Salomon Smith Barney Sees 'Brrr-utal' Chill

If you think it's frigid now, next week is going to be "brutal," according to a short-term weather forecast issued by Salomon Smith Barney yesterday.

Beginning the week of Dec. 11, Salomon Smith Barney forecasts that a "massive Arctic air mass surging from the Polar regions" will hit the United States. "This air mass is extremely impressive and is expected to be in the range of about 1050 MB [millibars] when it moves into the Northern Rockies. This is easily in the category of a Polar Pig," said meteorologists Jon B. Davis and Mark Russo. A Pig as the "ultimate Arctic air mass."

That means it's going to be "big time" cold, Davis noted. ".[W]e have not had an Arctic air mass this strong move into the lower 48 during the past four winters," the Salomon Smith meteorologists said. The National Weather Service in its latest six-10 day forecast confirms a massive cold wave descending across the country next week.

"One of the other impressive features of this Pig is that it is very large geographically and thus will influence a huge area. In fact, when all is said and done, it will influence areas from the West Coast to Texas to Florida to the East Coast and everywhere in between." They are predicting the weather will be coldest in areas "closest to the initial delivery point of the air mass --- Rockies and Plains. If this air mass is close to 1050 MB, there will be some record-setting cold in portions of the Rockies and the Plains, which is something we have not had in the middle of winter for a very long time," said Davis and Russo in their report.

Although the air mass will lose some of its intensity at it moves south and eastward, Salomon Smith Barney predicts that between Dec. 11 and 16 no area of the nation will have normal or above-normal temperatures. "Obviously, the middle of December is going to be a period of exceptionally high heating demand."

While this week (starting Dec. 4) won't be as cold, it's nothing to sneeze at, they said. Davis and Russo see a "moderately strong Arctic air mass...pushing down into the eastern half of the nation this week."

They predict the air mass "will move into the North Plains (Dakotas) early Tuesday morning and then reach the Gulf Coast and East Coast by Wednesday night and Thursday. The coldest weather with this air mass will be Tuesday/Wednesday in the Great Lakes and Wednesday/Thursday in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region."

The entire eastern half of the nation will experience "considerably to substantially below-normal readings" during the four-day period from Dec. 4 to Dec. 7, the meteorologists said. The West will get a break, with above-normal temps this week, "which will keep heating demands on the low side."

The forecasters expect temperatures to moderate by the weekend in the eastern U.S. "As a result, readings across much of the nation will be near normal during the Friday-through-Sunday period," giving the nation a brief respite before the brutally cold weather strikes next week.

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