Blustery to Soggy Pattern This Week; What About December?

WOAY-TV (Oak Hill, WV): Rainfall was shy of average in November and a cold blast will drive in gusty winds Tuesday. What will December bring?

SHORT-TERM: Wind chills will drop into the single digits overnight with a dusting of snow in Pocahontas County where peak gusts will reach 40 mph. Sporadic power outages are possible Tuesday with gusts 30-35 mph across the region and temperatures in the 20s (wind chills in the teens). The fire danger will increase Thursday with a big warmup, dry air and a southwest breeze before rain arrives Friday and again early next week.

NOVEMBER OVERVIEW: All told, we had nine days with below average temperatures, six days with temperatures near normal and 14 days with temperatures above average. Rainfall was below-average across the region.

DECEMBER OUTLOOK: El Nino is one of the driving factors in our forecast for the month of December. Typically what you see in an East-based El Nino is a light snow in early December followed by very little snow for the second half of the month.

Temperature wise, usually chilly weather leading up to about the sixth or 7th of December and then a big warm spell for the second half of December.

We also have these sub-seasonal drivers, including the East Pacific Oscillation, which will go from a positive to a negative phase and then back to a positive phase. This implies a warm start, chilly mid-month, then warm to finish with some cooler weather right around New Year’s Eve.

The Madden-Julian Oscillation is going to circulate through Phases 4-7. When it goes through that cycle, we typically have warm pattern followed by a chilly pattern during the middle part of the month and then a warm finish.

So, we are looking for big changes in temperatures, but the coldest temperatures around mid-month.

The Atmospheric Angular Momentum (AAM) favors a traditional El Nino and that typically means a warmer pattern overall for the Eastern U.S. Last, the only signal with the Pacific North American Pattern is for a colder finish at the tail end of December.

The bottom line is that we are going to have big pressure and temperature changes, but no sustainable cold. What I mean by sustainable cold is colder than average temperatures over at least a two-week span. I’m looking for the first part of the Christmas holiday will be on the warm side overall.

As for rainfall, it will be near average for most of the area, with upside potential for above-average rainfall in the Greenbrier Valley. That means a much lower potential for brush fires during the month of December.

What about snowfall? We are looking for about 2 to 5 inches of snow across most of the region with 10 to 15 inches for Snowshoe and Pocahontas County. These numbers are below average for December snowfall.

Of course, we will have all the details in your seven-day forecast with each newscast. This is just an overall representation of what we expect for the final month of 2023.

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