Mid-latitude winter storms have increased in both intensity and frequency nationally since 1950. Overall, there were twice as many extreme winter storms in the U.S. in the second half of the 20th century as there were in the first half. This is consistent with what you’d expect in a warming world. Higher temperatures lead to more evaporation fromMore
The Northeast and Midwest will need to turn up the heat this weekend. The first cold snap of the season is pushing through, dropping low temperatures into the 30s and maybe even a few flakes of snow in some areas.
A cold front pulling polar air from Canada will dip into the Northern Plains region on Thursday. Through the weekend it will move east, bringing the first frost and freeze warnings of the season for parts of the Midwest, the interior Northeast and New England.
States in the Northern Plains, including the Dakotas, are expected to drop into the 20s on Thursday night. This weather signals the end of the growing season in the area, as crops are usually damaged by such low temperatures. Despite it being the end of growing season there, overall the U.S. has seen its growing season stretch 15 days longer over the past century as temperatures have warmed. In the Northern Plains, it’s even more dramatic with North Dakota seeing the season last 40 days longer.
In the Midwest, Chicago and Cincinnati will see the first dip into the upper 30s and the first frost on Friday night. Areas in Minnesota like St. Paul are also forecast to hit freezing Friday night. The daytime highs will reach only the low to mid-50s Friday and Saturday.
The Northeast will see similar temperatures Saturday and Sunday night. Buffalo will drop near freezing and areas of Vermont and New Hampshire could dip slightly below freezing, with highs only in the 50s during the day.
In all, this trough of cold air could bring freezing or near-freezing temperatures to 74 million people through Monday.
Population forecast by NWS to reach/go below 32°F during next 6-mornings: 74 million in Lower 48. pic.twitter.com/b48nuAzWgh
— Ryan Maue (@RyanMaue) October 15, 2015
Did we say snow? Yes, the first snow or wintry mix of the season could fall from Buffalo through northern New England between Saturday and Sunday night. A wintry mix or light dusting is more likely in most areas, but higher elevations could see a couple inches of snow.
This snowfall is a bit early for the region, which normally sees its first measurable snow in November.