Arctic express: Coldest air since last February arriving Sunday

A powerful front will slice across the eastern U.S. Saturday, leaving behind the coldest air since mid-February last winter.

A frigid pool of air, with temperatures as cold as 55 below zero, has formed in northwest Canada and Alaska.

 

It will scoot into north central Canada and then plunge southeast Friday through Sunday.


Animation of southeastward surge of cold air (at 850 mb or altitude of about 5,000 ft) Saturday into Sunday (WeatherBell.com)

On Sunday, temperatures are likely to hold in the 30s for much of the day in the D.C. area. And that’s not taking into account the very stiff wind – which will make it feel like the 20s or even the teens.  The National Weather Service says 50 mph wind gusts are possible Sunday morning, and they may not let up substantially until late Sunday night or early Monday morning.


GFS model simulation of highest temperature between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday (WeatherBell.com)

For reference, Sunday afternoon’s temperature are likely to be about 20 to 30 degrees below average.


Simulated difference from normal (anomaly) temperature Sunday afternoon/evening fron GFS model (WeatherBell.com)

On Monday morning, the European model simulates lows from about 20 to 25 with teens in the mountains, with even lower wind chills.


European model simulation of low temperatures Monday morning (WeatherBell.com)

Temperatures may moderate a bit Tuesday into the middle of next week, but then a bit of storminess may approach the region. We’ll have more on that tomorrow.

Jason is currently the Washington Post’s weather editor. A native Washingtonian, Jason has been a weather enthusiast since age 10.
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Jason Samenow · November 20, 2013