While much colder weather is on the way, it will stop well short of January 2015, when winter broke loose in most areas. Temperatures averaged 10-20 degrees Fahrenheit below normal with highs in the single digits, teens and 20s over the Northern states.
AccuWeather Chief Long Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok does not anticipate that to happen to that extreme this year.
RELATED: Craziest weather photos of 2015
Craziest weather photos of 2015
Frigid air with highs below freezing to shock central, eastern US during January 2016
An approaching storm looms over the French riviera city of Nice, southeastern France, on June 15, 2015. AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHE (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)
A pedestrian walks with an umbrella as lightning strikes during an evening thunderstorm in Jammu on May 14, 2015. AFP PHOTO / RAKESH BAKSHI (Photo credit should read rakesh bakshi/AFP/Getty Images)
RIZHAO, CHINA - OCTOBER 18: (CHINA OUT) Dense fog envelops constructions on October 18, 2015 in Rizhao, Shandong Province of China. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)
CHONGQING, CHINA - JULY 17: (CHINA OUT) Citizens swim in water of Meixin Park in Yangren Jie (also known as Foreigner Street) in Nan'an District on July 17, 2015 in Chongqing, China. As high temperature came with summer, citizens in south China's Chongqing gathered at famed Meixin Park in Chongqing's Yangren Jie for swimming to escape hot weather. The park created by Meixin Group is a foreign-themed theme park and its 'famed' for a number of risque sculptures, such as a row of bronzed nude ladies facing the wall, urinals in the shape of nun' habits and wash basins fashioned as female figures bending over. It also has the dubious honour of having a record-breaking restroom with 1,000 toilets. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)
Indian people gather around a residential area that was flooded after heavy rains in Chennai on November 18, 2015. Large areas of the southern Indian city of Chennai have been flooded following days of heavy rain. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
BOSTON - JUNE 23: The storm clouds in the area provided a colorful and appropriate backdrop as Red Sox starting pitcher Joe Kelly, bottom left, exits the game after being removed by manager John Farrell in the top of the fourth inning. The Boston Red Sox hosted the Baltimore Orioles in a regular season MLB baseball game at Fenway. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
An airplane flies through a stormy sky before landing at the Toulouse-Blagnac airport, on September 3, 2015. AFP PHOTO/REMY GABALDA (Photo credit should read REMY GABALDA/AFP/Getty Images)
YANTAI, CHINA - NOVEMBER 26: (CHINA OUT) Heavy snow falls on the vehicles on November 26, 2015 in Yantai, Shandong Province of China. Snowstorm attacked Yantai on Thursday morning. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)
People cool down under a sprinkler in a water park in Shanghai on August 5, 2015. Typhoon Soudelor is set to bring an end to the heatwave affecting the region over the weekend, according to local reports. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)
MIDDLETOWN, CA - SEPTEMBER 15: The ruins of a home that burned in the Valley Fire are seen on September 15, 2015 in Middletown, California. The 104-square-mile fire is only 15 percent contained and has destroyed 585 homes so far and hundreds of other structures. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
WENLING, CHINA - JULY 10: (CHINA OUT) Waves spirit as typhoon Chan-hom approaches on July 10, 2015 in Wenling, Zhejiang Province of China. News from Zhejiang Meteorologic Bureau that typhoon Chan-hom would land in Zhejiang Province Friday night and local government had started first emergency response to typhoon. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)
Sunflowers are pictured on July 17, 2015 in Wehlen, Germany. AFP PHOTO / DPA / ARNO BURGI +++ GERMANY OUT (Photo credit should read ARNO BURGI/AFP/Getty Images)
VAN, TX - MAY 11: Volunteers and officials search through the destruction near Van Intermediate School after a tornado May 11, 2015 in Van, Texas. The small city of Van, Texas was struck by a tornado in the evening of May 10, leaving at least two dead and more missing. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
Indian youths play in breaking waves on the seafront during high tide in Mumbai on June 17, 2015. AFP PHOTO/ PUNIT PARANJPE (Photo credit should read PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP/Getty Images)
