Bitterly Cold Finish to February and Start to March

cold blast(SOURCE)    The start of March is just a couple of days away, so visions of shedding your heavy coat and placing it into storage might be entering your mind.

Unfortunately, the weather pattern for the final days of February and the start of March won’t cooperate with that thought process, particularly if you live along the northern tier of the United States.

It’s a weather pattern that residents of the central and eastern states are very familiar with this winter, and also probably frustrated with. 

Once again the polar jet stream has plunged southward, tapping bitter cold air directly from the Arctic Ocean. This latest frigid plunge will engulf the nation’s northern tier through the weekend. Much of the South will join in on the shivering during the middle part of the week before temperatures moderate this weekend. 

Let’s step through the details of the forecast.

  • Where: Temperatures will be 10 to 35 degrees colder than late-February averages across most of the Midwest and parts of the Northeast into Friday. This weekend, portions of the northern and central Plains and Upper Midwest will be 20 to more than 40 degrees below average. Some daily record low temperatures will be threatened each morning through the weekend. Near three dozen locations from the Midwest to the Northeast and Mid-South will threaten daily record lows on Friday morning.
  • Midwest Region Details: High temperatures in the single digits, teens and low 20s will dominate from the northern Plains to the Upper Midwest and parts of the Great Lakes. Subzero highs will make an appearance in the northern Plains and Upper Midwest at times, especially Thursday and Saturday. Lows will be in the single digits and teens below zero from the northern Plains to the Upper Mississippi Valley and western Great Lakes. Some 20s below zero are possible near the Canadian border (North Dakota, northern Minnesota and northern Wisconsin). Wind chills at times this week will be in the teens, 20s, 30s and even 40s below zero from the northern Plains to the Upper Mississippi Valley and western Great Lakes.
  • Midwest Notables: If the high temperature in Chicago stays below 8 degrees on Thursday, it would be the coldest high temperature so late in the season. Milwaukee could do the same if the high temperature stays below 5 degrees on Thursday. In Minneapolis, the high temperature on Thursday could fail to reach zero. This would join only three other times in history where a subzero high temperature has been recorded on Feb. 27 or later.
  • Northeast Region Details: Highs will be in the 20s and 30s along the I-95 corridor from Boston to Philadelphia much of this week. Lows may fall into the teens Thursday through Saturday. Elsewhere, highs in the teens and 20s will take over locations from northern New England to western New York and western Pennsylvania.
  • South Region Details: Highs in the 40s and 50s will take over a large part of the South on Wednesday. Some 30s are possible in the Mid-South and southern Appalachians. Widespread lows in the 20s and 30s in much of the South Thursday morning, lingering into Friday morning in the Southeast. Near-freezing low temperatures may reach the Gulf Coast of Mississippi and Alabama Thursday morning. Temperatures 10 to 15 degrees below average will briefly dip as far south as central Florida Thursday, bringing highs in the low to mid 60s.

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