Weather

Record-breaking cold could be coming to the Coast for New Year’s

This National Weather Service forecast graphic shows cold temperatures plunging through the middle of the country on New Year’s Day. Some weather websites are predicting even colder weather, with temperatures below 30 on the Gulf Coast.
This National Weather Service forecast graphic shows cold temperatures plunging through the middle of the country on New Year’s Day. Some weather websites are predicting even colder weather, with temperatures below 30 on the Gulf Coast.

An arctic blast is in store for most of the country around New Year’s Day, forecasters are predicting, and temperatures could drop well below 30 on the Gulf Coast.

Some weather websites are estimating temperatures as cold as the low 20s for much of the Mississippi Coast. Even New Orleans could see thermometers drop below 30.

However, most of the forecast models are not yet in agreement. The National Weather Service’s long-term forecast discussion says the two major models “are at complete odds with one another which leads to a rather low confidence forecast.”

The U.S. model, abbreviated as GFS, shows “a strong arctic air mass settling in by New Year’s with reinforcement on Tuesday, along with a dry forecast other than rain showers on New Year’s Eve along and ahead of the cold front,” the weather service in New Orleans predicts. The European and Canadian models show a “less aggressive arctic airmass” and wetter weather with rain lingering into Tuesday.

All the models, though, show a strong cold front bringing below-average temperatures. Just how cold is the question.

“We should expect to see some record-breaking cold temperatures over the Southeast during the first few days of 2018,” said Gulf Coast meteorologist Rocco Calaci in his daily weather newsletter. He also said the cold is likely to last through most of next week.

The arctic blast is thanks to a weakening in the polar vortex, Wunderground reports, which normally keeps the frigid air near the North Pole.

Many forecast sites also predict a chance of rain on the Gulf Coast for New Year’s Eve.

“The battleground of the cold air to the north and the warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico could assist in the development of a storm system later this weekend,” Accuweather reports.

The Sun Herald will keep an eye on the developing forecasts and publish more stories as new information is available.

Lauren Walck: 228-896-2393, @laurenwalck

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