Torn between two systems: Stormy East vs Sizzling West

Here in Minnesota we have taken the expression "Stuck in a rut" to a whole new level. However, some may not call the brutally cold wind chills that are greeting us this week as a rut. When it comes to winter storms and more specifically snow, we are in a rut. So far this season we are running 1/3 below normal on the white stuff. The storm track for most of the winter has been just a little too far south or just a little too far north and we have been stuck in the middle with little to show for it.

Every now and then the storm track, aka Jet Stream, shoots way north or way south, but just not over the Upper Mid-West. Minnesota is simply the axis point to this rotation that spreads extreme weather to both coasts. This week's set up for the jet stream is no exception as the map below illustrates.

This pattern of the rising and diving jet stream has exaggerated the weather on both sides of us while leaving us with a mild and non-exciting pattern. Although we dip our toes in the warm or cool pools from time to time, most of the temperature extremes are occurring far away from Middle America. Here are a few examples:


This surge of Pacific moisture and warmth has provided California with much need rains. That warm moisture almost makes it to us, but it never really arrives.


The jet stream has really dipped south several times this winter season. Here in Minnesota we have seen a few shots of cold air but most of the time we just get a glancing blow as the big dip in the jet seems to always be a bit too far to the East. That constant reinforcing shot of cold is adding fuel to the fire when it comes to the record snowstorms out East. There is plenty of cold and plenty of moisture, just not for us.


"What goes up must come down" is a famous expression that applies in the weather pattern this winter. While the East coast dives into record territory, the west heats up. The ridge in the west, aka high pressure, circulates the air around it and funnels it down into southern California. The combination of compression, from being squeezed through the mountain passes, along with down sloping, blowing from high altitudes to low altitudes, is resulting in some intense winds, aka "Santa Ana Winds".

As you can see, there is a lot going on, but just not here. There is still a lot of winter left to go.

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