Snowstorms to be followed by Arctic outbreak in eastern half of nation
By Kyle Elliott, AccuWeather meteorologist
January 17, 2019, 3:08:13 PM EST
Following a pair of snowstorms into this weekend, the coldest air so far this winter season has its sights set on the eastern half of the nation.
The second in this pair of snowstorms will bring heavy snow and, in some cases, blizzard conditions, to the central Plains and Midwest from Friday into Saturday before impacting the mid-Atlantic and Northeast this weekend.
“Temperatures from the central Plains to the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley will plummet from the 20s, 30s and 40s Fahrenheit during the storm to the single digits, teens and 20s immediately behind it,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.
Residents from the Upper Midwest to the central Plains and western Great Lakes will be the first to experience the arrival of Arctic air on Saturday, followed by the Ohio Valley and central Appalachians on Sunday and the Northeast on Sunday night.
“Because of the brutal cold following the storm, those expected to be in the area of heaviest snow may experience lengthy power outages that could lead to pipe bursts, especially on exterior walls or those that are improperly insulated,” Sosnowski warned.
Anybody living in these communities should have a backup generator on hand and be prepared to seek alternate ways of staying warm.
AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures will be no higher than the single digits in parts of the Tennessee River Valley and lower Ohio River Valley on Sunday and will hold in the teens below zero across most of the Midwest and Great Lakes region.
Temperatures are expected to fall through the single digits with RealFeel Temperatures® below zero for the NFL playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City on Sunday evening.
“Northerly winds are likely to gust between 30 and 45 mph at the height of the storm and in its immediate wake, spreading from west to east during Saturday and Sunday,” Sosnowski added.
Those traveling on interstates and secondary roadways in areas expected to receive substantial amounts of snow through the weekend should be alert for blowing and drifting snow that can cause rapid reductions in roadway visibility.
The AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperature can help you determine how cold it really feels outside
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It may get so cold in portions of the Midwest and Great Lakes region that chemicals used to treat roadways and melt snow and ice become ineffective, leading to a greater likelihood of winter weather-related injuries.
“Even in areas where all or mostly rain falls from the storm over parts of the southern Plains to near and south of the Ohio River, a rapid freeze-up can lead to icy patches on roadways and sidewalks,” Sosnowski said.
Freezing air will even penetrate into the Deep South, reaching the central Gulf Coast by Saturday night and northern and central Florida by Sunday night.
The core of the bitterly cold air will shift eastward into the mid-Atlantic and Northeast on Sunday night and Monday, where temperatures may reach no higher than the teens in the Interstate-95 corridor and single digits across much of New England.
In comparison to what is considered normal for the middle of January, these readings will fall 15-25 degrees Fahrenheit below normal.
“It is possible that the severity of the cold may lead to school delays and closings early next week,” Sosnowski said.
Because temperatures will likely fall 10-20 degrees in a matter of a few hours behind the storm, quick removal of fallen snow is encouraged to prevent slush from rapidly freezing.
Anybody planning on spending prolonged periods of time outdoors should dress in layers and warm clothing, leaving as little skin exposed as possible. Frostbite can develop in 30 minutes or less when temperatures dip to the levels forecast by AccuWeather meteorologists.
People who have been saving money on heat during the first part of this winter may see that savings wiped out in the upcoming pattern, AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski said.
Download the free AccuWeather app to see how much snow and cold air is in store for your community.
Although temperatures are expected to rebound closer to average during the middle part of next week, AccuWeather’s long-range team warns that even colder air will follow during the last few days of January and persist into February.
Join host Regina Miller as she examines Forensic Meteorology and the reconstruction of weather events for legal testimonies. Steve Wistar, AccuWeather’s Forensic Meteorologist and Certified Consulting Meteorologist recalls prominent legal cases where winter weather played a key role in the verdicts.
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