The coldest air in at least a couple of years is aiming for areas from the Upper Midwest to the Northeast during the first few days of the new year.
While the pattern looks progressive and will still feature a temperature rebound the following week, a dip in steering-level winds, known as the jet stream, will lock in long enough to drive Arctic air southward.
Last year, a stubborn jet stream over northern Canada kept most of the cold air locked up near the Arctic Circle.
During the few occasions when cold air made a southward move, it was negated by bare ground and unusually warm lake temperatures.
While the lakes are still warm, they are trending colder due to the recent storms. There is currently a substantial area of snow on the ground now reaching well down into the United States.
The waves of cold air will accelerate or initiate ice formation on some of the lakes in the region.
Folks who have been saving some money on heating because of warmth last winter and this fall will burn through a few bucks.
The snow acts as an insulator from the warm ground and also reflects some of the sun's energy back.
The combination of reinforcing waves of cold air and natural snowcover is setting up some of the best early winter skiing conditions in the past several years.
Thumbnail image by Photos.com.
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