Tue. Jan 26th, 2021

Long Range Models Indicate Strong Winter Is Arriving

After reviewing the updated models released last evening, one very obvious pattern emerges. We have a very active Southern Jet Stream. North Pacific storms will be travelling along this “conveyor belt” about every 4-5 days into the foreseeable future.

For the Piedmont, this is not new and happens frequently. For winter weather, the Northern Jet (which holds back the cold Arctic air) needs to merge with the Southern so that precipitation and cold meet at the same time. This is what we are evaluating now.

So let’s dive in.

This week:

The system that will be moving up the east coast will be clearing out today and tomorrow making for a very sunny and normal week with highs in the low to mid 50’s and lows in the upper 20’s to around freezing…Normal for this time of year.

Next Week:

Beginning Tuesday, we see the first in a series of Pacific origin storms approaching. Our concern is for the 17th through the 19th.

Storm System

Surface Temp

18,000' Temp

On the 16th, we should see a noticeable change in the weather as our temperature drops with 40’s for highs and below freezing nights. This setup is perfect for snow if moisture arrives!

We will have very cold air aloft at 500 millibars (18,000 feet) which can support cold air at the surface. Our problem is will it stay long enough for the approaching storm? Right now, the European models are suggesting a close call. The GFS has us a balmy 60 degrees, the Japanese is suggesting the cold will arrive AFTER the storm.

Regardless, this system should exit the Piedmont area and move up the east coast as a Nor’easter on the 18th.

Some noted forecasters are seeing this setup as a major southeast winter storm and at this time, NC Weather Happens is urging subscribers to stay tuned as this may very well be our first in a series of winter weather “opportunities”.

When we get closer to the weekend, the medium range models will begin to refine this pattern and THEN we can call it.

Reminder: It is way to early to start making forecasts with snow totals as is popular on social media so be careful out there.

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