The longest stretch of cold air of winter focusing across the Northeast this entire week combined with several winter storms ejecting out of Southern California set the stage for marked expansion of snow cover. However, mild temperatures across the Southeast generating mainly rain from Texas to the Carolinas are early stages of pattern change on track to fully contract the coldest air in North America into western Canada next week while flooding all of eastern North America with above average temperatures. Prolonged mild temperatures forecast to predominate the initial 2-weeks of February will be primarily above freezing across the Midwest and East to melt snow deposited east of the Rockies this week. Bare ground will be important as a mitigating factor to the next colder pattern shift models have latched onto dislodging colder air from western Canada into the northern Rockies and northern Plains in the middle of the 11-15 day period. The most aggressive model forecasts overwhelm the South and East with arctic air during the latter half of February, but are considered unlikely to verify. Less extreme forecasts of the 30-day MWA ensemble focus late February – early March cooling across the northern tier of the U.S. in a modifying (weakening) manner. Slightly-moderately below average temperatures periodically reaching the Northeast may delay the start to spring but this level of cooling will not be extreme.
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