Monday, January 5, 2015

Deep Cold Now Entrenched In Much Of U.S. Will Get Worse

A jogger in subzero cold in Duluth, Minn Sunday
as Lake Superior piles ice up on the shore
in the brutal chill. Photo by Clint Austin
of the Duluth News Tribune.  
Yep, it's cold and windy in a large swath of the nation as what will be one of the worst, if not the worst cold wave of this winter becomes firmly entrenched.

Even in some parts of the country that are being spared the worst of the cold, there's areas of real trouble with the weather, such as flooding and dangerously strong winds.

More on that near the bottom of that post.

This morning, wind chill readings are in the minus 40s up in northern Minnesota. Wind chill advisories and warnings are up for a huge swath of the northern Plains, Great Lakes area and parts of northern New England.

Wind chill alerts will certainly be part of the vernacular for the rest of the week for a lot of us.

Complicating things further is an energetic little storm system that will be laying down a strip of snow from Montana, southeastward into South Dakota, then Iowa, northern Illinois, Ohio and finally parts of the mid-Atlantic states through Tuesday.

This storm represents a re-enforcing shot of cold arctic air one of several shots of bitter cold this week.

The Northern Plains in particular are in the deep freeze. It's been bitterly cold for a few days now in the Dakotas and northern Minnesota.

I've been picking on Grand Forks, North Dakota as a representative example of how bad it is. It's "warmer" there this morning at 16 below, an improvement over the minus 21 yesterday. But it won't get above zero in Grand Forks until Thursday, and its unlikely to get to 10 above until maybe next Monday.

In the Northeast, and especially northern New England, the most intense cold will come Wednesday night and Thursday, though it will be plenty cold today and tomorrow, too.

Temperatures there will bottom out in the teens and 20s below zero Wednesday night, and wind chills will make it feel like its in the 30s below.

Wednesday night and especially Thursday morning, my plan is to stay inside, not go out at all, layer on the sweaters and keep eating hot food.

Quebec will have it worse. A few places north and east of Montreal can expect low temperatures in the minus 30s Fahrenheit Thursday morning with wind chills in the minus 40s.

This cold wave rivals the intensity of last year's. There will be some record low temperatures in parts of the Plains, Great Lakes and maybe the Northeast.

However, in the annals of American cold waves, this is fairly typical of what we should get as the worst Arctic blasts of most, but not all winters.

Plus, unlike last year, this cold won't become entrenched for months. By next week, it won't exactly be warm across the northern United States, but conditions will be milder, with temperatures closer to the normal chill you'd expect during the coldest month of the year in the Great White North.

As I mentioned, there's other weather trouble spots in the nation. High winds are raking parts of Wyoming today, with wind gusts expected to exceed 70 mph in spots. Winds are already gusting to 60 mph in Rawlins, Wyoming this morning.

They're warning truckers on Interstates 80 and 25, and other major roads they could be blown off the pavement by the crosswinds

Also, snow on the ground is going to blow around, creating Wyoming ground blizzards with zero visibility at times.


In Washington State, coastal regions and parts of the Olympic Mountains have received four to nine inches of rain, basically record amounts. The Cascade Mountains have also had a lot of rain. It's warm in Washington, the the freezing level is high.

Places inthe mountains that usually get snow this time of year are getting rain. There's some pretty substantial flooding going on in those areas. Also the rain and high elevation wet snow has caused a big danger of avalanches. Landslides are also a big worry.

That rain should taper off later today and tonight, but still, there's quite a few problems going on in Washington, today.

It probably makes them wish they were shivering, instead, like much of the rest of the nation.

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