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10-Day Outlook: Winter Still on Vacation

Josh Larson @ 1:00 PM

Today's Forecast

Look for an unpleasant weather day today, with mostly cloudy to overcast skies and occasional light showers or drizzle, especially during the first half of the day. Rainfall accumulations will remain under a quarter of an inch. Expect highs near 50 with overnight lows, under continued mostly cloudy skies, in the mid 30s to near 40.

Pattern Overview

Winter weather is taking a breather for much longer than I anticipated, and expressed, in last week's post. In fact, we're seeing almost a full (180 degrees) pattern reversal from the winter weather pattern and atmospheric setup over the first half of the month. Think of winter being on an extended vacation at the moment -- as opposed to a short getaway -- but it will likely return by about January 10. Until then, we look for a stronger than normal Pacific jet, a weak and suppressed Polar jet, and a relatively active Subtropical jet. The result will be above-normal temperatures and chances for rain every few days over most of the next 10 days.

Image above courtesy

The next 5 days (Dec 29 - Jan 2)
Forecast highs/lows: 50/36 (normal = 44/29)
Forecast precip: above normal

After today's cloudy and damp weather, expect more pleasant conditions on Friday, with the return of partly to mostly sunny skies and a brisk northwest wind. Temperatures should top out around 51 during the afternoon hours, with overnight lows in the low to mid 30s in most spots. Unfortunately, a weak area of low pressure may skirt through the area on New Year's Eve Day, Saturday, leading to mostly cloudy skies and scattered/occasional showers; expect highs near 48. We'll ring in the new year overnight with partly cloudy skies and lows in the in the low to mid 30s. Partly sunny skies return on Sunday, the first day of 2006, with temperatures near 50 for a high and overnight lows once again in the 30s. For Monday, expect a return of dreary, wet weather as another area of low pressure pushes through the region. A soaking rain is possible, with precipitation more likely later in the day. Expect highs again near 50, with milder overnight lows near 40.

The following 5 days (Jan 3-7)
Forecast highs/lows: 47/32 (normal = 44/28)
Forecast precip: near normal

Cloudy conditions and showery weather may linger into Tuesday with temperatures remaining in the low 50s for a high and overnight lows down into the mid 30s again. Wednesday is likely to bring more pleasant weather, with mostly sunny skies, dry conditions, and mild afternoon highs in the low to mid 50s. Cooler weather, however, is expected on Thursday, with highs in the mid 40s in most spots with overnight lows ranging from the mid 20s to low 30s. Friday and Saturday are a tough call, especially this far out, with the return of more wet weather possible; I'll call for a 40% of rain or a rain/snow mix these days under mostly cloudy skies; highs will likely be in the upper 30s to lower 40s with overnight lows in the 20s.

Forecast Verification

I will be the first to admit that I went out on a (very fragile) limb last week and forecast winter-like temperatures to return by the middle of the week -- i.e., yesterday. It has become abundantly clear, since that has not become the case, that we're in the middle of a full-scale pattern reversal that will bring mild weather for at least the next 10 days. As such, though my forecast high temperatures were off by only 2.3 degrees from the actual highs during the period last Thursday through Tuesday, I vastly over-estimated the potential for a return of cold air for yesterday and the rest of the week; case in point: I predicted yesterday's high would be near 38, while we saw temperatures area-wide above 50. Thus, for the entire 7-day period last Thursday through Wednesday, my forecast highs averaged a less-than-stellar 3.7 degrees off the recorded highs, which gives me a "C" grade according to's grading scale.

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