MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - It may have taken until February, but the eastern half of the U.S. is about to get a visit from the polar vortex as it becomes less stable and expands southward.
The result of that will be a significant outbreak of very cold to even dangerously cold air pushing south from Canada during the February 6-11 period.
As is always the case with these arctic air intrusions, the worst conditions will stay to our north. It will get very cold here by Alabama standards, but the numbers eyeing the Plains, Midwest, Great Lakes, Ohio Valley, and Northeast are staggering.
Actual air temperatures are set to fall below zero -- and well below zero in many instances -- in more than a dozen states.
That’s not just at night either. Daytime high temperatures up in Minnesota, the Dakotas, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and other states will likely stay below zero for a couple to several days in a row.
Add in some wind and you’ve got the recipe for a bitterly cold, frigid and dangerous stretch of days for millions and millions of people. Wind chill temperatures won’t just be below zero; they will be way into the negatives from the Plains to the Northeast.
There will most definitely be wind chill temperatures in the -20° to -45° range in many spots. That is cold enough to get frostbite in as little as 10-25 minutes!
Obviously it won’t be that cold in the Southeast, but it will still get very cold for our standards.
A couple to a few days during the February 7-10 period will feature highs in the 30s and 40s across Alabama. Overnight lows during the coldest stretch of days will be in the 20s in Central Alabama, with even colder air in the northern half of the state.
There will be some wind involved down here as well, which will lead to very cold wind chills across the region. In Central Alabama we’re likely in for minimum wind chill temps in the middle teens to middle 20s on the coldest mornings.
Across northern Alabama, northern Georgia and Tennessee, the potential for single digit and perhaps subzero wind chills.
This will most definitely be a headline-grabbing cold air intrusion for not only us, but the entire eastern half of the country over the coming week. Get that heavy winter gear ready!