Why have we been so cold without much snow this month? The simple answer is the pattern of our jet stream with a large, warm bearing ridge over the eastern pacific and a large, cold bearing trough over the rest of the nation. This year the trough has set up farther east that it has kept the storm track well south and east of us.
We label this pattern–conveniently– PNA, which stands for "Pacific North American" pattern. When it's in the positive phase, we have our current pattern. In the negative phase, it's flipped, with warmer pacific air moving across the central part of the USA.
With that in mind, looks like the PNA will remain in the + phase for the next few days with below average temperatures through Thursday. Beyond that, long range models suggest a reversal of the PNA to a negative phase with spring-like weather moving in.
After a cooler than average weekend, a developing storm system moving in late Monday night into Tuesday will move out of the southern Rockies. Ahead of this system, warm and moist air will lift out of the Gulf of Mexico. As it moves east Tuesday into the Great Lakes, we'll see rain and thunderstorms south of the track with a narrow band of snowfall to the north of the low. While the exact track of the storm is still uncertain, it currently looks like areas in the southern and eastern parts of the state could see several inches; and by "several" I mean a band of over 4" possible, not a foot. This won't be a monumental storm, but it does have the potential to be the biggest snow producer we've seen all year–which so far was just over 4" back around Christmas, Dec. 26th & 27th.
Behind this system we'll see another surge of arctic air with highs Wednesday in the single digits with very cold wind chills.
Beyond the brief surge of arctic air, there are signs of spring-like weather next weekend with highs in the 30s and 40s.
Have a great day!
-Meteorologist Sam Ryan