Tuesday, January 1, 2013

It's cold today but it may not last!

The weather in 2012 was anything but ordinary.  From deadly tornadoes downstate during the month of February, record breaking summer heat across the middle of the country, western wildfires, Hurricane Issac late in August, Superstorm Sandy in October and a tornado outbreak in the south on Christmas Day, we wonder what the year of 2013 will bring.  Unfortunately for all you snow lovers it may not bring an abundance of the white stuff.

Before we look forward to January, let's look back at the month of December.  The month began with record warmth as the mercury climbed to a balmy 69° on the 3rd of December.  Not only did it break the record high for that day it also broke the all time record high for the month of December!  The average temperature monthly high was 33.4°, a whopping 8° above what the normal average high should be for the month.  This makes December 2012 the 5th warmest December on record for Rockford! As far as rainfall we actually came out on top with just shy of 2.5" reported at the Chicago/Rockford Int'l Aiport.  That wasn't the case for snowfall, however.  Typically the month of December is when we see the most snowfall with an average of 11.3" and January receiving just a little over 10".  This December we only received 2.1" of the white stuff.  Keep in mind that was here in Rockford.  Many locations north and west of here received quite a bit more the Thursday before Christmas.

The first of year will begin with plenty of sunshine but plenty of cold to go along with it.  Highs Tuesday afternoon are only expected to reach the mid to upper teens and then drop back into the single digits Tuesday night.  The cold we'll experience this afternoon will only last for a day before our sights are set on warmer temperatures by the weekend and the second week of January.  The image on the left is an ensemble map and shows the temperature anomaly at 850 mb (roughly 3,00ft above the surface).  The numbers and coloring on this image correspond the how many standard deviations we will be above average.  Beginning next week a major warm up is possible with forecast highs running anywhere between 4 and 8 standard deviations above average!  This means it's possible that high temperatures by the middle of next week could very well warm into the 40s and maybe even the 50s!  Now, before we get ahead of ourselves it's still a week away but signs are pointing to some sort of a warm up for the first two weeks of January.  It does, however, looked to followed by another cool down towards the middle of the month.

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