U.S. Issues El Nino Watch Saying Ocean Warming May Occur
An El Nino watch has been issued by the U.S. Climate Prediction Center, warning of the possible development of the weather-altering event that can bring rain to California and South America and raise winter temperatures in the U.S. Northeast and Midwest.
There’s a 52 percent chance that the Pacific Ocean will warm enough to trigger an El Nino late this summer or in early fall, said Michelle L’Heureux, a climate scientist at the Climate Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.
“We have increased our probabilities, not a whole lot, but just enough that we feel we need to start drawing attention to the situation,” L’Heureux said in an interview. “There are still dominoes that have to fall here. This is not a guarantee, but certainly we’re issuing this watch so folks have a heads-up.”
Rubber, sugar, coffee, and natural gas are among the commodities that can fluctuate because of an El Nino, which usually occurs every three to five years and can last months. The phenomenon often touches off warmer winters across the northern U.S., heavier rains from southern Brazil to Argentina and drier conditions across southeast Asia and Indonesia. It also can lead to a calmer Atlantic hurricane season and a stormier winter in the U.S. South.
An El Nino in 1982-83 caused $8.1 billion in damage worldwide and prompted efforts to better monitor the ocean warming, according to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration.
“On the precipitation side of it, you can have a more active winter storm track coming into California, and if you get a strong mode then you get a real good storm track coming across the southern U.S., too,” said Joel Widenor, a meteorologist at Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland.
California is currently in the grips of a drought that has left reservoirs dry.
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology noted the warming trend in the Pacific last month. An El Nino means less rain across eastern Australia through June to November, the bureau said.
The last El Nino occurred in 2009 to 2010, and since then the other two phases of the cycle, a cooling called La Nina and a period of neutral conditions, have held sway, the climate center said.
The decision to issue the watch came because the waters under the Pacific’s surface have grown warmer in the last several weeks. Winds pile up warm water in the western Pacific and then it sloshes back beneath the surface toward the east and the coast of South America. This is called a Kelvin Wave, L’Heureux said.
“Kelvin Waves are a necessary condition for El Nino but they’re not necessarily sufficient, meaning we have still yet to see what sort of impact this will have,” she said.
There is more to an El Nino than just water temperature, she said. The ocean warming has to be tied to changes in the atmosphere, which set off the global shifts in weather patterns. The entire process is referred to as the El Nino Southern Oscillation, or ENSO.
Many of the impacts of an El Nino depend on its strength, and L’Heureux said predictions of intensity are harder to make. It may be June or July before researchers get an idea.
There is also a possibility the pattern won’t develop at all, she said. In 2012, the Pacific began to warm, while the atmosphere above the ocean failed to respond. The El Nino didn’t occur.
Predictions can go awry because of the “spring barrier,” the time between March and May when computer models often have trouble making sense of what is happening in the Pacific, L’Heureux said.
During the last El Nino, 12.6 inches (32 centimeters) of snow fell on Dallas in February 2010 and 32.1 inches at Washington’s Reagan National Airport, according to National Weather Servicerecords. Temperatures were 1.7 degrees higher than normal in Boston and 6 degrees higher in Portland, Maine, that month.
El Nino can also increase wind shear across the tropical Atlantic during the June to November hurricane season, reducing the chances of a devastating storm. The Gulf of Mexico is home to about 6 percent of U.S. natural gas output, 23 percent of oil production and more than 40 percent of petroleum refining capacity. The 2009 season was the quietest in a decade.
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Winter Storm Titan will affect areas from coast to coast.
First in a series of two rain and snow makers has hit California and precipitation is moving eastward Thursday. Snow levels will be mainly around 7,000 ft. with this system producing a foot of snow or more along the crest of the Sierra. This system also brings much needed precipitation to the Great Basin region with snow across the mountains.
