A big pattern change is on the way for areas east of the Rockies this week that will send temperatures towards record levels in some cities. After the blast of arctic air that moved through the Midwest, South and East late last week and this past weekend, warmer temperatures are now surging into the central U.S. and eventually portions of the East.
Snow, winter weather 2015-2016 season across the U.S.
Summerlike warmth expected in the South
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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BACK TO SLIDE
The dip in the jet stream that brought the blast of arctic air to the East will slide off to the northeast later this week, as the strong upper-level ridge, or northward bulge in the jet stream, that has brought record warmth to parts of the West moves eastward. This upper-level ridge will weaken some as it shifts eastward and the pattern over the contiguous U.S. will become less amplified, with more of a west to east flow across the country.
The result will be significantly warmer temperatures across the Plains and Midwest starting midweek. The warmer temperatures will also expand into the South and East by later this week.
Plains, Midwest Warmth
Frigid conditions were experienced across the Midwest late last week and into the weekend. The good news is the cold temperatures are not sticking around and a substantial warming trend is ahead this week across the central U.S.
Warmer temperatures will begin to build midweek in the Plains and eventually spread across the Midwest.
On Wednesday, much of the Plains will see high temperatures 10 to 20 degrees warmer than average for mid-February. Highs will climb into the 50s from Rapid City to Kansas City, with 60s and 70s from eastern Colorado to Louisiana. Highs will top out in the 80s in western and southern Texas.
Pueblo, Colorado (69 degrees), El Paso, Texas (79 degrees), and San Angelo, Texas (80 degrees), are among the cities that could threaten their daily record high temperatures for Feb. 17 (current record shown in parentheses).
Temperatures will be even warmer in the Plains and the Mississippi Valley by Thursday with highs up to 35 degrees above average. Low temperatures will also be warmer than average with much of the region seeing temperatures start the day above freezing, except for parts of North Dakota and the Upper Midwest.
More daily record high temperatures are likely to be broken Thursday, including (current record in parentheses): Rapid City, South Dakota (66 degrees); Denver (71 degrees); North Platte, Nebraska (71 degrees); Wichita, Kansas (74 degrees); Amarillo, Texas (80 degrees); and Oklahoma City (78 degrees).
International Falls, Minnesota saw their coldest temperature so far this season on Saturday with a low temperature of 29 degrees below zero. The average high in International Falls is in the lower 20s for mid-February but Thursday-Saturday highs will climb into the mid-30s.
In Chicago, wind chills dropped well below zero Friday night into Saturday morning. Chicago has an average high in the mid-30s for this time of year, but by the end of the week highs will reach the low to middle 50s.
In addition to the mild temperatures, it will be breezy at times which will lead to an elevated fire danger in portions of the southern Plains midweek.
Above-Average Temperatures Spread East
The expanse of warmer than average temperatures will grow later this week and will reach areas in the Southeast and Northeast by the weekend.
Numerous daily record low temperatures were set on Valentine's Day in the Northeast, including Boston (9 degrees below zero) and New York City (1 degree below zero). Many cities saw their coldest temperatures in decades on Sunday morning.
Temperatures began to recover on Monday and most of the East saw high and low temperatures near or above average on Tuesday. After slightly cooler temperatures midweek, another warming trend will commence by Friday or Saturday.
On Friday, high temperatures will be 10 to 20 degrees warmer than average from the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley into the Deep South. Highs will be in the 50s in the southern Great Lakes, with 60s for much of the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys and 70s will be found in parts of the South.
The above average high temperatures will reach the East Coast for this weekend. Highs will reach the 40s and 50s in southern New England and Upstate New York with 50s and 60s in much of the Mid-Atlantic, while 70s will prevail throughout most of the Southeast.
Relatively warm conditions will also persist across the Plains and Midwest into the weekend, with highs up to 25 degrees above average in some areas of the central and southern Plains
Morning lows will also be well above average next weekend for areas east of the Rockies. In fact, temperatures will not drop below the freezing mark for most locations east of the Mississippi River next weekend. The only exceptions will be from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan into Upstate New York and northern New England.