Back to back cold fronts will slice through the eastern two-thirds of the country to deliver one of the coldest arctic air intrusions in recent memory, especially from the Upper Midwest to the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley, the National Weather Service warns. From Tuesday through Thursday, January 29 - 31, 2019 expect frigid temperatures and bitterly cold wind chills, likely leading to widespread record lows and low maximum temperatures.
On Tuesday, very cold high pressure over West-Central Canada will move southeastward into Northern Plains by Wednesday morning. The high will bring very cold temperatures to the Upper Midwest with wind chills between -48 and -51 °C (-60 and -55 °F) over parts of the Upper Mississippi Valley, NWS forecaster Ziegenfelder notes.
The worst of this impressive arctic airmass will affect the north-central U.S. with record-breaking temperatures and extreme wind chills on Thursday, January 31. However, it's not expected to stick around for long as a moderating trend is expected immediately after.
The frigid air unleashed by the polar vortex in the Midwest will expand into the Northeast this week, bringing the coldest air for the region thus far in 2019, AccuWeather meteorologist Courtney Spamer said. Temperatures will begin to plummet from the Ohio Valley to the interior Northeast on Tuesday and Tuesday night, then to coastal areas on Wednesday.
"The weather in the Midwest will be painful. It will literally hurt," Capital Weather Gang's Angela Fritz said.
Minus-60 to minus-50 wind chill all the way into Chicago this week? The weather in the Midwest will be painful. It will literally hurt. pic.twitter.com/HGFzFOpftW— Angela Fritz (@angelafritz) January 28, 2019
Prepare for cold weather
The way to avoid frostbite and hypothermia is to plan for the extreme cold before it arrives. Don't get caught unprepared. For more cold weather advices from NWS, see the following link.
- Check the Forecast at weather.gov or your favorite weather app, station, etc.: Make checking the forecast part of your regular routine so you'll know when to expect cold weather.
- Adjust Your Schedule: If possible, adjust your schedule to avoid being outside during the coldest part of the day, typically the early morning. Try to find a warm spot for your children while waiting for the school bus outside.
- Protect Your Pets, Livestock and other Property: If you have pets or farm animals, make sure they have plenty of food and water, and are not overly exposed to extreme cold. Take precautions to ensure your water pipes do not freeze. Know the temperature thresholds of your plants and crops.
- Fill up the tank: Make sure your car or vehicle has at least a half a tank of gas during extreme cold situations so that you can stay warm if you become stranded.
- Dress for the outdoors even if you don't think you'll be out much.
- Update Your Winter Car Survival Kit: Make sure your car survival kit has the following:
- Jumper cables: flares or reflective triangle are great extras
- Flashlights: Replace the batteries before the winter season starts and pack some extras
- First Aid Kit: Also check your purse of bag for essential medications
- Baby, special needs gear: If you have a baby or family member with special needs, pack diapers and any special formula or food
- Food: Stock non-perishable food such as canned food and a can opener, dry cereal and protein rich foods like nuts and energy bars
- Water: Have at least 1 gallon of water per person a day for at least 3 days
- Basic toolkit: Pliers, wrench, screwdriver
- Pet supplies: Food and water
- Radio: Battery or hand cranked
- Cat litter or sand: For better tire traction
- Shovel: To dig out snow
- Ice scraper: Even is you usually park in a garage, have one in the car.
- Clothes: Make sure you dress for the weather in warm clothes, gloves, hat, sturdy boots, jacket and an extra change of clothes for the cold
- Warmers: Pack extra for body, hand, feet
- Blankets or sleeping bags: If you get stranded in traffic on a lonely road, you'll be glad to have it
- Charged Cell Phone: Keep a spare charger in your car as well
Featured image credit: NOAA/NWS