A strong storm system will impact the northern Cumberland Plateau region on New Year’s Eve, but with temperatures in the mid 60s, when is the next chance of snow?! It might be a couple of weeks.
The impacts of an active weather period will actually be multi-pronged over the next few days. First, winds will increase ahead of an approaching cold front on Tuesday night. By Wednesday afternoon, winds could gust to 30 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
There will be some rain associated with the cold front Wednesday night, but the main show as far as rain is concerned will be headed to the plateau region on New Year’s Eve — particularly late in the day and at night. As of right now, the GFS computer model is forecasting less than an inch of rain in Scott County by the time precipitation starts to taper off Friday morning. The ECMWF model is projecting almost double that. So, one to two inches of rainfall seems like a good bet, while noting that just a couple of days ago the forecast was for two to three inches of rain from this system.
In the aftermath of the storm, there is a chance for some light precipitation over the weekend, mainly Saturday night, but temperatures will remain mild so snow isn’t a threat. With that in mind, when might winter return to our neck of the woods?
For now, the pattern for the first half of January is not favorable for wintry weather. We’re not going to be excessively warm; in fact, the warmest temperature showing up on the GFS model for the next two weeks after Thursday is 55 degrees. But it’s not going to be cold, either, as the cold air remains well to our north.
Things could change, though, by the middle of the month. It appears that a sudden stratospheric warming event could be shaping up in the polar region, which could — not definitely, but maybe — unleash arctic air into the continental U.S. Additionally, the North Atlantic Oscillation (a measure of storminess in the northern Atlantic Ocean) and the Arctic Oscillation (a measure of storminess in the arctics) will both be negative for at least the next couple of weeks. There are several other teleconnections in play during the winter months, but a -NAO/-AO combination often leads to colder weather in parts of the continental U.S. So it won’t be a surprise to see a cold second half of January. And there’s potential for a very cold second half of January. Whether that potential lines up with storm systems to produce snow threats … well, that remains to be seen.