It’s been a cold winter so far for the eastern half of the country. 24 years ago temperatures dipped to 20 BELOW ZERO for 16% of the country. It is known as the coldest outbreak ever recorded.
We said in our winter forecast that the northern Plains, Midwest, Great Lakes and Northeast would be colder than average this year. While that has panned out well, the cold has reached well south making even the Sunshine State feel the chill. They were just under freeze warnings and wind chill advisories this week. Typically it’s rare for Florida to have major swings in temperature because they are surrounded on all sides by the warm water of the Gulf of Mexico and Florida Current.
A Tale Of West VS East
So far temperatures have average a couple to several degrees below average this winter east of the Mississippi River. We expected the Southwest to be warm and it certainly has. The warmth has surrounded the Rockies to the West Coast. Overall when one half of the country is far from average in one direction the other half will be far from average the other direction. This is due to the alternating pattern of troughs and ridges in the jet stream. The East has had several large troughs that force the weather pattern to come out of the northwest- the cold Canadian Prairies.
There has only been a few mild days since Christmas for many from St. Louis to Chicago to Boston. Overall there have been many Arctic outbreaks with highs in the teens and lows bottoming out below zero for many in Minneapolis, Detroit and Buffalo. Things are going to start turning around for the next couple week.
A pattern change will bring bouts of mild and even well above average weather to the eastern half of the country while the West chills down off and on. Highs in the 30s and 40s with even some 50s will be likely in the north and NE. That means 50s and 60s returning to Alabama and Atlanta, Georgia.
The milder weather will likely last through early February. Expect much colder blasts from Old Man Winter by the middle of the month.
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