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COMMENTARY

Expect conditions to brighten up — if not warm up — this week

Don Paul

Feel free to put on a happy face. After a cloudy start, conditions brighten up for for most of the week, with dry high pressure taking over our region and buffering us from what may be a deep offshore storm system developing toward midweek.

Temperatures will be seasonable for the next few days. “Seasonable” is defined by readings close to average for any given time of the year. So if you go for a stroll on Tuesday or Wednesday without a light jacket or a sweater, you may determine it’s chilly.

In general, my forecasting communication style has tied the use of descriptors such as cold, cool, mild, warm, very warm and hot to how much of a departure from average I expect, combined with noticeable effects from wind and dew points.

Dew point will not be much of an issue during the workweek, except there may be enough water vapor in the air to form some early morning patchy fog inland, especially in the valleys most mornings.

Later this week, readings will edge up above average for Thursday into Saturday. A ridge of high pressure will extend from the Canadian Maritime provinces all the way down to north Florida, keeping a vigorous storm system far enough offshore so it won’t be a factor in Western New York.

With a dry easterly flow giving way to a warming southeastern downslope flow, high temps will move to the upper 60s, or about 6-7 degrees above average.

Some deterioration begins to develop during the weekend. By Saturday and Sunday, model ensemble means suggest not only a noticeably cooler air mass moving in around an upper-level low pressure system, but also gusty winds reaching down to the surface. This would imply wind will be a real factor in next Sunday’s game here with Miami. As of this writing, it appears the majority of the showers associated with this low will arrive Saturday, with less activity Sunday. Here is the American GFS depiction for Saturday.

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Sunday looks drier, though the air a few thousand feet up may grow cold enough to contrast with Lake Erie’s mild water to produce some lake-effect rain showers in the afternoon and evening.

The following Monday will still be unsettled and on the cool side, with a few showers around. Extended-range ensembles flatten out the flow later that next week; if that verifies, it would bring readings closer to the 60-low 60s range in mid-October. The Climate Prediction Center/CPC also sees this trend as favoring near-average temperatures most days eight to 14 days out.

In CPC’s more experimental week 3-4 outlook, the graphic looks more optimistic for warmer-than-average temperatures in the east.

However, when I read their technical discussion underlying the graphic, the very first phrase is “Uncertainty abounds in the current weeks 3-4 outlook ...” This anomalous warmth is not exactly a high-confidence outlook. Still, there is not much evidence right now of any persistent anomalous cold showing up, with emphasis on “persistent.”

On the climate front, there continues to be good evidence for anomalous warmth continuing in most of the arctic, as seen in this European ensemble posted by WBZ’s Eric Fisher in Boston.

The highest confidence portion of this ensemble is, literally, in the arctic. That’s where you see the persistent reds and oranges. This doesn’t mean it will be balmy there; it means it will be warmer than average. Anomalous arctic warmth is nearly inevitable in this period due to minimal ice (the second lowest ice minimum on record in September) and warmer ocean waters releasing heat and water vapor into the atmosphere.

Arctic warmth has been strongly linked with more erratic weather episodes in the mid-latitudes due to the weakened jet stream that results from warmer high latitudes; there will likely be more frequent episodes of high-amplitude blocking patterns in portions of the mid-latitudes, which, in my opinion, make winter outlooks even less reliable than they have been in past decades.

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