Friday, February 27, 2015

Long Range Ensembles Predict Incoming Spring-Like Weather

Long range ensembles are indicating a much warmer weather pattern is on the way for much of the country that has been held hostage by brutal cold in the last month.

Click to enlarge
The above image shows 500mb geopotential height anomalies from the GFS ensembles, projected over the Northern Hemisphere and valid for March 1st. In this graphic, we see a massive ridge of high pressure, the same one which has allowed for such a cold and snowy February, meandering westward over the north-central Pacific, as opposed to the northeast Pacific and Gulf of Alaska. This comes as a strong trough drops into the Southwest and Baja California. In response, with the strong upper level low previously positioned over Greenland, now over Europe, a ridge is able to form over the Central and East US. It looks like this ridge will be suppressed a bit, but warmer weather is on the way for those in the Plains, Midwest, Ohio Valley, and Northeast, among other areas.

By March 7th, ensembles are indicating the ridge remains in the north-central Pacific, but an upper level low has now developed in the Gulf of Alaska. Unfortunately, this then results in a ridge forming over the Western US, as the graphic above shows. Consequentially, the semi-permanent Arctic long wave trough (better than using 'polar vortex', apparently) is being pushed back into North America, setting up another period of cold weather for the Central and East US. This would likely last for a handful of days, right between February 5-10 or so.

But... finally... finally!... relief comes.

In the long-long range, to March 11th, ensembles see our ridge forcing itself north in the north Pacific into the Aleutian Islands, along the jet stream, where the "polar vortex" is stationed just off to the north. The net result for us is another trough setting up over the western section of North America. You weather enthusiasts know this as a negative Pacific-North American (PNA) pattern, with a trough in the west and warmth in the East.

This looks to be our new pattern, going strictly by these ensembles. Stormy weather in the West with predominantly warm weather out east.

To summarize:

- A brief warm-up is expected in the final days of February and early days of March.
- Another cold blast can be expected around March 7th.
- The pattern may then shift to a warmer set-up for the middle half of March.