Long Range Forecast Update

The long range weather pattern continues to be intriguing. We have been in a couple weeks where systems have been more moisture starved and weaker as they have moved through. From now over the next three to four weeks though the pattern shifts to being more active and much more moisture latent. Southern stream systems, fed by water vapor from the Equatorial Pacific, will have a lot more moisture with them as they move through. You can see that already in our area this week as another 1.5 to 2 inches of rain is expected. Many areas will exceed their Annual February rainfall averages in this second week of the month.

Take this pattern and move forward into next week. Periods of cooler air will be back in play beginning next week and then continuing the next three weeks. The pattern is set for one, possibly a couple, chances of seeing winter weather in this time period. That winter weather could range from sleet, freezing, rain, or snow or any mix of the three. While every precipitation event over the time period won't likely be of the wintry nature, the ensemble model members agree that winter weather is possible. Ensemble models are models that run parallel with the operational model runs but have slightly different algorithms built in. They give us a broader scope of what type of weather we could see in the longer range.

The other side to this is you can't just look at the model data. We watch the weather patterns around the globe including teleconnections and oscillations. The teleconnections point at a colder pattern while there are other signals that the stormy pattern will continue.

We continue to hone in on the period next week. Two systems in the pattern. The first is a system that moves out of the Gulf behind the weekend rain. This would be the Monday-Wednesday timeframe. Low pressure in the Southern jet moves from South and into the Southeast. Its exact track and placement will be key as it always is. At the same time high pressure to the North will be pushing colder air south, moving in behind a cold front in the late weekend or early week. Its very tough to say exactly what will happen yet but the operational models have a lot of ensemble support with some type of wintry weather for the Western Carolina's. We need to watch the development and track of the low and also how strong the high to the North is and its placement. We will watch that but Winter could go out with a bang just like it came in with a bang.

Chris White

Chief Meteorologist

Foothills Weather Network


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