Friday into Weekend:
The second system forecast to move onto the California coast in the Friday through Saturday timeframe is expected to produce a round of heavier precipitation which could result in 2 to 3 feet (locally greater) of additional snow for the Sierra. Snow levels will be down below 5,000 ft. and that could actually produce some snow in the San Gabriels and San Bernardinos near L.A.
Winter Storm Titan:
The two western systems will cut across the southern Rockies and redevelop over the southern and central Plains Friday through Sunday. The first system (unnamed) brings a variety of snow and ice to the central Plains Friday into Friday night. The second system (Titan) tracks a bit farther south, tapping more Gulf moisture, and as a result brings a heavier round of ice and snow from the central Plains through the Midwest Saturday night into Sunday, then parts of the Mid-Atlantic to Northeast Monday. A bit early to highlight the details of the exact amounts and locations of the snow and ice. However, there is growing confidence that the second system will produce a significant ice event for parts of the central Plains to lower Midwest and Mid-Atlantic/Northeast.
Exceptionally cold air locked up in the Canadian Rockies will slide south into the Pacific Northwest this weekend as well and that could set up the potential for snow and ice from Seattle to Portland in the latter part of the weekend. Subtle differences in how the cold air works its way southward will mean significant differences in the type of precipitation that falls. We need to monitor this closely, a snow or more importantly ice event for either of these huge metro areas will have significant impacts on the population.
U.S. Monthly Drought Outlook
Latest Monthly Assessment - Moderate drought expanded north along the West Coast during January, while drought intensified across California. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) valid January 28, 2014, 8.77% of California is designated as exceptional drought (D4) for the first time in the nearly 15-year history of the USDM. Drought also expanded to include nearly all of New Mexico and much of the western Gulf Coast. Drought coverage and intensity was steady for the Midwest which is typical for winter. The Northeast became drought-free during January with abnormal dryness continuing for parts of the Florida peninsula.
The February drought outlook is based on initial conditions, the WPC 7-day precipitation forecast, the CPC 6-10/8-14 day precipitation outlooks, and the CPC monthly precipitation outlook. Large precipitation deficits and very low snow-water equivalent values favor drought persistence across the West through the end of February. Although a wetter pattern is expected across the Pacific Northwest during the first two weeks of February, the upcoming precipitation is not expected to offset the unseasonably dry winter through January. Forecast confidence is relatively high for intensification of drought across central and southern California due to the CPC monthly precipitation outlook favoring below-median precipitation for this region. Development of drought across the remainder of the Southwest is based on a lack of adequate snow this winter and enhanced odds for below-median precipitation forecast by the CPC monthly outlook.
Precipitation early in the month is expected to preclude additional drought development across the central/southern Great Plains and western Gulf Coast. However, a lack of a wet signal beyond the first week of February results in persistence for these areas through the end of February.
A relatively dry climatology favors persistence for most of the ongoing drought areas of Iowa, Minnesota, northern Missouri, and Wisconsin. Prospects for improvement or removal increase across east-central Missouri and Illinois due to heavier precipitation amounts anticipated early in February.
The eastern third of the U.S. is forecast to remain drought-free through the end of February. Parts of the Florida peninsula are most vulnerable to drought development, but recent rainfall is expected to slow the onset of drought.
Removal or improvement of drought is expected across Hawaii due to climatology and a wet start to February.
Forecaster: B. Pugh
Winter Storm Pax to bury the Northeast
- Winter Storm Pax intensifies as it lifts northeastward along the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast coasts Thursday and Friday.
- The intensification produces a band of heavy snow from western Virginia through central and northern New England today.
- Heavy snow mixes with and changes to ice then rain as warmer air is hurled inland above the ground by the deepening monster offshore in central Virginia, central Maryland, eastern Pennsylvania, northern New Jersey, southeast New York and southern New England.
- Rain is also expected along the coast from Virginia to Long Island.
- Thursday night as a deepening Pax moves toward the New England coast the wintry mix from central and eastern Virginia to southeast New York changes back to snow.
- Heavy snow continues from central and western Virginia to northern New England Thursday night.
