Getting Colder in the West, Warmer in the East
By Don Day, Jr., Meteorologist
Over the course of the next two weeks there will be shift in the jet stream pattern across North America that will shift colder air westward into portions of the lower 48 states that have had a warm winter so far.
Since winter began the core of the coldest air has been centered over the Northern Plains, Great Lakes and Midwest. Temperatures have been below average since October for most of the nation from just east of the Rockies to the East Coast while warmer and drier than normal conditions have dominated the weather pattern in the far west, southwest and Southern Plains.
The graphic below shows temperature trends so far this winter. Blue areas show colder than normal temperatures near average are white areas and orange areas show where it has been warmer this winter.
The trends this winter have been very stubborn and have changed little, however, over the next two to three weeks we are expecting a westward shift in the colder temperatures. The end result will be much colder temperatures and better snow chances in the Rockies, Pacific Northwest as well as in the Great Basin and some portions of the Desert Southwest.
The second half of February will likely bring more snow and cold to portions of the far west than we have experienced so far this winter. Beef producers in the Northern/Central Rockies, the Desert Southwest and even California can expect a colder trend with some increasing chances for precipitation.
Suffering snowpack areas will get a little relief in this weather pattern as well as California and portions of the Desert Southwest.
While it will get colder in the west, temperatures will rebound for a little while in the southeastern states, East Coast and some areas of the eastern Corn Belt.
Unfortunately, there will not be much help for the Central and Southern Plains in regards to relief from the dryness. While some snows will be possible, they will likely be light in nature and freezing temperatures will be a concern to the wheat areas of Colorado, Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma.