While a large part of the West got a taste of cold weather this past weekend, one blast of arctic air will roll quickly from the southern Canada Prairies to New England later this week. Another more extensive blast may follow next week.
Seasonably cold air was filtering from the southern Plains to the Northeast during the first part of this week.
Temperatures plunged below zero over part of the northern Plains this weekend, after experiencing high temperatures in the neighborhood of 40 degrees late last week.
After temperatures peaked in the 50s Saturday morning around Chicago, freezing rain was falling by late in the evening. Temperatures bottomed out into the single digits and teens in northern Illinois Monday morning.
Additional pushes of arctic air forecast to come to the Plains and Northeast are part of the result of sudden warming that took place high in the atmosphere (the stratosphere) earlier in the month near the North Pole.
The warming causes weather systems to shift around in the lower part of the atmosphere in the polar region and drive frigid air farther south. Sometimes these frigid air masses reach the mid-latitudes.
An arctic air mass later this week is moving too quickly to deliver below-zero daytime highs over northern New England, but after mild conditions from this past weekend it will have some shock value.
Temperatures could fail to rise out of the teens (Fahrenheit) in some areas of northern New England with brutal cold holding up far north in Ontario and Quebec.
The core of this air will fail to reach much of the southern mid-Atlantic. The cold air that settled over central and southern Plains will slowly moderate this week.
A zone of high pressure over the Atlantic Ocean will prevent or delay the cold air's arrival in much of the southeastern U.S.
The pattern this week is producing a series of weak storms with mostly rain, but also a swath of snow and ice on their northwestern flank.
The effect of the stratospheric warming and compensating much colder air near the surface is still evolving and will not reach its peak until late this month and on into February.
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While waves of arctic air will continue to pour across the Great Lakes and New England this weekend, milder air will surge farther northward early next week.
The cold reprieve unfolding across the United States will not last long with waves of chilly air set to invade many parts of the country in the days leading up to Christmas.
Urduja, known globally as Kai-tak, will continue to unleash life-threatening flooding rain and mudslides as it slowly crosses the Philippines into Monday.
Winds will again kick up and become strong, raising the risk of rapidly spreading wildfires in Northern and Southern California this weekend as firefighters continue to battle the Thomas Fire, which is now the third largest in the state's history.
After an unseasonably quiet start to December in the northwestern United States, a significant storm will set its sights on the region spanning Tuesday to Wednesday.
Southern Vietnam and the Malay Peninsula are being put on alert for potential impacts from Tropical Storm Kai-tak later next week after it finishes lashing the Philippines.
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