Footprints are seen in the dried mud of what used to be the bottom of Lake Mead at the abandoned Echo Bay Marina in Overton, Nevada, U.S., on Thursday, June 4, 2015. The Southern Nevada Water Authority is building a three-mile (five-kilometer), $817 million tunnel under Lake Mead to retain access to its Colorado River supply as the reservoir declines to 40 percent of capacity. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
BHOPAL, INDIA - JUNE 22: Vehicles wade through water logged road at Jyoti Talkies Road after a heavy rainfall on June 22, 2015, in Bhopal, India. In first heavy shower of this season, the city recorded 85 mm of rain in just a span of 24 hours, which is the citys third highest 24-hour rainfall record in the last 10 years. (Photo by Mujeeb Faruqui/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
Lightning brightens the night sky over Washington, DC, during a rainstorm on April 20, 2015. AFP PHOTO / MLADEN ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - NOVEMBER 30: A Chinese man wears a protective face mask as he passes by the CCTV building on a day of heavy pollution on November 30, 2015 in Beijing, China. China's capital and many cities in the northern part of the country recorded the worst smog of the year with air quality devices in some areas unable to read such high levels of pollutants. Levels of PM 2.5, considered the most hazardous, crossed 600 units in Beijing, nearly 25 times the acceptable standard set by the World Health Organization. The governments of more than 190 countries are meeting in Paris this week to set targets on reducing carbon emissions in an attempt to forge a new global agreement on climate change.(Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
Aerial view of sailing boats that lay in the water of Lake Starnberg which water is covered with pollen near Starnberg, southern Germany, on May 8, 2015. (Photo credit should read PETER KNEFFEL/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 20: Ice floes are viewed along the Hudson River in Manhattan on a frigidly cold day February 20, 2015 in New York City. New York, and much of the East Coast and Western United States is experiencing unusually cold weather with temperatures in the teens and the wind chill factor making it feel well below zero. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
FAIRDALE, IL - APRIL 10: Crews search through the town for unaccounted people the morning after a tornado swept through the town on April 10, 2015 in Fairdale, Illinois. According to reports, 11 people were injured and one person was killed when tornadoes and thunderstorms passed through the northwestern suburbs of Chicago. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 22: A surfer watches turbulent seas at Avoca Beach on the Cntral Coast on April 22, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. Three people have died and more than 200,000 are still without power as cyclonic winds and rains continue to lash the Sydney, Hunter Valley and Central Coast regions of New South Wales. (Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - AUGUST 03: A rainbow appears over the city on August 3, 2015 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
Vehicles left stranded on a flooded Interstate 45 in Houston, Texas on May 26, 2015. Heavy rains throught Texas put the city of Houston under massive ammounts of water, closing roadways and trapping residents in their cars and buildings, according to local reports. Rainfall reached up to 11 inches(27.9cm) in some parts of the state, national forecasters reported, and the heavy rains quickly pooled over the state's already saturated soil. AFP PHOTO/AARON M. SPRECHER (Photo credit should read Aaron M. Sprecher/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 05: A person walks along a snow-covered Central Park on the Upper East Side on March 5, 2015 in New York City. Snow blanketed the city as temperatures plunged across the northeast U.S. during another winter storm. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
A farm is covered in snow on the Fellhorn mountain near Oberstdorf, southern Germany, on February 3, 2015. AFP PHOTO / DPA / KARL-JOSEF HILDENBRAND +++ GERMANY OUT (Photo credit should read KARL-JOSEF HILDENBRAND/AFP/Getty Images)
Clouds paint a graphic design in the sky over Ebersbach, southern Germany, on April 14, 2015. AFP PHOTO / DPA / KARL-JOSEF HILDENBRAND +++ GERMANY OUT (Photo credit should read KARL-JOSEF HILDENBRAND/AFP/Getty Images)
ANTRIM, NORTHERN IRELAND - JANUARY 13: A man takes a picture with his mobile phone through heavy snow at the Dark Hedges on January 13, 2015 in Antrim, Northern Ireland. The Dark Hedges, named for it's unusual tree formation has become a recent tourist attraction after the setting was filmed as part of the hit HBO television series Game of Thrones which is filmed extensively in the province. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
