Spring Fever: Unseasonable Warmth Spring Like, Not January

Recent warm temperatures are atypical for mid January, so why are they here?

It’s hard to believe that it’s already 2015, let alone the middle of January. While we saw snow and cooler temperatures earlier in the month, we’ve recently been under a warmer air mass boasting temperatures typically seen in the spring. Why are we seeing these temperatures if it’s mid January?

300mb Map, January 18th, 2015

Marked by the red circle, you can see the ridge over the Northern Plains. What typically happens with this jet stream placement is the following: low pressure systems will come out of the Pacific Ocean, ride the ridge into Canada then ride the ridge down into the United States bringing with it colder air. We’ve seen that earlier this month but, now with the ridge over us, the systems are bringing the colder air into the Midwest, New England and the rest of the east coast.

Starting on the 15th, temperatures really started to warm to unseasonable temperatures. While we have had colder than average temperatures in January, mostly at the beginning of the month thanks to powerful cold fronts, the recent warmth over the last couple days is typical for March.

Recorded Temperatures, January 2015

Recorded Temperatures, March 2015

The warm temperatures are expected to last through Monday, when we will most likely see our warmest day of 2015. This means that the snow cover across the Northern Plains diminish due to temperatures exceeding not only above average but also above 32°.

Observed Snow Depth, January 18th, 2015

If you are wondering where winter and January has gone, don’t worry, cooler temperatures and the chance for snow is in the forecast. A low pressure system will move through the Northern Plains, causing the jet stream to trough over the Plains, bringing with it not only normal temperatures but also a chance for snow Tuesday into Wednesday. However, it’s short lived as another warm up is expected to occur late next week.

7 Day Forecast

Enjoy the warmth, hopefully you haven’t caught spring fever! But if you have, no worries, it’ll feel like spring once again late next week.

Blaise Keller
Weekend Meteorologist

Categories: Weather Blog, Weather Blog-imported, Weather-imported