It's finally hear. We've reached the pinnacle of the first hill to the proverbial "Temperature Rollercoaster". Make sure you keep your hands and legs inside warm clothes at all times while the ride is in motion!
Temperatures peaked today in the middle 30s. We'll be slipping, nearly progressively until Friday morning. We'll wake up to temperatures below zero, but even colder yet for Saturday morning. Wind Chills will be -10° to -20° for most of the time period into the weekend.
The cause is a southward surge in the jet stream, opening up the the gates to Canadian, Arctic air.
Temperatures as of 8:30pm Wednesday showed this air cruising all the way down into north Texas, wrapping back up northeast to Chicago. The leading edge of this potent cold front will reach the gulf coast by Friday.
With a surface high pressure setting up in close proximity (North Dakota) wind will ease up, coupled with a mainly clear sky, it's a pretty good setup to let the still atmosphere draw up the warmth from the earth. This particular computer model shows temperatures for 6am Saturday, also with mean sea level pressure plotted.
It's still cold, but it could be colder. That's IF we would have picked up a blanket of snow. Snow, believe it or not, is a really good insulator. With a fresh coat on the ground it keeps the earths energy held in the ground, meaning everything above the snow won't feel the 'warming' effects of the earth. Take that away and temperatures near the surface are even cooler. So... it could be worse, and will certainly be a factor in temperatures over snow covered regions to our north and northwest through his cold spell, which will likely be near -20° for an air temperature.
This isn't a short ride though. There's more down the line. After a few bunny hills through the weekend, we'll get another shot of cold air to descend from the arctic. Temperatures by early next week, particularly Tuesday morning will be on par, if not even cooler than those expected over the next couple of days. And, oh ya, it appears we'll pick up some snow Sunday night to pronounce those temperatures (which is not taken into account for the numbers below).
The 6-10 day temperature outlook from the Climate Prediction Center agrees with the cold pool, directly over Minnesota.
Looking out even further, the pattern suggest the cold regime will persist, so the question is, when will the train return to the station? The answer? It doesn't look to be any time soon.
Storm Tracker 6 Chief Meteorologist