January Thaw Leads to February “Brawl” between Jet Streams

I’m not great at long-range predictions, but in the last few weeks, I’ve been examining trends as we are entering a January thaw for the next few weeks and a decent warm-up.  There had been a lot of talk about February being the warmest of the three Winter months. And at the start of Winter, it looked that way. Now, as time has passed, February isn’t exactly looking like December was where it was freaky cold and stormy, but it’s shaping up to be a battle of the jet streams and cold on one side and warmth on the other. The clash of the two could lead to something substantial-wintry substantial :}

The graphic shows how February is setting up. First, in terms of cold-temperature,  we have the crux of the colder trough setting itself up in the East.  That’s good. Next, temperatures are indicating they will be anywhere from -2 to -4 degrees below normal. That’s good. However, the shape of the trough and the isobar lines show a more progressive northern stream. That’s not good.  It would mean systems coming in go out even faster. And depending on storm tracks, usually don’t bring good Winter snowstorm potential for the East or big cities. You would want to see a bigger height ridge in the West and a more U-shaped trough in the East.

The second thing the graphic shows is a southern jet stream that is warm and moisture filled.  Yet, there is a split flow pattern. That’s not good. Yet, there is a better chance for the two streams to phase at a time when there is enough cold air around and enough moisture where you don’t need a Nor’easter to deliver a big snow, but an overrunning system where the moisture from the southern jet meets the northern stream at just the right time. These tend to deliver a fair amount of heavy snow if the other conditions are right.

So, there is hope for a cold, stormy February. If you like that! :}


Enjoy the January Thaw!



screenshot (93)
February Outlook: Possible Colder and stormy than first thought of at the start of Winter.




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