Fox News Weather Center

Midwest, East: Winter to Arrive Gradually After November's Arctic Blasts

A shift in the weather pattern in early December will deliver some relief for the 200 million people across the United States being blasted by bitter air.

Though winter is certainly on its way, the change in seasons will become more gradual for areas like the Midwest and Northeast in the beginning of December.

The recent cold blast, which is more typical of January than November, can be linked, in part, to the significant cold air and snow stretching across Siberia.

The polar flow that came from the cold air building over Siberia's snowpack sent a frigid air mass southward, according to Lead Long-Range Forecaster Paul Pastelok.

"The snowpack into northern Canada was impressive, too, so it wasn't able to modify the temperatures. The cold air just kept coming," he said.

"It set the stage for significant, record-breaking cold in the United States, about three weeks ahead of schedule."

In the South this week, the cold sent Atlanta's highs into only the upper 30s. The city's lows fell into the lower 20s, a 20-plus-degree departure from normal.

In the Midwest, Chicago's highs reached only the mid-20s with lows in the teens. Departures from normal ranged from 15 to 20 degrees.

A period of relief is in store as the cold weather pattern breaks down near Thanksgiving, but it will be short-lived. Temperatures will temporarily rebound to springlike levels, before turning cold again at the middle of next week.

In early December, however, a milder flow of Pacific air will replace the long-standing frigid air masses. The air will be more concentrated from the Pacific than from the pole, which will have a big impact on temperatures across the United States, Pastelok said.

"The weather will revert to a normal pattern near the Arctic."

The lack of Arctic intrusions will allow temperatures to climb from the Ohio Valley into the Northeast and Carolinas.

At times, temperatures in Chicago will hover 4-7 degrees above normal with highs in the low to mid-40s.

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Farther east, in New York City, temperatures in early December will run 4-8 degrees above normal.

"This warmer air will arrive in time for the first weekend of December in the Midwest and East," Pastelok said.

Warmer-than-normal water temperatures off the Eastern Seaboard will reinforce the higher air temperatures but could alter the track of storms this winter, pushing them farther inland, Pastelok said.

For the winter season in general, this will allow for more changeover systems along the I-95 corridor, while the bulk of the snow will center on the I-81 corridor and westward.