Northern US: Cold Waves and Canadian Storms

By , AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist
January 21, 2013; 4:00 AM ET
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The weather pattern over the next couple of weeks will favor waves of cold air and Canadian storms, known as Alberta Clippers, from the northern Plains to the Northeast.

Each blast of cold air will vary in magnitude, duration and coverage area.

Between the waves of cold air, the storms will ride from the Canada province of Alberta or thereabouts and race southeastward across the Great Lakes then either off the coast of Atlantic Canada or the Northeastern states.

RELATED: Lake-Effect Snow Machine: Feet of Snow Next Week

These generally modest, fast-moving storms are often lacking in moisture due to their distance from the Gulf of Mexico. The bulk of them generally bring only light to moderate snowfall along and north of the storm center track.

However, occasionally these storms can be more robust and attempt to strengthen upon nearing the Atlantic Ocean. In this case, they can produce heavy snow at the last minute along the coast before heading out to sea.

One such clipper may grab some moisture at the last minute during Tuesday (Jan. 22), perhaps impacting Cape Cod and other areas.

As the Alberta Clipper storms approach and pass to the north of a location, temperatures can rebound for a day or more, prior to another push of arctic air. This is likely to occur this Sunday (Jan. 20) and again later next week (Jan. 24-26).

Even so, several days in a row with temperatures consistently below freezing are possible along the I-95 corridor from Philadelphia through Boston during the first part of next week, with additional episodes of the same possible later in the month.

Chicago is likely to have several days in a row with highs in the teens.

The pattern is favorable for heavy lake-effect snow in many of the snow belts downwind of the Great Lakes. The snow is likely to be measured in feet in some areas.

Chicago, Buffalo, Detroit and Cleveland are likely to have most days remaining below freezing into the first week or two of February.

During the arctic outbreak coming late this weekend into early next week, Minneapolis is likely to have its first day in four years in which the temperature remains below zero the entire day.

International Falls, Minn., is forecast to have a high of 15 degrees below zero next Monday. The last time the high was 15 degrees below zero or lower there was Feb. 2, 1996.

Colder air will be moving into Foxboro, Mass., for the NFL AFC Conference Championship Game Sunday evening on gusty winds after a mild start to the day. The NFC Conference Championship will be determined indoors in Atlanta, Ga., Sunday afternoon.

Washington, D.C., will be brisk and cold on Inauguration Day.

The core of the cold air will pass north of the southern Plains and the Deep South. However, it is possible on one or more occasions that temperature dip to frosty or near-freezing levels during the next several weeks in some of the active agricultural areas in the region given the right conditions at night: dry air, a clear sky and light wind.

This photo and thumbnail images by photos.com.

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