For residents all over the Unites States, January is ending just as it began with frigid temperatures and heavy accumulations of snow in some regions. The beginning of 2014 started off with brutally cold temperatures due to the shifting of the polar vortex, and below-average temperatures have been a normal occurrence for the Midwest, Northeast, and even the Southern states. The West has seen above-average temperatures this month.
The coldest of this air started its descent into the Midwest on Sunday, spiraling temperatures down from the 20’s and 30’s into the teens. South Dakota fell from 43 degrees at 9 A.M to 19 degrees at 2 P.M, including wind gusts of up to almost 70 mph. On Monday, a similar ordeal occurred in most cities located along the cold front. An example would be Pittsburg, PA, which went from 43 degrees at 4 A.M to 18 degrees at 8 A.M, with wind gusts up to 46 mph as the front made its way into the state.
On Tuesday, this cell of frigid air set a daily record low in Detroit with -9 degrees, Dayton with -13 degrees, Grand Rapids -9 degrees, and Lubbock 7 degrees. The high on Tuesday for east of the Rockies is predicted to be 10 to 30 degrees colder than average for this time of year, and this is all coming at the country at the coldest time of the year for most residents. Also, parts of the Upper Mississippi Valley and western Great Lakes will more than likely remain below zero continuing through the afternoon.
On Tuesday and Wednesday from Boston to Philly, the highs will go back down into the teens and 20s. Temperatures in the morning will remain in the low to mid teens, and will stay like this into Thursday morning. Regions in the interior portion are predicted to be even colder. Along with a southward surge of cold Arctic air comes the chance of a major winter storm across the Gulf Coast and parts of the Atlantic seaboard beginning Tuesday and moving into Wednesday.
Along with frigid temperatures, the wind chills will be extremely and dangerously low. On Tuesday, wind chills are expected to drop into the 20’s, 30’s and even 40’s below zero in the upper Mississippi Valley, northern Plains, Great Lakes, northern Ohio Valley, and Central Appalachians. On Wednesday morning, the wind chills will be in the 10’s, 20’s and 30’s below zero from ND to the upper Mississippi Valley, Great Lakes, and Central Appalachians into the interior Northeast.
Going into the weekend, the cold air will begin to move out of the South and Northeastern regions. But, another surge of very cold air will keep the Midwest below average into the late weekend.
Many people believe that the polar vortex is the main cause of the below-average temperatures that we have been seeing. That is not the case. The counterclockwise flow of air around the polar vortex will move colder air from the Arctic into the United States. This so called Polar Vortex is present each year during the winter and always surges cold air into our country. At any time this surge of cold air can be more, or less, intense and travel a longer or shorter distance from the North Pole.
Stay tuned to the Weather Channel or your local weather authority for updates on the system or any changes in your area.