12/4/15: How Long will It last?

The snow from Monday Night into Tuesday is still evident on satellite imagery this afternoon in southeastern North Dakota.  There are some high level clouds in far western North Dakota in the image below, but from the Missouri River to the Red River and south of Highway 2, that is all snow in the image below.

North_Dakota.vis
Satellite Image

That snow pack is definitely keeping the temperatures down, not only this afternoon, but in the upcoming days as well.  Maximums were in the 50s yesterday (Thursday) and are in the 50s again this afternoon in locations that did not record snowfall earlier this week, or did not have a previous snow cover.

Temperatures at 2:15 PM on December 4, 2015
Temperatures at 2:15 PM on December 4, 2015

It is a classic example as to the effects of snow cover on air temperatures and why most of the mild winters are winters that have minimal snow cover.  All locations will remain well above average for maximums through about Thursday of next week it appears, but how far above average will be determined heavily on the snow pack in any given location and how fast that snow cover will melt.

The upper level wind flow in shown in the image below with corresponding height anomalies show the warmth in the north central portion of the United States.  Although this pattern will have subtle changes, overall, it will remain very mild through much of next week in the upper-Midwest.

Friday 6:00 AM 500 mb flow and height anomalies from Average.
Friday 6:00 AM 500 mb flow and height anomalies from Average.

 

A trough of low pressure is expected to deepen in the Pacific Northwest later next week and eventually move into the northern plains next weekend.

Thursday, December 10, 2015 6:00 500 mb flow and height anomalies Projection
Thursday, December 10, 2015 6:00 500 mb flow and height anomalies Projection

 

Once that storm moves eastward it will bring colder and wetter conditions to the region, but that is at least 7 days away, meaning the very mild conditions by December standards will stick around for a while and the only thing that may hamper the warmth would be fog potential based on the melting snow.

Monday, December 14, 2015 6:00 am 500 mb flow and height anomalies Projection
Monday, December 14, 2015 6:00 am 500 mb flow and height anomalies Projection

 

If you are a winter lover…. patience as the cold always comes, if you’re not a fan of snow and cold temperatures,  enjoy the ride.

Daryl Ritchison