- Pax finally winds down Friday with the heavy snow in northern New York and New England ending from southwest to northeast.
- Accumulations of 12 to 18 inches are likely from western Virginia to Maine and not too far to the west of Washington, DC, Philadelphia, New York City and Boston.
- Some areas could approach 20 inches or more in that zone.
- Snowfall of 8 to 12 inches is forecast from Washington, DC to near Boston, but a slight shift in the track of the low could mean higher totals.
- Winter Storm Pax finally winds down in the Carolinas today.
- Snow, ice and rain should end from south to north.
- Any morning flurries or light snow in northern Georgia, northeast Alabama and eastern Tennessee should end in the morning.
- The remainder of the region will be dry.
- High temperatures hold in the 30s and 40s in eastern Tennessee, northern and central Georgia and the Carolinas allowing for some, but not total melt off of Pax’s ice and snow.
- High temperatures in the 50s occur from Oklahoma southeast to northern and central Florida.
- Warmer 60s and 70s occur in Texas and southern Florida.
- Two clipper impact the region over the next two days.
- The first clipper brings light snow with accumulations of 1 to 4 inches to northern Minnesota, central and northern Wisconsin and northern Michigan.
- Light snow or flurries with no significant accumulations are possible in southern Wisconsin, northern Illinois, northern Indiana and southern Michigan.
- The second clipper drops into the Dakotas very late Thursday afternoon and sinks into the middle Mississippi and lower Ohio Valleys Thursday night.
- Friday it turns east moving through the remainder of the Ohio Valley and Kentucky.
- Snow accumulations of 1 to 3 inches are possible along the patch of the second clipper.
- It remains seasonably cold with highs in the 10s and 20s in North Dakota, Minnesota, northern Wisconsin and northern Michigan.
- Elsewhere highs should be in the milder 30s and 40s.
- Storminess continues in the Northwest and northern Rockies with more rain and snow Thursday.
- Snow is expected in the Cascade Mountains of western Washington and western Oregon and in the northern and central Rockies.
- Rain or rain showers are likely in western Washington, western Oregon, northern California, northern Nevada, southern Idaho and the valleys of northern Utah.
- The heaviest new snowfall should occur in the Washington Cascades with another 6 to 12 inches forecast Thursday.
- Another 1 to 5 inches are possible in the Oregon Cascades and the northern Rockies with 3 to 6 inches possible in the central Rockies.
- The remainder of the region will be dry.
- High temperatures should be mostly in the 40s and 50s in the Northwest and northern and central Rockies with 20s and 30s on the mountains.
- Across the Southwest highs should be in the 60s and 70s for most areas and lower to middle 80s in the deserts.
Short Range Forecast Discussion
NWS Weather Prediction Center College Park MD
Heavy snow for the Oregon Cascades and the California Sierras.
Temperatures will be 20 to 40 degrees below average from the foothills of the Rockies to the Mississippi Valley.
Energy moving onshore over the California Coast will race to the Southern Plains by Friday evening. Onshore flow associated with the system will aid in producing coastal rain and higher elevation snow over California and Oregon through to Friday, with moderate to heavy precipitation by Friday evening. Snow will also extend into parts of the Great Basin/Central Rockies along the associated stationary front. Snow will blossom over parts of the Southwest and Southern Rockies on Friday as well.
In addition, upper-level energy over Western Texas will advance quickly eastward to off the Mid-Atlantic Coast by Friday morning. The energy will produce snow over parts of Texas on Thursday morning. Upper-level jet dynamics along the Gulf Coast will aid in producing scattered rain over parts of the Central/Eastern Gulf Coast and the Southeast Thursday evening into Friday evening. Elsewhere, cold high pressure over the Northern High Plains/Central Plains will move eastward to the Ohio Valley by Friday evening.
Winter Storm Maximus to Bring Snow, Ice to Over a Dozen States, Including Drought-Plagued California
Winter Storm Maximus, the 13th named storm of the winter season in the U.S., will help to build snowpack in many drought-suffering locations of the West, and delight skiers and snowboarders in the Rockies.
