MU's Current Conditions: (at 05:09) Temp: 42 F | Dew Point: 41 | Wind: WNW - 4 mph
SPECIAL WEATHER DISCUSSION (Updated twice weekly, but more often when storms threaten.)

* January Thaw though January 26th

2:00pm Tuesday, January 17:
Today we begin a 10-day January Thaw with temps running 8 - 16 degrees above normal each day through this period. Beginning tomorrow, I believe we'll hit the 50s more days than not; and it's a good bet we'll hit 60 once before this warm spell comes to an end. With wind flow across the country mostly from the Pacific and Gulf, it will be hard to find snowfall outside of the mountains. The mountain west (CO/WY westward into WA/OR/CA) will continue to be snowy through this period--this is the place for skiers this January! Here in the Northeast, however, flakes will be few and far between--other than some snow in New England tomorrow, I can only see a vague chance of some snow in the mountains of PA on/around January 23rd. So here in Lancaster, the snow drought will continue....

...but the rainfall drought may not! The eastern half of the Commonwealth remains in a Drought Watch, but a few rounds of rain will prove very beneficial through month's end. In addition to today's showers, I see a chance for more rain on Friday and again next Monday.

So is winter over? Not likely. Arctic air should begin to reload/build in Northern Canada next week, so it's likely that we'll see a turn to cooler conditions during the final days of January. February will likely continue to bring alternating battles of warm and cold air, but after an above-average January I believe February will come in with near-average temps, in aggregate. Snowfall is anyone's guess...but it's hard to imagine getting through all of February and the first half of March without a couple of accumulating snow events. --Horst



2:00pm Thursday, January 12:
I have no major changes to the ideas expressed in Monday's discussion (below). As also shown on the 12-day trends map below, there will be many more mild days than there will be cold days over the next week or two. The only tricky part of this forecast is the weekend storm...which really isn't much of a storm, but rather a jet stream disturbance that focuses the battle of warm and cold air over the the northern Mid-Atlantic region. Since Monday, there has been a bit of a southward trend to this weekend battle zone, but the final battle lines are not yet fixed. The bottom line: the southern half of PA may be in the sweet spot for a few hours of snow Saturday morning into midday...with a coating to an inch or two possible. Low-level cold air will put up a fight and so temps will likely hold at or below freezing Saturday, while warm air aloft successfully penetrates into at least the southern tier counties of PA, thus resulting in some light wintry mix or freezing drizzle Saturday afternoon and evening.

Beyond that, Sunday should be seasonable (upper 30s) with peeks of sunshine possible. A warm front will slowly lift north across the region with some rain on Monday--if rain arrives Sunday night, then it may be just cold enough for some icy patches. Ultimately the warm air will win the battle and temps should approach 50 on Tuesday and then rise to near 60 on Wednesday and Thursday. Cooler air will try to seep in the region next weekend, but a full-fledged return of wintry conditions may not occur until the final week of the month. --Horst



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