As people living in the Midwest and East are starting to dream of an early spring with warmer temperatures, Old Man Winter is having none of it. Yet another blast of frigidly cold arctic air is sweeping down from Canada to result in temperatures that will be 10 to 30 degrees colder than what is normally seen during late February.
Forecasters say that a polar jet stream will once again push southward to bring bitter cold air to the northern part of the US and East directly out of the Arctic Ocean. This newest blast of cold air will hang over the northern part of the country for most of this week. And, by mid-week, the cold air will be over the South as well. In the Midwest region highs will only reach single digits and teens from Montana through the Upper Midwest to the Great Lakes. Overnight, the temperatures will linger in the single digits and below zero in some areas. However, some places will see the mercury levels dip much lower. Such will be the case near the border to Canada in parts of North Dakota, northern Minnesota, northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The sub-zero temperatures may even push as far south as northern Iowa mid-week and stay that low until early Friday. The wind chill will be below zero at times this week from the northern reaches of the Plains states to the Upper Mississippi Valley and Great Lakes.
The below zero temperatures have dominated most of the month of February in parts of the Plains, Midwest and Northeast. Several cities in the Midwest have experienced the coldest days in February this year based on monthly averages such as Chicago, Green Bay and Moline, IL. In Duluth, Minnesota, where people are very used to cold weather, the city has broken its record of 60 days with sub-zero temperatures this winter. Even people living in the Twin Cities may find that the coming cold spell will push them into the top 10 for the most sub-zero temps every recorded in one winter season.
If this winter’s extreme cold and snow cover have not created enough problems for Midwesterners such as those living in the Detroit metro area, with the turn of the calendar there will be a new weather-related issue to worry about and that’s flooding. The Detroit area has seen the snowiest January since the late 1870s as there’s been 70 or so inches of snowfall thus far this season. That much snowpack contains several inches of water and depending upon how fast the snow melts, it can result in very serious flooding which is something to take very seriously.
Weather experts say that the best case scenario this spring would be sunny, windy and warm days with dry air. This would result in the snowpack melting gradually which will help keep serious flooding at bay. But if the early part of the spring brings with it much rain as is usually the case, there could be devastating flooding in the Detroit metro area as well as in many other parts of the Midwest, Plains and East.