The Frigidness of February

In my blog last week I talked about why there is typically so much uncertainty in extended-range weather forecasting. It’s ironic then that currently there is an unusual amount of agreement among the tools (models) used for peering over the meteorological horizon.

In fact, The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center, for its outlook covering the period February 15-19, has labeled its confidence “excellent,” or 5 on a scale of 5. That’s rare. As you can see from the graphic above, its prediction lends unintended credence to the prognostication abilities of that stupid Pennsylvania woodchuck. Frigid weather will grip most of the eastern U.S. for at least the next 13 days.

In contrast, above average temperatures will persist in the West, especially the Pacific Northwest where January delivered record warmth to some spots. This isn’t good news, of course, for Vancouver, B.C., and the Winter Olympics.

But wait, there’s more. As I’m writing this, the third major winter storm of the season has opened its bomb bay doors and is carpet bombing the already snow-bound Mid-Atlantic. Sorry to the bearer of bad news, but there may be yet another wintry raid early next week. At least a few of the models are doing saber rattling in that direction.

And the Deep South may not escape unscathed, either. I suppose I could have issued a Sack and Pillage Alert Part Duh for portions of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas for Friday. And while I’m throwing caution (mixed with a bit of salt and sand) to the wind, residents of the area might want to keep an eye on Sunday and Monday, too.

I’ll tell you one thing, if nothing else, this winter is proving to be a bonanza for my Alma Mater, The Weather Channel.

Photo: The Climate Prediction Center’s outlook for mid-February.
There’s an unusually high probability that temperatures will be well below average from the Ohio Valley/Mason-Dixon Line southward to the Gulf Coast for the next couple of weeks.

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