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Piercing cold blasts to return deep freeze to central, northeastern US

By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
February 01, 2018, 10:54:08 AM EST

Waves of frigid air will re-establish the deep freeze over much of the central and interior northeastern United States during early February.

The stretch with mainly above-average temperatures since Jan. 20 or so is coming to a close, according to AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok.

"Two waves of cold air are forecast to invade through this weekend," Pastelok said.

The first wave will consist of mainly arctic air and is scheduled to cross the Midwest on Thursday then reach the Northeast on Friday in the wake of rain and snow just prior to or departing on Groundhog Day.

Static Arctic Front Timing

During the day on Thursday, temperatures are likely to fall into the teens in Chicago. During the day Friday, temperatures are forecast to fall into the 20s or lower 30s from Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia, New York City and Boston.

The second wave of cold air is originating from Siberia and is scheduled to sweep from the northern Plains to the Midwest this weekend then begin to fade approaching the central and northern Appalachians by Monday.

Static Siberian Shot of Cold Air

The approach of even colder air is likely to trigger a potent storm in part of the Eastern states on Sunday and Monday.

By the time the air reaches the coastal Northeast, it will have lost much of its sting when compared to that in the Midwest.

Fans heading to Super Bowl 52 in Minneapolis can expect frigid conditions with AccuWeather RealFeel® temperatures well below zero degrees Fahrenheit outside the stadium on Sunday.

Additional waves of Siberian air are likely to pester the North Central states with more of an Arctic or typical winter feel for the Northeast during the second week of February.

"The core of the frigid air will settle over the North Central states during much of the first half of February," Pastelok said.

Static RealFeel Thursday North Central

During this period, actual temperatures may struggle to rise out of the single digits in Fargo, North Dakota. Highs most days during the period will be in the single digits and teens in Minneapolis, Green Bay, Wisconsin, and Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.

Many locations, including Chicago, Detroit and Des Moines, Iowa, may struggle to get above freezing for a two-week stretch.

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"Despite the return of colder conditions, compared to that of early January, temperatures overall are not likely to be as extreme, especially for the coastal Northeast, central Plains and the Tennessee Valley during the first half of February," Pastelok said.

Even so, energy demands will increase.

Waves of Arctic and Pacific air are likely to sweep across the central Plains, Ohio Valley and mid-Atlantic region, which are likely to result in some temperature fluctuations from day to day.

"There will be a brief shot of arctic air that dips into the South Central states by early next week," Pastelok said. "An arctic shot may reach deep into the South Central states and have greater success in chilling the coastal Northeast by Valentine's Day."

Much of the Southeastern states are likely to escape the sieges of frigid air during the first half of the month.

"We suspect that much colder air may be more successful in reaching the Deep South and the Atlantic coast toward the second half of February," Pastelok said.

A strong north-to-south temperature contrast is a recipe for frequent storms.

Static Stormy February

While blockbuster snowstorms are not anticipated, episodes of disruptive snow are likely to occur frequently.

Some communities across the North Central and Northeastern states may be affected by snow every other day or so in the pattern through the first half of February.

Such a regime may tax the patience of motorists, airline passengers and cleanup crews over time. Local and state highway departments may deplete their supply of ice-melting compounds.

Wintry precipitation is favored across much of the North Central and Northeastern states with showers and possible thunderstorms in the South.

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