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Stepping Slowly Into Winter

The warmth of the last week may have you wondering when the chill of winter fully arrives. Phillyweather.net's Tom Thunstrom warns it's coming... eventually!

Having four days of 60-degree warmth in the latter portions of November is not too terribly uncommon. We had a couple of days above 60 just last year in this part of the world and the following winter yielded snow, cold and a good bit of ice in between.

We've also had warm November stretches in 2003, 2004 and 2009; all of which were followed by pretty good winters in terms of weather. Having a mild stretch in late November is not necessarily a harbinger of a bad winter given the results of the past decade or so.

That being said, the pattern is about to slowly shift to a colder regime. It may take most of December to fully lock into a wintery regime but the stepping down process that has halted during most of November will resume in about a week's time as signs in the atmosphere indicate a colder trend taking over the Eastern United States during the first full week of December. It may not necessarily trend into "arctic" cold and getting slapped with snow for a while, but the pattern may nudge more towards typical weather for early December as opposed to weather that's more typical of late October.

What is "typical" for early December?  Well, average high temperatures should be in the upper-40s and lows generally around 30.

The pattern going into this weekend and early next week shows something pretty close to that, if not a few degrees cooler for a few days later next week.  Not necessarily mind-numbing or toe-tingling cold but certainly not weather that will have folks worrying about if it will ever snow.

In between then and now, a storm system over the south will gradually spin through on Tuesday and Tuesday night, bringing about an inch of rain to the region (see the attached photo). Temperatures through Tuesday remain mild: 60s for the start of the week; then trend slowly lower for the rest of the week.

A second cool front on Friday will yield lower temperatures for the weekend. For those of us in the weather world, Dec. 1 marks the beginning of "meteorological" winter (for statistical purposes) and the weather will act a bit more like it should, and a lot less like what we were blessed with over Thanksgiving weekend.

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Tom Thunstrom is editor and publisher at Phillyweather.net.

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