Severe Cold For the Holidays
By Don Day, Jr., Meteorologist
The winter term “polar express” is fitting to describe what is coming to a large portion of the nation as we approach and go through the Christmas and New Year holidays.
Beef producers across the nation should brace for the coldest temperatures of the season along with snowfall as the jet stream will dive south from the polar regions and into the heart of the nation.
The Arctic air that is arriving is the coldest air of the season and could rival the cold or be colder that hit areas of the nation last winter.
Subzero temperature and subzero wind chills will be likely from the Rockies to the Plains to the Great Lakes and Midwest by Christmas with the cold shifting east to the east coast by or just after Christmas time. Dangerously cold temperatures and wind chills will be a big concern for livestock interests over at least 60% of the lower 48 states by this weekend.
The confidence level of this impending change to severe cold is high and beef producers should take advantage of the mild weather ahead of the change to prepare.
The first wave of cold and snow will hit the Pacific Northwest on Tuesday and Wednesday. During the nighttime hours of Wednesday, cold and snow will move into the central and northern Rockies with snow reaching Denver by Thursday.
The cold will then spread east into the Northern Plains and Corn Belt along with some snow/ice. A second push of true Arctic air will arrive Friday and Saturday into the Rockies that will send temperatures to below zero and will bring another round of snow.
The extreme cold with the second wave will deepen and move east by Christmas Eve and Christmas Day bringing temperatures to near or below zero in the Midwest and Corn Belt by or just after Christmas Day.
Temperatures may exceed –30F in portions of the Northern and Central Rockies and the Northern Plains by this weekend and into early next week.
After Christmas, odds are high that more waves of cold could invade the nation into the New Year.