If that’s not enough, Winter Storm Maximus will also produce a messy swath of snow, sleet and freezing through the Plains, Great Lakes, Ohio Valley and interior Northeast.
Here are the forecast details, starting with the West.
Snowpack Building = Reservoir Help
Winter Storm Maximus will produce the lion’s share of its snow in the Rockies through Friday.
Additional snow amounts over one foot are likely in the Colorado high country, as you can see at right in our forecast snowfall map.
Snowfall in excess of one foot is also expected in the snow-thirsty Sierra of California, which is welcomed news for concerns about California reservoir levels heavily dependent on spring snowmelt from the Sierra and other nearby ranges. As of January 29, snow water content in the Sierra was only 11-20 percent of average for this time of year.
Additional significant snow is expected in the Cascades, Bitterroots, Tetons and Wasatch ranges. This is also welcomed news, as snow water content was below average in the Cascades (24-70 percent of average) and Wasatch (60-75 percent of average).
This isn’t just a mountain event either. Significant snow accumulations over six inches are also expected along parts of the High Plains of Montana, southern Wyoming, northeast Colorado and the Panhandle of western Nebraska, including Denver and Cheyenne, Wyo, as well as the Salt Lake Valley.
Maximus isn’t just a western concern, however.
Snow Spreads East
Winter Storm Maximus will deliver multiple rounds of wintry precipitation in the Midwest through the weekend. The weekend round will involve parts of the interior Northeast, as well.
The first round of snow will sweep from the Upper Midwest into the Great Lakes through Thursday night.
This round will not be a widespread, heavy snow event, with general 1-4 inch snowfall totals expected from parts of Minnesota and Iowa into Wisconsin, northern Illinois and Michigan. A few locations may pick up just over six inches of snow, in the extreme.
However, this could cause travel headaches during morning rush Thursday in the Twin Cities and during afternoon/evening rush in Chicago and Milwaukee.
Friday into Saturday, another wave of snow, as well as a band of sleet and freezing rain, is expected to spread from the central Plains to the mid-Mississippi Valley, Ohio Valley, Great Lakes, western, central and Upstate New York, and parts of New England.
This doesn’t appear to be a crippling snowstorm (for example, over a foot of snow with blizzard conditions). However, this second wave of Maximus will produce a widespread swath of challenging winter driving conditions from Kansas and Missouri to Upstate New York and northern New England.
It’s not out of the question total snowfall accumulations from both phases of Maximus could top six inches in a broad swath from Nebraska and Kansas to Michigan by Saturday night.
In addition, a period of freezing rain and sleet is possible Friday into Saturday in the mid-Mississippi Valley and Ohio Valleys, as well as parts of the interior Northeast and river valleys of northern and western New England, where initial cold air may be trapped. You can see the ice
At this time, this does not appear to be a major ice storm with widespread tree damage or numerous, long-lasting power outages, as some locations may see precipitation types change over to rain, or back to snow during the event.
However, some pockets of the mid-Mississippi Valley may pick up enough ice to trigger some power outages, and lead to icing of roads. We’ll hone in on those details a bit more as we get closer to the event.
Western Rain: A Drop in the Bucket
Imagine cheering a Pacific storm in late January in California, even Oregon and Washington. Imagine actually rooting for a good soaking rain in, say, San Francisco, Sacramento, or Los Angeles.
Such is the state of affairs for the drought-suffering West.
Late Wednesday night, the Bay Area picked up its first legitimate rain (not counting fog or drizzle) since December 6. According to Weather Underground’s Christopher Burt (blog), this ends the longest spell without significant rain during the climatological winter season on record, there, since at least 1850.
The same could be also said for Sacramento, picking up rain after 52 straight dry days, a record long streak for their wet season.
This band of rain will slowly sink southward Thursday, but it will also weaken.
A round of showers may follow this band of rain after it fizzles later Thursday into Friday.
