The record warmth that much of the U.S. experienced this fall will just be a distant memory next week. A change is coming, courtesy of the first arctic blast of the season, arriving just in time for the beginning of meteorological winter.
Many cities from the East to the Pacific Northwest saw temperatures this fall rank in the top five warmest, and November 2016 was one of the three warmest Novembers on record for locations from the Midwest and Plains to the West Coast. A few cities in the Midwest even set records for latest first freeze.
As we head into early December, a pattern change is finally expected to allow arctic air to spill southward. Below is a look at where the coldest temperatures are currently located.
This change to colder temperatures will begin to evolve late this weekend and into next week.
A southward dip in the jet stream, or upper-level trough, will dig southward from the Gulf of Alaska and western Canada into the western U.S., and will then slide eastward as the week progresses. High pressure at the surface will then dive southward, allowing arctic air to spread into parts of the Lower 48.
This will be the first arctic air mass of the season for the U.S., just in time to start December.
How Cold Will It Get, and When?
The coldest temperatures of the season so far are expected to arrive next week. Big temperature drops are ahead, with highs and lows dropping 20 to 30 degrees.
These very cold conditions will first be felt in the northern Rockies on Monday and will spread through much of the West and into portions of the northern and central Plains by Tuesday.
(FORECAST: Great Falls, Montana | Salt Lake City | Denver | Albuquerque, New Mexico) – Weather.com
The first sub-zero temperatures of the season for some locations are expected Tuesday through Thursday mornings from the Rockies to the northern Plains.
High and low temperatures will be as much as 30 degrees colder than average. This translates to high temperatures below freezing for much of the West and into the northern and central Plains and upper Midwest. In fact, highs will struggle to reach double digits midweek in parts of the northern Rockies and northern Plains.
Even with these very cold temperatures, widespread record lows are not expected.
(FORECAST: Bismarck, North Dakota | Omaha, Nebraska | Chicago | St. Louis) – weather.com
It will be windy as well, which will make it feel even colder than what the thermometer reads, resulting in brutal wind chills.
In addition, snow will accompany the cold temperatures, but it is too early to determine exactly where, when and how much snow will fall yet.
Forecast Highs Compared To Average
Arctic air will continue to plunge through the Plains and into the Midwest midweek. Above-average temperatures will be replaced with below-average readings. Highs will drop from the 40s to the 20s for much of the Midwest.
Late in the week, the colder conditions will reach the East Coast.
(FORECAST: New York | Washington, D.C. | Atlanta | Orlando) – weather.com
At this time, it appears that temperatures will not be as cold for the East as for the West and Plains. However, it will feel more like winter.
The first freeze of the season may arrive for New York and Atlanta by next weekend, as lows will dip into the 20s and 30s.
High temperatures will drop from the mid-40s to the low to mid-30s for much of the Northeast, and many areas of the South will see highs in the 50s and 60s be replaced with highs only in the 40s.
The chilly conditions will reach all the way to Florida. Temperatures in central Florida will only reach the 60s by late week, compared to 80s early in the week.