12/16/14: Back to the Cold

The past couple of weeks has been exceptionally mild (for December) across North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota.   Temperature anomalies for the past 14 days are presented below.  If it was not for the persistent cloudiness which held temperatures back to some degree,  these positive anomalies would have been higher in some portions of the state.

Past 2 Week Temperature Anomalies
Past 2 Week Temperature Anomalies

 

But with temperatures now back to seasonal averages, the question becomes will that warmer pattern return?  In the short term (2nd half of December) the answer is likely no. The rest of this week looks cold, but fairly close to seasonal averages.  We all know that cold is the norm in these parts for the next few months.  After a weak disturbance slides across the area this weekend, it will reinforce the cold air and next week may end up even a bit colder than this week.  Like the cold snap in November, the one thing that is lacking to really create horrific cold air is the lack of snow cover.

 

Christmas Day 850 mb (5000 Feet above Mean Sea Level)
Christmas Day 850 mb (5000 Feet above Mean Sea Level)

At the moment the one threat of snow before Christmas looks to be early next week (perhaps Tuesday).  Otherwise, cold, dry with the exception of some typical flurries.   One of the features that will alter the pattern is this massive storm over Japan.  This will eventually build a ridge over Alaska which in turn will send the Arctic Air back over the  eastern two-thirds of the United States.  Our Christmas present from the North Pole may actually be the temperatures from the North Pole.

Japan Surface Map
Japan Surface Map

 

So cold and dry for a while, in fact, it may last much of the rest of December.

Daryl Ritchison