Old Man Winter is about to UNLEASH on the Eastern US!
For once, it appears the Ground Hog will be right.
While so far, this winter has been largely a mild one for the Eastern US all signs point to an immediate and lasting pattern change that will likely set the tone for the remainder of the month of February if not into March.
A pulse check of "height anomalies" currently in place across the Northern Hemisphere a VERY BLOCKED pattern with strong ridging over the Eastern Pacific and the Western Atlantic. In addition there is also a strong ridge of high pressure located over the Arctic of Northern Canada and Greenland at this moment where typically the "Polar Vortex", a semi-permanent area of upper low pressure, resides this time of the year.
Here comes the Ol' Polar Vortex
In association with these height anomalies, upper level jet stream winds find themselves meandering around these high pressure lobes while forcing a large lobe of the actual Polar Vortex to dive south bringing a huge mass of arctic air with it.
A Train of Storms
Not only will this feature bring some of the coldest conditions we've experienced in several winters, it will also produce a very active and persistent storm track for the Central and Eastern US in the coming weeks.
As I posted to my twitter account earlier, just like a train of cars linging up on a railway, this afternoon's run of the Euro is bringing no less than FIVE organized systems down this storm track over the next week and a half.
The first of which is set to arrive tomorrow with Winter Storm Warnings already posted across portions of the Appalachia/Mid-Atlantic and Southern New England. From there, storm systems look march along this track about every 2nd to 3rd day as far as the eye can see. I mean that quite literally with all the medium range forecast models showing storm after after storm over the next 10 to 16 days.
While it is too soon to speculate about snow totals for most of these systems outisde of tomorrow's and perhaps Tuesday's, it is not too soon to talk about the amount of cold air that will be coming our way.
A Duration Cold Spell
The Climate Prediction Center has placed the ENTIRE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES (with exception of South Florida) with below normal temps over the next 6 to 10 days and AGAIN in the 8 to 14 day range with the exception of parts of California.
Not only are they wagering bets on a duration cold, the confidence on these below normal temps can only be explained by the presence of a true arctic air mass as directed by an almost completely cut off lobe of the Polar Vortex that looks to spend much of the next two weeks located across far Southern Canada. This will allow arctic air, to seep down the spine of the Rockies and into the midsection of the North American Continent where it will advance in waves of wintry systems that will spread both snow and extreme cold.
Just how cold are we talking about?
I think MANY record will fall in the coming weeks across the Plains, Midwest, Great Lakes and eventually parts of the Northeast. Already we are seeing the advancement of SUBZERO temps across parts of the Northern Plains where the mercury has dropped as low as -10 to -15 F across parts of Minnesota and North Dakota.
This frigid air mass looks to build over the next couple of weeks as it is also expected to gradually shift east as well with temps (according to Euro below) falling below zero for much of the Northeast by late next weekend and into the following week. Temps across the Upper Midwest could fall to 30 or even 40 DEGREES BELOW ZERO!!
These ARE NOT wind chill readings, these are actual surface temperature projections. Yikes!
So what do I think?
I think it's time to prepare for some serious cold. Some of the coldest in years IF NOT record breaking. I also see the potential for crippling winter storms in the coming weeks as well.
The time to prepare is now. Be sure your homes and automobiles are winterized. It is a good idea to have emergency kits available for the road and at home. Make sure you to have your propane and gas topped off and, of course, remember your pets!
Meteorologist, Speaker, Talk Show Host, Blogger and American Patriot