A strong jet stream is splitting the US between an amplified upper level ridge in the West and a deep trough in the East. This pattern is expected to remain in place through the end of the week. With the exception of the Pacific Northwest, the ridge will keep conditions warm and dry in the West while the eastern half of the US will be cold with several storm systems.
The cold air is already in place across the Western Great Lakes and Upper Mississippi River Valley where highs today (Tuesday 2/9) are in the single digits above zero to below zero for parts of Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota. This cold air mass will continue to push south and east into Wednesday. Lows Wednesday as well as Thursday Morning will be chilly with single digits as far south as the Southern Great Lakes and mid and upper 20’s in the Deep South including southern Alabama, Georgia and even north Florida.
The cold air will shift north out of the far Deep South for Friday as another surge of cold air works into the Northern Plains by Saturday Morning. Morning lows on Saturday will again be in the minus single digits to minus teens for Wisconsin, Minnesota, South and North Dakota.
When comparing to normal lows, these low temperatures are 15 to 20 degrees below normal as show in the areas depicted by the blue contours below.
The 10 to 20+ degree below normal low temperatures will shifts into the Ohio Valley, Mid Atlantic and Northeast on Sunday where single digits below to single digits above normal will be common, even north Florida dip into the 30’s.
In addition, snow will accompany with cold temperatures as systems rotate through the upper level trough. The areas that have the higher chances of seeing 4+ inches through Friday morning include the downwind sides of the Great Lakes in Michigan, Pennsylvania and New York as well as the higher elevations in West Virginia and parts of Maryland and Southeastern Pennsylvania.
To protect from the frigid cold, try to limit your time outdoors. If you have to be outside limit your exposed skin, have several layers and wear a wind and waterproof outer layer. Wear a hat, earmuffs or something that fully covers your ears. If possible use mittens rather than gloves as they provide better protection or have a think glove liner under your thicker gloves. A scarf and face mask will also help to keep your neck and face protected. Finally, for your feet, socks and sock liners are optimal along with lined boots. If your clothes become wet, change out of them immediately.
Also do not forget about your pets, animals and livestock, ensure they have protection from the cold. If possible bring pets indoors. If that is not possible to bring your animals inside consider moving them to a more sheltered location and provide extra bedding and food to help keep them warm.
For those in the Deep South, if you have cold sensitive plants, consider covering them or bringing planters indoors.
The team at WxIntegrations will continue to provide relevant information and resources to help you better understand and prepare by incorporating weather impacts into your planning and response.