Winter Weather Outlook & Regional Forecasts for 27 Dec 2017 – 24 Jan 2018 (Noon, 12-27-17)

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Winter Outlook: Colder than normal sea surface temperatures have returned to the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean indicating that La Nina conditions have returned. There is also significantly warmer than normal sea surface temperatures off both coasts of the US which will tend to promote a northwest flow pattern in the eastern US. So we think this winter season will resemble last winter season’s weather in that the overall winter pattern will see somewhat above normal temperatures in the forecast region as reflected in the Climate Predication Center’s Jan – Mar forecasts. However there are some factors that on average we think will produce somewhat colder conditions than last year. One such factor is the early extensive and deep snow cover across North America. For this reason we expect the first part of the winter over the forecast region to see temperatures colder than the average then rise to above average the latter part of the winter. Also expect the northern regions (Region 1 is Richmond, VA, and Region 2 is VA Beach, VA) to be cooler with respect to the seasonal average. Because of the expected storm pattern we expect general above normal precipitation for the forecast region. This storm track will also favor extensive cloud cover and much warmer than normal minimum daily temperatures with the maximum temperatures closer to the seasonal average.

Note:  Winter outlooks made last summer (such as the one from the “Old Farmer’s Alamanc”) were made when El Nino conditions were expected for the winter. The fact that La Nina conditions unexpectedly developed this fall combined with the fact that the Pacific Tropical ocean temperature pattern is a major factor in influencing global weather patterns, would very likely influence the accuracy of the winter outlooks made last summer.