Unfortunately, none of this rain will amount to much in the scheme of drought-plagued reservoirs in many areas.
Generally less than one-half inch total rain is expected from the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys, and San Francisco/Oakland metro areas. In Southern California, generally a tenth or so of an inch is all that’s expected, with more wind than rain in many areas.
Parts of the Sierra foothills below snow level may see up to one inch of total rain.
To put this in perspective, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center estimates most of California, minus the Mojave Desert, needs over 15 inches of rain over any four-week period (not snow, mind you, but melted precipitation) to effectively zero-out the drought. This is more than a year’s worth of rain, on average, in Los Angeles.
Beyond this, the overall pattern does not look wet at all over the next 7 to 10 days, unfortunately.
Relentless Surges of Arctic Air Continue
The blasts of Arctic air have been relentless so far this month for many cities east of the Rockies. Unfortunately, there’s no end in sight as we close out January.
Below we step through the shivering temperatures to end this week and then take a glance at the bitter cold forecast next week, which may rival early January in some cities.
Cold temperatures have already invaded areas from the Upper Midwest all the way to the Northeast and into the Deep South as well. Wind chills Thursday morning were in the teens, 20s and 30s below zero in much of the Midwest.
Many locations will see single digits and teens for highs on Thursday in the Upper Midwest, Great Lakes and interior Northeast. A few spots in the upper Mississippi River Valley may see subzero high temperatures.
Subfreezing highs will reach as far south as Lubbock, Texas, and Memphis, Tenn.
Friday morning, expect bitter cold temperatures in the upper Mississippi Valley, Great Lakes, Upstate New York and Northern New England, with lows in the single digits and teens below zero. Wind chills will be in the 20s and 30s below zero around the Great Lakes late Thursday night into early Friday.
Temperatures will once again be in the single digits along the I-95 corridor of the Northeast Friday morning, including Philadelphia, New York City and Boston. Wind chills will likely be in the single digits below zero.
Warmer-than-average temperatures will briefly push into the Upper Midwest and Northern Plains Friday afternoon, while the Northeast and South stay well below average.
This weekend into next week, additional surges of Arctic air will arrive.
Arctic Surges Continue Into Next Week
Two surges of Arctic air will pour southward from Canada behind a couple of Alberta clippers that will bring snow to the northern tier this weekend.
Once again, the Midwest, Northeast and the South will experience frigid temperatures.
By Monday and Tuesday, many cities in these regions will see temperatures 15 to 30 degrees below average, right during the climatologically coldest time of year.
Subzero high temperatures are expected in the Upper Midwest and western Great Lakes.
Low temperatures will dive below zero as far south as the Ohio River by Tuesday morning.
Some cities, including Minneapolis and Chicago, will see temperatures dip to the levels they saw in early January on Tuesday morning.
Is it a Polar Vortex?
There’s been some more chatter about the “polar vortex”, which became a popular catchphrase to describe the blast of bitter cold air at the start of the month. However, just like in early January, this term is being used misleadingly from a meteorological perspective since the actual center of the Northern Hemisphere polar vortex never really moves through the atmosphere above the United States – rather, it remains anchored farther to the north.
With that said, the counterclockwise flow around the polar vortex will help to shove cold air southward from the Arctic into the Lower 48 just like we see in many other winters. Think of it as a spoke of the polar vortex rotating through, ushering in the chilly temperatures.
There is nothing unusual about this since the polar vortex is always present and there are always spokes and always surges of cold air during the winter in our hemisphere. In any given place or time, the surge of cold air can be more or less intense and travel a longer or shorter distance from the pole.
Alberta Clippers Bringing Cold Air, Snow, Wind to the Midwest and East
Fast-moving Alberta clippers will continue to bring snow, gusty winds and cold air to parts of the Midwest, Great Lakes and the East into the weekend.