A tree is partially fog covered near Mintraching, southern Germany, on November 1, 2015. AFP PHOTO / DPA / ARMIN WEIGEL GERMANY OUT (Photo credit should read ARMIN WEIGEL/AFP/Getty Images)
A deer lays dead after a bushfire moved through the area near One Tree Hill in the Adelaide Hills on January 5, 2015. Firefighters raced January 5 to contain a major blaze before the forecast return of strong winds and a heatwave, following the loss of 26 homes in the worst bushfire conditions in South Australia for three decades. AFP PHOTO / BRENTON EDWARDS (Photo credit should read Brenton Edwards/AFP/Getty Images)
BOSTON - FEBRUARY 15: White out conditions on Newbury Street as Blizzard Neptune descends. (Photo by Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
PALANGKARAYA, CENTRAL KALIMANTAN, INDONESIA - NOVEMBER 01: A view of a land as peatland forest is cleared by burning for a palm oil plantation at a company's grounds on November 1, 2015 in the outskirts of Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. The air pollution or haze has been an annual problem for the past 18 years in Indonesia. It's caused by the illegal burning of forest and peat fires on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo to clear new land for the production of pulp, paper and palm oil. Desperate civilians at the epicentre of Indonesia's haze crisis are taking the fight into their own hands, using whatever meagre resources they have to confront the fires ravaging their communities as they tire of waiting for the government to take action. This disaster has been exacerbated by this year's long dry season, triggered by the El Nino weather phenomenon. (Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images)
SUMMERVILLE, SC - OCTOBER 07: Nelson Shields stands in his flooded home on October 7, 2015 in Summerville, South Carolina. The state of South Carolina experienced record rainfall amounts over the weekend and officials expect the damage from the flood waters to be in the billions of dollars. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
NEW DELHI, INDIA - MAY 24: A road melt near Safdarjung Hospital after the Temperature rise to 45 degree Celsius during a hot weather as Delhi/NCR experienced yet another scorching day, on May 24, 2015 in New Delhi, India. The national capital sizzling today as heat wave-like conditions prevailed across the city with mercury hovering above 45.3 degree Celsius, making life tough for the Delhiites. (Photo by Sanjeev Verma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
A child cools off in a fountain in Milan on July 24, 2015 as a major heatwave spreads throughout Europe with temperatures hitting nearly 40 degrees Celsius. AFP PHOTO / GIUSEPPE CACACE (Photo credit should read GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)
The lightning flashes over the statue of Christ the Redeemer at Corcovado hill in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on September 27, 2015. AFP PHOTO / YASUYOSHI CHIBA (Photo credit should read YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images)
People look at waves in Saint-Malo, western France, on February 24, 2015. France kicked off nearly a month of exceptionally large spring tides on February 21, as tourists flocked to coastal areas to witness spectacularly high water levels ahead of the so-called 'tide of the century' March 21. Unlike last year, when large spring tides coincided with enormous ocean swells that battered beaches and cliffs with waves up to 10 metres high along the French coast, no significant flooding or loss of life has been reported thus far. Despite that auspicious start, however, nearly all localities along France's Atlantic coast remain on alert for possible flooding and storm waves -- and are expected to maintain a high vigilance level to the end of the current spring tide period. AFP PHOTO / DAMIEN MEYER (Photo credit should read DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images)
JILIN, CHINA - JANUARY 22: (CHINA OUT) Smog arrives at the banks of Songhua River due to the lowest temperature rises to minus 14 degrees celsius on January 22, 2015 in Jilin, Jilin province of China. The Air Quality Index in north China's Jilin province has risen to 260, indicating high pollution. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)
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"We do not expect a big displacement of the polar vortex at this time, but rather waves of arctic air that roll southeastward and interact with less cold air over the U.S. during January," Pastelok said.
