Warm temperatures that have the potential to smash records will occur for parts of the West later in this week, and mild weather that is not usual for this time of year will move across most of the Midwest after a midweek cool down.
There are more benefits than just being able to go outside without freezing, it also means that you can experience lower heating bills as well as a reduced risk of having to drive through snow or ice!

But, there are also some downsides to this mild weather. The persistently warm temperatures will more than likely cause the ice cover to grow thinner and thinner on the lakes and ponds, which means that it is much more dangerous to try and walk on the ice for fishing or ice skating. In the western region, this warmer weather will aggravate the ongoing drought in California, especially as it eats away at the little amount of snow that is still present in the Sierra Nevada.

Thursday will probably be the coldest day of the week for the Minneapolis and St. Paul area, but the highs are still expected to be several degrees above average compared to the Central Plains to the Mississippi Valley and Great Lakes. If you’re a resident of North or South Dakota, then you will be able to experience the biggest break from the January cold with temperatures from 10 to 20 degrees above the average. Most of this region will experience the high temperatures above freezing.

As for the Southern Plains, the colder than average temperatures will weasel their way into the area during the middle of the week. This will be due to widespread cloud cover and precipitation that will block the sun from providing any source of extra heat.

The central and Northern Plains will experience some warmth, with highs hitting the 50 degree mark as far as South Dakota where most of the ground has no snow so it can warm up more quickly. By this time, the twin cities should be back above the freezing level.

On Friday morning, about all of the Midwest can expect to see lows in the 20s which is close to normal for Kansas and the Ohio Valley, but it’s about 30 degrees above average for parts of the Dakotas and northern Minnesota.
This is the perfect timing to see the temperatures exceed the average. Long term average temperatures in the Upper Midwest begin to bottom out through the middle of January and will start to inch up degree by degree a few days from now. The West will also warm up as well, with temperatures possibly surging into the 70s through the end of this week. As we reach the weekend, the West will move upwards 15-20 degrees above average through parts of the Sierra Nevada, Sacramento Valley, and some parts of Oregon. Some locations may even challenge the record high temperatures for this date. Warm weather will then expand into the Midwest this weekend as highs can be expected to be 10-20 above average through the central and northern Plains states.

As the system in the South moves to the eastern region of the U.S, temperatures should begin to rebound and become sunny and clear.

Updated: January 22, 2015 — 2:42 pm
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