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January 16, 2009

Weather Watch


Instead of moving from west to east, during the past week the jet stream has been diving southward from northern Canada to the northern Great Plains, along the east side of a large ridge of high pressure that has remained stationary over the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies.

West of the jet stream, temperatures have averaged above normal throughout most of Montana, even though arctic air has been dipping southward not far to the east, like North Dakota where highs have been in the single digits.

With a very strong northwest flow aloft, a series of Alberta clippers have been racing southeastward, bringing snow to our region every few days, but except for the snowstorm on Saturday, snowfall has been light. During the upcoming week, the very cold, arctic air will continue in place on Friday, followed by a gradual moderation in temperature over the weekend.

On Friday, arctic high pressure will slide south and east to New York State and New England, and with very cold, extremely dry air in place, skies will be mostly sunny with highs only in the single digits.

As milder air aloft pushes up and over the very cold air at the surface, we’ll get more cloudiness on Saturday. With variable cloudiness and breaks of sunshine, there’s the chance of snow showers, and highs from 10 to 15 degrees.

Temperatures will finally reach the low 20’s on Sunday, on a southwest flow ahead of low pressure over the western Great Lakes. Skies will be mostly cloudy with occasional light snow. Monday will feature partly sunny skies and highs in the mid to upper 20’s. Following a cold front Monday night, northwesterly winds will return on Tuesday, with partly sunny skies and the chance of snow showers, with highs from 22 to 27 degrees. Although the wind on Thursday told a story of bright sunshine in Otsego County, most local weather forecasts on Friday called for a mostly cloudy day with occasional snow showers.

The brisk northwest winds continued around a huge storm system in Newfoundland, and after snow showers in the morning, skies were mostly sunny in the afternoon, as cold, very dry air pushed southward from eastern Canada, with highs in the low 20’s. Lakeeffect snows stayed to the west, over western New York. An Alberta clipper tracked eastward from central Illinois early in the morning to southern Ohio by evening. Very cold, very dry arctic air was in place over the Northeast, with a low of 22 degrees below zero at Saranac Lake in the Adirondacks.

The air was so dry that it took all morning for snow to get from north central Pennsylvania to the central Southern Tier, finally reaching the Cooperstown area during the early afternoon.

Snow continued through the evening and overnight, with 6” to 8” of snow across our region.

Mark Hanok is an Otegobased meteorologist. You can visit him on the World Wide Web at http://members.