After a spring-like hiatus from cold weather, temperatures will plummet back into the lower teens tonight and Monday’s high will be only around 23 degrees — so says former Richburg resident David Thomas, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Buffalo.
The official prediction is: “Another blast of cold air is expected for much of the Eastern United States next week. The frigid air will first impact the northern plains on Monday before diving south and east throughout the week. By Wednesday, most of the Great Lakes will have single-digit high temperatures and parts of the Tennessee Valley will struggle to rise above freezing.”
Thomas says historically, this is one of the top 20 coldest winters recorded in the last 144 years since statistics have been kept in Buffalo.
“It has been a cold winter. Temperatures have been much below normal and, while right now this winter is in the top 20, it could go even higher in the rankings,” he said.
Thomas also noted it isn’t so much the case of more snow than usual. It is the fact that due to the cold, the snow has stayed on the ground.
“While Buffalo has had more snow (97.7 inches) than Allegany County, the frost is only about 20 inches deep. With less snow cover, I have to believe the frost is probably two feet deep or more in Allegany County,” Thomas said.
According to Village of Wellsville Public Works Director Bill Whitfield, it is the shifting from melting to freezing of the ground frost which can cause underground water pipes to break.
Statistically, the total snowfall for the 2012-13 winter season in Wellsville was a total of 43.5 inches. So far, without the addition of February’s snowfall total, the 2013-14 season has had 26.8 inches fall through the end of January.
For the areas east of the Rocky Mountains, Thomas said the snowfall has been above normal. The past week’s heat wave was caused, by a storm system passing from west to north, which allowed mild temperatures from the south to leak in and warm things up, Thomas said.
“As the system goes off to the east, a northerly flow will bring colder air from Canada into the area,” he said.
Officially, from the National Weather Service, “Low temperatures will likely drop below zero along much of the I-80 corridor, from eastern Nebraska to the Poconos. This may flirt with record lows in some locations.”
The National Weather Service Long-Range Climate Prediction Center is forecasting below-normal temperatures for the next couple of weeks. As for when winter might end for good, the center is forecasting an equal chance of above-normal to below-normal temperatures for March and April.
“This has been a cold winter, the kind I remember from when I was a kid going to school in Richburg in the mid ‘80s,” Thomas said, adding, “The last two winters have been relatively mild. Now it is back to reality.”