First blast of cold to roll through Jan. 3-5
One small piece of arctic air will move southward from central Canada and across the Great Lakes and Northeast spanning Sunday to Tuesday.
"This air will be the coldest of the season thus far, which might not seem like much on paper, but it will deliver significantly low temperatures," Pastelok said.
High temperatures will be held to the teens F in upstate New York and northern New England. Temperatures may be held to the 20s in Detroit and Boston and the 30s in New York City. Low temperatures are likely to dip below zero in part of upstate New York and northern New England.
The arctic cold shot could deliver the first snowflakes of the season to parts of the mid-Atlantic that have not yet had flurries.
Brief warm spell expected before cold returns Jan. 11-18
During the latter part of the first week of January into the second weekend of the month, the cold air will ease up over much of the Central and Eastern states.
"Temperatures will again trend above average in many areas, but will stop well short of record high levels," Pastelok said.
Highs will generally range from the 30s in the northern tier to the 60s over the interior South.
Prior to the middle of the month, colder air will sweep eastward from the Central states, following one or two storms that can bring snow and ice to parts of the Ohio Valley, central Appalachians to New England, mainly away from the Atlantic coast.
"The slow-moving storm spanning Jan. 10-12 is the one that could pack the most punch in terms of wintry precipitation and widespread cold to follow," Pastelok said.
During the middle of the month, cities from Kansas City, Missouri, and St. Louis to Cincinnati and Pittsburgh may have multiple days where temperatures fail to climb past the freezing mark. High temperatures may be within a few degrees of freezing in New York City and Philadelphia.
In the South, multiple days with highs in the 40s are likely from Little Rock, Arkansas, to Atlanta and Richmond, Virginia are likely during the middle of the month.
See how winter weather is shaping up across the U.S.:
Snow, winter weather 2015-2016 season across the U.S.
Frigid air with highs below freezing to shock central, eastern US during January 2016
LUBBOCK, TEXAS - DECEMBER 27: A highway worker tries to shield himself while walking to his truck on December 27, 2015 in Lubbock, Texas. Coming on the heels of several strong tornadoes, some northern parts of Texas are experiencing blizzard conditions with wind gusts up to 50 mph and as much as 13 inches of snow forecast. (Photo by John Weast/Getty Images)
NEDERLAND, CO - DECEMBER 15: Steve Hauser plows snow in the Caribou Shopping Center in Nederland, Colorado on December 15, 2015. Snow is expected to continue throughout the day. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
NEDERLAND, CO - DECEMBER 15: A yellow lab waits patiently in his owner's snowy old truck along East 1st Street in Nederland, Colorado on December 15, 2015. Snow is expected to continue throughout the day. The dog looked warm and didn't wait long in the car as his owner returned shortly after an errand in the town. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - DEC. 15: Anna Renton, 7, right, relaxes while neighbor Graham Langner, 7, has a snow fight with his nanny, Ashely Kish.The Denver metro area received more snow than expected overnight, closing schools across the city with some areas measuring a foot of snow by the early morning. (Photo by Kathryn Scott Osler/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
LAKEWOOD, CO - DECEMBER 15: Crut Liles clears snow from his walkways outside his home in Lakewood, December, 15, 2015. Many schools in the area are closed due to the snow storm. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - DEC. 15: A CDOT crew runs their plow truck southbound on Colorado Blvd. near E. 13th Ave. in Denver. The Denver metro area received more snow than expected overnight, closing schools across the city with some areas measuring a foot of snow by the early morning. (Photo by Kathryn Scott Osler/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Al Frelk walks his dog, Shiba, 10, in Lords Park in Elgin, Ill., on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015. Asked about the snow, Frelk said, 'It's beautiful, but can be tough to drive in. Though Shiba has been waiting 9 months for this.' The first winter storm of the season dropped more than 10 inches of snow at numerous Chicagoland locations. (Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 17: Snow hit the Denver metro area having an impact on air travel at Denver International Airport. They were clearing out from the snow on Tuesday, November 17, 2015. Raul Hernandez shovels snow in the economy lot. Hernandez and his crew had worked all night to clear snow. (Photo by Cyrus McCrimmon/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
