Cold air has started to plague much of the United States as a trough of low pressure aloft has unleashed below average temperatures from the north. This has led to widespread temperatures cooler than average from the Rocky Mountains to the East Coast — and the long-range pattern suggests this cold isn’t going anywhere in the foreseeable future.
This Thursday, highs will generally be 10 to 25 degrees below average in the central US, while temperatures are more like 5 degrees below normal to the east. The only areas that will remain warmer than normal will be along the immediate Gulf Coast, West Coast, and Florida. Actual high temperatures in the 70s and 80s in these areas will contrast widespread highs into 30s, 40s, and 50s elsewhere.
On Friday, the chill will only intensify, with an area of temperatures greater than 30 degrees below average in the central Plains. That translates to actual high temperatures in the 20s, which would be record-breaking for this time of the year. Surrounding areas of the central US can expect another day of temperatures between 10 and 30 degrees cooler than normal. The East Coast will also continue to experience cooling temperatures with highs down to the 40s and 50s, although the immediate Mid-Atlantic and Southeast will be warmer than average for a brief period of time. That warmth will spread down to Florida, where highs will be in the 70s and 80s, which is record-breaking for numerous climate locations.
This weekend, the intensity of the cold will moderate, but that doesn’t mean the chilly conditions will disappear altogether. Temperatures from the Rocky Mountains to the East Coast can expect below average temperatures on Saturday. The most intense of the cold relative to average will be found in the Midwest and southern Plains — highs will be up to 25 degrees below average.
Sunday will be quite similar, but again the air will moderate even further. Highs will mainly be 5 to 15 degrees below average across similar areas, but at the same time a new cool down will be brewing. This next round of cold air will first become present on the leeward side of the Rocky Mountains, especially in Colorado, where highs will be 25 to 35 degrees below normal.
By early next week, that new blast of cold air will overspread across the central US and eventually the East Coast while gradually modifying.