And I know what you're thinking...
What's up is a large subtropical high pressure ridge over the southeastern U.S., an Arctic jet stream that is well north of its usual winter solstice position, and the peak of El Nino conditions in the Pacific Ocean. Putting all that together results in temperature anomalies (departure from average) for the period December 21-26 that look like what is shown below, according to the American model ensemble. Yes, that is at least 10°F above average for much of the eastern U.S. and Canada! (Normal highs this week are near 50 with lows in the mid 30s. I expect we'll see several lows that are well above our average high temperatures this week.)
|Temperature anomalies from Dec 21-26 from the GEFS model ensemble indicating well above normal temperatures for the eastern U.S./Canada during Christmas week. Graphic courtesy WxBell.|
|Total precipitation forecast by the GFS model through Tuesday morning, December 29. Graphic courtesy WxBell.|
However, by Christmas Day, it looks like we're back into the southerly flow, which would mean a return of rain chances. Both the American GFS and European models project a potent low pressure system and cold front move around the 27th-28th. That could be our best chance of severe storms, but it's way too soon to know how that will pan out. Here's our best shot at the next 6 days:
Instead of hot chocolate, we could be saying "pass the sweet tea" on Christmas morning. Stay tuned for additional detail the next few days.
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