Extreme Temperature Diary- December 17th, 2018/ Topic: Mild And Stormy Weather Ahead For U.S. Before Christmas

Monday December 17th… Dear Diary. The main purpose of this ongoing post will be to track United States extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials)😊. 

Mild And Stormy Weather Ahead For U.S. Before Christmas

A few days ago I alerted my readers that the “January Thaw” would come early to the United States:


So how is that forecast doing? The best way to tell is by looking at snow cover from the 12th when colder than average temperatures were occurring for most locations east of the Rockies and now, the 17th: 

Carolina and Virginia snow cover  from the southern storm, The Weather Channel’s last named winter storm, Diego, as would be expected even in a colder climate, has melted. Much of the snow cover has melted in the traditional chilly Midwest. Only New England has seen an increase. Snow cover should be on the increase in the Inter Mountain West as that area of the country continues to get slammed with winter storms, which is typical for most Decembers.

Lower elevations of the West will continue to be mild, and most areas east of the Rockies on Tuesday will see well above average temperatures, particularly across the northern tier of states: 

It will be dangerous to do any traditional ice fishing or ice skating from the Dakotas eastward through Minnesota and the Great Lakes area. Only New England will feel like mid December. The expected mild pattern for the northern tier of states due to the advent of El Nino looks like it has already kicked in.  

Later this week another strong gyre will start to spin aloft across the South and Mid-Atlantic, but yet again there won’t be enough cold air to generate much snow at the surface:

 What catches my eye here by Friday is the distinct lack of snow forecast by this model from the Great Lakes through the Appalachians northeast all the way through New England. Snow this time of the year in association with such a storm should be falling west of the surface low and in New England. Mother Nature had better get her act together in a hurry thereafter, or a lot of folks wishing for a White Christmas will be very disappointed. In any case we should see a lot of rain and wind late in the week as people start to travel for the holidays. Air travel in the East will probably be hampered.  Localized flooding may be an issue in the South and East.

This mild weather pattern would have been possible in the colder decades of the 1960s and 1970s, but highly unlikely. Climate change can be very sneaky for us humans given our relatively short lifespans. Children, if you live in the Midwest or Northeast ask your grandparents about cold and snowy weather leading up to Christmas, and you should get an earful about how times have changed. I do expect another few cold patterns to occur before spring, but am uncertain as to how brief or how many, of course. Anomalous mild to warm weather during the winter is a signal of global warming, indeed, and the weather this coming week in the Midwest and Northeast will be yet another sign.   


Here are more climate and weather stories from Monday:

 (As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity.)


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The Climate Guy

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