National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Heavy snow and hazardous travel for portions of the Great Lakes, Northeast, and New England

Heavy snow, bitterly cold temperatures, and treacherous travel will be likely from the Great Lakes to the Northeast, and into New England over the next couple of days. Heavy Lake Effect snow of one to two feet will impact areas downwind of Lake Eerie and Ontario. Widespread snowfall of 6 to 12 inches will also impact much of northern New England. Read More >

 

The last 10 days have been cold across the eastern Plains.  There have been several days with highs below 10 degrees.  But how unusual is this type of cold?  We compared this year's cold snap with cold snaps during January in 2014 and 2015.  This year's cold snap has been very similar to 2014 - with high temperatures near 0 at Huron and Sioux Falls and in the single digits above zero in Sioux City.  In both 2014 and 2016, there were two periods where temperatures were vey cold.  Between these two cold periods, temperatures warmed above freezing for a couple of days.

In 2015, it did not get as cold as what was seen in 2014 or has been experienced this year.  However, at both Huron and Sioux Falls. high temperatures remained below normal for almost 10 days - with highs generally in the single digits and 20s.  Sioux City was a little warm with a couple of days near freezing for highs.

Both cold snaps in 2014 and 2015 were followed by more mild weather at the end of January with highs above freezing for a few days.  It looks like warmer temperatures are expected by the weekend.  Let's see if January 2016 follows the same pattern.

Graphs of January cold snaps from January 2014, 2015 and 2016