The coldest weather of 2019 happened in November.
Huntsville recorded the greatest measurable snowfall since 2015 in early December (0.7″ officially at Huntsville International on Dec. 10th).
Then, the weather reverted to springtime. Tornadoes on December 16th. Unusually warm weather and heavy rainfall this past weekend that added up to more than four inches in spots.
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day look a little more like St. Patrick’s Day weather-wise; there’s zero chance of a white Christmas this year (even for those who have their own snow machines in Alabama and Tennessee).
Some of the coldest air in the world is moving into Alaska this week.
Christmas Day’s forecast high in Nuiqsut, Alaska is -35ºF. Negative thirty-five degrees Fahrenheit!
The forecast at the South Pole (first week of summer there, mind you): -7ºF.
Winter is being held hostage by a strong polar vortex. Thought the ‘polar vortex’ was the scary thing the national media likes to harp about when it gets cold here? Not exactly. There’s always a polar vortex; it’s actually counterintuitive to think that a ‘strong’ polar vortex means it’s warmer in the lower 48 United States, but a strong vortex tends to stay close to the Arctic and keeps the brutally cold air held near the Arctic Circle. When it starts to break down (weaken), that’s when the Arctic air starts blowing south over the U.S., Europe and elsewhere. There are always exceptions to this idea, but that’s how it usually works.
So, until the polar vortex breaks down, we’re going to stay warmer-than-normal. That does not mean 70s for the foreseeable future; it just means it’s unlikely that we get any substantially colder weather through at least the first few days of 2020.
It will get colder than this week, though. What you see below is the midday GFS model output from 12/23/19:
Colder, yes. Frigid? Not likely for now. Snow again soon? Not very likely, but the season is young. While there are no threats on the immediate horizon, we don’t usually see a really good ‘chance’ of snow appearing outside of 4-5 days into the future.