The United States needs to get ready for an Arctic blast next week that will likely be comparable to last winter’s bitter cold. The main culprit behind the Arctic blast coming next week is completely different than what brought the central and eastern United States cold last year. A very strong 1060 millibar bar high pressure system is going to be moving south from Canada by mid-week, bringing brutally cold air with it. In fact, records could be broken across many regions, particularly across the upper Midwest and eventually into areas south of that.
The first round of cold will be pushing into the central United States and across northern portions of the United States beginning tomorrow and going into early next week. The main round of Arctic cold will be pushing across the central and eastern United States around mid-week and will eventually make its way south and east, impacting the East Coast and Deep South.
We do have some ridging that will be building over the West Coast and up over Alaska next week, while an amplified trough digs south over the eastern United States. Combining that with this strong Arctic high pressure system will be all that is needed to make this a pretty dangerous cold spell.
What To Expect For Your Region:
Early next week, an Alberta clipper will be pushing across the Upper Midwest and eventually across the Northeast states and could dump accumulating snowfall before the main Arctic blast makes its way across the area. Temperatures will dip well-below zero across the Northern Plains, the Upper Midwest, parts of the Northeast, and even into a few areas south of that. The central and southern Plains will remain very cold throughout most of the week.
By mid-week, the Tennessee Valley should also expect to have temperatures well into the single digits at night, and the temperatures will likely dip into the single digits and teens across much of the Southeast. Even along the Gulf Coast, 20s should be expect across a widespread area with some of those coastal regions possibly getting down into the teens also.
If you’re located anywhere on the East Coast, you will be impacted by this Arctic blast. The further north you are, the greater the impact will be. Make sure you take care of and warn your elderly friends and family.
What To Expect After That:
Model guidance continues to suggest that this will not be the last Arctic high to move across the United States after next week, but they may not be quite as strong. The mid and upper-levels haven’t been as favorable for prolonged cold over the eastern United States so far this winter, but these Arctic high pressures are doing the trick for now.
I expect a favorable cold pattern to set up over the United States later in January going into February. Middle January may warm up some across a large portion of the United States, but then again, those high pressure systems diving south from Canada could keep things colder even during that timeframe.
I think the best chance at getting a Southeastern U.S. or East Coast winter storm will be later in the month when the mid and upper-level pattern could become a bit more favorable. Like I mentioned on the site the other day, the strong polar vortex over the North Pole could really weaken this month and displace some of that Arctic cold further south. It just depends if and where any blocking sets up.
It’s important to note that sometimes you can get a surprise winter storm across parts of the southeastern U.S. when high pressure systems wrap around cold air into the region. With all of these surface highs diving south, that can’t be ruled out for later in the month if a piece of energy is able to squeeze in under the ridge. Regardless of how all of this plays out, I’ll keep everyone updated. Be sure to like Firsthand Weather on Facebook.
Matthew Holliday is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, where he completed a B.S. in Meteorology and a B.S. in Geographic Information Science. He is currently pursing his master's degree in meteorology and climatology at Mississippi State University. Matthew founded Firsthand Weather in 2010 as a senior in high school and maintained the site through his undergraduate career. Research that was conducted by Matthew while at OU involved determining the synoptic environment in which various types of wave clouds (including vertically propagating waves and trapped waves) develop in Boulder, Colorado and Norman, OK. Matthew also did research on spatial changes in tornado activity across the United States . The goal of this study was to determine if spatial changes in tornado activity had occurred and if those changes could be linked to changes in average surface dew point temperature. Matthew has completed coursework in dynamics, thermodynamics, cloud physics, calculus and differential equations, statistics, remote sensing, GIS, synoptic meteorology, and mesoscale meteorology. His goal is to provide his audience with a deeper understanding of what drives our weather and climate, while making it easy and enjoyable to learn.