Joe Lundberg

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Winter Down South

January 3, 2013; 11:30 AM ET

Thursday, 11:45 a.m.

There was a decided chill in the air this morning across the Northeast, as high pressure moved into place across northern New England in the wake of an arctic cold front. Here's a check of some of the early morning lows:

As I'm checking through some of the cooperative observer reports, I see a 25 degrees below zero in Irasburg, Vt., early this morning, and there were a few other locations below 20 degrees below zero from northeastern New York state into New Hampshire.

It's not just cold in the Northeast, but it's also cold down South, too. In fact, it's so cold, it is snowing and sleeting in parts of Texas at this hour! In Guadalupe Pass at last check 24 degrees with heavy snow and winds out of the northeast gusting to 40 mph! Granted, they are at over 5,400 feet in elevation, but that's still brutal! Farther east and south, rain is mixed with sleet in and around San Antonio. Snow has broken out at Pecos, Texas, and it's snowing hard around El Paso.

It isn't common to see wintry precipitation in these places, but it does occur. The air is pretty cold that far south, judging from the 850mb temperatures forecast for early afternoon:

This upper-level feature will slowly roll across the state in the next 48 hours or so, generating a lot of clouds that will keep temperatures well below normal into Saturday. Most of the snow and sleet will go away after the next 24 hours as the air warms aloft just enough and the precipitation becomes more concentrated nearer to the coast where it is somewhat warmer.

By the way, as a point of comparison, a few interesting tidbits:

1) It's warmer in parts of Montana than it is where it's snowing in Texas. For instance, right now it's 33 in Cut Bank, Mont., a notorious icebox in arctic outbreaks. Not today!

2) It's warmer in Alaska than in Texas and most of the Northeast. At last check, it was in the 30s in Anchorage and 40 in Palmer, Alaska. That shouldn't be a big surprise, though. Typically when it gets very cold in the lower 48, it gets warm in Alaska. Until recently, it had been very cold in Alaska and the Yukon Territory, while much of the U.S. was mild deep into December.

3) The low of zero in Windsor Locks, Conn., around 8 this morning was the first time temperatures fell below 10 since last Jan. 7! And it will be the first time since Feb. 12 when the high temperature failed to reach 30. (You're welcome, Wano!)

It will warm up in much of the country this weekend into next week.

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