On Tuesday, the first in this parade of clipper systems brought significant accumulating snow to parts of the Upper Midwest. We saw a few amounts in excess of 10 inches in central Wisconsin, with 11 inches reported at Oconto, Wis. Lighter amounts fell over parts of the Dakotas and Minnesota.
Into this weekend, we are tracking a few more of these Alberta clippers, including one that is producing blizzard conditions.
Clipper Number 2: Thursday Through Friday
A strong Alberta clipper will zip into the Great Lakes on Thursday. It’s already a powerful low with a great deal of wind energy, so even though the low itself will weaken as it pushes southeast toward Lake Michigan by Thursday evening, it will still pack a blustery punch.
Light snow will target areas from the Dakotas to the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley. Overall, accumulations will be no more than a dusting to a few inches in most spots.
While the snowfall is expected to be trifling by Midwest standards, the winds will be anything but gentle. In fact, sustained winds will easily exceed 35 mph, taking the light amounts of new snow, along with snow on the ground from the previous clipper, and whipping it into a blizzard over the eastern Dakotas and western Minnesota. Remember, a blizzard is defined by wind speeds and visibility criteria, and not the amount of snow that falls.
As a result, blizzard warnings have been posted by the National Weather Service for those areas.
For now, the worst driving conditions are expected to stay west (and perhaps also south) of Minneapolis-St. Paul.
The fierce winds with this clipper will not only cause blowing snow, but they will also send temperatures plummeting Thursday, causing wind chills to drop well below zero in the Dakotas and western Minnesota.
High winds will extend well outside the area of snow with this clipper, prompting high wind warnings for the rest of the Dakotas as well as most of Nebraska, northern Kansas and western and central Iowa. In these areas, sustained winds of 30 to 40 mph with gusts to 50 to 60 mph will make driving difficult, especially for high-profile vehicles.
With fallow farm fields and a lack of snow cover from southern South Dakota into Nebraska and western Iowa, blowing dust may occur at times. Broken tree limbs and power outages could also occur in towns and cities.
Like the first clipper, this low-pressure center will turn northeast into eastern Canada by Friday, weakening considerably. Still, light snow showers are possible from the Great Lakes to the southern Appalachians on Friday. Cold air in the wake of this clipper may allow lake-effect snow showers to linger over portions of northern and western Michigan and northern Indiana on Friday as well.
A weak area of low pressure may develop near the Northeast coast as the upper energy from this clipper swings eastward. This could result in some light snow in parts of New England Saturday.
This weekend, two more systems resembling Alberta clippers are poised to bring more light snow.
The first clipper will streak quickly from Minnesota to the Great Lakes, Ohio Valley and central Appalachians Saturday into Saturday night. This could result in a quick burst of accumulating snow in Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago and Columbus, Ohio. Accumulations will be light in most areas.
Following quickly behind Saturday’s clipper is yet another one that will affect the northern Great Lakes, Upstate New York and Northern New England with snow on Sunday.
Next week, indications point to the possibility of additional clipper-type systems swinging across the north-central and northeastern U.S.
January Thaw Follows Arctic Cold Deep Freeze
The first full week of 2014 kicked off with a bitter cold plunge of Arctic air surging deep into the U.S.
But temperatures are already on the rebound, welcomed news to millions who have been shivering at the thought of prolonged Arctic cold.
It begins with a change in the upper-atmospheric pattern.
The sharp southward plunge of the jet stream from northern Canada deep into the U.S. responsible for this past week’s bitter cold outbreak will be replaced by a jet stream flow originating from the Pacific Ocean. Without blocking high pressure aloft near Greenland, this bitter cold air, while potent, isn’t able to hold in the U.S.
Temporarily, the persistent northward bulge of the jet stream near the West Coast that not only contributed to the Arctic plunge, but has also magnified a worrisome Western drought, will also flatten, or flow more west to east.
This means less cold air will be in place across the northern tier of states and southern Canada, and more mild air will flow northward from the southern U.S. into parts of the recently shivering Plains, Ohio Valley and Northeast by this weekend.
