Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Ice Ice Baby...

It's been so cold in the Midwest that parts of Lake Michigan started to freeze in February! This image was taken from visible satellite and shows ice gathering on the western edges of the lake. Some cities closest to the forming ice are Chicago and Milwaukee. Conditions were nearly ideal to create lake ice as temperatures dipped below freezing from January 24 to February 19. During that stretch the mercury was well below zero for many hours at a time. Follow this link to see what forecasters in Chicago are saying about a return to milder weather this week.

A little closer to North Carolina we're on the verge of putting together three consecutive 60-degree days for the first time since mid-January. It seems highly likely that hitting 60 or higher from February 20-22 would be the warmest three days since January 14,15,16.

We're also on the cusp of seeing some dramatic warm and cold swings. As is the case once we reach March and April warmer air begins slugging it out with cold air over the Eastern U.S. This leads to periods of warm and cold days with unsettled weather dividing them apart- usually in the form of rain and thunderstorms. Here's a look at the GFS Model at 850 mb for Sunday evening February 25. It shows an occluding low over the Midwest lifting warm air ahead of it and pulling down relatively colder air behind it. It's these swings in temperatures that signify a changing of the guard- as the atmosphere prepairs for the onset of Spring. Which is a little more than one month away!

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