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Warmup Awaits Midwest, East During Mid-January

By By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather.com senior meteorologist.
January 16, 2015, 1:43:53 AM EST

Despite some pockets of cold air in the Midwest and East into the middle of this week, the wheels of change are in the works for a mild weather pattern for the middle of January.

A storm brought a reinforcing shot of cold air during the early part of the week for the Central and Eastern states. However, the jet stream is about to lock out arctic cold for the third week of the month in all but the upper Great Lakes to northern New England.

The jet stream is a high-speed river of air high above the ground that guides storms and air masses along across the globe.

According to Paul Pastelok, AccuWeather.com chief long-range meteorologist, "During the next week or so, the jet stream will set up in such a way as to keep arctic air bottled up across central and northern Canada and will allow mild Pacific air to flow from west to east across much of the United States."


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Pastelok stated that there will still be some sneaky cold that skirts the northeastern states at times and that people in this area should not expect temperatures to be warm for the entire middle part of the month.

High temperatures may average 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit above normal in the northern tier states for a few days into next week, compared to the consistent 10 to 20 degree below normal temperatures during the first full week of January.

In areas from Chicago to Boston and New York City, this will translate to multiple days with highs in the upper 30s F to 40s F. In areas from Dallas to Atlanta, the upcoming pattern will bring highs in the 50s and 60s on at least several days. From Minneapolis to Buffalo, New York, highs will reach or exceed the freezing mark for a couple of days or more.

The last area to warm up, or the area that shows the most resistance to the warmup will be northern Michigan, upstate New York and northern New England.

Temperatures to Moderate This Week but Will the Arctic Chill Return?

A frigid pattern brought a shivering end to last week but the weather pattern is now in transition this week.

The cold air that poured into the East will continue to depart through the remainder of the week. Pockets of cold air will be more stubborn to leave where there is a large snowpack on the ground.

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During the second half of the week, the pattern will feature near-normal temperatures most days in most locations from the Midwest to the East and South.


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The expanding warmup forecast does not mean that winter is over.

"We expect much colder air to expand southward and then eastward during the fourth week in the month," Pastelok said.

Snow Versus Ice, Rain Just a Matter of Timing

Thus far this winter, cold air and storms have remained out of sync to get a major snowfall in the Interstate-95 corridor of the Northeast.

"Storm systems pushing into the Southwestern states have caused an area of high pressure to bulge northward in the Caribbean and southwest Atlantic," Pastelok said.

This has forced stronger storms to track toward the Great Lakes and weaker storms to limp off the southern Atlantic coast.

"In order for there to be be more substantial snow and ice in the coastal mid-Atlantic and southern New England, we would need cold air to come in and hold its ground as a storm is approaching, rather than give up like we have been seeing," Pastelok added.

All it would take is one or two storms to come along with just the right amount of cold air in place for locations in the mid-Atlantic and southeastern New England to receive near-average snowfall for the season.

The development of a storm along the Atlantic coast on Sunday will have to be watched for the possibility of rain and snow. Another system could bring snow to part of the Midwest and Northeast around the middle of next week as cold air begins to settle southward again.

Snowfall thus far from Washington, D.C., to New York City and Boston has averaged 25 to 50 percent of normal this winter.

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