Fox News Weather Center

Record Alaska Storm to Help Return Cold, Lake-Effect Snow to Midwest, Eastern US

The record-tying strongest storm to impact Alaska will be responsible for ushering one of the coldest air masses so far this season into the Midwest and eastern United States.

The powerful storm strengthened over the weekend across the Bering Sea, tying the record for the strongest storm to ever impact the region.

On Saturday night, the Ocean Prediction Center analyzed the central area of low pressure to be 924 millibars (27.29 inches of Hg). That matches the central pressure of ex-Super Typhoon Nuri from a little over a year ago.

Exceptional Warmth Continue; Rain Arrives Monday

"The intensity of a storm is measured by the central pressure, with the lower pressure equating to a stronger system," stated AccuWeather Meteorologist Renee Duff.

Wave heights were in excess of 40 feet in the Bering Sea, while winds gusted to 122 mph at Adak Island, Alaska, on Saturday night.

While the storm has reached its peak and will not break the record, it will remain noteworthy as it opens the door for cold air to once again pour into the Midwest and eastern United States.

"A piece of the storm that's been pummeling Alaska will break off and dive southeastward across Canada by midweek," stated AccuWeather Meteorologist Brian Thompson. "This piece will help the jet stream dig southward and finally allow chilly air to invade the eastern United States late this week."

The impending cold could rival November cold shots for the lowest temperature readings so far this season from Friday into this weekend. Brisk winds will create even lower AccuWeather RealFeel® temperatures.

The core of the cold will focus on the Upper Midwest with temperatures likely to be held below freezing for at least two consecutive days from Chicago to Minneapolis and Fargo, North Dakota. For the latter city, temperatures may not climb out of the teens.

While residents will be turning up the heat and reaching for winter jackets, the impending cold is not anything unusual for December.

"Even though it will feel much colder than the balmy temperatures of late, afternoon high temperatures will still be near average at the height of the chill this weekend," stated Thompson.

"From New York City to Washington, D.C., every day so far this month has been above-average temperature-wise."

New York City was among the many locations that registered a record high over the weekend.

With the cold will come opportunities for snow, which will be a boost for ski resorts and those wanting to further get into the holiday spirit.

"The air [flowing over the unusually warm Great Lakes] will be more than cold enough to produce lake-effect snow," stated AccuWeather Meteorologist Dave Samuhel. "The lake-effect snow looks to be most widespread Friday afternoon and night with some snow continuing with the northwest flow on Saturday."

However, Samuhel does not expect this lake-effect to be a long duration event with extreme totals.

"The snow bands will likely shift around a lot as winds go from southwesterly during the day [on Friday] to northwesterly at night," said Samuhel. "So, while there will be heavy snow within the bands, it will not sit over one location very long."

Snow showers will also stream into Appalachian Mountains. Snow will likely struggle to fall east of the mountains, unless a storm takes shape along the coast as the cold air arrives. Even then, the better opportunity for snow would be in New England than the mid-Atlantic.

While it will finally feel like December next weekend, residents should not get used to that with yet another surge of warmth in store for Christmas week.