Possible Major Upper Level Pattern Change in Mid-February & Opportunities for Snow in DC

The ground hog is being mocked after predicting 6 more weeks of winter. Winter is being “declared over” by some.  Snow lovers in the big cities of the northeast from DC to Boston are gnashing their teeth. Fans of snowless winters are cheering! Headlines, Hype and Potential Premature Judgements aside, I want to briefly visually walk you through the current upper level pattern and offer a glimmer of hope for those of you who want at least one decent snowfall before winter is over.

The image below shows the continuation of this “broken-record pattern” that has allowed for a relentless winter across the western United States and winter void of snow in the big cities of the Northeast:

  • Negative PNA Oscillation (Unrelenting trough across the western United States) with a fast west to east flow (jet stream) across the continental United States and mild conditions in the eastern United States.

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Temperature Roller Coaster Ride Next Week

After a chilly weekend temperatures will soar into the 60s during the middle portion of next week followed by a chilly shot of arctic air. The 500mb chart (image below courtesy Tropical Tidbits) visually shows the ridges of high pressure (orange and red colors) and the troughs, or dips in the jet stream (blue colors) between Monday and Thursday of next week.

  • Notice the fast west to east flow across the Pacific Ocean and tendency for troughs to swing into the western United States (responsible for the drought relief across California).

 

  • Mild conditions in DC will abruptly come to an end on Thursday as an arctic front blasts through the DC Area. But given the strong Pacific Jet stream, even this brief period of cold weather will quickly be replaced by mild air behind it. 

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