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Extreme heat and drought have made this summer one that many of us would like to forget.
(PHOTOS: 2012 drought disaster)
We saw some initial heat relief late last week and over the weekend in many cities that have endured the extremes of summer 2012. However, the long-term pattern looks promising too, partially due to a weather pattern that we look for during the winter that is favorable for cold outbreaks and snow.
Greenland Block = Cooler East of Rockies
High pressure near Greenland helps to send a dip in the jet stream southward into the central and eastern U.S.
The upcoming pattern is one that meteorologists who are fans of winter weather salivate over. This was something we did not see much of this past winter.
When there is high pressure in the upper atmosphere near Greenland, the jet stream over North America typically buckles and dips southward across the eastern half of the United States, resulting in a period of cooler-than-average temperatures. This pattern is what meteorologists call the negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO).
The NAO is forecast to head strongly negative, bringing an extended period of heat relief for many states east of the Rockies beginning later this week.
Below-Average Temperature Forecast
The six to ten day temperature outlook from the Climate Prediction Center shows the highest probabilities of below-average temperatures (blue shadings) in portions of the central and eastern states.
The latest six-to-ten day forecast from NOAA's Climate Prediction Center shows this with a large area of below-average temperatures dominating much of the central and eastern states. It's August, so settle down winter weather lovers -- we aren't talking about freezing temperatures and snow like we would if this pattern were in place during the heart of January.
What we will see beginning the next few days ahead are high temperatures in the 60s, 70s and low 80s dominating the Midwest. Even the scorched south-central states will see the edge taken off the extreme heat that has plagued the region so far in early August.
The dip in the stream will first begin to enter into the Dakotas and Montana Wednesday and push into parts of the southern and eastern states by Friday and Saturday.
It's not out of the question that temperatures could drop to within a few degrees of record lows Friday and Saturday morning in some Midwest cities. Morning temperatures bottoming out in the 40s and 50s will spread across the region Friday through Sunday.
You can track the falling temperatures each day by clicking through our national forecast high/low temperature map links below or look up your 10-day forecast on weather.com.
Departure from average temperatures in the 90 days ending August 11, 2012. Darker orange and red shaded areas are the farthest above average.
Last week, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a report showing that July 2012 was the warmest month on record in the United States. It hasn't just been July though, we've seen plenty of record-breaking heat in late June and the first part of August.
(MORE: Hottest month on record)
Overall, when you look at the departure from average temperatures over the 90 days ending August 11, it's hard to find many areas that have seen near or below-average temperatures.