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The Winter Reboot: The Tale of a Split February


The CPC 8-14 Temperature Outlook (2/8 - 2/14)

Transitioning Into a Milder February

Following our recent snowstorm and subsequent warm-up, New Jersey is experiencing a notable shift in weather patterns, often referred to as a "Winter Reboot." As we move into February, indications suggest a temporary retreat of winter conditions, paving the way for a milder climate in the coming weeks. According to the Climate Prediction Center (CPC), there is an 80% likelihood that our region will experience above-normal temperatures during the first two weeks of February. This period marks a significant transition, signaling a brief hiatus from the typical winter chill.


GFS 2m Temperature Anomaly (2/12)

A Glimpse into the Coming Weeks

Meteorological models, including the Global Forecast System (GFS) and the European model, concur that the upcoming weeks will see a rise in temperatures. Expected highs are predicted to be approximately 10 degrees above the seasonal average, positioning temperatures in the 50s rather than the usual 40s. This forecast might dishearten snow enthusiasts, who perceive the remainder of the winter season with a sense of pessimism. Despite these warmer trends, it's premature to declare the winter season over. Long-range forecasts consistently suggest a potential shift in weather patterns during the latter half of February and into March, hinting at the return of wintry conditions.


Analyzing Weather Patterns and Storm Potential

European Weeklies 500mb Height (2/16)

In forecasting significant weather events, a critical factor to examine is the 500mb heights, which offer insights into potential storm development and the positioning of the jet stream and atmospheric blocking patterns. An analysis of the European model for February 16th to 17th reveals a strong storm signal along the East Coast. This scenario is characterized by lower atmospheric heights, a positive Pacific North American Oscillation (+PNA), a negative Arctic Oscillation (-AO), and a negative East Pacific Oscillation (-EPO). While these indicators do not guarantee a storm, they significantly increase the likelihood of such an event, with the European model receiving robust support from both the GFS and Canadian Meteorological Centre (CMC) models.


GFS Extended 500mb Heights (2/16)

CMC Extended 500mb Heights (2/14)

Long-Range Outlook: Teleconnections and Weather Implications

The forecast for the latter half of February through early March suggests a return to colder, more active weather conditions. The Arctic Oscillation (AO) is expected to enter a negative phase, promoting cooler temperatures that could range from normal to below normal. Concurrently, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) will shift into a strong negative phase, enhancing the potential for upper-level atmospheric blocking. This blocking can keep storms along the coast rather than allowing them to move quickly out to sea. Additionally, the Pacific North American Oscillation (PNA) will adopt a positive phase, fostering conditions conducive to storm development by creating a dip in the jet stream over the Eastern United States. This pattern facilitates the movement of moisture-laden storms from the Gulf up the coast.

The convergence of these teleconnection patterns suggests a higher probability of below-normal temperatures and an active storm period for the second half of February through the beginning of March. Residents should prepare for the possibility of one or more winter storms impacting our region. This forecast underscores the dynamic nature of our winter weather and the importance of staying informed and prepared.


The NAO Forecast

The AO Forecast

The PNA Forecast

2m Temperature Anomaly ranging from 2/16 - 3/16

Quick Summary

As New Jersey transitions into February, a "Winter Reboot" signals a brief warm-up, with the Climate Prediction Center forecasting above-normal temperatures for the first two weeks. However, winter enthusiasts should not lose hope; long-range models predict a shift back to colder, stormier conditions in the latter half of February through early March. Key atmospheric patterns—such as a negative Arctic Oscillation, a negative North Atlantic Oscillation, and a positive Pacific North American Oscillation—suggest an increased likelihood of winter storms. Residents should stay informed and prepared for a potential return to wintry weather, despite the temporary mild spell.

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