Signs Of A Real Winter Pattern Ahead

February looks cold and snowy!

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This winter has been a rather uneventful one across much of Maryland. Aside from a few clipper systems this month, we have not seen much in the way of "big ticket" snow events for the state. Some are happy while others are sad.

It seems every time we load up the pattern we get cold and yet it doesn't snow. The reason behind our lackluster winter revolves around the North Atlantic Oscillation which has settled between a fairly neutral position to at times slightly negative. We have also not seen our subtropical jet stream respond to recent warming trends in the equatorial pacific. This means that storms that do develop well south of us (storms that deliver big snows) have remained weak, passing harmlessly to our south.

Two things are trying to switch around to deliver us one last chance at winter. First, the MJO or Madden Jullian Oscillation, an event the favors storm activity in the east will switch to phase 2 (a stormy phase). Second is the NAO switching more negative. This means the jet stream will slow allowing for storms to have time to develop. Finally, the pacific pattern switching to positive. This ensures the jet streams over northern Canada and the gulf of Mexico can phase together allowing for stronger and juicier storms to mature.

The overall setup

Below is the 15 day outlook going into this month. Note that three things show nicely. Strong blocking over Greenland will amplify the jet stream making for a cold and snowy scenario.

This pattern lasts well into the tail end of the month according to the GFS control run.

And finally.. The 10-15 day temperature outlook shows 5 to 15 degrees below normal from coast to coast.