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Brutal Waves of Cold Could Be Heading to U.S.

'Cold air engine' may chill nation second half of the month

A customer sips coffee in the freezing cold at Parker's Quick Stop on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013 in Montpelier, Vt. AP Photo/Toby Talbot

Beginning near or just past the middle of the month, signs are pointing toward waves of frigid air moving southward across North America from the North Pole.

Much of the nation has been experiencing higher-than-average temperatures and lower heating bills so far during the cold weather season, with the exception of some bouts the past couple of weeks.

However, there are signs of a potential change on the way beginning during the second half of January.

A phenomenon known as sudden stratospheric warming has occurred in the arctic region during the past few days. The stratosphere is located between 6 miles and 30 miles above the ground.
Often when this occurs, it forces cold air to build in the lowest layer of the atmosphere then to drive southward.
The problem is the exact timing and location of the emergence of this cold air is uncertain. Typically, the movement of cold air begins 10 to 14 days later.

During the next week or so, a flow of milder Pacific air will invade much of the nation. Because of the time of year, some locations (the northern part of the Great Basin and northern New England) may hold on to the cold they have now due to long nights, light winds and weak sunshine. However, most locations will experience an upswing in temperature for at least a several-day period.
According to AccuWeather.com's Long Range Team, including Mark Paquette, "Overlaying this with other tools, we expect to see cold air spreading out from central Canada later next week into week three of January."

It is possible the cold push will arrive in one big blast. However, it is more likely the cold will advance along in waves of progressively colder air with each wave driving farther south and east.

According to Long Range Weather Expert Paul Pastelok, "The early indications are that the initial thrust of the brutal cold will be directed over the Northwest, northern Rockies or northern Plains first, with subsequent waves reaching farther east."

RELATED ON ACCUWEATHER: January 1 Snow Coverage Sets New Record for US

Expert Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson stated, "Initially, the cold may seem to be run-of-the-mill or even delayed, but once the cold air engine starts, it may run for quite a while with progressively colder and colder waves of air."

According to Expert Senior Meteorologist Jack Boston, "As the waves of cold air spread to the south and east, some energy may be released in the form of a series of storms riding the cold air."

The storms may initially track from the Southwest to the Upper Midwest, then the western Gulf to the Great Lakes, the eastern Gulf to the Appalachians and perhaps finally northward along the Atlantic Seaboard.

Expert Senior Meteorologist Joe Lundberg added, "While a zone of high pressure off the southern Atlantic coast will offer some resistance to the cold initially in the East, most of the time in situations like this, cold air finishes the job and reaches the Atlantic Seaboard."
AccuWeather.com was expecting a stormy pattern to set up beginning the second half of January in the Eastern states and much lower temperatures this winter, when compared to last winter from the Mississippi Valley to the East in its Winter 2012-13 Forecast.

So while the atmosphere may seem to be settling into a pattern like last winter for some people, meteorologists at AccuWeather.com will be watching the evolution of the winter beginning in mid-January with great interest.

The weather pattern so far this season and last year at this time may seem like a "Lion in Winter," but there are indications that the weather may be ready to roar beginning during the second half of January.

Folks may want to check their supply of fuel for the second half of the winter sooner rather than later, in the event the waves of arctic air develop to their full potential. Folks in the Appalachians and parts of the East may not want to sell their snow blower and ditch their snow shovels just yet.

RELATED ON SKYE: Off-the-Charts Hottest and Coldest Places on Earth

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Dennis Faulkner

Anyone that doesn't agree 100% with the global warming hysteria is automatically called
an ostrich - or worse - torchidman's comment contains a lot of common sense - these weather changes have happened since the earth began - read "a call to reason - a cool look at global warming" if I remember the title correctly - it talks about what is reasonable to do about "global warming" IF it is a real occurrence - and the positive sides as well as the negative sides of it - and the "fact" that global warming is happening is NOT definite - by any means!

January 07 2013 at 4:07 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
torchidman325

You have to realize that this earth we live on is millons of years old.........We are not experiencing something that happens within our tiny lifetime on this planet, we are in the midst of a multi thousand to million year episode............Long before this planet ever knew there was such a thing that WE called global warming....you see, we only judge what we can see and make decisions on that reality....again, the earth is some millions of years old......think about that please..

January 06 2013 at 7:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
laurakirkland

A kind word to all the conservative idiots on here: cold still happens, winter still happens, and yes, global warming IS real, even if you love playing ostrich. And I know it may be scary, but you needn't be afraid of spell check :)

January 06 2013 at 12:24 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to laurakirkland's comment
Marylou

where is the kind word in idiot? Laurakirkland, oxymoron or just moron the rest of you people make the call ok?! People! some are a waste of space!

January 06 2013 at 5:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JO

Okay, so how cold is "cold?"

January 05 2013 at 6:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Prutty Eyes

who the hell his prutty eyes

January 05 2013 at 5:58 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
mgconcristo

Wow, what happened to global warming!! ? God controls the weather whether people believe it or not. He can use the environment to punish evil people, to bless the righteous and whatever He want to do with His creation

January 05 2013 at 4:40 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mgconcristo's comment
mama5844

I noticed the map showed most of that frigid air hitting the Bible belt regions. Maybe God's trying to tell you to try being more considerate to Mother Earth and take care of her instead of always trying to make a buck off her; maybe listen to the climate scientists he gave the brains to and not the brainless that work for the energy companies over at Fox News and AM hate radio; love and respect one another, you know, like gays, women, people of color, different religions, different cultures, etc., then he won't punish our bread basket with frigid air, no rain, drought and who knows, maybe in a few years, no food.

January 06 2013 at 12:09 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Kathleen

Here's what I find ironic..........

We have a severe storm or hurricane whatev, and everybody freaks out and says the weather keeps getting worse... IE Global Warming.....

They forget the second half of the headline, that says "This is the most snow we've had since 1842, how much global warming was responsible for that storm?

Weather is cyclical, always has been, always will be....

The earth has been through all of this before we even came along, does anyone pay attention to history anymore?

January 05 2013 at 4:34 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
drkincer

Al just sold his TV channel to Al Jazeera.

January 05 2013 at 2:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jgaines519

Al Gore was and is correct....there is Global Warming and Extreme Weather will increase...laugh if you think that funny!!!

January 05 2013 at 2:11 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
hrdbal51

Stop the drama already.... we expect cold in the winter. What do you guys talk acting lessons as part of your meteorology curriculum. Chillax!!!!

January 05 2013 at 1:45 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
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