Brief Warmup May Be Followed by More Widespread Cold in Central, Eastern U.S. Next Week

Brian Donegan
Published: December 5, 2019

Milder temperatures are forecast across the central United States this week, then the East by early next week, but the next round of cold air is just around the corner.

November was one of the 10 coldest on record for some cities in the Midwest and East, including Bangor, Maine; Binghamton, New York; and Cincinnati, Ohio, according to the Southeast Regional Climate Center. The month was also punctuated by a pair of winter storms – Dorothy and Ezekiel, the latter of which continued into the first few days of December – resulting in the Lower 48 states' largest snow coverage to begin December in at least 16 years.

In fact, some cities had their most miserable start to winter through early November, and winter doesn't officially begin until Dec. 21 at 11:19 p.m. EST.

(MORE: Does a Cold November Mean a Cold Winter Ahead?

But for the cold-fatigued central and eastern U.S., temporary relief from the shivering temperatures and snow is anticipated in the days ahead. On Thursday, the milder temperatures will be found in the Plains, Midwest and South, followed by a brief cooldown Friday.

Then, widespread temperatures of 10 to 20 degrees above average are predicted throughout the Rockies and Plains on Saturday, the Plains and Midwest on Sunday and the Midwest, South and much of the East by Monday.

This means many cities in the northern tier could reach the 30s and 40s for highs, with 50s and 60s farther south and 70s in the Southern Plains and Deep South. Temperatures this warm might melt much of the Northeast snowpack by the middle of next week, but perhaps not as much in the Plains and Midwest.


Forecast Highs This Weekend

The warmup won't last, however.

Changes are on the way next week as the jet stream plunges southward over the central and eastern states and a cold front slides eastward through the Plains, Midwest and East.

This will allow the cold air bottled up in Canada to seep southward back into the U.S., beginning in the Northern Plains on Sunday, then gradually sliding eastward through the week.

This animation shows the progression of the colder air from Saturday through next Thursday.

Bitterly cold temperatures are predicted in parts of the Northern Plains and upper Midwest early to mid-next week. Highs may struggle to rise out of the single digits from parts of the Dakotas into portions of Minnesota and Wisconsin.

High temperatures in the teens may plunge as far south as the western Great Lakes, including Chicago and Milwaukee, next Wednesday, while highs in the 20s are possible into parts of the Ohio Valley and mid-Mississippi Valley.

New York City could fail to rise above freezing by next Thursday, and highs in the 40s could be widespread all the way into Arkansas, Tennessee and the mid-South.


Forecast Highs Next Week

Low temperatures are likely to dip below zero in portions of the Northern Plains and upper Midwest early to mid-next week. This will likely be the coldest temperatures of the season here and it will feel even colder when the wind is factored in.

Cities and towns in the Red River Valley of the North, including those in eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota, could bottom out in the mid-teens below zero next Wednesday morning.

Single-digit lows above zero are possible as far south as Chicagoland, with teens into the mid-Mississippi Valley and lower Ohio Valley. Morning lows in the 20s are forecast in the Texas Panhandle, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Tennessee during the middle of next week.


Forecast Morning Lows Next Week

There's a chance that moisture could overlap with next week's cold air, but it remains uncertain whether a significant storm will accompany the moisture to produce areas of snowfall. Check back to weather.com for updates.

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.