But the pattern is ripe with potential for winter fun and games the next two weeks or so with storm systems possible from time to time. The main thing that is certain is below-normal temperatures returning this Friday and lasting through to somewhere around Jan 20-24 then winter takes another pause after that. In fact, unlike last year when February and March were quite cold with snow, this year winter may be largely done with GA as we end this month and get into February as the LA NINA influence belatedly shows its hand. But that's not a given since the AO and NAO have been in record low territory even with a high-end moderate La Nina. This could end up being one for the ages, a winter we tell our grand-children and great grandchildren about, as if the North GA White Christmas was not enough for that already.
All eyes will be on the monster 1055-1065 mb high dropping south out of the Yukon next week. The record in the continental US was 1064mb back in December 1983. So while we may come up short of that, it could be close. Much of the nation will be in the ice box next week and likely thereafter. The presence of a dual block signature, one near Davis Strait (west-based -NAO) and another one retrograding from Alaska to eastern Siberia, should help maintain a cold pattern across the US through most of January. It remains to be seen if the upper pattern will take the deepest part of the cold air over the Northwest or eastern U.S. There is clearly potential for winter weather mischief with this kind of setup; the greatest fear is that the air gets into the Southeast in very shallow form, and moist air from the Gulf runs over the cold layer, setting up some kind of ice storm for somebody somewhere in Dixie. The general pattern sure favors something like that at some point in the January 9-22 time frame with the potential mid-month cold wave for much of the continental U.S.
December nationally was the coldest since 2000, in parts of the Southeast the coldest December since 1989 and in parts of Florida the coldest December ever. The past years that come closest in the SE USA are 1892, 1917, 1935, 1958, 1963, and 1989. The past 7 days have averaged 3 degrees warmer than normal in metro Atlanta.
The model analog package being printed out for the coming period shows: Jan 26 1980, Jan 21 1960, Jan 1966, Jan 1978, Jan 1970, Jan 1969, Jan 1956, Jan 1979, February 1975, and Feb 1979.