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There will be enhanced potential for ...

Severe Arctic Outbreak Forecast for Mid-January

By By Alex Sosnowski, Expert Senior Meteorologist
January 03, 2011, 9:13:56 AM EST

The latest indications are that nasty cold will burst onto the Plains and spread over much of the nation during the middle of January.

Warning, if you don't like cold, reading this could be painful as it appears the "ice man cometh."

AccuWeather.com Long Range Expert Joe Bastardi says that while much of the eastern half of the nation will start the month with above-normal warmth, brutal cold will roll southward from the Arctic during weeks two and three of the month.

"The worst of the cold will lie over the northern Plains and Upper Midwest but will spread out from there," Bastardi said.


The mid-January weather will pack a bite for warm weather fans like from this "little guy" here. It is looking more and more like a bear market as far as warmth is concerned for most of the month. Photo by photos.com

"Cities like Omaha and Chicago could have one or more days where the temperature fails to get past zero and many cities in the I-95 Northeast could have a few days with highs in the teens," he added.

The pattern could bring the coldest weather of the winter for much of Texas. The Lone Star State has been experiencing above-normal temperatures through December.

If it is any consolation, Joe Bastardi feels the worst of the mid-January cold may avoid Florida. People in the Sunshine State have endured what is the coldest December on record in many locations.


The coastal cities in the Northwest, which had some snow in late November, but virtually no snow in December, may see a return to very cold and snowy conditions during January.

The nasty cold will hit areas on the Plains, Northeast and Northwest during what is typically the coldest time of the year. This is due to mainly to low sun angle, long nights and now cold water.

The several-week lag from the winter solstice occurs mostly because it takes water bodies a long time to cool down, compared to the land.

The new burst of cold will have consumers using more heating fuel than previously thought and may stress their budgets.

The cold in the northern Plains and parts of the West now could be greatly overshadowed by the mid-January outbreak.

Despite the tweaking Bastardi has done with his long range forecast for January as a whole, he is still expecting a relaxing of the cold during the last part of January.

While the West will start the month with major cold, people in the East and South will continue with above-average temperatures during the first part of the month.

"A big northward bulge (ridge) in the jet stream over Alaska will be chopped down late in the month," Bastardi said.

Often when a big ridge pops up in Alaska, a big dip in the jet (trough) occurs over the middle of the North American continent, allowing arctic air to drain southward into southern Canada and much of the U.S.

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