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    Midwestern, eastern US to shiver at start of new year as more persistent cold air dominates

    By By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist.
    December 31, 2015, 9:59:40 AM EST

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    Colder air will expand and settle in across the central and eastern United States during the last hours of 2015 and first several days of January 2016.

    For some people the upcoming weather may seem harsh in retrospect of how warm the past couple of months have been.

    Many locations from the Midwest to the East have experienced some of their warmest Novembers and Decembers on record.

    However, record warmth is unlikely during much of January.

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    During the last week of December, more typical chill for the time of year will arrive in the Midwest and is likely to last through much of January.

    During the first week of January, high temperatures will average in the teens and lower 20s F in Fargo, North Dakota and International Falls, Minnesota and in the 20s from Minneapolis and Des Moines, Iowa, to Chicago. From Detroit to Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Pittsburgh, highs will generally be in the 30s.


    For most locations in the East, the colder air will take hold on New Year's Day and extend into much of January.

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    According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Evan Duffey, the cold air will reach most of Eastern states in moderated form due to a couple of key factors.

    "Great Lakes water temperatures and eastern U.S. soil temperatures are running well above normal," Duffey said.

    The scope of flooded areas over the middle Mississippi Valley will also contribute to moderating the air temperature downstream.

    High temperatures most days from New Year's Day into the second weekend of the New Year are likely to average within a few degrees of 40 around Boston, the lower 40s in New York City and the middle 40s in Washington, D.C.

    The expanding colder air will also turn off the severe weather machine in the Southern states during the first week of January.


    Accompanying the cooler air in the South will be drier air, initially.

    "Beyond the first week of the month, a change in the weather pattern across the U.S. will allow colder air, relative to average for January, to regularly filter into the South," Duffey said.

    Duffey stated that there is nothing striking on the weather maps in the Northern states that will open the gates of the arctic and keep them open into the middle of January.

    Arctic air will plunge into central Canada. However, how much farther south the cold air is able to travel with regularity is questionable at this point.

    "Any shots of arctic air will be fleeting in the Midwest and much of the Northeast through the middle of the month," Duffey said.

    It is possible that temperatures will average slightly above normal from the central Plains to the Ohio Valley and mid-Atlantic during January.

    Only portions of northern New England and the upper Midwest are likely to have more persistent cold air, resulting in lower-than-average temperatures. This will be due to an established snowcover.

    The air will be cold enough in the Midwest and part of the Northeast to allow episodes of lake-effect snow.

    During the first half of January or so, most major storms will cut northward toward the Great Lakes or track eastward across the Gulf of Mexico. Most of the Gulf storms may fail to track northward along Atlantic Seaboard.

    A break from the storms is likely in the Northwest.

    The storm track will still favor major snow events for the interior Southwest and part of the North Central states but could also bring multiple rainstorms into Southern California.

    Episodes of rain and occasional thunderstorms will return to the Deep South, following a break for most areas during the first week of January.

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