Get Ready For the Next Dip in the Jetstream

February is typically the coldest and stormiest month in the US. That is the time when the polar jetstream undulates the most widely, allowing bitter cold temperatures to invade southward, while also allowing huge rivers of moisture to flow inland, inundating many areas with snow and others with rain.

Three major storm squalls or lines have moved through the US in the last couple of weeks. These have brought tremendous cold across the northern segment of the country, along with a huge amount of snow and freezing rain. For the most part, though, the dips in the jetstream haven’t been very far south. For instance, the storm systems that are currently moving through the country, dubbed Winter Storm Nadia, are projected to dip as far south as Tennessee in the east.

The storm systems about to come in off of the Pacific, though, are a drastic change. The jetstream is currently just off-shore and is roughly following the coastline from the Gulf of Alaska right down the Pacific coast, all the way beyond the US-Mexican border. There has been a large influx of moisture off of the Pacific and with the cold air, this will likely mean that there will be snow even in the far south.

In fact, if the jetstream stays as far south as it currently is as it moves east, which it commonly does, even southern Texas and Florida could receive snow. If you find yourself in need of supplies, now would be the time to stock up, prior to the arrival of the next storm. Being prepared in advance is the wisest move you can make and it can help you literally weather the storm with minimal negative impacts. It is how we go through the frequent February storms in Montana, though people sometimes wonder how we do it.


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Written by Rex Trulove

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    • That pretty well describes how the weather usually acts in February. The behavior of the jetstream reminds me very much of a strong La Nina year, though I haven’t yet looked at the surface temperatures in the Pacific. Honestly, I haven’t had time.

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