Monday, December 12, 2022

Extraordinary Cold Wave Possible Leading Up to Christmas

It appears an extraordinary cold wave is going to occur the week before Christmas with life-threatening, travel disrupting, and extremely 
expensive energy-consuming cold. 

Since Thursday, December 8, I have been writing about a very cold period in store for the Lower 48 states starting this week. The major storm (see postings below) will pull a very cold air mass from Siberia (where temperatures are -80°F) over the Pole, through Canada and into the USA. 

While we usually do not associate heavy snow with extreme cold, that is a generality. With the right conditions, heavy snow and ice can occur with extreme cold. I agree with the 8-14 day temperature outlook just issued by the National Weather Service. 
Just how cold are we talking about?

Here is a forecast temperature map from the GDPS global model valid 6pm CST on November 21st (the time on the map is UTC, ignore it). These are close to the high temperatures of the day and they are below zero as far south as Kansas and Iowa. That could air will be pouring south in time for Christmas. 

I've gone back and reviewed the weather maps for the week before Christmas from 1983. That was one of, if not the most extreme cold in the history of the middle of the United States. Conditions are quite similar (with the normal caveat that 10-day forecasts are iffy). That stipulated, this pattern has been signaling itself for about a week. Even if the map above's temperatures are off by a day or two, it appears and extraordinary cold wave is going to occur the week before Christmas with life-threatening, travel disrupting, water pipe bursting, and extremely expensive energy producing cold. 

This weather system -- in spite of the cold -- will be quite capable of producing heavy snow and, possibly, ice. It is too soon to get very specific about that threat, but it is there. I will keep monitoring this threat and will keep you informed. 

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