The travel problems caused by a winter storm tracking into the Northeast on Monday morning was only the first part of several punches on tap to be delivered by the atmosphere.
Frigid, arctic winds will come rushing in this evening behind the departing rain and snow across the East. This wintry blast will be the coldest air felt so far this season, and it will lead to a rapid-freeze up.
Gusty winds will allow the I-95 corridor an opportunity to dry out before the cold air fully engulfs the region, but that will not be the case for places farther west.
Temperatures across the region are expected to plunge dramatically through Tuesday morning, dropping as much as 5-15 degrees in just a few hours and as much as 20-30 degrees Fahrenheit overnight. Temperatures plunging into the 20s, teens and single digits will cause water, slush and snow remaining on roads to freeze very rapidly.
Travelers from the Midwest into northern New England should prepare for a treacherous commute on Tuesday morning. Black Ice is likely to be a hazard on many roads Monday night into Tuesday morning.
While the interior Northeast is coping with icy roads, the cold air diving south will challenge record low temperatures through midweek from eastern Texas to the Carolinas, with lows near freezing along much of the Gulf coast, said AccuWeather Meteorologist Brian Lada.
"Residents all across the East can trade their rain coats for parkas, scarves and mittens," AccuWeather Chief Forecaster Elliot Abrams said.
Cold, blustery weather will blast cities such as New York City, Boston and Philadelphia on Tuesday, replacing the rainy, almost springlike weather experienced on Monday. Abrams said the winds Tuesday will add the feeling of January to the air.
The icy air is expected to lessen its grip on the East by midweek, with temperatures moderating for the last part of the week.
This story by AccuWeather Meteorologist Becky Elliott