Saturday, March 10, 2012

Major League Warmth Coming Soon For Many

We've already hit 70 this month so getting another 70 degree day...and perhaps a chance at 80 degree warmth in March shouldn't shock us one bit.   Computer modeling has been rather consistent and persistent about a "major league" style warm up -- meaning the potential for significant early season warmth for the eastern half of the country, with probably some record highs for the Midwest, Northern Plains, and Great Lakes...and a shot at 80 degrees around here sometime during the early portions of the week of March 18th.

Notice I said "shot" -- didn't say will -- but there is potential for a run at 80 in about eight or nine days depending on how the pattern plays out.

The warming trend starts tomorrow here but we don't run into the 70's until Tuesday...and from then on we flirt with the 70 degree mark for much of the remainder of next week.   The craziest part of this warm up is that we might not hit any record highs in this upcoming stretch.  Record high temperatures starting Monday and continuing through March 23rd hit 78 or higher each day -- the coolest records (78) occurred on March 18th, 19th, and 23rd and every other day in that stretch saw record highs of 80 or higher.    Looking at that factor, the 18th or 19th might be our best chances at near record warmth if this model-advertised warm up plays out as anticipated.

The main pattern "look" from both the GFS and Euro is to develop a deep trough in the Southwest US while bubbling up a blocking ridge of high pressure in the Great Lakes through Southeast.   Because of how far north this high pressure ridge flexes, the potential for warmth bubbles north into the Great Lakes and even Canada where the greatest temperature anomalies to average are likely next weekend and early next week.  The Euro is more aggressive with bubbling this ridge and more aggressive in holding it in place compared to the GFS, which explains why (above) it is showing the potential for high temperatures to be 30 degrees above average near Winnipeg while the GFS is "just" 25-30 above.

Locally, highs could be 15 to 20 degrees above average on average over a stretch between March 15th and March 19th.  This would yield highs consistently in the lower and middle 70's over this time frame.   Where the potential for 80 may come into play is on a day when the pattern begins to break down and a cool front approaches the region.  The high pressure system responsible for this warm up would likely push off the East Coast and a broad southwest wind would set up in advance of the front.   Pegging the specific day that would occur is pretty tough this far out but the GFS suggests it's a week from this coming Tuesday or Wednesday, with the Euro suggesting we remain mild beyond that.   Of course, the potential for sneaky backdoor cool fronts could throw a wretched wrench into this Spring Fling -- and it's possible late next weekend could see one of those setups take hold and cool us off some from these rather toasty temperatures.

We'll continue to occasionally bring up this mild pattern and update you on any changes, both warmer or colder, as we approach it.