Remember that late-week storm possibility we talked about a few days ago? One of the pieces that could have gone into that will zip by early Thursday, but the upper-air impulse is unlikely to do much other than keep the cloudiness hanging in, and maybe squeeze out a few snow flurries or patches of drizzle or freezing drizzle. There will be a somewhat better chance to the south and west of Roanoke. Temperatures will hang on to the 40s highs and 20/30s lows until perhaps poking into the 50s some by the weekend, with little or no precipitation. Kind of a stale state of weather, locally. A few states to the north, some sub-zero cold is cutting into New England.
It appears very likely it will get mild, perhaps warm, for a few days next week (a 60-70 percent chance of above-normal temperatures in the 6-10-day period, says the Climate Prediction Center). A big feature warmth lovers cheer for in mid-winter, and snow fans groan about, a Southeast U.S./Bermuda high will have full control of the weather pattern a week from now. That combined with low pressure over the western U.S. will lead to southerly and southwesterly winds oozing in unseasonable warmness. For Southwest Virginia, we’ll probably see 60s, and 70 is not out of the question. Strong storm systems may develop in the central U.S. and track to the Great Lakes, each one bringing a shot of cold to at least temporarily back the warmth down, during the upcoming pattern. Long-term, there remain signals of “stratospheric warming” in the polar region that may lead to the kind of northern latitude blocking that would force Arctic air southward, sometime in the second half of the month. Tracking the specifics of that is way far out there, but next week’s warmth is unlikely to be the death knell of winter, no matter how many people will be calling for exactly that in the next 7-10 days. I would say, though, that the 2-3 weeks after the warmup will be critical to whether this winter develops a long period of significant and sustained cold weather. The season will be on the line, so to speak.