Regional Weather Forecast Outlook for 27 Dec – 24 Jan

Region 1 – Richmond, VA

Region 2 – Virginia Beach

Region 3 – Clayton, NC

Region 4 – Greenville, SC

27 Dec – 29 Dec: Temperatures below normal and dry for the entire period. A large cold high pressure system will slowly move southeast out Canada causing a cold northwest wind flow to dominate the eastern US during this period. This will keep temperatures well below normal and also keep conditions dry through the period.
Reg 1 – Richmond, VA
High Temperature Range (F) Low Temperature Range (F) Precipitation Range (Inches)
   Fcst 38- 30 19 – 23 0.00 -0.05
   Climo 48 29 0.25
Reg 2 – Virginia Beach, VA
High Temperature Range (F) Low Temperature Range (F) Precipitation Range (Inches)
   Fcst 40-35 25 -31 0.00
   Climo 51 35 0.25
Reg 3 – Clayton, NC High Temperature Range (F) Low Temperature Range (F) Precipitation Range (Inches)
   Fcst 46-34 19-23 0.00
   Climo 52 30 0.35
Reg 4 – Greenville, SC
High Temperature Range (F) Low Temperature Range (F) Precipitation Range (Inches)
   Fcst 50-48 29-34 00
   Climo 53 37 0.40
30 Dec – 01 Jan: Temperatures stay well below normal and dry for the entire period. The center of the previously mentioned large cold high pressure system will continue to slowly move eastward slightly north of region allowing for the cold northwest wind flow to continue in the eastern US early this period, with a slight warming trend mid to late in the period. The start of the period will see temperatures well below normal with mostly  dry conditions early in the period but scattered showers late in the  period.
Reg 1 – RIC VA High Temperature Range (F) Low Temperature Range (F) Precipitation Range (Inches)
   Fcst 35- 30 18 – 15 0.10 -0.15
   Climo 48 29 0.25
Reg 2 – VAB VA High Temperature Range (F) Low Temperature Range (F) Precipitation Range (Inches)
   Fcst 36-37 30-33 0.10 -0.20
   Climo 50 35 0.25
Reg 3 – CLA NC High Temperature Range (F) Low Temperature Range (F) Precipitation Range (Inches)
   Fcst 42-33 20-11 0.10 -0.20
   Climo 52 30 0.35
Reg 4 – GRE SC High Temperature Range (F) Low Temperature Range (F) Precipitation Range (Inches)
   Fcst 48 – 50 30 – 34 0.10 -0.25
   Climo 52 36 0.40
02 Jan – 04 Jan: Temperatures drop well below normal and dry for the entire period. Another large cold high pressure system will slowly move southeast out of Canada once again causing a cold northwest wind flow to dominate the eastern US during this period. This air mass is even colder than the previous air mas so expect a drop in temperatures to well below normal and with some scattered snow showers early then conditions become dry through most of period.
Reg 1 – RIC VA High Temperature Range (F) Low Temperature Range (F) Precipitation Range (Inches)
   Fcst 28- 23 15 – 10 0.05 -0.15
   Climo 47 28 0.25
Reg 2 – VAB VA High Temperature Range (F) Low Temperature Range (F) Precipitation Range (Inches)
   Fcst 30-40 22-27 0.00 -0.05
   Climo 49 34 0.25
Reg 3 – CLA NC High Temperature Range (F) Low Temperature Range (F) Precipitation Range (Inches)
   Fcst 32-38 14-19 0.00
   Climo 51 29 0.35
Reg 4 – GRE SC High Temperature Range (F) Low Temperature Range (F) Precipitation Range (Inches)
   Fcst 50-48 29-34 00
   Climo 51 36 0.40
05 Jan – 07 Jan: Temperatures start well below normal then moderate but stay below normal with mostly dry conditions for the entire period. The large cold high pressure system will continue to slowly move southeast into the region modifying with time. This will keep temperatures well below normal in eastern US early in the period, but warm a few degrees but still staying below normal by late in the period. Conditions will stay mostly dry through the period.
Reg 1 – RIC VA High Temperature Range (F) Low Temperature Range (F) Precipitation Range (Inches)
   Fcst 25- 32 18 – 23 0.10 -0.20
   Climo 47 28 0.25
Reg 2 – VAB VA High Temperature Range (F) Low Temperature Range (F) Precipitation Range (Inches)
   Fcst 38-45 26-34 0.00-0.10
   Climo 49 34 0.25
Reg 3 – CLA NC High Temperature Range (F) Low Temperature Range (F) Precipitation Range (Inches)
   Fcst 39-23 19-24 0.00-0.10
   Climo 51 29 0.35
Reg 4 – GRE SC High Temperature Range (F) Low Temperature Range (F) Precipitation Range (Inches)
   Fcst 48 – 50 30 – 34 0.00-0.10
   Climo 51 36 0.40
Time Period: Forecast Discussion Day 15 – 30   (08 Jan – 24 Jan)
Early indications are that temperatures and precipitation will average out to be above the seasonal norm for the forecast regions during this period. The above average temperatures would most likely be the result of higher than normal minimum temperatures with high temperatures near or only slightly above the average for the season due to persistent cloud cover.
Expected Temperature Trends Expected Precipitation Trends
Reg 1 – RIC VA High Temperature Range (F) Low Temperature Range (F) Precipitation Range (Inches)
   Climo Start 47  – End 46 Start 27 End 26 1.50
Reg 2 – VAB VA High Temperature Range (F) Low Temperature Range (F) Precipitation Range (Inches)
   Climo Start 48 End 47 Start 33  End 32 1.60
Reg 3 – CLA NC High Temperature Range (F) Low Temperature Range (F) Precipitation Range (Inches)
   Climo Start 51  –  End 51 Start 29 – End 28 1.70
Reg 4 – GRE SC High Temperature Range (F) Low Temperature Range (F) Precipitation Range (Inches)
   Climo Start 51 – End 52 Start 35 – End 36 1.90

Written By

Photo of Barclay Poling, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionDr. Barclay PolingFormer Professor and Extension Specialist, Strawberries and Muscadines (919) 515-5373 (Office) barclay_poling@ncsu.eduHorticultural Science - NC State University
Posted on Dec 27, 2017
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