Brutal Arctic Blast Arrives Next Week

Posted at 8:21 AM, Jan 02, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-02 10:31:12-05

WEST MICHIGAN — Many of us probably thought the Arctic air had already arrived with temperatures in the teens and wind chills around zero. That said, a sharply colder Arctic blast and air mass that Michigan hasn’t seen in years will arrive later Sunday and Monday.

The attached snapshot is from one of our computer forecast models. It’s valid for Monday morning and specifically shows temperatures in degrees Celsius at what meteorologists call 850 millibars, or about 5,000 feet above the surface. We look at air mass movement at this level since it contains no surface contamination…it’s strictly warm/cold/neutral air mass movement!

It certainly is clear (even to the non-meteorologist) sharply colder air is coming when you look at the colors on the map. Red indicates about minus 30 degrees Celsius at 5,000 feet. That means that actual surface temperatures converted to Fahrenheit will be in the neighborhood of zero to only the low single digits. Those thin, white lines close together on the map also indicate that conditions will be windy on both Monday and Tuesday. That means wind chills or feels like temperatures are going to be between -15 to -25, dangerously cold for extended exposure, especially if you’re not dressed accordingly.

The other thing to consider is the lake-effect snow that will likely be generated from the Arctic air mass. While the potential is there for some serious accumulations, amounts will probably be held down since air that cold typically doesn’t hold much moisture. The growth zone for snow flake production is also not at a premium and therefore flakes tend to be quite small. That may change, so stay up on later forecasts!

You can always get radar, satellite, temperatures, wind chills, and the 7-Day forecast at