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But Why: Colder Temps and Snow in the Forecast

Because winter. Duh!

Okay, I’m kidding with that one– but only a little bit.
Let me explain.

The Warmth

There’s no question about how warm this past month has been. Just through the 18th we’ve broken almost 3,000 record high temperature records!

But I want you to take a second and think about your recent weather. Think back to those warm days sipping a beverage on your patio– sure it was warm, but it was also pretty windy.
You see, this time of year, we don’t have the right sun angle or amount of sun to bring us those absurd high temperatures. You need some wind to advect or blow warm air in from warmer places.

We all know the winds. The Chinook winds or the Santa Anas are just a couple examples, but when you take away those winds and the weather pattern that brought them we see a return of what we call normal.

The Pattern Change

Our weather has been dominated by a massive ridge of nigh pressure over the central states. The strong upper-atmospheric winds have not only steered moisture away, but also brought us those spring-like days of warmth.

It has already started to break down, but you can see what I mean across the eastern portion of the central states.

But as with anything, this couldn’t last forever. A change will bring a round of snow this week, along with much cooler temperatures for those of us basking in the warmth.

The jet stream or those strong upper-level winds I mentioned earlier will return to a more seasonable flow– just check out the difference!

What that means is cold air spills in from our neighbors to the North!
Just when we thought Canadian PM Trudeau could do no wrong, he goes and sends us his cold!

Take a look at these maps comparing today’s temperatures just overhead to what we will see this weekend…

 Yikes.
The difference in color should show you just how much colder it will be!

The Snow

You already know it, so I won’t take long with this. But all of this cold comes with a round of significant snowfall for areas stretching from the Rocky Mountains to the Great Lakes!

Some of y’all are going to see more snow than you have all season. Well, maybe not quite, but after this warmth it will sure feel like it when you put that shovel in your hand!

More Warmth?

“Winter is great and all, but when can I put my shorts back on?” -Every Midwesterner

That’s a real quote… err… or something like what you might hear a Minnesotan say next week?

But here’s the deal. If my coworkers found out I was long-range forecasting, I would never hear the end of it!
The amount of times we’ve seen long-range forecasts fail to validate is astronomical! Anything more than a few days out and forecast models become about as reliable as top models when it comes to exact precip totals and high temperatures.

But looking at just the upper-atmospheric patterns, we can see a bit of what the extended setup might be…
And thanks to the folks over at my old alma mater, the University of Wisconsin, we can see this cooler pattern holds into the start of March.

So at this point the best I can do for you is to let you hope the old saying about March is true.

In like a lion…

For WeatherNation— Meteorologist Jeremy LaGoo

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