November 11, 2019

Mother Nature Cashes In On Your Heat Relief Pleas With A Bitter November Cold Snap

Remember all those tweets and posts about how you'll do anything to make the summer heat stop? Time to pay up. The season's first deep shot of cold air will cover much of the United States and Canada this week. Temperatures will plunge firmly into winter territory for most areas east of the Rockies, but not before a significant early-season snowstorm blankets parts of the Great Lakes and Northeast.

The pattern we'll see this week is more common in the winter than in the middle of November. A strong trough will move south from northern Canada, allowing a pent-up pool of Arctic chilliness to flow toward lower latitudes.

Here Comes The Cold

An animated look at NWS forecast high temperatures between Monday (Nov 11) and Thursday (Nov 14).

The leading edge of the cold air is already draped over the northern Plains and Upper Midwest, where lows on Monday morning will dip below zero in some areas.

An animated look at forecast high temperatures this week makes it pretty easy to follow the track of the upper-level trough as it pivots south from Canada. This won't be a sustained cold outbreak like we'd see in the dead of winter, but it's going to be pretty darn cold nonetheless.

Our cold front will race all the way to the Gulf of Mexico by Tuesday, leaving only southern Florida untouched by the chilly weather. High temperatures on Tuesday and Wednesday could break dozens of record low maximum temperatures, or the coldest high temperature on record for the date.

Temperatures will struggle to climb above freezing during the day on Tuesday as far south as Memphis, and the season's first freeze will reach all the way to the Gulf of Mexico a couple of weeks ahead of schedule. The average first freeze in Mobile occurs on November 25.

A stiff wind behind the cold front lead to below-zero wind chill values across the northern states, with wind chills dipping into the teens in the southeast.

This is a solid chill for so early in the season. It may not seem like too big of a deal to most of us, but consider how the cold temperatures and even colder wind chills will affect vulnerable populations like those who are homeless, folks who live without heat, and children who have to walk to school without warm clothing. This kind of cold can lead to hypothermia in short order.

Northern Border Snowstorm

A low-pressure system developing along the cold front will produce a swath of heavy snow across the Great Lakes and New England, largely straddling the U.S./Canadian border. Communities from Lake Erie to Atlantic Canada could see double-digit snowfall totals by the time the storm winds down on Wednesday and Thursday.

The latest forecast from local National Weather Service offices shows heavy snow along the northern borders from Ohio to Maine. While it doesn't show up on this NWS-generated forecast, snowfall totals will be just as high across the Canadian border in Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick.

Forecasters expect significant snowfall totals in places like Cleveland, Erie, Buffalo, and Burlington. It's not too unusual to see heavy snow along the lakes in November, but this will be more widespread than a true lake effect event. Burlington, Vermont, could see a storm total snowfall accumulation of 9 inches, which would be one of the greatest snowfalls ever recorded this early in the season.

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I graduated from the University of South Alabama in 2014 with a degree in political science and a minor in meteorology. I contribute to The Weather Network as a digital writer, and I've written for Forbes, the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang, Popular Science, Mental Floss, and Gawker's The Vane. My latest book, The Skies Above, is now available. My first book, The Extreme Weather Survival Manual, arrived in October 2015.