Cold temps to last at least 10 more days

HOUGHTON – By now, most people in the eastern half of the United States are asking “How much longer?” but the sad truth is the seemingly endless cold is going to last at least another 10 days.

Justin Titus, meteorologist with National Weather Service office in Negaunee Township, said the current cold weather is from a different source than the cold weather in December and early January, which was caused by a polar vortex system, or significant southerly dip in the jet stream.

“It’s basically cold air funneling down from Canada,” he said of the current cold system. “This very cold air is dipping down to the Gulf of Mexico.”

The cold weather is even in Florida, Titus said. The only part of the country not experiencing severe cold is California.

A high-pressure system in the western part of the country and a low-pressure system in the eastern part of the country are causing the funneling effect, Titus said.

It’s uncertain how much longer the cold weather will last, Titus said. The NWS doesn’t forecast out more than 10 days, and except for one or two days when temperatures may get into the low teens, most days the highs will be only single digits.

“This weekend, we’re getting ready to go into a more extended pattern,” he said. “(For the next 10 days) we don’t see a significant decrease (in the cold).”

Titus said on Monday the high and the low temperature will both be about minus-9 degrees, and there will be a significant wind chill of minus-40 degrees.

“It’s going to be windy out,” he said.

It is unusual for cold weather to last as long as it has so far in the western Upper Peninsula, Titus said.

“We typically get this cold air, but not for this length of time.”

Titus said a cold spell lasting as long as the current one might happen in the U.P. every 10 to 15 years.

The normal high temperatures for the last week in January and the first week in February is 22 degrees. The normal low is 8 degrees. Normally, the winter cold temperatures peak in the first week of February.

Besides the cold air, Titus said the area will have light lake effect snow for most of the next 10 days, but it should be tapering off after that.

“(Lake Superior) is starting to freeze up,” he said. “(But) it won’t completely shut it off.”

Lake effect snow is caused by cold air passing over the relatively warmer lake.