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Significant change in the weather pattern this week

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As many of you may have heard from us and through social media chatter, we are expecting quite the change in our weather mid-to-late week (12/7/2017-12/11/2017 or so).

The Climate Prediction Center has our region in the bull's eye for 'colder than average' temperatures in that time frame.

So, let's talk about what's driving this shift.

There are a few layers to the atmosphere. The troposphere is where most weather happens, and the stratosphere is above that.

In the stratosphere, there is a semi-permanent feature known as the polar vortex. It's nothing new, but is a bit of a focal point in why we'll see such a sharp cool-down next week.

As the stratosphere warms, the winds relax. What that allows is for pieces of the polar vortex to force colder air down south into our part of the United States.

Does this mean snow? Not at first. Cold air chases the moisture east initially, meaning that Tuesday night and Wednesday will mainly be snow-free.

However, with cold air already in place - we'll have to watch these little 'clippers' that could develop on Friday and Saturday. If those form, the amount of moisture would determine how much snow we would or would not see. It's too soon to talk specifics at this point in the game.

Our bottom line message is split up into parts:

1. We get about 0.5-1.0" of rain Tuesday and Tuesday night. That's not enough for flooding to occur. A slower-moving cold front, however, might mean higher rain totals.

2. Colder air comes in and sticks around from Wednesday through next weekend.

3. While there are no major winter storms, we are watching the possibility of a clipper or two to drop a light snow/mix on Friday and/or Saturday.

4. Beware the share! There are people on social media who will do anything for a share or retweet. Posting outlandish snow maps is an easy way to do that. Don't fall for that kind of stuff! If it looks extreme, chances are...it is. Snow maps 5-7 days are almost NEVER accurate.

Be sure to keep checking back for updates on our forecast. The closer we get to the arrival of this colder air, the more detailed and accurate we can get. For now, expect some of the coldest air of the season between next Wednesday and Sunday.

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