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Extreme cold after major snowstorm to send Midwest, East into deep freeze

By Nicole LoBiondo, Accuweather.com
Extreme cold after major snowstorm to send Midwest, East into deep freeze
Icicles form on Josephine Shaw Lowell Memorial Fountain in Bryant Park in New York City on Wednesday. New York temperatures rose above the freezingbut a another cold front is forecast. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

A brutally cold punch of Arctic air is expected to arrive in the United States next week, reinforcing winter across the Midwest and much of the East on the heels of this weekend's major snowstorm. AccuWeather forecasters saying this will make for the longest stretch of cold air so far this winter.

After a "Saskatchewan screamer" left over a foot of snow in Des Moines, Iowa, Friday into Saturday, this same storm is anticipated to barrel through the eastern U.S., spreading ice and heavy snow across interior portions of the region. But as that storm departs, two separate shots of cold air will continue the wintry freeze.

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First, a dip in the jet stream pattern will open the doors for cold, frigid air to billow into the Midwest, Southeast and Northeast into early next week. AccuWeather meteorologists are watching a more potent shot of Arctic air that will be allowed to move south from Canada into the north-central U.S. across the mid-Atlantic and Eastern Seaboard as early as the middle of this week and last into late January.

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The first shot of cold air will blast into the Tennessee and Mississippi valleys through the mid-Atlantic through Monday, where high temperatures will reach the middle 30s to lower 40s. Areas farther north and west in the Upper Midwest will not see high temperatures leave the upper 20s on Monday.

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By Tuesday, cold conditions will continue to grip the Northeast with high temperatures in the single digits in the Adirondacks and struggling to reach 30 degrees Fahrenheit across the remainder of the region. Temperatures will slightly rebound in the Midwest on Tuesday, where afternoon highs in cities like Minneapolis, Des Moines and St. Louis will range from the upper 30s to low 50s. This will be ahead of the second, more potent shot of Arctic air that will blast through the region on Wednesday after a quick-moving storm moves through the region.

There is a side effect of the cold weather pattern in this case. Disturbances remain active over the northern Pacific, and these will move inland over western Canada. These storms are referred to as Alberta clippers, as they sometimes originate from the Canadian province of Alberta and tend to move swiftly along in the southward dip of the jet stream around the Great Lakes and Northeast.

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AccuWeather meteorologists have had their eye on one particular clipper storm that will drop across the Midwest from Tuesday and move into the Northeast by Wednesday evening, producing a chance for accumulating snow in portions of Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and into the Northeast.

The clipper-type storm will move swiftly across the Canadian Prairies on Tuesday and into far northern Minnesota bringing 3 to 6 inches to some residents.The fast-moving storm will move across the upper Great Lakes and into northern portions of New England late Tuesday into Wednesday evening where the AccuWeather Local StormMax&trade of 15 inches could fall. Some lake-enhanced snow bands could set up downwind of Lakes Huron and Ontario that could significantly reduce visibility for those traveling. Behind this storm, a branch of the polar vortex will be able to move south.

Bitter cold and high pressure will bring high temperatures crashing in the north-central U.S. on Wednesday where cities like International Falls, Minnesota, will only reach a high of -4 degrees and Minneapolis reaching only 5 degrees.

Gusty conditions across portions of the Midwest will lead the outside air to feel even colder than the thermometer reading, as AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures will dip well below zero at times across northern Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota on northward to the Canadian Border. Wednesday afternoon, AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures are forecast to plummet to a teeth-chattering -15 degrees in Minneapolis and -32 degrees in Fargo, North Dakota.

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Those on the road should prepare their vehicles with an emergency cold weather kit in case of breakdowns on the road. Homeowners are recommended to take extra care to avoid pipes bursting as temperatures drop and heating demands rise.

"Wednesday's cold surge is thanks to a branch on the polar vortex that has traveled south into the U.S., and that is why the midweek cold can surpass the cool snap early next week," explained AccuWeather meteorologist Joesph Bauer.

A southward displacement of the polar vortex for January was predicted many weeks in advance by AccuWeather Long Range meteorologists and will continue to bring waves of cold air to the Midwest and the Northeast over the next week or two.

Low temperatures are expected to reach the -20s in the Upper Midwest on Thursday morning and northern New England by Friday as the polar vortex moves east.

"These frigid conditions will spread eastward through the second half of the week with places like Boston, New York City and Philadelphia seeing the coldest day on Friday," AccuWeather Senior meteorologist Adam Douty said.

High temperatures will struggle to reach 30 degrees in cities like New York City, Philadelphia and Boston on Friday while cities farther south along the I-95 corridor, such as Washington, D.C., Richmond, Va. and Raleigh, N.C., will remain frigid with highs in the low 30s.

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Overall, temperatures are expected to be well below normal for the middle and into late January from the north-central across the Great Lakes into the Northeast and into the Southeast next week, some 10-25 degrees below average.

Frigid conditions are expected to persist into next week as another, reinforcing shot of cold air will keep temperatures below normal as January starts to come to a close.

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