As the 2012 calendar year draws to a close, the weather pattern will turn quite active across the lower 48 states. A combination of atmospheric elements and phenomena look to take shape during the final week of the year. These elements may bring the first significant winter weather episode of the season to the region during the ‘holiday week’.
Three distinct areas of low pressure will impact the Capital Region and vicinity during the coming seven days. Below is a list of these systems, and there potential impacts to the region.
- The first low pressure area over the upper Great Lakes will depart the region by this evening, allowing high pressure to build in. Some snow showers are possible during the day today as the feature keeps a weak frontal boundary in place over our area.
- The second area of low pressure, currently over the southern plains, is forecast to move northeast, to be over the Tennessee Valley by Monday morning, and then eastern Ohio by Monday evening. Coastal redevelopment looks to occur over the southern New England coast by Christmas morning. This system looks to bring an increased potential for a White Christmas (by definition, one inch or more of snow covering the ground on Christmas morning) for the Capital Region. Significant snowfall is not expected, but Santa’s sleigh may have some snow to ride across as the timing of precipitation looks to be from evening time on Christmas Eve to mid morning Christmas day, after which precipitation should taper off.
- The third area of low pressure, currently coming onshore over northern and central California, is forecast to tap abundant subtropical moisture, being fed northward on the heels of a prominent subtropical jet stream, that is quite evident on satellite pictures this morning (see the slideshow for the pictorial representation). This storm is forecast to be over southern Texas by Christmas morning, bringing the threat for severe weather to that portion of the nation. It is then forecast to lift steadily northeastward and be centered over the Tennessee and Kentucky on Wednesday. Present indications suggest that this storm will then advance to the southern New England coast by Thursday morning. The ultimate track of the storm is still in question. A further eastward track would lead to a potentially significant snowfall for our region during the time period Wednesday night through Thursday night, while as a track closer to land would mean the potential for a wintry mix of precipitation.
Please stay tuned for later statements and forecasts this week. Those with travel plans in and around the Capital Region and northeastern United States should also plan for potential travel troubles, particularly Wednesday night and Thursday.
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