Sustained Cold Pattern Incoming For Second Half of December

Lead Forecaster Daniel Crawley

Good Tuesday afternoon, some huge changes are coming in the weather world later this week and we appear to be heading toward a long stretch of cold weather as we near the Christmas holiday. 🎄🥶

The pattern changer begins with our large upper level system that will move east bringing heavy rainfall to the Carolinas late tomorrow and into Thursday.

Current Water Vapor Image (12/13/22 1:57 pm)

By this weekend the 500 mb pattern features a continued Greenland Block, West Coast Ridging and low heights over the Eastern United States. This is setting up a conveyor belt for arctic air to slip into the United States into the mean trough position.

5 Day height anomalies (Thurs – Tues 12/20)

This pattern locks in next week and will intensify as we near Christmas. This is an early warning that the holiday looks to be one of the coldest in several years for the Southeast US.

5 Day height anomalies (Tues 12/20 – Sun 22/25)

The projected 850mb temperature anomalies fit the synoptic pattern with multiple waves of below normal temperatures over the next two weeks…

850 mb temp anomalies loop

Average high temperatures for Christmas across the foothills is around 50 degrees with lower 50’s in the Western Piedmont. All projections have us well below those values…

Any Snow in the Offering?

So the million dollar question is, will it snow?

That is still up for debate at this time. A lot of you have already seen the 🤡 maps floating around showing a major winter storm next week.

Do NOT fall for that clickbait! One specific model solution does not spell a forecast. You have to look for ensemble support and model consistency in order to sniff out a threat and right now it’s just not there.

Only thing I will say if that we will have a southern stream near by with various shortwaves following the path. Also with ridging in the west, shortwaves will be able to dig far to the south.

Those two items go in our favor of producing some winter weather at some point…we shall see!

500 mb vorticity (Through Dec 26th)


1. Cold Weather moves in starting this weekend.

2. Confidence is growing that cold air looks to sustain itself through Christmas.

3. No imminent winter weather threats in the forecast. However pattern would ultimately support a winter weather event.

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