It appears that most of the Lower 48 states will not be reaching for their flip-flops and suntan lotion anytime soon as a number of weather forcasting agencies are calling for winter weather to go on, and on, and on. While pointing out that the storm now approaching the East will not be as fierce as the President’s Day “city storm,” Salomon Smith Barney meteorologist Jon Davis warned “WINTER IS NOT OVER!”

Davis noted that the fairly strong Arctic airmass which moved into the central United States from Sunday to Monday will be moving south and east during the early to middle portion of the week. “The airmass will reach the East Coast by early [Tuesday] and even influence the weather in Florida by Wednesday,” Davis said in a Monday morning update.

Michael Schlacter, chief meteorologist for Weather 2000, also said the central and eastern U.S. have a ways to go before spring arrives. “Other than December, which was a slight exception, the entire central and eastern states have pretty much been locked in cold weather,” he said. “We don’t really see too much of a change on the horizon, especially for the eastern third” of the country.

Schlacter pointed out that the Midwest, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic have been consistently below normal since October and some of those regions could continue the streak by “two, three and even four months more without seeing a truly above normal month.

“If there was ever a circumstance where heating demand or the winter season would be extended as much as possible, this would be the year,” Schlacter said. “This definitely the type of winter season where you see snow storms on St. Patrick’s Day or snow storms in early April. This is the kind of winter that could support that type of scenario.”

In the near to medium term [1-21 days] Schlacter said, “We really don’t see any relief in sight. We don’t see any extended periods of above-normal temperatures, such as three to four days of plus three or plus four” in the central and eastern states. However, he said the deep south could be an exception.

While cold weeks this winter in the Eastern third have outnumbered warm weeks by about 14-4, the western third of the United States has been the opposite, according to Schlacter. Even as the West currently experiences a cold week, the forecaster said most locations in the western third will still come out with another above normal temperature month for February, and likely March.

The National Weather Service (NWS) was also onboard in its outlooks released Sunday. Its updated six- to 10-day and eight- to 14-day outlooks call for below-normal temperatures for much of the country through March 9. In the six-to 10-day, the NWS looks for below normal temps except for the deep Southeast, which is expected to stay normal. In the group’s eight-to 14-day outlook, all regions of the country are scheduled for below normal temperatures except the greater Southwest, which is expected to rise to normal.

Davis said temps later this week will be well below normal across the central and eastern U.S. “With the cold air in place before this system moves up the East Coast, the Northeast Megalopolis will receive significant snows,” Davis said in an update. “This will NOT be a repeat of the President’s Day ‘City Storm,’ however, as this upcoming system will be weaker and will not have as long a duration over the region. Still, the initial snowfall estimate is that the major metro centers from [Washington DC] up through Boston could receive anywhere from 6-12 inches.”

That’s better than 24 inches and will serve to give a clean covering to last week’s now dirty snow. Only partially melted by the rains over last weekend — which contributed to collapsing roofs on larger flat-roofed buildings — the snow blanket in the East is contributing to the lower temperatures.

Davis added that although temps during this coming weekend will briefly moderate back up to more normal levels across much of the central and eastern U.S., another Arctic airmass flows into the country early next week. While indicating that the second airmass looks fairly weak, he said indicators show that a third moderately strong airmass will then flow down late next week.

As a result, Davis said he is calling for temperatures across the central and eastern U.S. to be “below” (3-5 degrees F below) and “considerably below” (6-9F below) normal next week.

Although the country’s current winter trend has been warm in the West and cold in the East, the meteorologist said the western U.S. this week will also be on the cold side, but not to the same extent as the rest of the country. “This will be due to some troughing and subsequent precip across the Rockies which will produce temps in the [below] category,” Davis said. “Right along the West Coast, though, temps will be near normal. Next week, temps across the Rockies will moderate back up to more normal levels in most areas.

“The bottom line is that winter is not yet over and the upcoming two to three weeks will be another period of below normal temps and above normal heating demand in the central and eastern U.S.,” Davis added.

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