Sunday 26 January 2014

The return of the Arctic vortex

The Arctic returns to the United States

25 January, 2015

Arctic air not seen since the early January outbreak is set to arrive on Monday in the Plains before flooding the northern US into Tuesday and Wednesday. Let's break down who will get the cold weather, and when.


The ECMWF indicates we will see the core of the cold start out in states like Minnesota, North Dakota and Iowa on Monday, as this temperature forecast image for Monday morning shows. Below zero temperatures are expected from central Indiana back northwest, with temperatures below -20 degrees F anticipated in the aforementioned northern Plains states. We are likely to see school closings throughout the upper Plains on Monday as this cold filters in, with widespread cancellations possible.

Tuesday morning is when the Arctic air really flexes its muscles. We see the ECMWF model taking temperatures as low as -30 degrees F to Minnesota and Wisconsin, while giving cities like Indianapolis, Madison and Chicago severe cold that could easily flirt with -20 degrees F. The Northeast will begin to encounter these frigid conditions, as below-zero temperatures are forecasted to hit the entire region, except for areas immediately near the coast. I expect widespread school cancellations across Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, and additional closures throughout nearly each state in the Northeast. The Great Lakes will work to warm up those to the east of the bodies of water, as you can see in western Michigan and western New York.

The cold weather will begin moving out of the Plains on Wednesday, but not before another frigid morning brings well below-zero temperatures to Wisconsin, with other negative temperature values found in Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and across New England. School cancellations should be considered a possibility in Wisconsin, Minnesota and western Pennsylvania. Cancellation prospects are a bit more iffy in the other states I mentioned.

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