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Date: 12/12/2016

Title: Prolonged Cold for Rockies and Plains

The polar vortex has been making the news recently and for good reason. The coldest air of the early winter season will be impacting a large portion of the USA this week and into next week. While severe cold hit the Rockies and Northern Plains last week, this next salvo of Arctic cold will be larger and more intense. 

Over the next several days expect very cold temperatures and snow from the Northern Plains eastward through the Great Lakes and into the Northeast. Stock growers should be prepared for very cold temperatures and snow and heavy lake effect snows will be possible along the shores of the Great Lakes.

The Arctic will reload by midweek and will then begin to head south by late in the week.  Beef producers need to be ready for severe cold and bitter cold wind chills along with snow from Pacific Northwest, through the Rockies and into the Plains by this weekend.  The odds of temperatures going far below zero are high by this weekend across the Rockies and Northern Plains. In addition to the severe cold there will be some snowfall as well.

All indications suggest that the cold will be very persistent for the rest of December, especially in the far west, Rockies and Plains. While there will be brief thaws, they will be quickly followed by big drops in temperatures and snowfall.

The chart below is a long range computer model prediction of surface temperatures for the remainder of December. 

The blue, green and purple areas highlight the areas where colder than normal temperatures for December with the yellow and orange areas highlighting areas of expected above normal temperatures. 

If the expected trends continue, the worse of the cold will be across central Canada south into the Northern Rockies and of the Northern and Central Plains eastward into the Great Lakes.