Where is winter, and will it return?— Pattern that has brought abnormal warmth continues through mid-month, then begins to break down by late January




Sunshine emerged Saturday bringing a break from gray skies

Visible satellite imagery Saturday afternoon showed clouds eroding across much of NE and east central Illinois as well as NW Indiana. The day produced more than half its possible sunshine. Meanwhile, extensive high cloudiness could already be seen invading area skies from the west.

Photo courtesy of College of Du Page Nexlab

Where is winter, and will it return?

With the exception of a weeklong stretch of cold weather centered around Christmas, Winter thus far has existed mainly in an astronomical sense only.  With deep low pressure impacting the western U.S. recently, outbreaks of polar air over much of the nation have been brief and minor. Sub-normal temps have been confined to the Arctic. 

The latter part of January may bring a pattern shift. Longer range forecasts are hinting that a more robust push of polar air may bring below normal temps southward across the Great Lakes region by late January.

Surface temps and sea level pressures observed at noon Saturday, January 14th:

Forecast surface temps and sea level pressure pattern valid 6 AM CST Friday, January 27th:

Mild air to dominate in near term, but month may then turn cold 

Though longer-range forecasts vary somewhat, the overall consensus is that the pattern that has brought abnormal warmth to much of North America will continue through mid-month , then begin to break down by late January.