So, About That "Significant" Cold Front Scheduled to Arrive Here Early Next Week

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I still get the morning paper, even though I'm now paying $4 more for the privilege than I previously thought, which sucks. Anyway. Saw on the weather page that it's supposed to be colder than normal beginning next week. Didn't say how cold, but yesterday Tim Rogers linked to a weathering website proffering models that suggested downright historic highs and lows. So, then. What say you, National Weather Service?

Right now, The Official Word is this and only this:
The upper level pattern over North America in mid January will become oriented in a way that is favorable for a large amount of Canadian and Arctic air to move south and cover the United States. This cold spell is expected arrive on Monday with a strong cold front and last for several days. Temperatures Tuesday January 11th through Friday January 14th across North Texas will be quite cold. Highs are expected to only be in the 30s and lows should range from 15 to 25 degrees. It remains too early to tell whether there will be a chance of precipitation with this cold spell.
But on the other side is the latest chitchat from the National Weather Service, an update full of historical facts and figures that acknowledges the "uncertainty" of forecast models trying to predict the impact of a cold front deep-freezing Dallas while it's presently locked up way up north. Right now, models suggest it won't be as bad as forecasters thought only, oh, a day or so ago. Still, the National Weather Service isn't taking any chances:
The reason why we are watching this so closely is because a 30 percent chance of occurrence is pretty high for an event which would have enormous and widespread economic implications for our region...as we learned in the deep freezes of 83 and 89.
Jump for the full explanation. And do bundle up.
Main weather story is the colder weather expected into the region next week. There remains excellent agreement among the models that a pattern change will occur as blocking upper highs/lows develop and persist across the northern latitudes. A cold air mass will begin to develop and organize across western canada this weekend with surface temps there beginning to fall below 0 as a large sprawling surface high gathers intensity. This canadian air mass is poised to move south and arrive into north texas beginning monday. Since the upper pattern stays blocked...the gates to the north will remain open and cold air will continue to pour south into the central us for several days. Thus it is with high certainty that we can say an extended period of colder than normal weather will occur in north texas next week.

As far as how cold...and whether this event will be one of those memorable decade events...is another question. At least through friday jan 14th...odds are that this cold spell will not be anywhere near record territory and looks comparable to the one last year in early january. Last night i wrote about the benefits of analysis of the source region of these cold air masses... Particularly at the 500mb-700mb level. I dug up the upper air data from a dozen of our biggest cold snaps since 1970. These historic arctic outbreaks unanimously contained 500-700mb temps 5 to 10 deg c colder than what any model is forecasting over canada this weekend. In addition 850mb temps across the northern us are forecast to be about 5 deg c warmer early next week than what our significant outbreaks had. Thus we can make forecast temperature extrapolations based off a model/s upper air forecasts 5 days out rather than relying on a model/s surface temp forecast 10 days out which is obviously prone to more errors.

So for the specifics...monday/s highs should likely be in the 40s as fropa occurs that morning. Lows monday night should be in the 20s area wide with breezy north winds continuing. Highs tuesday through friday look to stay in the 30s area wide despite generally sunny skies. Winds should subside more by mid late week with lows likely in the teens to low 20s each night.

Beyond jan 14th...it is tough to say exactly what will happen. Yesterday/s model runs were more bullish that next week/s cold spell was just the start of something more serious. The latest gfs/ecmwf/gem operational runs and ensemble means at 240 hours are depicting an upper level pattern not exactly favorable for a historic outbreak. They have all trended the blocking high over alaska either too far north or too far west into siberia. This means the positively tilted upper trough axis over the sw us /a crucial component to get an arctic outbreak here...and a key to meeting the requirements of the so-called mcfarland pattern signature/ becomes in question...since a positive tilt trough or kink often naturally develops southeast of an upper high. Without this trough the real arctic air just has a tough time making it this far south. However...about 1/3 of the ensemble members keep this sw trough in tact...and they show a very cold/intense polar low developing over canada and the us in 10 days. Lots of uncertainty and models will continue to change daily. But the reason why we are watching this so closely is because a 30 percent chance of occurrence is pretty high for an event which would have enormous and widespread economic implications for our region...as we learned in the deep freezes of 83 and 89.
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cactusflinthead
cactusflinthead

I googled McFarland Signature Pattern. Probably not a good idea at 1AM, but I did it anyway. Would you believe Mr. McFarland are an aggie? After previous bad freezes damaging citrus in the Lower RGV they had to study up on such things. Orange trees aren't free. severe tired-head warninghttp://www.srh.noaa.gov/srh/ss...

cactusflinthead
cactusflinthead

Under the heading of "Application" "The recognition guidelines for 500 mb patterns which may indicate a freeze are:

1. A short wave omega block superimposed on a long wave ridge through central Alaska with a deep low system between Hudson Bay and Greenland.

2. An east-west trough line over southern Canada or the northern United States with zonal flow and a strong jet to the south and northerly flow to the north of the trough line.

3. A closed low moving southward through the Prairie Provinces of Canada developing into a long wave trough, without cyclogenesis.

4. Discontinuous retrogression of a full-latitude trough over the western United States involving a closed low or major east-west short-wave moving southward without cyclogenesis.

