in is not the best place for snow because... it's Georgia! :-) Our chances for winter precip here is always marginal and we really need an ideal setup to get snow. We got spoiled for several years (before last year) when we had several good snows. Our problem this year is that we can't get cold air far enough south to do us any good. No blocking and an over powering Pacific flow of moisture has kept the cold air at bay. Needless to say, it's been a very frustrating winter season for forecasting.
North Georgia Weather February 05, 2013 at 11:05 AM
A two part post from a forecaster I follow from Texas, his thoughts: "Major Winter Storm February 8th -12th Thoughts: There continues to be a lot of uncertainty regarding the upcoming weekend and early next week as a long wave trough develops across the West. What we do know is a deep trough with a Potent Winter Storm will develop across the Great Basin and Inter-mountain West. In fact the HPC has so little confidence in the guidance, they have tasked a NOAA G-IV Winter RECON mission to fly the Pacific and sample the environment. Across the West, wintry conditions appear likely beginning Thursday as a potent storm system moves inland along the Pacific NW/British Columbia area and drop SSE and closes off near the California/Arizona/Mexico border with temps aloft expect to drop to the -30+ range as the cold core 500mb upper low forms. Due to lack of guidance continuity, the implications of how that storm ejects from the Great Basin is the main concern for the late weekend/early next week time frame. The HPC is mentioning this morning the similarity to a Spring like storm we tend to see in late March/early April meaning a wide spread severe weather event in the warm sector that extends from Eastern New Mexico/Texas/Oklahoma and portions of Kansas with wintry weather in the cold sector N of the Polar jet. " ... continued
North Georgia Weather February 05, 2013 at 11:07 AM
... continued "The fly in the ointment is will there be phasing with yet another short wave riding the Polar jet across Southern Canada into the Northern Plains with the active southern jet stream storm which would tend to pull down cold air from the North and collide with warm moist Gulf air to the South. The Subtropical jet appears to come into play as well, as tropical forcing increasing across the Eastern Pacific energizing the Great Basins storm We are in a somewhat zonal split flow pattern where cold air has retreated North with an active northern stream and a secondary active southern stream where this storm system will organize later this week. All in all, a very active pattern is ahead and for much of the CONUS as rain chances are returning this week to the Gulf Coastal Regions with an active southern stream and the Pacific NW as the Gulf of Alaska storm moves inland. The finer details regarding the Medium Range forecast should become bit clearer later in the week as data from WSR scheduled to begin 06/0000 regarding next weekend into early next week and the sensible weather we can expect."
North Georgia Weather February 05, 2013 at 04:52 PM
February update from Mr. Sutherland (images he refers to have been uploaded): February Update... With the first week of February almost completed, I have no major changes from my thoughts for the month expressed earlier. Briefly, the temperature anomalies shown from the teleconnection analogs were as follows (see fig 1) "The temperature anomalies for first three days of the month (NCEP's re-analysis charts don't go beyond February 3) were as follows (see fig 2) To date, my lead analog (1967) remains in play. Hence, my confidence that the month will wind up on the cold side of normal, not necessarily extreme, and snowier than normal for the Mid-Atlantic, New England, and possibly Ohio Valley has increased. Recent runs of the ECMWF and the 2/5 12z run of the GFS don't undermine that growing confidence." ... continued
North Georgia Weather February 05, 2013 at 04:53 PM
... continued "To date, my lead analog (1967) remains in play. Hence, my confidence that the month will wind up on the cold side of normal, not necessarily extreme, and snowier than normal for the Mid-Atlantic, New England, and possibly Ohio Valley has increased. Recent runs of the ECMWF and the 2/5 12z run of the GFS don't undermine that growing confidence. Moreover, repeated runs of the ensembles have indicated that the EPO should turn negative and possibly sharply negative as the calendar approaches mid-month. There has also been a growing signal for renewed blocking (Arctic Oscillation) in the medium-term, along with a continued neutral to somewhat positive PNA. In short, at least at this point in time, my February thoughts appear to remain on track. All said, what a difference a year makes. At this point last year, February was already accumulating coast-to-coast warm anomalies en route to becoming the 16th warmest February on record (CONUS) and 5th warmest on record in the Northeast. At least in my opinion, the almost daily coatings for snow from fast-moving clipper systems is far better than last year's march through seemingly unending warmth."


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