The Endless Winter of 2013-2014 - 03/17/14
Happy St. Patrick's Day! We dodged a bullet today with up to a foot of snow falling near Washington, D.C.! Some parts of Somerset County received up to 4" of snow causing some slick roads and school delays, but nothing we haven't seen numerous times this winter.
I'll admit it, I'm a fan of snow. My whole family loves to ski, so this winter has been great for that. But I also enjoy spring and getting back outside without wearing heavy coats and gloves! Unfortunately, this year is looking more and more ugly each week. Some of the newest long range climate models are about as cold and miserable as you can get this time of year heading into April.
One of the big contributors is this:
With the extensive (and building) ice cover on all of the Great Lakes, there's no "barrier" to deflect and moderate some of the very cold airmasses that move out of Canada. So until they hit our mountains and go east, they're almost as cold as they were in southern Canada.
Another long range indicator is what's happening right now at the North Pole. There has been some significant warming in the upper levels of the atmosphere there again, and just like earlier this winter, a piece of the polar vortex is forecast to break off and head south. Typically this happens in about 7-10 days, so early next week we should see another significant shot of cold air and gusty winds making it feel like January.
While we can't get specific this far out about how cold it will be or how much snow may fall, we can certainly see the trend. And the trend heading into April is for quite a bit of cold air to stick around. I have a feeling we're not done with the snow. Not by a long shot. The 1-to-2 week outlook by NOAA has a large area of below average temperatures across the eastern half of the United States: http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/814day/814temp.new.gif
I also haven't noticed any crocuses trying to come up yet, either. Maybe they know more than we do!