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We barely missed our white Christmas. Cincinnati to Louisville to Owensboro to Paducah ... basically the Ohio River is where the snow line set up. North and west of there you had a blizzard. On the Kentucky side of the river, misery as we dealt with cold rain and fog.
So let's look toward January. A new year promises to bring new weather. But will it be snowy and cold, or warm and dry?
One thing to consider is that the Arctic Oscillation has been negative for all of December. The last time it went positive was early November. As a result, November featured a lot of days in the 60s here in Kentucky, and even one day that hit 70 at Lexington. November was also snowless, with none reported for the month. And finally it was dry with less than two inches of rain for the entire month. You see, when the Arctic Oscillation, or AO for short, is in its positive phase, you don't get those wild swings in the jet stream. And when you don't have a wildly meridional flowing jet, you also won't get big powerful storms.
December saw the return of a negative AO and wild weather ... it's just that it all barely missed Kentucky. From tornado outbreaks in the deep south to blizzards in the Ohio Valley, we saw the return of the wild weather which was to be expected.
Looking toward January, the current forecasts for the AO index are for it to go positive again. Some outlooks even show it going strongly positive. At the same time, the NAO is predicted to hang out close to neutral. The NAO being in a negative phase can lead to huge troughs in the eastern U.S. that are good for snowstorms. With a neutral to positive NAO you don't get those big troughs. The AO being positive adds to the lack of storminess. Here's a look at the current AO forecast on the chart attached.
See how during the first week of January the AO starts to go positive and may do so in a drastic way? If I was a betting man ... I'd say that this is a signal that at least the first 2 to 3 weeks of January 2013 could end up relatively calm across the eastern U.S. We may not see any big snow storms in Kentucky at all during this time. There is a chance that the temperatures could remain average to slightly above average during this timeframe also.
As of today, we're looking at a rain/snow mix on Friday night the 28th and into Saturday morning ... ending as snow showers on Saturday. Then another storm may bring snow to us for New Year's celebrations. Let's hope that we put down some snow before January ... because it's not looking good for snow lovers right now as we head into 2013.
My winter outlook is taking a beating. Winter is far from over, however. Some of the worst winter storms in Ketucky's history have occured in February and March. Hang in there ...