The cold will continue to dig in this week and next week before a late week warm up at the end of next week through the weekend of December 21st. That warm-up will give way to bitter cold from the plains early Christmas week. I believe we have about an 80% chance of a white Christmas.
This weekend, temperatures will rise a little on Saturday to bring us closer to freezing but I do not believe, at this point, that the temperatures will go above freezing. Therefore, what ever precipitation we get on Saturday is likely to fall as snow. Right now, I am putting totals around 3-6″. This will be similar to our last couple of set-ups where the freezing line should be just to the south of Pittsburgh.
The temperatures will plummet and we should see 1-3″ of snow by tomorrow night, and a lot of it should be the light fluffy kind. I am also looking at the weather this weekend. It looks like we might see more mixed precipitation. I will update that outlook by mid-week.
There is a great degree of uncertainty, again, about the weather this weekend. Latest weather models suggest an increased expectation of snow. I think we could easily see anywhere from 2-6″ of accumulated snow and sleet by tomorrow night with additional snow on Sunday through Monday bringing totals to 4-8″.
There is still a significant risk of ice in the form of sleet and freezing rain, but latest models suggest a clean change-over from rain to snow. Throughout this morning, we will see very little precipitation as we are in a dry slot of the overall system. Precipitation should resume this afternoon making the evening rush hour a challenge.
Friday will bring us pretty much every type of precipitation we see here in Western PA – in one day. We will wake to rain on Friday morning before it turns to freezing rain and sleet around mid-day. I am very concerned about a flash freeze on Friday as cold temperatures invade the area and the changeover to snow occurs. After the change-over, we will see only snow, which will continue throughout the day on Saturday. Depending on when the change over occurs, we could see variable snow totals, even within areas just a few miles apart. In general, I expect about 1-3″ of snow, but 2-4″ is quite possible.
Sunday we continue to see some mixed precipitation but not a significant amount.
Monday is a warmer day, with temperatures moderating. I am expecting mostly rain on Monday before turning to snow. Snow amounts are still in question, but could total several inches. Wednesday and Thursday will be very cold, with temperatures likely to dip to the lower teens and possibly the single digits.
It looks like we should expect some ice before turning to snow on Friday. Accumulations will mostly be in the 2-4″ range. The snow will have some melt off before the cold returns early in the week when we are looking at a much larger threat of snow, when several inches are possible. The larger issue, however, will be the cold. Temperatures will feel more like mid-January than mid-December as we head into mid-month. It is entirely possible that we will see temperatures near zero during this next cold outbreak later next week.
As temperatures climb this week it may be difficult picture snow this weekend, but it appears as though that is where we are headed. A preliminary look show 2-5″ on Friday into Saturday morning with a little melt-off before another 2-4″ on Monday.
This will usher in some very cold weather. This is starting to remind me a lot of the winter of 2009-2010.
November turned out to give us a fast start to winter with temperatures a significant -3.5 degrees Fahrenheit below normal and with 6.3″ of snow above normal. This was our snowiest November since 1995 and our 8th snowiest November, ever!
Starting Monday, temperatures will begin to moderate, before reaching all-out winter, balmy weather late this week, but Cold will begin to return over the weekend as cold entrenched in the Great Plains will edge eastward, and bring temperatures that sink well below normal. I am watching for the possibility of a small snow event next weekend, followed by a larger event early the following week. Temperatures should moderate again near mid-month, before the cold digs in, again, hopefully in time to bring snow and cold for the holidays.