The Makings of the Next Cold Wave...

Earlier this week our weather team discussed about the potential of significantly cold weather heading into the final days of January...and it appears that we are indeed going in that direction. Matter of fact computer model guidance over the past couple days has seen a distinct trend toward where a severe arctic outbreak next week and now some of the details are starting to evolve...

Northern Hemisphere Upper level steering pattern (Saturday AM)

First off you will notice a change in the air today across the Foothills and Western Piedmont. Friday will feature chilly conditions with temperatures at or below average. As you can see on the image a deep trough and upper low is located across the Eastern 2/3rds of the country. High pressure off the West Coast of North America is also aiding in the process.

As you probably have heard many times, the "Polar Vortex" has been stretched and even dislodged from the Polar Regions and more of it is impacting sections of North Carolina. The first so-called piece of that is responsible for today's cold...however there is second piece shown in the image that will lead to an even bigger arctic attack next week.

850 mb temperature profile (Saturday AM)

The current map of temperatures at about 5000 ft altitude clearly shows plenty of cold arctic air located up near the North Poles but also lobes of bitter cold in North America and back in Siberia.

Upper level steering pattern (Tuesday 1/29 AM)

By the time we get to early next week, the first feature of interest has already moved out of North America while that second feature we talked about is getting stronger in terms of the cold and the overall height pattern across North America.

Also, notice how the steering pattern takes on some cross-polar flow...that will help allow cold air from Siberia to flood more into North America.

This is the beginning of a major outbreak first off across the Northern tier of the country but eventually heading southward.

Upper level steering pattern (Wed 1/30 AM)

Once we get to the middle part of next week, the "Polar Vortex" so to speak has fully detatched itself and a major piece of it will move into South Central Canada and into the Great Lakes Region of the United States. This will bring a major arctic outbreak to a good chunk of the country east of the Rockies. The very southern extent of this cold air will make it as far south as the Carolinas by this point...

As you can see with the temperature maps at 5000 ft, there has been a shift taking the coldest air into North America. This will be bitter cold air ushered in thanks to gusty north and northwest winds. Also, of interest...given the amount of cold air still in place back toward the Pole, one has to wonder if this could evolve into a constant reinforcement of severe cold, even after the current 7-Day forecast period?

850 mb temperatures (Wed AM)

At this time we expect the coldest of air to start impacting the Carolinas as we get into Wednesday and Thursday. Daytime high's this weekend are expected to be in the 40's and 50's, then slightly warmer (50's region-wide) by early next week out ahead of the arctic front.

Then by Wednesday the bottom appears to drop out as northwest winds will usher in the bitter cold air. Right now it appears that the region will see a sustained stretch of below freezing temperatures and overall temperatures colder than what we experienced during last weekend's cold blast.

Could this ultimately evolve into a multi-day cold wave similar to what we had in January of 2018? Its not out of the realm of possibility...

This is our official head's-up to you to prepare for a major arctic outbreak and how it could impact everyday functions. Here are a couple more graphics to share about things that you can do to prepare and be ready for what might come next week...stay with us through the weekend as this outbreak gets more inside of the 7-Day forecast cycle...


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