The Firm Grip Of Winter

Christmas is a couple of days away and much of the nation is in the firm grip of winter. Frigid temperatures have locked in over the northern half of the U.S. and, if my memory serves me correctly, for the first time in a long time snow blankets the northern tier of states from coast to coast before Christmas.

cursnow_usa

The satellite picture below shows upper Midwest snow cover following the most recent storm.

oseiiod1

The good news for Santa is that snow cover over the entire northern hemisphere is fairly extensive as well.

cursnow

It is interesting that, with the exception of the Alps, most of northern Europe is snow free, even southern Scandinavia. The effect of the open waters of the North Sea moderate temperatures over northern Europe make extensive snow cover in that region less likely. The continental land mass of North America allows for more frequent invasions of unmodified arctic air which can mix with storms moving across the U.S. and Canada, increasing the chances for snow.

It looks like one more storm will develop before Christmas. The satellite picture below shows its’ position as of Tuesday morning.

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The first elements of this storm should reach the Mid Atlantic region tonight and temperatures will be cold enough at the surface that some freezing rain or sleet is possible. Temperatures will warm up considerably on Christmas Eve and rain is in the forecast. The storm should clear the area by Christmas Day and dry weather with seasonably cold temperatures is expected.

John Collins

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