The intense winter of 2013 - 2014 over the Eastern U.S. adds another remarkable cold blast to its resume this week, as a new outbreak of Arctic air surges southwards from Canada. Temperatures of -24°F and colder were common in northern Minnesota on Monday morning, and strong winds were bringing dangerous below-zero wind chills to 23 states. The core of the cold air will thrust southeastward on Monday and Tuesday, and more than half of the contiguous U.S. will experience temperatures 15°F - 30°F below normal. This cold blast will be just as widespread as the cold wave three weeks ago, but about 5° warmer. In Chicago,
where the winter of 2013 - 2014 ranked as the 13th coldest winter on record
for the period December 1 - January 25, the temperature fell below zero at 6 am CST Monday morning, and may remain below zero until late morning on Wednesday, a period of up to 50 consecutive hours. This would rank near 4th place
for the longest stretch of below-zero temperatures on record. The 36 consecutive hours Chicago was below zero three weeks ago was not quite a top-ten below zero streak.Figure 1.
Blizzard conditions in Woodbury, MN on Sunday, January 26, 2014. Image credit: Wunderphotographer 26mileman.Nasty ice storm for the Deep South
An area of low pressure will track along the Gulf Coast over the next two days, moving east-northeast to a position off the coast of South Carolina on Tuesday night. With cold air firmly entrenched over the deep south, a significant winter storm is expected from Southern Louisiana to Eastern North Carolina. The anti-fun starts in New Orleans
Monday night, when rain will change over to freezing rain. Ice accumulations of 1/4" - 1/2" are possible along a swath from Southeast Louisiana through Southern Mississippi, Southern Alabama, the Northwest Florida Panhandle, Southern Georgia, Southern South Carolina, and Eastern North Carolina though Wednesday morning. Snows of 2 - 4" are possible just to the north of the freezing rain swath. This storm has the potential to cause significant damage to trees and power lines, resulting in widespread power outages. Travel will be very dangerous in the areas affected by the heaviest freezing rain and snow.Worst weather for Monday: Munising, Michigan
My nomination for worst weather of the day goes to Munising, Michigan
, on the shores of Lake Superior. Munising had a temperature of -2°F at 8am EST, and the winds off of Lake Superior were 17 mph gusting to 22 mph, creating a wind chill of -23°. Heavy lake effect snow was creating whiteout conditions, and a blizzard warning is in effect for much of the Michigan shore of Lake Superior, for snowfall amounts of up to six inches. The snows would be much greater, but Lake Superior is mostly frozen over. Ice cover on the Great Lakes was at 48% on January 22,
which was well above the 1980 - 2010 average of 18%. This ranks as the highest ice coverage since the winter of 1993 - 1994, and fifth highest since the winter of 1980 - 1981.LinksSnowstorms in the Southeast and Deep South of the United States: An Historical Perspective
, 2011 blog post by our weather historian, Christopher C. Burt.Report: Lake Ice Grows Safer To Venture Out On With Each Beer Consumed
: news item from The Onion.