Frigid Temperatures on Tap for Much of the Midwest and Northeast

Posted: January 16, 2022 3:27 pm

Alberta Clipper Likely to Bring Snow to Northern Tier of U.S.

On the heels of the monster winter storm that has been battering the East Coast, a blast of Arctic air is going to push into the U.S. over the next few days. The arrival of this air mass will reinforce what has been the longest stretch of winter conditions this year in the Midwest and Northeast.

Cold to Come in Two Waves

The cold will come in two separate waves, making it difficult for the wintry precipitation to begin the melting process. After this weekend’s Saskatchewan screamer deposited significant amounts of snow throughout much of the Midwest and beyond, the cold air will keep the white stuff around for some time.

The first punch of cold air will come as the jet stream drops to the south, paving the way for the frigid air to drop down into the Midwest, Southeast, and Northeast early in the week. A second punch of bitterly cold air will come down from Canada, first hitting the north-central U.S. before tracking not the mid-Atlantic states and throughout the East Coast a day or two later. This second air mass could hang around for up to two weeks.

First Cold Air Mass to Arrive Monday

The first of the bitterly cold air will move into the Tennessee and Mississippi valleys before heading into the mid-Atlantic on Monday. The high temperatures to start the work week will hover in the middle 30s to the low 40s in this area. The Upper Midwest will struggle to get out of the 20s on Monday.

These cold conditions will reach the Northeast by Tuesday with the Adirondacks registering single digits for daily highs. The rest of the region will hang out in the upper 20s to low 30s.

A slight warm-up will distinguish Tuesday’s weather with highs ranging from the upper 30s to the lower 50s in cities such as Minneapolis, Milwaukee, and St. Louis. This will likely be the best day of the week to get outside. The second blast of Arctic air will take hold later in the week, dropping the mercury readings even further.

Second Wave of Cold Air Even Stronger


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The second wave of Arctic air will bring even colder temperatures starting on Wednesday. The north-central U.S. will see the first of these bitterly cold readings with areas such as the Twin Cities forecast to come in at 5 degrees for Wednesday’s high temperature.

The frosty temperatures will come at the hands of a part of the polar vortex that is predicted to dip into the U.S. The Arctic intrusion will drop temperatures to the greatest degree beginning late Tuesday and into Wednesday for nearly the entire mid-section of the nation. Some areas will see a 24-hour temperature change of 20 to 30 degrees, including areas as far south as northern Texas. This cold air will feel the worst on Wednesday and Thursday for much of the central U.S.

As the polar vortex expands to the east by Thursday, the cold air will begin to make its presence known in New England by Friday. New York City, Philadelphia, and Boston are predicted to experience the coldest temperatures of the week on Friday. Forecast highs for Friday in these cities will land in the upper 20s to low 30s. Areas a little farther south, including the nation’s capital, will not move out of the 30s.

Overnight lows in the Upper Midwest may drop as low as -20 degrees on Thursday morning.

Potential of Clipper for Extreme North-Central U.S.

In addition to the one-two punch of cold air, there is also the likelihood of an Alberta clipper. A series of disturbances churning over the northern Pacific Ocean are predicted to trek inland through western Canada before developing into an Alberta clipper. These clippers have a pattern of dropping to the south along with the jet stream movement, bringing winter precipitation to the Great Lakes and the Northeast.

The next clipper storm is forecast to move across the Midwest beginning on Tuesday before it heads to the Northeast some time late Wednesday. Along with it, the clipper will bring the chance of measurable snowfall for some parts of Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin on its way to the Northeast.

There will also be the possibility of lake-effect snow downwind of Lakes Huron and Ontario. These snow bands will deliver the likelihood of poor visibility on roads.

Complicating the cold air will be the prevalence of gusty winds beginning Wednesday morning in parts of the Midwest. The real feel temperature is predicted to plummet well below zero degrees in parts of the Dakotas, northern Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota. For example, the wind chill temperature in Fargo, North Dakota is forecast to be as low as -32 degrees.

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