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The Blob is Dying | B.C. Pattern

The Blob is on life support, is winter going to deliver B.C?

Tyler Hamilton

Friday, January 4, 2019, 4:40 PM - Our friendly neighbourhood blob, the infamous warm sea surface temperature anomaly, has undergone significant changes over the past month. What does it mean for the foreseeable future? And, Vancouver, can we stick a fork in low elevation snow this winter? Find out right here.


  • Persistent storm track is weakening the strength of the warm anomaly, by mixing the water
  • 1-1.5°C temperature anomaly now widespread, a relatively minor fever
  • Active storm track expected to continue over next 7 days
  • ALERT updates, here

Well, as you can see from the active jet stream above, it'll be aimed towards the Pacific Northwest over the next week. And, it's backed up by some sophisticated teleconnections that support troughing over the next 7-10 days. The East Pacific Oscillation forecasts conveys the index remaining moderately positive or neutral. This generally correlates with large and persistent storm track in the Gulf of Alaska with most of North America being flooding with Pacific air, but there's signals for arctic air to make a run into North America early next week.

Folks, an epic weather battle is going to set up, between true arctic air and an impressive Pacific troughing pattern. The true winners, though, include the mountains, and those hoping for outstanding skiing conditions.

Back to the blob, the video at the top of the article goes into a little bit more detail, but let's compare the changes over the past month. 

First, we'll time travel back to December 2nd, 2018 and take a look at the snapshot of the sea surface temperature anomaly off the coast of B.C.



Spot the difference? What an incredibly active pattern December brought, and it was enough to cut the temperature anomaly in half. Now, just a meager degree or so away from normal. If this pattern continues for several more weeks, the Blob may vanish once again.


So, you probably thought December was pretty exciting and eventful in the weather department. But, January wants to make a run at some of the more intense active periods that were recently experienced. 

Here's the setup for next week:

And, the normally mild Pacific Ocean has some modified arctic air spilling into the open water of the Gulf of Alaska, that may ultimately wrap into our potentially strong low pressure system by next Monday. Notice the snow in the Pacific? Yes, it can snow over the mild Pacific Ocean...

I won't go into too much deal about this setup, but next week could feature a potential windstorm, and some low elevation snow. There's a risk for the precipitation to begin as heavy wet snow for lower elevations as well. This is called an overrunning snow event, when a warm, mild Pacific system clashes with modified arctic air in place across the South Coast. And, ideally, it's the best time to get an overrunning snow event. The South Coast records it's lowest average high temperatures during the first couple of weeks of January, with climate normals just 4-5°C across most of the South Coast. Even if temperatures are just a few degrees above seasonal, that's enough to transition the precipitation type over to the dreaded (or cherished) snow variety. 

More details will be posted once confidence increases by this weekend.


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