Joe Lundberg

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An Even Colder Air Mass Moves Into Place This Weekend

January 3, 2014; 10:10 AM ET

Friday, 11:15 a.m.

Snow has blanketed much of the country from the Midwest and Ohio Valley to the mid-Atlantic as two storms have combined into one massive storm now well south and east of New England. The storm has pulled bitterly cold air southeastward across the Great Lakes into the Ohio Valley, the mid-Atlantic and the Northeast. Temperatures are in the single digits and teens from southern New England back to the Ohio Valley, with sub-zero cold farther north:

In the mid-Atlantic and New England where the wind is howling, it is driving AccuWeather RealFeel temperatures well below zero.

And this is just the precursor to an even colder air mass later this weekend and early next week!

Just look at some of the particulars for the upcoming arctic blast. Here's the 850mb temperature forecast for tomorrow morning:

That doesn't look too cold, but lying in wait across the border is a much more ferocious air mass. Look at how that changes by Sunday evening:

Now we're talking some seriously cold air, one that has the potential of setting records.

As we make this transition, low pressure will form over the Tennessee Valley Sunday and cut to the eastern Great Lakes, west of the Appalachians. There will be a surge of warmer air up the Eastern Seaboard, especially along the coastal plain. The warmth will be a little tougher to get into areas closer to the mountains, but even there, the bulk of the precipitation ahead of the storm will be rain, or a little ice changing to rain. Even in much of upstate New York and New England, there will be enough warming aloft so that ice and rain are the more likely forms of precipitation with the storm over snow.

In contrast, west of the storm track, it will be mostly a snow event. Whatever warming takes place tomorrow ahead of the arctic front will be erased Sunday on the backside of the front. This means snow is likely over northwestern Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma up through Missouri and Illinois into Indiana. There will also be snow in at least western Ohio, but areas east to the spine of the Appalachians will have to wait until the wave of low pressure goes by for rain to change to snow Sunday night.

However, once the front passes, the temperatures will go into a freefall. Daily departures of more than 30 degrees below normal will be common over a wide area of the eastern Plains, Mississippi Valley and the Ohio and Tennessee valleys Monday, and east of the Mississippi to the East Coast and the Southeast on Tuesday.

Relief from this cold WILL come later next week, but it will be slow in coming. That said, by next weekend much of the nation may be experiences temperatures on the high side of average! At this point, even 'normal' will feel soooo good!

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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About This Blog

Joe Lundberg
Joe Lundberg, a veteran AccuWeather.com forecaster and meteorologist, covers both short and long-term U.S. weather on this blog.