For the second straight winter, Syracuse has gotten off to a slow start to the season. With only a little new snow through the first two days of 2022, the seasonal snow total is more two feet below normal.

What about January? Are things going to turn around for winter enthusiasts as we turn the calendar?

There are at least some encouraging signs for some more winter-like weather come the middle of the January but it is too early to say whether this a true, sustainable pattern change.

For the early part of Winter, high pressure aloft has been anchored in the Northern Pacific Ocean north to near the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. This has forced the jet stream winds aloft south of the Pacific Northwest. 

You may have heard of unusually cold weather in the Seattle area and records snows in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

That change in the jet stream is why.

Meanwhile, a ridge of high pressure aloft has been anchored in the Southeast United States.  That has led to above normal temperatures in the East for December with some spots having one of their warmest last months of the calendar year on record.  For Syracuse it was the 2nd warmest December on record.

This pattern has been consistent the last month but signs are the jet stream will at least ‘buckle’ some heading through the first part of January.

The ridge in the Aleutians shifts a bit farther north toward the arctic and that sets off a chain of events allowing the cold air building in parts of Alaska and Western Canada to move farther east. This helps to build a reservoir of cold air as close to us as the Northern Plains. For us, this dam of cold air doesn’t break but cold air ‘spills’ over the top. A couple of pieces of this cold air look to make it into the Northeast.

The first shot of cold comes in early this week (January 2/3) but is only temporary.  Another overall longer lasting bout of cold is forecast to move in the for the second week of the month.

What will that mean for our day-to-day weather?

We should start to see some true, cold mid-winter days with highs in the 20s plus the return of some cold air provides one of the keys for lake effect snow.  Lake Ontario is running between 3 and 4 degrees above normal at this point in the season.

While we wouldn’t rule out some widespread snow events through mid-January, we think localized lake effect snow will be the main driver of Central New York’s snow chances over the next two weeks or so. Make sure you click here to get frequent updates on the day to day changes headed our way.