What to Watch Fore(cast) – Dec 27 – Jan 3

Highlights:

Record lake-effect? – Some areas like Syracuse, NY prep for another round of lake-effect snow to close out December. The lake-effect could break the all-time snowiest month on record in some areas in the wake of an amazing and amazingly-bizarre winter storm.

A brief re-cap – A few facts from the incredible coastal storm that rocked parts of the Southeast and East Coast over the past few days.

Mid-country storm looming – After several big cold blasts this month, a switch in the weather pattern will bring a potent storm system to the mid-country as temperatures rise to above normal levels in the East.

Cold in the West – Cold air will funnel in behind the mid-country storm, bringing below normal temperatures to most of the West through the second half of the week and into next week.

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Discussion:

The lake-effect during this blustery month of December is already one for the record books, with Syracuse, NY racking up over 72 inches of snow in December, making it the snowiest December on record in that area. Syracuse is just 6-7″ short of breaking the snowiest month on record of any month! With another 3-6″ or more possible before the end of December, that record looks fairly obtainable. This all comes in the wake of a monster coastal system that rocked the East Coast with snowfalls of over a foot, including measurements of up to 32 inches in New Jersey! The D.C. are somehow managed to only report a trace to half an inch as parts of the southeast and Appalachians received up to 6-12+ inches of snow, including a little over an inch in Atlanta, GA.

A potent low pressure system will meander through the West around mid-week before rapidly developing over the Great Plains late in the work week. This storm will cause massive snowfall on the order of over a foot in parts of the Central and Northern Plains, with heavy rain and possible thunderstorm activity out ahead of the storm’s cold front from the Southern Plains into the Mid-Atlantic. This storm’s true potential will be somewhat limited by less-than-favorable upper levels, which are positioned in such a way that the storm can not “bomb out” and cause utter chaos. However, there is still plenty of room for development, so I won’t rule it out completely just yet. This system will push to the north and east and the cold front will move off the East Coast late this weekend, with another disturbance developing in the Southeast as we head into the start of the work week next week.

Behind this mid-country system, a series of weaker disturbances will reinforce the upper-level trough over the West, which will create temperatures that are 5-10 degrees or more below normal from mid-week through early next week. This is in steep contrast to the first two-thirds of the month, in which the West saw temperatures in the range of 5-10 degrees ABOVE normal. While somewhat persistent for about a week’s time, the long-range forecast indicates that this will not be a lasting trend.

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