Get ready for winter: We could see near-record cold this weekend

Published: Monday, November 05, 2018 @ 6:00 PM

An early outbreak of wintry weather will head into the Ohio Valley late this week. Temperatures will fall to over 20 degrees below average by the weekend. The cold air may stick around awhile as well, and could help bring about some chances for snow!

I was out running errands a couple of days ago when someone stopped me and thanked me for sunshine that we got to enjoy over the weekend. Indeed, it was a nice change after a very soggy week before.

Of course, just like I cannot take credit for the good weather, I certainly cannot take credit for the weather pattern we are about to endure over the next week to 10 days.

Get ready: a preview of winter is on the way.

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The climate outlook for this week includes the likelihood of some wintry weather. CONTRIBUTED/NOAA

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I posted about the early arrival of winter weather on my Facebook page late last week, and needless to say, I had a lot of people tell me their thoughts about it. While some mentioned their excitement for any potential snow, others asked why it seems we went from summer to fall.

The truth is, it isn’t terribly unusual to see some major temperature swings as we get into November. But the cold that is coming by the weekend may rival some records. By late this week, it will be time to dig out the winter coats, gloves and scarfs. In fact, you may just have to keep them out for a while.

A weak El Niño is forecast to develop as we head into late fall and throughout the coming winter.

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If you recall, El Niño occurs when warmer than normal ocean temperatures develop along the equator in the eastern tropical Pacific. This, in turn, influences the jet stream, and thus the storm track across North America.

The last similar set-up occurred during the winter of 2014-15. Ironically, during the November leading up to that winter, there was a major outbreak of cold that month. Temperatures plummeted to some 15 to 25 degrees below normal by the middle of that month.

One technique in weather forecasting is to look at what we call “analogs” weather patterns. Basically, it is looking at current global weather patterns and comparing them to historical patterns.

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While it doesn’t always tend to work out perfectly, there is certainly a science to predicting the future based on the history of similar weather patterns. With that being said, we currently appear to be mimicking the November we had in 2014.

It also appears that our long-range forecast models are showing we may continue to have a pattern similar to that of four years ago over the next few weeks. So that leads to the question many are asking — if the winter cold is coming, how about the winter snow?

The answer is: we just don’t know yet. What we do know is that it will get cold enough for snow. It also is likely to stay cold for at least the next week to 10 days after the temperatures drop. It also is likely the Great Lakes will begin to fuel lake-effect snow showers as early as this weekend.

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If the wind flow is right, it is possible some of those snow showers or flurries could conceivably make it into the Miami Valley either this weekend or sometime next week. But whether any significant snow will occur is more of a question and seems doubtful anytime soon.

However, it is important to point out that in November of 2014, we ended up with more than 4 inches of snow before Thanksgiving. Whether history will repeat itself is a big question — but the odds seem in our favor that they will.