December 2020 May Be Very Cold Across Eastern US

La Nina conditions have strengthened across the Equatorial Pacific with sea surface temperature anomalies approaching negative 1.5 degrees Celsius,  (image below courtesy NOAA).

Historically speaking, La Nina winters that have followed either ENSO neutral (average sea surface temperatures) or El Nino (warmer than average sea surface temperatures) winters have produced colder than average Decembers across the eastern United States. Because last winter featured a weak La Nina, the winter of 2020-21 is considered a “first year” La Nina.

I took a handful of “first year” La Nina winter seasons and ran them through NOAA’s climate database and here are how temperature anomalies in December, January, February and March shook out.

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After record warmth next week will March roar in like a lion?

We have been stuck in Phase 7 of the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) this month and that combined with the ongoing La Nina has been responsible for the mild, snow-less conditions across the Mid-Atlantic.

Are things about to turn the corner with Winter returning as we head into March? The image above is the latest MJO forecast from the Global Ensemble Forecast System (GEFS) model.  Look closely and you can see that we have been stuck in phase 7 (mild in the east) for much of February.  We are forecast to move into phase 8, before heading into phase 1 and 2 (phase 8, 1 and 2 favor cooler than average temperatures in the eastern United States).

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Latest Climate Models Indicate Potential Cool Down across Eastern United States late October into early November

After what feels like a relentless Summer with record heat and humidity across the Eastern Seaboard, there is hope that as we head into November the pattern may flip.

The latest CFS (Climate Forecast System) model for temperature anomalies (departure from average) forecast the warmth to continue through the end of October for the eastern half of the nation:

Next 10 days:

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