As people from all over the world bring in the new year Saturday night and make personal new year resolutions, old man winter will be making a new year’s resolution himself: to be more winter-like in the United States.

Much of the continental United States will find themselves to be quite below average in temperatures by the time we reach the first weekend in 2017: January 7/8.

The Setup

The downward descent in temperatures will begin as a powerful pacific-northwest system comes down out of Canada.  Surface level model imagery combined with temperature imagery shows the correlation between the system and its arctic air behind it:

Paying particular attention to the pacific-northwest, you can get the idea that “something” is going on, and you would be correct.

A big storm will be brewing, and the arctic (light blue lines northwest of it) air will continue its trek southeasterly into the heartland of the country.

In the left image, we see the corresponding temperature pattern with the blues signaling cooler temperatures, and the yellows, oranges, and red signaling warmer temperatures.

Fast-forward the left image a few days, and you will see the progression of the cold air into much of the country by the weekend (this image later in this article).

Old-man winter will certainly be making a return for many locations by the end of the first week of January.

While several locations had a rather green Christmas, this will not be the case as we move into the post-holiday tranquility.

Long-term Chill?

How long will this arctic wave last? 

While the initial dive of arctic air will have its grip on most the country, it looks like longer-range runs feature this cooler weather maintaining itself to only the northern United States.  Our next set of images shows the deepest dig of cooler air versus what it will balance out to be a few days thereafter Saturday, January 7:

The common term you hear, “Polar Vortex” is somewhat involved in this.

There was a shift in its central location back around October and November – which the impacts will be felt across January.

As it looks, it is going to remain chilly into mid-January for the northern half the country.  The south will only deal with this for a few days.

It will be time to bundle up and get out the ice picks and chisels if you live up north, because old man winter is once again bringing its full-effects.

The Climate Prediction Center (CPC) suggests this below average trend will continue at least the first-half of January.

Further, the CPC suggests the month of January overall will be below average for the north-central U.S., while much of the rest of the country will have equal opportunity at being below-average or above-average; albeit, things are trending the below-average route.

The images at left are the 8-14 day temperature outlook and January overall, respectively.  Whether you are a winter lover or not, this will call for some adjustments to the past week or two.

 

Things you can do to help mitigate being cold outdoors

Winter can be a beautiful time, but when biting cold temperatures – sometimes dangerous – come knocking, are you prepared to open the door and face it?

This is a brief list of things you can do to help be more “comfortable” outdoors in the cold:

  • Always dress in layers on the coldest day.  Perhaps a t-shirt underneath a long-sleeve shirt; a sweater on top of that even, if necessary.
  • Always keep an extra set of hat and gloves in your vehicle in case you have to come out and brush off some snow, and if you forget to grab them in the house.  You don’t want to get cold doing that!
  • Keep windshield washer fluid levels up to help keep your windshields clean from road salt
  • If wind chills are dangerous levels, be sure to cover all areas of skin you can.  Yes, this may include wearing a ski mask to help cover your face in extreme situations.
  • Avoid extended periods of outdoor activity if wind chills are dangerous.

These are just a few things to keep in mind as you venture out this winter season.

Happy New Year to all!

mm

About Robert Carroll

Robert Carroll was born and raised in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from Kent State University, and is currently finishing up coursework for a Bachelor of Science degree in Geosciences/Meteorology from Mississippi State University. During his undergraduate studies, he took keen interest in winter weather and lake-effect snow - the target of his investigations and research. In his free time, Robert enjoys being outside on hiking trails, running, reading, writing, and doing yardwork.
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