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Goodbye Warm Temps., Hello Dec.... White Christmas... Christmas Eve/Day Hour by Hour... "Snowball" Fight

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Updated: 12/23/2013 11:42 pm

After a weekend of record high temps., a little Dec. reality for the First Coast Christmas Eve, Day & much of the rest of the week. Temps. will struggle just to reach 60 degrees & a brisk north wind will make it feel even cooler. A light inland frost/freeze will occur early Christmas morn' -- mainly near & west of Highway 301.

The photo below is from my dad in Iowa after a heavy weekend snowfall. A fairytale white Christmas indeed. It was 24 years -- 1989 -- when Jacksonville had a white Christmas with ice & snow that began falling on the 22nd. Extreme cold kept the ice & snow on the ground for a rare & historical white Christmas. A record 4" of snow fell at St. Simons Island whre the high temp. on Dec. 23rd was a bitterly cold 24 degrees. The map below shows the U.S. chances for a white Christmas.

As warm as Dec. has been for the First Coast, much of the rest of the nation has been cold & -- in some cases -- very cold. A persistent upper level ridge of high pressure extending from Cuba to near or just east of Fl. has so far protected the local area from any serious cold air intrusions. This might come to an end by Jan. 1 or so....at least for a time. It's still a little early to determine if the pattern change & movement of cold air into the south is a long term trend though -- for the moment -- this change appears to be more transient in nature. The Moline, Il. N.W.S. posted an this interesting forecast discussion Mon.:

WEEK 2 AND 3...

THE EDGE OF THE CURRENT SNOW FIELD RUNS ROUGHLY FROM DETROIT...TO OKLAHOMA CITY...TO BETWEEN AMARILLO AND LUBBOCK. THIS EXTENSIVE SNOW FIELD IS CREATING A NEGATIVE FEEDBACK WHICH IN TURN IS IMPACTING THE ATMOSPHERIC CIRCULATION AT LEAST ON A REGIONAL LEVEL.

THE POSITIVE SST ANOMALIES ACROSS THE NORTH PACIFIC AND GULF OF ALASKA HAVE WARMED SINCE THE BEGINNING OF DECEMBER WHILE THEY HAVE COOLED AROUND NEWFOUNDLAND. THESE FEATURES ALONG WITH THE SNOW FIELD HAVE HELPED ANCHOR THE LONGWAVE TROF OVER THE EASTERN CONUS FOR THE MONTH OF DECEMBER.

WE HAVE JUST HAD THE WINTER SOLSTICE AND THE CLIMATOLOGICAL MINIMA IN TEMPERATURES LAGS BY ROUGHLY 4 WEEKS. WHEN THIS IS TAKEN IN COMBINATION WITH THE OVERALL ATMOSPHERIC CIRCULATION AND SST ANOMALIES...THE SCENARIO IS FAVORABLE FOR BELOW NORMAL TEMPERATURES
TO CONTINUE.

THE ENSEMBLE MEMBERS OF THE GLOBAL MODELS HAVE THE ARCTIC OSCILLATION...AO...TRENDING NEGATIVE AND THE SPREAD IS BECOMING NARROWER. THE NEGATIVE FEEDBACK FROM THE SNOW FIELD MEANS THAT COLDER THAN NORMAL TEMPERATURES WILL LIKELY CONTINUE FOR THE NEXT 2
TO 3 WEEKS.

WILL WE REMAIN IN BITTER COLD THE ENTIRE TIME. NO. THE OVERALL FLOW PATTERN PLACES THE AREA CLOSE TO THE ACTIVE STORM TRACK. THUS WHEN A STORM SYSTEM PASSES THROUGH OR CLOSE TO THE AREA...WE WILL WARM UP.  ADDITIONALLY...THE FLOW PATTERN WILL LIKELY WEAKEN AT TIMES AND ALLOW BRIEF PERIODS OF NEAR ZONAL FLOW WHICH WILL RESULT IN PERIODS OF WARMER TEMPERATURES.

HOWEVER...SIGNIFICANT COOL DOWNS WILL BE POSSIBLE AFTER THE PASSAGE OF ANY STORM SYSTEM. THE OVERALL SCENARIO HAS SOME SIMILARITIES TO THE WINTERS OF THE LATE 1970S. WHENEVER TEMPERATURES TURNED WARMER... THERE WAS A THREAT OF SNOW FOLLOWED BY COLDER TEMPERATURES.

THE SIGNALS FROM THE MODELS POINT TO ANOTHER ARCTIC OUTBREAK JUST PRIOR TO NEW YEARS FOLLOWED BY SOME MODERATION IN TEMPERATURES. AFTER THE BEGINNING OF THE NEW YEAR...THE GLOBAL CIRCULATIONS ARE SUGGESTING THAT THE PLAINS AND MIDWEST WILL REMAIN QUITE FAVORABLE FOR ONE OR POSSIBLY TWO SIGNIFICANT ARCTIC OUTBREAKS THROUGH THE MIDDLE OF JANUARY.

TO SUMMARIZE...THE TREND FOR THE NEXT 2 TO 3 WEEKS WILL BE BELOW NORMAL...POSSIBLY SIGNIFICANT AT TIMES...BUT WITH BRIEF PERIODS OF MODERATING TEMPERATURES.


A fun tradition in the Jacksonville Lee family. NeeCee Lee told me about this family tradition & sent me photos (see below). The family gets together right before Christmas, fills socks with flour & has a "snowball fight". You do what you have to do in Florida for a little winter fun!

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