January Could Bring The Coldest Temperatures In Decades

I have been analyzing forecast model data over the last few days, and I continue to be absolutely blown away by the kind of Arctic outbreak that we’re going to likely be dealing with in January. I try to always be extremely careful in how I word these articles as they always seem to have their way of getting around the internet, so trust me when I say that I carefully consider what I say before I put it out on this site. With that said, I am becoming increasingly convinced that the eastern half of the United States could experience a record-setting Arctic outbreak beginning next week. Allow me to break everything down for you. . .

The expected pattern change is textbook for an expansive area of cold, Arctic air to dive into the United States and push south as time progresses. The pattern is also going to be favorable for several winter events to occur over a relatively short period of time, which is why you’re likely hearing a lot of talk right now about a big winter storm expected in the Northeast by the end of the week. Somebody is going to get A LOT of snow from that, but I’ll get more into that later in the article. If that’s not enough, we could be dealing with another big winter storm by this weekend leading into next week, which could actually dump snow from the Deep South into the Tennessee Valley on up to the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states. I talked about all of that last night.

With the negative AO/NAO and positive PNA combination, this is classic for cold and storminess in the eastern U.S. Now this is where it gets crazy and exciting for those of you that love snow like I do. With the kind of deep cold that is going to lock in for a while and the above average sea surface temperatures off the eastern seaboard, any system that rides up the eastern coast will likely pull in a lot of moisture and deepen. Warm, moist air being pulled north plus deep layer cold air being in place is going to result in high amounts of snow. You remember this past Atlantic hurricane season that basically didn’t happen because of African dust that hindered anything much from developing? Because we didn’t get any impressive tropical systems up near the United States that could upwell those colder waters to the surface, we now have much warmer sea surface temperatures. Isn’t it amazing how everything is somehow connected?

Now tomorrow, I’m going to get into more specifics on the Thursday/Friday system that goings to likely bomb off the eastern seaboard and dump copious amounts of snow somewhere likely in the Northeast! Model guidance is supporting this happening, but this system is very complex, which is why I want another day or so to watch this before I get too detailed with my forecast. Snow ratios are going to be high so whoever gets the snow is likely going to get a lot of it as I mentioned earlier. Here are the snowfall totals by Friday night according to the latest European model.

European Model Snowfall Totals By Friday Night
European Model Snowfall Totals By Friday Night

After this storm moves through, we have Arctic air that blasts into the eastern U.S this weekend., particularly spilling into the Northeast. Now, the forecast models differ quite a bit on how cold it will get, but the European model goes extreme with the cold. I know that the European tends to have a cold bias, but with the snow cover that will be over the Northeast, I’m leaning more towards the European model, although maybe not THAT cold. Maybe add about 5 to 7 degrees to those numbers for Saturday morning, and it may be about right. Still you have temperatures near or below zero for a large area. By the way. this isn’t the record cold that I was talking about after we get through the weekend. Here are the expected minimum temperatures according to the European model by Saturday morning.

European Model Forecasted Temperatures For Saturday Morning
European Model Forecasted Temperatures For Saturday Morning

We get another system, potentially bigger than the Thursday/Friday system, that will probably dump snow much further south than the first system. That’s the system that I was talking about dumping snow in the Deep South and areas northward. Snow ratios will be high if this occurs and could give many areas a lot of snow that typically don’t get that much.

We’re going to get the main plunge of cold air next week, and it could be record-breaking. Assuming that the European model is overdoing the cold temperatures, it would still break records even if temperatures were warmer than being predicted by this model. These are temperatures for Tuesday morning predicted by the European model. How do you like 0 degrees all the way down to Atlanta?

European Model Forecasted Temperatures For Tuesday Morning
European Model Forecasted Temperatures For Tuesday Morning

I hope that this article gives you a heads up as to what could definitely take place. Many meteorologists/forecasters right now are being quite conservative with their forecasts, which is probably for good reason. But if you’ve been following my forecasts for any time, you know that I pretty much tell you how I see it. Give it a couple of days, and your local meteorologists will probably start talking about this a lot more. Of course, keep coming back to Firsthand Weather because I’ll be updating the site a lot over the upcoming days, and if you don’t already, be sure to follow our updates on Facebook. That’s all I have for tonight. Have a great night!

  • sharon adkins


  • joseph blanchard

    let just say when the snow falls it doesn’t go any where …it stays….i havent seen that in 30 years and when i did it was on a mountain top

  • Kelly

    Thanks for always providing us with an extensive weather profile. I’ve learned to go here before watching our local news. I’m also excited because we have a huge weather unit coming up in our 4th grade curriculum. You can bet I will be sharing your site with all the teachers and especially with my students. Hopefully one or two of my students will get the “weatherman bug” and eventually follow in your footsteps!
    Thanks again!
    Kelly Childers

    • Matthew Holliday

      Thanks for your kind words, Kelly! Maybe a few of your students will eventually go on to become meteorologists later on in life. It’s an exciting field to be in!

  • Abby


  • Mitcheal Vanhoose

    I enjoy and I am quite thankfull for all you do by the way I am proud of you for doing your job so well despite all the trouble you have had