The Northern Plains, Midwest and Great Lakes Regions of the US Brace for Extreme Cold at the End of January (Photo Credit: NWS WPC and NWS Detroit)
DISCUSSION: After a relatively warm start to the winter across much of the United States, winter has decided to show its face. Forecasters in the National Weather Service (NWS) are becoming more confident that as the month of January draws to a close, extreme cold will progress southward from the pole. The brutal cold will move into the Northern Plains, the Midwest and the Great Lakes, with the dangerously cold temperatures starting to move into these areas Monday, Jan 28 2019, with the coldest temperatures around mid-week. The Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic will also feel the chill from this article blast, but the cold temperatures will likely not be as extreme in these regions. The forecasted severe cold is the result of a portion of the polar vortex splitting from its center near the north pole, moving southward; for more information on the Polar Vortex please click here.
Portions of the Northern Midwest are already feeling the effects of the arctic blast. Overnight, temperatures in northern Minnesota dropped below -30˚F in some locations. When the wind chill was factored in, it felt like -50 ˚F in portions of the region. As the poral vortex moves southward, places as far south as Nashville could see their temperatures 20-40 ˚F below average for this time year. To make matters worse, it is expected to be windy, resulting in dangerously cold wind chill temperatures. Overall, the general thinking is that most of the Northern Plains, the Midwest and the Great Lakes will see lows between -20˚F and -30 ˚F. The areas closest to the core of the vortex will see lows below -40 ˚F. Many NWS offices across the Northern Plains, the Midwest and the Great Lakes are preparing for the brutal cold by creating graphics for the public, such as the one below done by NWS Detroit, which includes not only the forecasted chilly temperatures but also safety tips. For more safety tips about extreme cold please click here.
In addition to the severe cold, heavy snow is also likely across the Upper Midwest and the Great Lakes. A clipper system is forecasted to move into North Dakota late tonight. By Monday it is expected to be somewhere over the eastern Iowa and western Wisconsin region. This system is forecasted to bring heavy snowfall to the Upper Great Lakes region on Monday, with a possibility of snowfall amounts greater than a foot. It will continue eastward, bringing snow into the lower Great Lakes Monday night into Tuesday.
For more winter weather topics, click here.
© 2019 Meteorologist Sarah Trojniak, Ph.D.