Arctic Blast To Control At Least First Half Of Meteorological Winter Across The East. Tips To Prepare Your Home And An Insight On The First Cold Blast.

     As Daniel illuded to in Wednesday’s Weather Briefing cold weather is on the way. This cold snap could be one that we have not witnessed in a decade or so over parts of the Eastern United States, including our area. It’s warm out there right now so your mind is probably far away from thinking about cold weather and how you should prepare for it. Well here is a little guide that could offer a few reminders. 

      FEMA says to be sure you have the following items on hand for the upcoming cold snap. 

  1.  Snow Shovels - More than one because they can break and hey, the kids are going to need something to help with if they are out of school,, right? 
  2.  Deicers and make sure they are pet friendly.  
  3. Extra fuel and firewood. Get that generator out and crank it up to test it out. Make sure your propane tanks are full. 
  4. Clean blankets, pillows, warm clothing, and other linens because without power it’s hard to do laundry without power. If you hang the linens on the clothesline they will just freeze. 
  5.  Food and water that doesn’t require refrigeration. Of course, you can just set the items out on the North side of the house. But if we have extended power outages this winter from winter storms setting them outside may not help either. Have enough food for water for each member of your family. You need one gallon of water per person for 3-7 days.
  6. You need to have a battery powered radio with plenty of backup batteries. This is a good time to make sure you have a few storage bank chargers for your cell phones. Lee your cell phones on airplane mode and don’t play games because it will drain your power. Have a weather radio so that you can receive emergency notifications.  

Putting together that emergency kit. Ready says make sure it has all of the following: 

  1.   Water - 1 gallon per person per day for 3-7 days. 
  2.  Food - Non perishable and canned food supply for 3 - 7 days. 
  3.  Battery-powered or hand crank radio and weather radio. Extra batteries too. 
  4.   Cell phone with charger and extra mobile charging devices that are fully charged
  5. First Aid kit and instruction book. Let’s hope you dont need it but in the event you do, you have it. 
  6.  Flashlight and extra batteries   
  7.  Manual can opener. This is the most overlooked item until the lights go out and you need some soup. 
  8. Anti-bacterial hand wipes and gel
  9. Wrench or pliers to turn off water. It’s going to get very cold and pipes will freeze.
  10. Blanket or sleeping bag - 1 per person in case you have to go to a shelter. 
  11.  Prescrition meds and glasses  
  12.  Seasonal change of clothing, including sturdy shoes.
  13.  Toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, feminine supplies
  14.  Extra house and car keys
  15.  Important documents - insurance policies, copy of drivers license, Social Security Card, bank account records. 
  16.  Fire extinguishers
  17.  Cash and change
  18.  Books, games or cards

     Remember before any storm hits be sure to list out your property. A full list of personal items will help get insurance settlements and/or tax deductions for losses. Insurance agents can give you inventory checklists. Be sure to take pictures and describe the items on your list. Put these and other key insurance papers in waterproof containers or in your safety deposit boxes. 

     Now is also the time to look over your insurance policies and coverage to not make mistakes later. Separate policies are needed for protection against wind and flood damage.  

     During the storm you need to gather important paperwork, including copies of insurance policies, medical records, prescriptions, etc. Bring copies with you if you have to leave your home. Bring bulky or heavy objects such as lawn furniture, grills, garbage cans, tools, potted plants, etc. inside. Loose objects can become missiles. Tie down anything you cannot bring in.  You should fill your bathtub, sink, and jugs with clean water in case regular supplies become dirty. First clean and rinse those containers with bleach.   

      Finally here is what you should do to winterize your home. 

  1. Check roof tiles, shutters, siding, and other exterior materials to ensure they are secure. 
  2. Make sure gutters are clear
  3. Seal air leaks around the home to kee it warmer and cut energy costs. 
  4. Insulate all exposed plumbing pipes to prevent pipes from bursting. 
  5. Trim tree branches away from your roof to prevent roof damage. 

Preparing yourself and your home now can prevent the cause for panic if and when a severe winter weather event occurs.  



     So why is it going to get so cold? It is a combination of teleconnections. Daniel showed some on Wednesday with his weather discussion and here are a few to add from the latest guidance from today. Now thi is just the Operational European Model Guidance. I like to use the European Model this time of year because it handles the cold a lot better than other models. This model has support from its ensemble members, the GFS American Model, the GFS Ensembles, and the Japanese Model. That is why we have high confidence that once temperatures drop that we will remain below normal for a better part of the first half of Winter. Will there be snow, it’s hard for me to say no in this type of pattern and the models all bring the snow pack south over the next month. It’s just waiting to see if we indeed get a stormy pattern to develop. It is important to note that the precipitation outlook right now is low confidence. This type of pattern does favor storm system development but any forecast showing snow out beyond 10 days is soley put in front of you for hype. Here is what we are confident in though. Below normal temperatures. Let me show you why.

 Graphic 1.1

Graphic 1.1

 Graphic 1.2

Graphic 1.2

 Graphic 1.3

Graphic 1.3

     Graphic 1.1 is a look at The Northern Hemisphere. We are looking at the weather pattern at 500mb or about 35,000ft off the surface. Why way up there? That’s the location of the jet streams. Graphic 1.1is looking at pressure levels at 500mb as compared to normal. The reds indicate sinking air associated with high pressure and the blues and greens indicate rising air associated with lower pressure. Low pressure provides lift and high pressure provides compaction and sinking air. In 1.1 you see a ridge off the West Coast and a ridge in the North Atlantic on December 9th. All of the ridges and trough ultimately play some role into our upcoming weather but the two just mentioned are our two biggest factors. The ridges over The North Atlantic and Western United States has become very amplified by December 9th. This turns the North Atlantic Ocillation negative and turns the Pacific North American I to a positive phase. At the same times heights rise over the Arctic as a trough deepens in Eastern United States. All of this allows that super cold air to be brought over the pole from Siberia straight down into the Eastern United States. I have indicated that with the green arrow.. graphic 1.2 is just a tighter snapshot of Graphic 1.1 so you can see it better.  Graphic 1.3 is looking at the winds at 500mb for the same time period as the other first two graphics. The brighter the colors are in 1.3 the higher the winds. This is the jet stream and you can see the little bowling ball of low pressure diving South with the trough. Preceding this pattern above is a strong cold front that will move through Tuesday Afternoon through Wednesday Morning. This pattern above will spawn that front sending it south to change our weather pattern from Fall to Winter. 

     All of this develops next week and the pattern just reloads and fires again with even colder shots of air in the following weeks. This weekend is a great time to prepare for this upcoming brutal cold snap that will make a playground out of the Eastern United States and Western Atlantic. Cold weather lovers rejoice. If you are looking for warmer weather head west. The warmth will surge North in response to that West Coast ridge of high pressure. Even there though we look for the pattern to turn cold toward the end of the month. Stay tuned. 


Chris White

Chief Meteorologist