LAKEWOOD, CO - NOVEMBER 11: Brandon Nelli, a student at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood, shovels snow during a Veteran's Day snow storm the moved into the area overnight, November, 11, 2015. Lakewood got almost 3 inches in some areas form the storm. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 11: A blanket of white snow covers Fort Logan National Cemetery during a Veteran's Day snow storm the moved into the area overnight, November, 11, 2015. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
MONUMENT, CO. - November 17: Bob Swift clearing his driveway of a deep drift of snow in Monument, CO. November 17, 2015 Monument, CO (Photo By Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
An above-average amount of snow covers a small cabin near where the first snow survey of winter conducted by the California Department of Water Resources in Phillips, California December 30, 2015. REUTERS/Fred Greaves
Cameron Shonnard backflips a jump at Squaw Valley in Olympic Valley, California, December 5, 2015. An El Nino is forecasted for California, and regular precipitation has been welcomed after years of drought. REUTERS/Max Whittaker TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Fresh snow clings to trees near Big Bend, California, December 4, 2015. An El Nino is forecasted for California, and regular precipitation has been welcomed after years of drought. Picture taken December 4. REUTERS/Max Whittaker
The U.S. Capitol dome can be seen behind piles of snow removed from parking areas and walkways around the Capitol grounds in Washington January 26, 2016. The snowbound Washington area was resuming partial business on Tuesday as trains and buses restarted near-normal service, while federal offices remained closed following a massive blizzard that hammered the U.S. East Coast. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Floodwaters cover Green Avenue after a winter storm in Manasquan, New Jersey, January 24, 2016. A morning high tide surge of 2 feet followed snowfall of about 2 feet in the first major storm of the season. REUTERS/Dominick Reuter
A couple poses for a photo on a snow pile during a snow storm in Times Square in the Manhattan borough of New York, January 23, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, UNITED STATES - 2016/02/15: Snow is once again falling across Washington, D.C on Monday, 15 February 2016. The bitter cold was replaced by snow, sleet and rain Monday in the mid-Atlantic states and the South, but many residents were able to hunker down at home with federal offices and many businesses closed for Washington's Birthday. (Photo by Probal Rashid/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A barn painted with the U.S. flag is seen in the snow covered field in Kanawha, Iowa, United States, January 16, 2016. Iowa will be the first state to hold its primary, with both Democratic and Republican events being held February 1, 2016. Picture taken January 16, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
Police officers gather outside the Montgomery County Courthouse, where actor and comedian Bill Cosby will arrive for a preliminary hearing on sexual assault charges, in Norristown, Pennsylvania February 2, 2016. Cosby has been charged with the 2004 sexual assault of Andrea Constand, a former women's basketball team manager at Temple University in Philadelphia, Cosby's alma mater. REUTERS/Mark Makela REUTERS/Mark Makela
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Scenarios: Will the polar vortex usher in cold for late January?
On one hand, waves of cold air may get more intense from the North Central states to the East. On the other hand, the cold air may ease up during the latter part of the month.
Pastelok stated that he and his team of long-range meteorologists are leaning toward a scenario with continued back-and-forth cold and mild episodes, where milder Pacific air will blend in with the cold resulting in less harsh conditions for much of the Eastern states after Jan. 18.
However, cold air is likely to be persistent in the North Central states and continue in waves into northern New England due to established snowcover.
"We will have to watch the position of the polar vortex toward the middle of the month," Pastelok said. "There is a chance the vortex splits and sends one batch of intense cold toward Europe and the other batch toward North America during the latter part of January."
Pastelok's crew still anticipate a stormy February along the Pacific, Gulf and Atlantic coasts with enough cold air to bring the potential for multiple snow and ice events in the Northeast.
Relive the wild bouts of weather over Christmas:
All crazy Christmas weather - Texas, Missouri, Alabama, Georgia, New Mexico
Frigid air with highs below freezing to shock central, eastern US during January 2016