An Active End to 2012....(12-23-12)

<B>(10:00 pm Sunday December 23rd)</B>It looks like the last week to 10 days of 2012 will be a sprint to the finish weather-wise. Not one, not two but three chances for widespread snow could be in the cards.
It sure seems like winter is making up for some lost time.  Over the last two days Syracuse has picked up a foot of snow. As mentioned in the last blog, our weather is going to get active this last week of 2012.  Let me set the stage by first including a jet stream forecast from the GFS for the middle of the week.

Courtesy: Golden Gate Weather

The first thing that stands out in the ‘kink’ in the flow in the eastern United States.  That’s potentially one of the storms we’ll be dealing with this week. More on that in a moment. What also stands out to me is a very strong an active southern branch of the jet stream.  Also, there is no real bitter cold air over the U.S. That may or may not play a role it what falls come midweek.

Our first shot of snow comes Christmas eve night as a weak low travels through this jet stream and just to our south.  Steady snow will drop about 1-3” and normally I would say this is no problem since it will fall while most people are sleeping.  However, there will be people out on the roads for Christmas eve services.  Again, not a lot of snow tomorrow night but just enough to grease up the roads a little bit.  This snow will quickly wind down Christmas morning, maybe even before sunrise.

After that our attention quickly turns to a storm that is now moving through the Rocky Mountains. The storm takes a northerly turn across the Gulf Coast and heads up into the Ohio Valley on Wednesday. At some point either late Wednesday or Wednesday night a new low will try to form along the East Coast at the expense of the storm over the Ohio Valley.  I’m reluctant to throw out any snow forecasts at this stage of the game because it will be a careful dance between how long this first low remains the dominant low and when the secondary coastal low takes over.  I’ve seen too many times in the winter where we wait for the coastal low to get going and it comes too late.  We get an initial shot of heavy snow with several inches of accumulation then we change over to sleet or even rain.

Right now the NAM and the GFS are hinting at this mixed precipitation scenarios.  The European model, however, has a fairly strong coastal low forming near the Tidewater region of Virginia then northeast to New York City and then Boston.  The model has been very consistent with the track of this storm for the last 2 or 3 days. This would be a mostly snow set up for us.

Courtesy: UQAM-Montreal Weather Centre

Now no sooner do we get this system out of our hair then another system comes racing out of the southern branch of the jet toward the east Coast on Saturday into Sunday.  If you buy into the European model ,it takes an almost carbon copy path as our midweek storm.  Again, this would be mainly snow for us.  In this case, the GFS has this storm as well but it is weaker and farther south than the European model.

So there are plenty of challenges to the forecast this upcoming week.  If you are a winter enthusiast, keep your fingers crossed. If all the dominoes fall just right, this final week of the year could turn out to be a very wintry one indeed.
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