Why another cool-down is expected in the CSRA soon

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Cooler temperatures may return soon because of an expected weather pattern change.

According to the latest outlook from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, colder than average temperatures are likely as we head into the end of this month.

This map shows their temperature outlook for this upcoming Friday through the following Tuesday. Below average temperatures are expected for much of the Eastern U.S. including here in the CSRA.

Source: Climate Prediction Center
Source: Climate Prediction Center

One reason this may be happening is a change in what’s known as the Arctic Oscillation. When it’s in a positive phase, strong winds circulate around the Arctic Circle, keeping most of the cold air far to our north. When the Arctic Oscillation shifts to the negative phase, these strong winds relax, allowing cold air to move farther south.

December 2015 was the warmest December on record for Augusta. Most of the month, the Arctic Oscillation was positive, corresponding to our extremely warm temperatures. It went negative in January, which allowed colder air to move into the CSRA. There was a brief spike to positive in late January and early February and as a result, we saw a bump in temperatures then.

Computer models show a trend toward negative at the end of this month and into the first part of March. If this turns out to be the case, shots of colder air will likely make their way into our region once again.

The Arctic Oscillation is just one of several oscillating weather patterns meteorologists and climatologists watch for clues about what kind of weather lies ahead.

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