The United States is bracing for a widespread cold air outbreak, anticipated to affect much of the lower 48 states through mid-January due to a strong mid-level high pressure over Greenland and the negative Arctic Oscillation phase. Expected severe conditions include sub-zero temperatures and wind chills, widespread wintry precipitation, and potential flooding along the Eastern Seaboard.
The NWS Climate Prediction Center forecasters have warned of a widespread Arctic air outbreak across much of the lower 48 states through mid-January, triggered by strong mid-level high pressure over Greenland and the negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation, a key indicator of Northern Hemisphere weather patterns.
This event is set to bring significantly cold temperatures and wind chills, particularly across the Intermountain West and much of the Northern Plains.
Sub-zero temperatures and severe wind chills are anticipated in these regions, posing risks to life and property. Alongside the extreme cold, storminess during this period is likely to lead to widespread wintry precipitation, affecting areas from the Intermountain West to the interior Northeast.
The Eastern Seaboard is also on alert for potential flooding risks. As the Arctic air interacts with local conditions, there is a possibility of flooding along coastal and inland areas, exacerbating the challenges posed by the cold temperatures.
People living in affected areas are advised to heed local warnings and prepare for a period of severe winter weather that could affect a wide array of daily activities and safety.
1 Widespread Arctic Air Outbreak Anticipated Across Much of the Lower 48 Through Mid-January – NWS/Climate Prediction Center – January 4, 2024
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