AccuWeather reports there is the potential for the coldest air in a couple of years for the Northeast and perhaps the Midwest during the first week of January 2013.
The cold push from the Arctic is coming in stages during the first seven days or so of 2013. During next weekend the flow could deliver lower temperatures than all of the winter of 2011-12 and perhaps close to that of 2010-11 for part of southeastern Canada and New England.
Highs could be in the single digits for a one to several-day stretch from northern upstate New York to northern New England with highs in the teens to lower 20s farther south.
Two channels of cold air will drive southeastward from northern Canada.
One channel will deliver solid cold, typical of average or below-average temperatures from the northern Plains to the central Great Lakes, Ohio Valley and mid-Atlantic. This air will also be modified by the open, relatively warm waters of the Great Lakes through the first week of 2013.
A second channel, containing the coldest air may slip in between the Great Lakes and south of Hudson Bay, aiming for northern upstate New York, New England and southeastern Canada during the first weekend of 2013.
Fresh snow cover over much of the Midwest, Northeast and southeastern Canada will work to help preserve the cold air. Where winds drop off and skies are clear at night, temperatures could fall into the abyss.
In areas where snow has been lean, the sustained cold will allow some ski resorts in the region to make snow around the clock.
While seasoned-veteran residents in the region may not think much of the cold weather in January, it will have some shock value for some folks given how warm recent winters have been.Sustained cold weather or arctic outbreaks are very hard on the elderly, homeless and those with respiratory problems.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was written by Alex Sosnowski, expert senior meteorologist for AccuWeather.com.