RCC partners with Upswing to provide increased academic support services – The Robesonian

Posted: October 4, 2020 at 1:56 pm

October 03, 2020

STATE COLLEGE, Penn. As Americans hunker down to weather the pandemic this winter at home, nearly every facet of life will remain upended to safeguard against the coronavirus.

Accuweathers team of long-range forecasters, led by Senior Meteorologist Paul Pastelok, released its annual predictions for the upcoming winter season this week. The team has been analyzing global weather patterns and various weather models to project what conditions will unfold across the lower 48 United States this winter, which arrives Dec. 21. Much of the time the setup will be driven by one key factor: La Nia.

La Nia is a phenomenon in which the surface water near the equator of the Pacific Ocean is cooler than normal, the opposite of El Nio when the water in the equatorial Pacific is in a warm phase. This change in the water temperature can have a major influence on the weather patterns all around the globe. According to NOAAs Climate Prediction Center, La Nia officially developed by early September and is forecast to continue through the winter months.

The ongoing La Nia is projected to bring weather conditions similar to what meteorologists expect across the country during a typical La Nia pattern, but there may be a few subtle differences, Pastelok said.


The first part of the winter may be the coldest for the southeastern U.S., as a brief shot or two of cold air has the potential to rush down from the north all the way to the Gulf Coast.

Early cold may take a run at the eastern U.S. if snow lays in the Ohio Valley and parts of the Tennessee Valley in December, Pastelok said.

Atlanta, Huntsville, Alabama, Greenville, South Carolina, and Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina, could all be hit by a cold snap to kick off the season. Even Floridians may want to make sure to dig out heavier coats from the closet sooner rather than later.

There is a small chance for an early season frost in northern and central Florida perhaps impacting the citrus crop, Pastelok added.

Temperatures are projected to rebound as the season carries on, paving the way for much warmer conditions through the balance of the winter.

Near-record warmth [is predicted] at times in the Southeast, occasionally extending into the mid-Atlantic, Pastelok said.

This extended warmth will be good news for restaurants across the region that have added outdoor seating areas because of the coronavirus pandemic, and could perhaps allow them to utilize the extra space even during the winter months.

Restaurants that do have outdoor seating should still keep a close eye on the weather forecast, not just for temperatures, but also for disruptive storms, especially during the first few weeks of 2021.

Severe thunderstorms may occur more than usual from the central Gulf Coast to the Southeast in late January and February, Pastelok said.

Northeast, Midwest

The winter of 2019-2020 was tame across much of the northeastern U.S. with only a handful of Arctic outbreaks and very little snow to speak of along the Interstate 95 corridor and the upcoming winter could bring some echoes of last winter.

Another overall mild winter is possible for much of the eastern U.S., Pastelok said, referring to how temperatures will compare to the 30-year averages in many places. However, he expects near-normal snowfall across much of New England.

However, the entire season will not be mild all the way through. Instead, the season will be bookended by cold and snowy conditions with a pause in the wintry weather in the middle of the season.

The first waves of chilly Arctic air will set off rounds of lake-effect snow downwind of the Great Lakes and bring opportunities for snow in some of the bigger cities across the region heading into the holiday season.

There is a good chance for a white Christmas in Chicago, perhaps around 30-35% chance at this point, Pastelok said. For Pittsburgh, much of the lake-effect snow could fall north of the city and it may be tough to keep snow on the ground. But from this far out I give a 15-20% chance for a white Christmas in Pittsburgh, but, still, there is a chance.

Plains, Rocky Mountains

The central U.S. experienced a taste of winter as soon as autumn arrived. Meteorological fall began on the first day of September, and just one week later, a winter-like storm dove down across the Plains and northern Rockies, causing temperatures to tumble and delivering snow to the Rockies and some of the foothills.

The middle of the nation may go through some big swings in temperatures, [and] dry and active periods, Pastelok said. Periods of subzero cold can drive south down the Front Range of the Rockies, the central and western Plains.

Snow will be a prominent feature during these big swings, especially over the northern Rockies and into parts of Colorado, which will be beneficial for ski resorts across the region.

There is also the chance for some frequent snowfall in the northern Plains in parts of Nebraska, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota.

Farther south, the chances for snow will be lower, including part of the southern Plains, the southern Rockies and westward into the Four Corners.

Meanwhile, the central Plains will be in the battleground zone, swinging from bitterly cold conditions to spells of milder weather and then back again in less than a weeks time.

West Coast

Autumn may feel shorter this year across the Pacific Northwest as wintry weather makes an early entrance across the region.

Mountain snow and stormy conditions may arrive in late fall for the Northwest, northern California and northern Rockies, Pastelok said.

Even the Interstate 5 corridor from Medford, Oregon, through Seattle will have several opportunities for accumulating snowfall, potentially even before 2020 draws to a close.

The waves of storms throughout the upcoming months will help to ease the drought conditions across the region, especially in Oregon where more than 60% of the state is in severe drought and over 30% is in an extreme drought.

More importantly, the early arrival of winter storms will spell the conclusion to a historic wildfire season that has charred millions of acres across Washington, Oregon and California.

However, after the flames have smoldered, heavy rains could pose an added danger in the burn scars left behind by the fires, especially in the mountainous terrain.

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RCC partners with Upswing to provide increased academic support services - The Robesonian

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