The State of the Atmosphere for Monday, January 20, 2014

As we head into the final stretch of January, the end of the dominant weather pattern of the last month may finally be in site. The next ten days or so will be largely unchanged, with the exception of a quick hitting system or two that could bring at least some semblance of winter back to the Mile High City.

This week will be a bit of a roller coaster. Yesterday we reached 65 degrees at Denver International Airport, just three degrees shy of the record high for the date. A weak cold front today will drop our temperatures back into the 40s, which is still at or above normal for the date. There is little moisture associated with this front, so the biggest impacts will be cooler temperatures and some wind.

By Tuesday, temperatures again climb to well above average. Highs in the upper 50s are expected once again across the greater metro area.

Our attention then turns to late Wednesday and Thursday when a stronger cold front will push through the region. This system has the potential to bring with it some snow for the Front Range. It's too early to put out totals at this time, but we will monitor the situation closely and address numbers as we get closer to the event. (It's worth noting that all major models show at least some snow during this period, so the question may be not "will it snow," but rather, "how much snow will fall?") Temperatures will drop into the low 30s for highs Thursday, before rebounding nicely for the weekend.

East v. West
Cold and snow continues to be confined to the eastern third of the country. The dominant ridge of high pressure that has all but ruined winter for the west coast -- at least for the time being -- remains fully entrenched. The next 10+ days are likely to feature more of the same. Warm in the west with bitter cold temperatures for the east.

February Flip?
As we've been advertising for some time now, it does appear as though the pattern will start to shift as we head into February. Of course, we mention this shift with a notable degree of caution as this is still 10+ days out, and the ridge so far has shown quite a bit of fight.

If we take a look at the same model as above for the first two weeks of February, notice what happens. A ridge develops in the southeast, with a very strong ridge taking hold over Alaska. Notice the flip in temperature anomalies that follows.

It will be interesting to see how things play out over the next week or two. The type of pattern the models are trying to go toward usually means a more active pattern across a greater portion of the United States. Of course we'll stay on top of all the latest here at Weather5280 -- subscribe here to stay ahead of all the changes.

Brendan Heberton

Brendan is founder of Weather5280. He is co-founder of FreshyMap, and develops software for geospatial data analysis and visualization.

Denver, Colorado
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