While the Parkland has received little more than a light dusting of snow over the past week, the weather outside can still be described as "frightful" as temperatures have dropped to the single digits in recent days - and there's going to be very little relief for southeast Missouri over the next week.
According to the National Weather Service, the coldest air of the season thus far arrived in the region on Wednesday morning, as expected. Early morning temperatures were in the single digits above and below zero in parts of the state.
With such cold temperatures, even a relatively light wind is enough to produce dangerously cold wind chill values. With the arrival of a weak disturbance from the northwest Wednesday, precipitation stayed to the far north of the Parkland.
The northwest flow aloft will leave the door open to significant cold air intrusions the upcoming weekend and into early next week. Our current bout of very cold air will also be slow to exit and so the Parkland is going to see cold temperatures for the foreseeable future.
Friday is looking to be the warmest day of the week with temperatures possibly breaking the freezing mark in a few areas - but then the next Arctic air mass looks like it's going to invade our region once again. Weekend max temperatures look very similar to what we are dealing with now and could be colder once the strength of air mass is determined.
The Arctic air mass is expected to dominate the region from Saturday through Monday night and it's looking increasingly likely that the area could see an extended period of dangerous wind chills of 15 below zero or lower for many areas north of Interstate 70. It looks like temperatures may take an upward tick on Tuesday, but it's still going to be very cold.
With the cold comes the announcement that the Farmington Civic Center is open as a warming shelter through Sunday and possibly longer, if needed. The civic center is open during normal operating hours 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
The need for an overnight shelter will be determined by the extent that the cold weather affects the area and public need. Persons needing an overnight warming shelter should call the Farmington Police Department at 573-756-6686 or St. Francois County Central Dispatch at 431-3131 to make arrangements.
Here's the NWS forecast for the coming week:
Today will be partly sunny, with a high near 27 and an east wind around 5 mph - becoming light and variable in the afternoon. The evening skies will be partly cloudy with a low around 14 degrees, with a light and variable wind.
Friday will be partly sunny, with a high near 34 and a calm wind becoming northerly around 5 mph. the evening will be mostly cloudy, with a low around 14.
Saturday is forecast to be partly sunny, with a high near 21. In the evening, there will be a 20 percent chance of snow after midnight and a low around 5.
Sunday will still see a 20 percent chance for snow before noon. It will be partly sunny and cold, with a high near 19. In the evening, skies will be partly cloudy and temperatures are expected to dip down to only 3 degrees.
New Year's Day will be mostly sunning and cold, with a high near 20. Expect partly cloudy skies in the evening, with a low around 6 degrees.
Tuesday is expected to be mostly sunny, with a high near 26.
For the latest weather information - including NWS advisories, watches and warnings - check the Daily Journal website at www.dailyjournalonline.com