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When Will Next Week's Arctic Cold Strike?

Temperatures could plummet by 40 to 50 degrees in some areas

New information is coming in on the cold outbreak set to roll in during the middle of January.
Moderate cold will first settle southward over the West during the latter part of this week into the weekend. Temperatures are likely to slowly moderate next week in the West.

Farther east, arctic air will spill into the northern Plains this weekend from central Canada and will progress southeastward in stages through next week.

Multiple storms could ride up from the Gulf of Mexico along the slowly advancing cold air over the Midwest and lower Mississippi Valley. It is possible that it will take a larger storm to finally drive the cold air to the coastal Northeast during the middle of next week.

While it appears the cold waves will not rival the great arctic outbreaks of January 1994, December 1989 and January 1985 in terms of severity, it is possible that temperatures will plunge 40 to 50 degrees over a 24- to 48-hour period as some locations pass from a warm air mass to the arctic air over the northern Plains.

For example, Fargo, N.D., is projected to have a high temperature well into the 30s on Thursday, Jan. 10, but before midnight Saturday, Jan. 12, temperatures may be well below zero.

Brutal Cold Waves Could be Heading for the U.S.
Warmup, Thaw Precede Brutal Cold

Farther east over the Midwest, the cold air may advance and stop several times as storms roll up from the southwest.

The coldest weather around Chicago is likely during the second half of next week, when nighttime low temperatures may dip to near zero with a breeze stirring.

For the central Plains to the lower Ohio Valley, the mid-Atlantic and places on south, the arctic air may only be around for a few days before Pacific air mixes in from the west.

In New England, it will take longer for the cold air to take root. However, once it does arrive, it could be difficult to get rid of. There is some indication that steering-level winds, known as the jet stream, could dip southward over the region for an extended period aside from a few wobbles.

In New York City, the latest trends are that the coldest weather may not arrive until late next week into the weekend of Jan. 19 and 20 and the cold may be somewhat abbreviated. This is due to a persistent area of high pressure near the southern Atlantic Coast.

According to Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams, "Long-range temperature forecasts have a strong root to climatology, or normal/average, so that arctic outbreaks and their low-level cold air may be washed out by this basis."

The core of the cold air and the center of high pressure does not appear to be aiming for the Deep South, due to the persistent high offshore in the Atlantic.

In South Texas, there may only be a couple of nights where temperatures get low enough for borderline frost or freeze conditions and that is highly contingent on cloud cover, wind direction, etc.

More details on the cold air and adjustments to temperatures will continue in the coming days on AccuWeather.com.

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