New year could bring record low temperatures to US Midwest, East Coast

(Reuters) - A fresh jolt of arctic air will usher in the new year for much of the United States this weekend, bringing record cold temperatures on New Year's Day to cities in the Midwest and East Coast, forecasters said on Saturday.

During the final hours of 2017, the mercury in New York City's Times Square will drop to about 10 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 12 Celsius), with the wind chill at nearly 0 F, the National Weather Service said, testing the endurance of hundreds of thousands of New Year's Eve revelers.

Winter weather predictions for 2017:

2017 winter weather predictions
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2017 winter weather predictions

This year's Farmer's Almanac predicts less precipitation in the Pacific Northwest and Upper Midwest, but other areas might not be so lucky ...


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted La Nina will potentially emerge this winter season, bringing with it above-average precipitation and below-average cold temperatures.


But if La Nina does hit, it will impact each U.S. area in a different way ...

For example, the Rockies would likely be rocked with abundant snowfall, while the Midwest would be plagued with blasts of cold air.


Another more wonky model from Atmospheric and Environmental Research predicts that colder temperatures could hit the East Coast if there is a stratospheric polar vortex disruption.

Changes in the jet stream have a direct impact on weather patterns, and in the earliest days of December Americans could see a cold front and snow in the Plains and upper Great Lakes.

Averaging 44 inches of snow each winter, Boston is known to get slammed with tough weather. This year, NOAA predicts the historic city will see within 10 inches of that average.

In the heartland, next week could bring low temperatures last recorded 130 years ago to parts of Nebraska, said David Eastlack, a meteorologist with the NWS. That includes a record low for the date of -22F for Tuesday.

"The bitter cold is going to be dangerous," he said in a phone interview, warning residents of eastern Nebraska and western Iowa to avoid venturing outside or taking a car trip. He said that the wind chills will be near minus 35 F, a level when frostbite could set in within 10 minutes.

Temperatures could drop to around 0 F as far south as the northern border of Oklahoma on New Year's Day, and into the minus 30s near the Canadian border on Sunday and Monday, the NWS said. The arctic air from Canada will also bring sub-freezing temperatures on U.S. Gulf Coast cities such as Biloxi, Mississippi.

Icy roads will make travel difficult over much of the U.S. from the south-central states from Texas and Oklahoma and eastward over Arkansas, northern Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama through the New Year's weekend, AccuWeather said.

(Reporting by Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; editing by Diane Craft)


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