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Why we were so cold, and what the atmosphere will do to warm us back up.

It is no surprise that we have been dealing with some of the coldest air that we have seen in many years here in Mid-Missouri over the past week, but it does seem that we have some relief on the way. But first, let’s take a look at why we have been seeing such cold temperatures in the first place, in order to understand why we will be seeing nicer temperatures for the weekend.

This will be a showcase of just a couple of the weather models that we use to forecast weather. They are called the EURO model (European model) and the GFS model (American Model). These two are best utilized when forecasting large scale pattern changes 3-7 days in advance.

The pattern that we have been stuck in lately is depicted by the EURO and the GFS with charts showing the 250mb-300mb(28,000-33,000ft) wind patterns. Winds high up in the air act as the atmosphere’s engine in driving a lot of the weather that we see at the surface, and it’s no surprise that when cold arctic air in Canada is feeding those winds, that they will tend to produce much colder temperatures at our surface.



If you follow where that wind is originating, you can see it comes from northern Canada and it’s influence on us is the bitterly cold temperatures that we saw to close out the New Year here in Mid-Missouri.

However, headed into this weekend we are looking at a pattern shift in the upper levels of the atmosphere.

Here are the exact same models except instead of showing the pattern we will see this week, it’s showing the predictions for Sunday.



The difference between the two patterns is clear! You can see that the winds over Missouri are now originating from the Pacific Ocean which is a much warmer and more moist source of air.

While it doesn’t look like there will be much in the way of precipitation as of yet, this signaling of a pattern change that the models are showing us indicate that things are beginning to turn around. We are much more likely to see storm systems that will bring us precipitation in these Pacific-fed environments, and I am thinking that it’s going to open the door for much more active weather headed into the middle of January.


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