Arctic air will shift into the Midwest, bringing temperatures as much as 30 degrees below average into the weekend. Temperatures will fall low enough to challenge records late this week.
Some major cities, such as Minneapolis, were already experiencing very cold air on Tuesday, as the high only reached 6 F.
The core of the cold air will stay in the northern tier of the country, spanning cities such as Green Bay, Chicago, Fargo and Traverse City.
Temperatures will bottom out in Minneapolis on Thursday with the high only reaching minus 4 F. Lows Wednesday night and Thursday night will be in the negative teens with wind making it feel even colder.
Average high temperatures for the end of February in Minneapolis are in the lower 30s, with average lows near 18 F.
Chicago will also endure colder air to end the week. Highs on Thursday will be kept in the single digits with the low plummeting near minus 10 F. With wind factored in, AccuWeather RealFeel® temperatures will be as low as minus 35 F.
Cold of this caliber is dangerous, and residents are urged to bundle up and cover their skin. Being outside with exposed skin for only a short duration in this level of cold can lead to frostbite.
In addition to the cold, a more active weather pattern will set in to end the winter. AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski explained that the moist jet from the Pacific and Polar jet will bring more frequent, stronger storms.
The cold will continue to shift south and east into next week.