5. A sharp full-latitude trough, frequently with a closed low, over the southeastern states.

Observerreader
Observerreader

Wow - you all are some seriously funny people on here!! Thanks for the grins!

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Reading the science from the comments at Storm2k.com, its looking to be a serious chance of some crappy weather going into the next couple of weeks.It'll be interesting to see if the "Talking TV Weather Heads" in this town will actually call it...

Tad Banyon
Tad Banyon

So.... it looks like its about to get pretty cold for a few days... in January... probably, but maybe not. Shouldn't this be front page material on the Morning News? Or would that require displacing a story that a lot of people may have eaten more during Thanksgiving than they eat on a given day in April?

Stan
Stan

In Dec. 1983, it stayed below freezing for several days. It got so cold that water mains broke under streets and when the streets flooded they were solid ice for over a week. The water lines broke at Texas stadium and other buildings that were not properly protected. It was a miserable time to be in Dallas.

shop
shop

where's global warming when we need it?

PatCoble
PatCoble

Today's weather is so intoxicating it should be illegal.

Granny
Granny

I've read the whole thing, and my thinker hurts. Can someone please tell a geezer what all of this means?

Mr. Obvious
Mr. Obvious

It's winter, and it gets cold in the winter

Ghost of scott
Ghost of scott

Two years ago, when I was living in Chicago, I had to walk to the train one morning when it was -18 with a -40 wind chill. I'm not saying to suck it up and get over it, but it could be a lot worse. Plus, it wouldn't be surprising if it's in the 70's for a week after this cold snap. At the same time, though, we'll be bitching in July and August when it's 100.

Bill Holston
Bill Holston

I Remember the ice storm of New Years Eve 1978. I was parking cars that night. Watched the arcs of blown out transformers. Still can't believe people were going to a party. Tips were lousy too.

TimCov
TimCov

I remember the winter of 89. We had a week were we didn't get above freezing. There were rolling brownouts caused by the power demand for heating. The worst part for me was my car had broken down and I had to walk back from my apartment in the middle of the coldest nights of the year.People need to keep in mind that people here just aren't prepared for that kind of cold.

MattL1
MattL1

You mean it's not even going to get below zero? Call me when the REAL cold hits.

Rooster
Rooster

Oh for the love of god, just go home.

Down here we don't care that where your from you walk to school through twelve inches of snow uphill both ways.....

MattL1
MattL1

We also did it barefoot, like Hobbits.

It's 19 in Madison right now, and it's a really nice day, so I'll take here for the time being

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

I call it McCauley's "Do the Math" He should trademark it,

SB
SB

Sooo... what happened in 83 and 89? Dude ended before telling the most interesting part of the entire story.

Some of us don't remember those years, for various reasons...

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

In '83 the low his 5; in '89, 3. And I too recall the cold snap of '81 -- when our school bus lost a tire over a frozen-over Bachman Lake.

SB
SB

Why was your school bus driving on the lake?

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

The tire. I meant tire. But I am not very, very tired. Perhaps a dip in a frozen-over lake will provide the proper refreshing.

G. David
G. David

So Robert,you mean everyone that didn't get a good night's sleep the night before was hurled across a frozen sheet of ice????

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

Heh. No. We were on the Lemmon Avenue-Marsh Lane bridge just over Northwest Highway when we lost the tired, which plummeted into the frozen-over lake.

Gabe
Gabe

mcfarland pattern signature...band name alert!

G. David
G. David

And your icon could be the logo for "mcfarland pattern signature", because that's what it looks like to me.

G. David
G. David

Seems to me like I remember a winter around '81 or '82 when it didn't get above freezing for the entire month of December. Then again, I was in high school so my pot-addled brain might be mis-remembering the entire episode. And since I was number 9 in my graduating class of 400+, the lesson is here is - give pot a chance!

G. David
G. David

And when I say "pot-addled", I mean in high school, not now. Seriously.

Bill
Bill

Cold weather does not warrant top billing. You start throwing around things like a good old fashioned North Texas ice storm, then we have something to talk about. Been a number of years since we had one of the 3 inches of ice on the road kind of storms. Last one I can think of was the 1993 Thanksgiving ice storm. Overdue for another.

Steve McCauley at Channel 8 seems to get these type of events forecasted correctly. More than others.

Bob
Bob

Another vote of confidence in McCauley. He is a weather geek to the core.

Nice yellow journalism, Rogers.

Mike
Mike

McCauley is the best in the business.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

Could not agree more. He's the only weatherman the wife and I trust. At least since Harold Taft.

Rooster
Rooster

That whole thing gave me tired head. Is it getting colder or not?....

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

No, it'll be 73 all week with a 30 percent chance of rainbows.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

Any chance of a double rainbow

rubbercow
rubbercow

I hope so! Perhaps this time someone can figure out what it means!

Rooster
Rooster

Cool! I'll break out my Speedo....

Meh.
Meh.

Oh, the cold of 1989. That storm caused me to break my perfect attendance record at Parish.

Darin
Darin

whatever all that says is lost on me. The ALL CAPS basically made me angry. Is it supposed to get cold?

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

Yes. And you're right -- the all caps is annoying. Which is why I went in and converted to easy-to-read. I don't want to make you angry.

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