One-Two Punch of Arctic Blasts to Culminate in Record Mid-November Cold in Central, Eastern U.S. into Next Week

Brian Donegan
Published: November 7, 2019

A surge of arctic cold currently moving through will be followed by a second cold blast early next week, delivering the coldest air of the season to the central, southern and eastern U.S.

A persistent jet stream pattern will remain locked in place through mid-November, plunging southward over the central and eastern U.S., delivering reinforcing cold air from Canada deep into the eastern two-thirds of the nation.

Let's take a closer look at the pair of cold blasts.

Through Saturday

The first cold front is now surging through the Plains and into the Deep South and Northeast.

A few of the coldest spots in the Northern Plains and upper Midwest dipped below zero early Thursday morning, including Phillip, South Dakota, and Black River Falls, Wisconsin.

(MAPS: Current Temperatures | Current Wind Chills


Current Temperatures

High and low temperatures will be 10 to 20 degrees below average in most locations when the cold air mass arrives.

(MAPS: 10-Day Forecast Highs and Lows

Afternoon highs will be stuck in the 20s in parts of the upper Midwest and northern Great Lakes Friday. Most of the interior Northeast and New England will hold in the 30s Friday afternoon, while the mid-Atlantic struggles to rise out of the lower 40s.

High temperatures may hold in the 40s as far south as northern Louisiana, Tennessee and North Carolina by Friday. Much of the South should hold in the 50s on Friday, except near the Gulf Coast, where temperatures should still manage to reach 60 degrees.

The cold air will persist into Saturday east of the Mississippi River. New York City and Boston may struggle to rise into the lower 40s Saturday afternoon. Even parts of North Florida will be relatively cool by Saturday, with some cities holding in the 60s.

Lows in the teens and single digits are likely in the Northern Plains, upper Midwest and northern Great Lakes again Friday morning. Temperatures will dip into the 20s overnight as far south as the Texas Panhandle Friday morning, with 20s also stretching into Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina by Friday or Saturday.

Lows in the 20s will reach the mid-Atlantic coast Saturday morning. Much of the South will dip into the 30s, and some upper 40s are possible in North Florida.

This cold blast won't set many record lows, but a few are possible in the mid-Atlantic states Saturday morning.


Forecast Morning Lows

Next Week

If that wasn't enough, another blast of cold air will sweep into the central and eastern U.S. early next week, and this is likely to be the coldest air of the season for many.

This next front will plunge quickly through the Northern Plains and upper Midwest Sunday, into the Southern Plains and Ohio Valley Monday, then through most of the East Coast and Deep South Tuesday.

Timing of the cold blast early next week. The contours show departures from average high temperatures each day. The areas in the purple and pink contours will see the coldest air, relative to mid-November averages.

The National Weather Service office in the Twin Cities compared the cold of this air mass to a similar event in 1986 that set record lows in parts of the upper Midwest.

By Monday, highs in the teens may be widespread in the Northern Plains, and temperatures may struggle to rise out of the 20s for highs as far south as the mid-Mississippi Valley and Central Plains. These are daytime highs more typical of January than November.

(MAPS: 10-Day Forecast Highs and Lows

Monday's high temperatures could be the coldest on record for Nov. 11 in parts of the Midwest and Great Lakes. This includes Minneapolis and Chicago, where the coldest high temperatures on record for that date are 19 degrees and 28 degrees, respectively.

Tuesday's highs may be the coldest on record for Nov. 12 from the parts of the Northeast and Great Lakes into the Ohio Valley and lower Mississippi Valley. Highs may be stuck in the below freezing in the Ohio Valley, in the 30s in the Tennessee Valley and 40s in the Deep South.

Wednesday's highs may still be stuck in the 40s in the Deep South and 50s in parts of north Florida.

The National Weather Service is forecasting about 170 potential daily record cold high temperatures Monday through Wednesday.


Forecast Highs Next Week

During the peak of this cold air outbreak, lows should plunge into the single digits as far south as the central Plains by Tuesday morning. Some single digit below-zero lows are likely in the Northern Plains.

The Deep South should see lows in the 20s Tuesday and Wednesday morning, and the season's first freeze is possible along parts of the northern Gulf Coast, including Houston and New Orleans, by Wednesday morning. The Florida Panhandle may shiver with lows in the 30s Wednesday and Thursday morning.

(MORE: When Your First Freeze Typically Arrives)


Forecast Morning Lows Next Week

Lake-effect snow may intensify for a time in the Great Lakes snowbelts as the sharply colder air passes over the still-warm lakes.

The chilly pattern may relax after next week's cold blast, particularly in the Plains states.

However, given the early season snowpack in Canada, prolonged warmth is unlikely in the northern tier, particularly east of the Mississippi River, heading into the second half of the month.

(MORE: November 2019 U.S. Temperature Outlook

Similar to November 2018?

November 2018 was one of the 10 coldest Novembers on record for Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Mississippi. Kansas City, Missouri, shivered through its coldest November on record.

The only warmer than average areas last November were found along the West Coast, and in Alaska and Florida.

The upper-level pattern last year also brought a persistent southward dip in the jet stream over the central and eastern U.S., which led to the chilly November for much of the country.

Average State Temperature in November 2018
(Data: NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information)

Last year's cold was also accompanied by a blizzard and record snow. However, it is too early to know if snowy conditions will also occur this November.

The focus of the most anomalous cold and its impacts this year may be in different locations than November 2018, but the overall pattern suggests that a chilly November may be ahead for the second year in a row.

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.


The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.