Relatively mild temperatures in place across most of the U.S. this past weekend (despite widespread rainfall) are certain to plummet more than 15° degrees below average starting in the northwest quadrant of the country early this week. However, unlike most of November which was coldest for longest west of the Rockies, the opposite U.S. temperature gradient is anticipated to predominate December. Arctic air is of high forecast confidence to focus east of the Rockies the longest in December, more directly into the Midwest and East starting during the 2nd week of the month. Before then temperature volatility driven by fast moving coast to coast tracking storms is likely to average somewhat cooler than models forecast, especially across the northeastern quadrant of the U.S. (seasonal) as progressively colder air in their wake outweighs brief warming peaking during their approach. All extended range models flood the majority of the Eastern U.S. with cold air of varying intensity during the 11-15 day period, but all recent forecasts are considered too mild. Strong and prolonged high latitude blocking directing frigid arctic air across snow covered Canada with very little modification (weakening) along the way sets the stage for the coldest mid-late December in several years across the Midwest and East.
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