So long, subzero temps! A ‘dramatic’ January thaw is around the corner

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JANUARY 17, 2024

Next week’s temperature outlook shows that warmer-than-average temperatures are forecast for the entire nation, except for Alaska. The area where above-average temperatures are most likely is around the Great Lakes (dark red on the map).Climate Prediction Center

If you’re sick of the bitter cold, there is some good news on the horizon: Next week looks to be significantly milder nearly coast-to-coast, meteorologists say.

In fact, about 90% of the nation should see normal to above-normal temperatures by the middle of next week, AccuWeather long-range meteorologist Paul Pastelok told USA TODAY.

“It will be a huge difference for folks in the Plains and Midwest,” Pastelok said. He said temperatures will be about 8-14 degrees above normal there next week, a far cry from the brutal, record-cold temperatures those regions have experienced this week.

‘Deep freeze’ will ease its hold on the Lower 48

Federal scientists are also predicting a warming trend next week: “A dramatic warmup is expected across the Lower 48 starting next week and lasting at least the next 10 days,” Richard Tinker, a meteorologist at the Climate Prediction Center, told USA TODAY. “One more shot of cold air is expected later this week. After that, the ‘deep freeze’ will ease its grip and odds favor above-normal temperatures for the following 10 days or so across the entire Lower 48.”

The warmup will be the result of weather patterns that will block incursions of arctic air from moving into the country, Tinker said. He said next week’s weather will feature a high-pressure area off the East Coast, which will flood the Lower 48 with mild air originating primarily over the waters south of the nation.

Cold isn’t quite ready to relent yet

But first, before the warmer air arrives, we’ve got to endure this week’s cold: After a slightly milder Wednesday, a new surge of colder air is forecast to drop south over the northern Plains and Midwest, reaching the Deep South by the end of the week, forecasters said.

“For much of the country, this will end up being the coldest and most persistent outbreak of arctic air in a couple of winters,” AccuWeather senior meteorologist Matt Benz said.

Is next week’s warmth the January thaw?

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, during the January thaw, which usually lasts for about a week, temperatures rise an average of 10 degrees higher than the previous week, then drop back in time for February’s arrival. Though it’s called a “thaw,” the January thaw doesn’t necessarily melt away snow and ice during its stay.

“In areas where winter weather is exceptionally cold, temperatures during the thaw may not even rise above freezing,” the Almanac said. More temperate regions, however, may even experience what could be described as a “false spring.”

The January thaw appears to be more than folklore: Although the thaw does not occur at a fixed time, climatologists note the most frequent thaws occur from Jan. 19 to Jan. 28. Art DeGaetano, climatologist with the Northeast Regional Climate Center, said the so-called thaw is most noticeable in the eastern United States, but it can be traced as far west as Missouri.


Courtesy: This article originally appeared on USA TODAY / AP