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Big chill swipes through nation's center

01/02/2014 @ 7:49am

One of the coldest mornings of this winter is currently upon us. Many areas across central and northern Minnesota are -15 to -30F with a few locations, including International Falls, dropping below -40F!

With a very cold airmass in place today temperatures will be running 15-30 degrees below normal across the central and western Midwest, with areas across the eastern Midwest east into New England also running below average.

A few to locally several inches of snow will fall across eastern Indiana, Kentucky, northern Tennessee, and Ohio through the day with significant accumulations expected across New England as a low pressure center develops south and east of Cape Cod. This departing storm system will tap into a reservoir of -30 to -40F temperatures across Quebec and drive it south into the Megalopolis by Friday, resulting in the coldest weather so far this season.

Across the Midwest, cold weather will linger although moderation will take place across western areas as winds become gusty from the south. Friday night into Saturday the Polar Vortex over central Canada will be shunted south by high pressure across the Arctic Circle. As a result, a powerful cold front will plummet south first through the Northern Plains. It will then enter the northwestern Midwest by Saturday morning. Temperatures will tumble during the day Saturday from Iowa north and west into the Northern Plains.

As this front progresses south and east through the Midwest Saturday night, increasing upper-level support will lead to low pressure development along the frontal boundary, spreading an expanding snow field across Illinois with the potential for significant snowfall totals east into central and northern portions of Indiana and Ohio. Some snow may also occur as far south as Missouri and northern Arkansas associated with this system. This would provide a blanket of snow across much of the Soft Red Winter Wheat areas. As this storm departs off to the east Monday, it will drag more cold air south from Canada, deepening the Polar Vortex into a 492dm cutoff-low north of Lake Superior.

Monday the 6th will then bring the coldest airmass of the season to the Midwest with cities such as Minneapolis, Des Moines, Chicago, and Madison staying below zero for high temperatures. Those experiencing the worst of the cold include the central and northern Midwest where some areas will fail to reach -10F, potentially as far south as a Sioux Falls-Waterloo- Chicago line. Fortunately eastern portions of Hard Red Winter Wheat and much of the SRW Wheat will have an insulating snowcover.

I would not expect much morn than 5% HRW Wheat to be at risk of winterkill. Tuesday, Jan 7th will be the coldest day for the eastern US, with freezing temperatures spreading as far south as the Gulf Coast and northern interior Florida. We then see a quick moderation trend across much of the central and eastern US as the East Pacific ridge begins to break down.

This will introduce a cooler, wetter pattern to the western US especially by Jan 8th. Although considerable disagreement continues amongst long-range models, the European run remains consistent in bringing near/above normal temps to the central and especially eastern US by January 10th.


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