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    Still Plenty of Winter to Go

    1/16/2014, 7:55:40 AM

    Thursday, 11:40 a.m.

    We're to the halfway post of January already! After a brutal outbreak of arctic air last week, temperatures have generally rebounded nicely since last weekend. The days are slowly getting longer, and the sun is up about 25 minutes later in the evening than it was around Dec. 10. Today marks nine weeks out from the official start of spring. But you've heard the adage: 'As the day lengthens, so the cold strengthens.' Over the next week, that adage will come true.

    One little chunk of cold air is fading as it crosses the Appalachians today in the wake of a decaying offshore cold front. A much more potent shot of arctic air is moving across the Dakotas into the Midwest as a powerful storm moves across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Temperatures that started out above freezing this morning in the Twin Cities will fall below 10 by sundown. As this strong clipper storm weakens this afternoon into tonight, it will still generate some snow across Wisconsin and Michigan, with more intermittent snows expected in the Ohio Valley to the west slopes of the Appalachians. Most places will struggle to get more than an inch or two of snow in the process.

    The cold will finally spill over the Appalachians tomorrow night, resulting in a colder-than-normal day in most of the East on Saturday despite some sunshine. That said, it won't be too far below average in the mid-Atlantic this weekend. The larger departures on Saturday will be in the Ohio and Tennessee valleys as well as the Southeast, where high pressure will mean a cold start to the day.

    There will be a reprieve Sunday into Monday, though. The clipper storm that brings a few inches of snow through the Midwest tomorrow night into early Saturday, and across parts of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and southwest Michigan Saturday into early Saturday night will actually set the stage for the warming that will follow.

    Look at the latest NAM surface forecast for Sunday morning:

    As the clipper system falls apart coming over the Appalachians Saturday night, a new storm will come racing toward the northern Great Lakes. In the process it will pull much milder air out across the Plains and across the Mississippi Valley into the Midwest and western Ohio Valley. This milder air will get squeezed into the East Monday, resulting in a pretty decent start to the week next week.

    That's about as far as the warmth will go. Some arctic air will sneak in behind it across the upper Great Lakes, upstate New York and into at least northern New England, if not points farther south on Monday. Even as that is happening a stronger cold front will press through the Midwest Monday, and a bigger chunk of arctic air will be pulled into the Midwest behind it by Tuesday. The second half of next week looks decidedly cold over much of the East, as a much deeper upper-level trough slides into place in the East, and that dreaded polar vortex rolls by upstate New York and northern New England.

    And that may not even be the coldest weather in the pattern!

    Yes, spring officially begins in nine weeks. That just means there's plenty of winter left, much of the nation east of the Rockies will feel the full effects of that next week through month's end.

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

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