Thursday, January 16, 2014 10:30 PM

Brutal Cold Is On The Way For The United States!

Matthew Holliday

We are about to enter a very interesting period, and while I know that many of you like the cold, this next Arctic outbreak could be dangerous and even historic. I put out an article about a week ago and then one before that that basically restated that I thought that mid to late January going into February could end up being dangerously cold for the central and eastern U.S. While I have really been putting myself out on the line over these last few weeks, I am now getting a lot of forecast model support to back up what I saw coming several weeks ago. Like I said on the Facebook page, the GFS model did not handle the last Arctic outbreak that well in predicting this in the long-range, so I absolutely had no reason to believe that anything would be different this time. Yet again, many fell into the trap of using the GFS as their model of choice for their long-range forecast, and they got burned. See, weather and climate works in cycles, and you have to be able to see those cycles. If you miss that, then you’re left depending on a model that dictates your forecasts, and those forecasts can change A LOT! You’re at the mercy of the forecast models, and I try to never put myself in that situation.

Now that I’m getting the support of the forecast models and we’re much closer to the event, I want to show you what the models are predicting. In fact, if what the forecast models are predicting for the last week of January going into February comes to fruition, then we have a historic Arctic outbreak on our way that would give us brutal cold. The Canadian model also supports a big East Coast storm later in January, which I really think could happen. From the way things are starting to look, this cold pattern could lock in, which would continue into February, and we could also move into a very stormy pattern. Many of you have commented on the Facebook page (yes, I take the time to read almost all of your comments and messages) that you were disappointed that you didn’t get any snow with this last Arctic outbreak. I’m really thinking things will be different this time. No, I’m not saying that Miami, FL will get snow, but I do think many areas in the Southeast and up the East Coast will.

The pattern that is setting up is classic for extreme cold and storminess in the East and well-above average temperatures and dry conditions in the West. When you get this kind of ridging in the western U.S. and over Alaska and blocking over Greenland, the cold in the East is going to be brutal. A piece of the polar vortex is going to split and move south again (possibly further south than the last time) and be responsible for yet another brutal Arctic outbreak of cold air. I’m thinking that this cold air could end up even being more potent further south than the last time, so places even into Florida will end up with brutal cold. The biggest difference this time is that the cold will likely stay around for a long time, and ridging is going to prevent the polar vortex from re-establishing itself over the North Pole. In other words, this cold may not go anywhere for days, even weeks, and we could be setting up a pattern that has not been seen in decades.

Of course, there are some uncertainties, but I am highly confident that this cold blast is going to occur. I think the worst of the cold could be focused east of the Mississippi, but that will not be the only areas that are cold. I’m also watching what is currently occurring over the Bering Sea, and there are strong indications that this cold won’t go anywhere in February. While there will be some fluctuations, I really don’t see the eastern U.S. fluctuating back into a warmer pattern. You’re going to have your cold spells, and then you’re going to have your REALLY cold spells! Again, the East Coast needs to keep their eye on the potential for a big winter storm later in the month, and I will detail that more in another article.

Since the GFS has its act together for now as far as predicting the cold, I want to show you it’s ensemble. Most of its members have really cold air establishing itself over the eastern U.S., which is remarkable that we’re getting that kind of agreement. If it were just the operational model showing this, then I wouldn’t even bother showing it. The European and Canadian models are also in agreement with predicting very cold temperatures later in the month.

On January 22th, the GFS ensemble really establishes the cold over the eastern third of the nation.

Jan 22

Fast-forward to January 25th, and you still have really cold air over the eastern U.S.

jan 25

Then we move into January 28th, and things just look brutal!

Jan 28

Now, take a look at the European ensemble average temperature anomaly for January 26th through January 30th. This shows extreme cold! These are the expected temperature departures from average, and given that we’re in the heart of winter, this kind of cold would be very dangerous!!


Of course, I’ll continue to keep you updated! If I don’t have time to post on the site in the next couple of days, I’ll definitely be posting on the Facebook page. Please give it a like if you haven’t already.