Following record-cold December temperatures, chief long range forecaster Joe Bastardi said he sees the frigid trend extending coast-to-coast through mid- to late January.

Bastardi said Tuesday this could be the coldest January for the nation since 1985. He said the country has not experienced coast-to-coast extremely cold temperatures since the 1980s.

The forecaster noted that record-smashing cold has already been gripping a large portion of the West since Jan. 1 with snow falling in Las Vegas Monday. Arctic air has also made a return to the northern Plains, while the East and South experienced dramatically cooler temperatures following the weekend.

Starting this week and continuing through at least the next few weeks, Bastardi said additional waves of arctic air will invade the country.

The Jan. 10-20 period is when he said he expects cold temperatures to take hold around the nation, with the northern Plains experiencing the worst of diving thermometers.

Chicago and Omaha are forecast to only achieve high temperatures below zero during that time, and only for a day or two. People in New York City could be in for one day with highs in the teens, while temperatures could fail to rise out of the 20s in Dallas, TX, and Jackson, MS, for one or two days.

In the Northwest, Bastardi noted that there is the potential for rare snow in Seattle and Portland in the upcoming weather pattern.

In October Bastardi worried that a then-predicted "quick start to winter in the East" would frighten residents there into thinking there would be another blizzard "snowmageddon," such as what hit much of the East last winter (see Daily GPI, Oct. 22, 2010). He said at that time, however, that "much of this winter's snow will come relatively early in the season."

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