Watching the Russian Bear...UPDATED 9 December, 2008

UPDATE: 9 December 2008

The signal in the models continues to "waffle" and delay the Russian cold episode, so It's going to be a few days before there are any more posts to this blog. Check back Friday...hopefully a trend will have established itself one way or the other by then. In the meantime, this current cold outbreak is no slouch. Stay warm!

Take Care,




There remains a possibility of major cold moving into the United States early next week; there continues to be major disagreement among the models and the time frame looks to be more in the Dec 14-16 range if it happens at all. Meanwhile, cold air can be expected to dominate Tuesday through Thursday of this week, but this is more of the garden variety "polar" air and will be cold, but nowhere near any records. Stay warm and stay tuned!

UPDATE: 5 December 2008

A question from Bonham asked about how many "forecast models" are available.  For longer ranges, there are many: The ECMWF, the GFS, the NOGAPS, the UKMET, the Canadian, and many more. The most accessible and dependable ones for North America (in my experience) are the first three on the list.

As I mentioned in my blog, there's no promise this will happen and perhaps I opened a can of worms by even mentioning it. Nevertheless, since there's some chance and a suggestion in the model output that a cross-polar flow may develop around December 12, I said "what the heck?" and threw it out here for your enjoyment and interest.

The latest GFS run suggests late in the week (Dec 12-13) will be the time to see this evolve. This is somewhat consistent from the past two days' outputs but of course it's WAY early to say it's even 50% certain. Stay tuned...-:)

=============Original Thoughts===================

4 December, 2008

American meteorologists turn their attention northward this time of year; hurricane season has fizzled, while bitterly cold arctic air deepens over the sunless (or nearly so) lands north of the Arctic Circle.  In this case, an extremely frigid air mass with temperatures of 40-60 below is parked over northeastern Siberia as of December 3.

Some of the atmospheric circulation models press this big blob of cold across the polar ice cap and down into North America. The time frame for this cold to possibly affect Texoma would be sometime next week, so we’re certainly too far out to be confident of this occurrence.

Nevertheless, the Russian Bear is showing signs of making a winter run our way…and it’ll be interesting to see what happens with this one for the period December 10-13.
Since there’s a chance this may come to pass, I thought it worthy of at least a blog!

UPDATE: Since there's been a bit of confusion regarding this blog, I've posted a map to help simplify the concept. Basically, this is a situation where very cold air develops during the long Arctic nights and then surges southward, driven by upper level winds. Sometimes, when this air comes from Siberia, it can be especially cold!

Take Care,
Steve LaNore
Chief Meteorologist

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Charlotte on Dec 9, 2008 at 04:35 PM
    I love reading these informative blogs! Thanks for taking the time to post them. I have a question unrelated to the Russian Bear. Is there a possibility of having the First Alert weather available to Mac users?
  • by Rachel Location: Durant on Dec 8, 2008 at 06:49 AM
    I really enjoy blogs with a little more detail even if it is a long shot. Thanks for the map! Clears things up for me.
  • by Jimmy Location: Bonham on Dec 5, 2008 at 01:04 PM
    Thanks Steve! I think you did open a can of worms! If anyone around here even gets the hint of a possiblilty that type of weather might happen, people freak! I did know of the 3 major ones you mentioned, but that was all I knew. Thanks again Steve and keep posting those blogs!
  • by Jimmy Location: Bonham on Dec 5, 2008 at 07:08 AM
    C'mon Steve! You mean you can't narrow it down by the minute a week in advance!! I am depressed! JK! :) The Russian Bear or Siberian Express has definitely happened in the past and will happen again. This time? Doubt it. Steve, exactly how many forecast models are there? Just curious. Seems to me that unless the jet stream buckles in an omega pattern and moves further west, we won't see this. The trend so far and the last few years has pushed most of the coldest air to the East. What % of the models are forecasting a major change in the upper level jet? Again just curious. Personally, I would love to see high temps around 15-20 with some snow and ice, but we do live in North Texas and that type of weather doesn't happen to often. In other words, I won't get my hopes up!
  • by Steve LaNore Location: KXII-TV on Dec 4, 2008 at 08:25 PM
    Everybody’s excited about snow, and I don’t blame you, but this blog was about COLD only. I have no confidence in forecasting snow a week away! The latest computer models continue to be all over the road regarding whether the “Russian Bear” of cold will show up or not. The possibility remains significant and that's why I opened what mturn out to be a can of worms! I’ll update this blog as the situation becomes clearer one way or the other. Stay tuned... Take Care, Steve
  • by chad Location: Ardmore on Dec 4, 2008 at 01:25 PM
    hello steve. does this means that it could bring alot of cold and snow or ice.
  • by beth Location: denison on Dec 4, 2008 at 10:44 AM
    steve..does this mean temps in the 20's or something? will this be a dry cold run? thanks for the very interesting are the best!!
  • by Mom of 2 Location: Sherman on Dec 4, 2008 at 07:04 AM
    Yes i agree please let us know what that means cause you lost me at Artic Circle...
  • by amanda Location: trenton on Dec 3, 2008 at 08:32 PM
    so what exactly does this (possibly) mean for us??
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