Let’s hit the daily details.
Warming will occur in baby steps Thursday.
Parts of the Northeast urban corridor and Ohio Valley will finally warm above freezing for the first time since the beginning of the week.
Most of the Midwest will continue to warm as well. Minnesota, the Dakotas and Wisconsin — which took the brunt of this Arctic outbreak — will see some decent warming. Temperatures in this region will creep back into the teens and 20s Thursday, closer to early January averages for that area.
More pronounced easing of the cold will occur Friday, with above-freezing temperatures into parts of the Great Lakes and Northern Plains. Parts of southern New England and most of the Ohio Valley will see 40s; the South will see 50s and 60s; while 70s become more widespread in Florida and South Texas. Friday’s highs may approach daily records in Miami and Ft. Myers, Fla.
By this weekend, daytime highs will be above mid-January averages virtually from coast to coast.
The warmest temperatures, relative to average, Saturday will be in the East.
Fifties may surge as far north as the Lower Hudson Valley and southern New England, while 40s should warm the hearts of Mainers. Sixties may surge as far north as the nation’s Capital, and 70s are not out of the question as far north as parts of North Carolina and southern Virginia. A few daily record highs may be threatened Saturday from Florida to the Mid-Atlantic coast.
All of this will be ahead of an advancing cold front. Rain will accompany this warmth in the East on Saturday, with possibly some early pockets of freezing rain in parts of northern New England. A few strong thunderstorms are also possible from the Carolinas to Florida on Saturday as well.
Don’t be disappointed by the phrase “cold front.” High temperatures behind the cold front won’t be all that cold, relative to what we’ve seen lately and especially relative to what’s typical for mid-January.
Midwest highs in the 20s, 30s and 40s Saturday will recover Sunday into the 30s, 40s and a few 50s. The central and southern Plains will enjoy 50s, 60s and even a few 70s.
East Coast highs in the 40s or low 50s may occur early Sunday, with temperatures falling behind the cold front. Still, this will be a far cry from the discomfort of subzero, single digits and teens from earlier this week.
Bitter Cold Start to 2014 in the Midwest, Northeast
For many cities east of the Rockies, the first week or so of 2014 will feature additional shots of bitter cold Arctic air diving south from Canada.
The chill will continue what has been a miserable winter so far for many in the north-central states. International Falls, Minn. – already known as the “Icebox of the Nation” – reached the 30s below zero eight different days in December, setting a new December record. It was their second coldest December on record. On Thursday morning, the city set a daily record low temperature of 42 degrees below zero.
The core of the cold air mass will focus on parts of the Midwest and Northeast as we close out the week.
Friday morning, lows will be in the single digits and teens below zero in parts of the Upper Midwest and northern New England. Lows in the single digits and teens above zero will be common in the Mid-Mississippi Valley, Ohio Valley and the I-95 corridor of the Northeast.
Areas from Boston to New York and even Philadelphia will probably see highs in the teens on Friday, while single-digit highs will dominate areas just to the north and west. Subzero highs will grip much of northern New England and the Adirondacks.
Friday night into Saturday morning, lows will plunge into the single digits in the New York City area and will fall below zero around Boston. Farther north and inland, widespread lows of 10 to 30 below zero are expected.
Another shot of very cold air will arrive this weekend and expand into early next week.
This will once again send temperatures 25 to 40 degrees below average across a broad swath of the Midwest by the start of the next full workweek.
Places near the Canadian border in North Dakota and Minnesota may see a return to highs in the teens below zero, with a few places possibly failing to warm above -20 Sunday and Monday.
Minneapolis may see lows in the -20s on Monday morning. Chicago’s high temperature Monday may fail to warm above zero for the first time in almost five years.
The crunchy-cold conditions are likely to expand southeast into the Ohio Valley and Northeast by the middle of next week. Morning lows Tuesday may dip below zero at least as far south as the Ohio River, if not even farther south.
Lows in the single digits and teens above zero will invade parts of the South.