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Fox News Weather Center

Polar Plunge to Deliver Coldest Air This Winter to Northeast

While the short term forecast calls for over a foot of snow in parts of the Northeast, a widespread chill will take hold of the region late in the week.

A blast of arctic air will deliver the coldest weather so far this winter to the Northeast with widespread highs in the teens and single digits.

People should take proper measures to cope with the harsh cold. This includes measures as simple as wearing extra layers when going outside to making sure to bring your animals indoors to keep them protected from the arctic air.

The frigid arctic air is set to blast in during the day on Thursday with snow showers and a bitting wind from the north.

These winds will make it feel even colder with AccuWeather.com RealFeel® Temperatures 15 to 30 degrees lower than the actual air temperature.

With the arctic air entrenched over the region, Friday looks to be the coldest day of the week from Baltimore to Boston and west through Detroit. Some areas of northern New England may even fail to climb above zero degrees F during the day on Friday.

The lowest temperatures are expected in areas where there will be a fresh, deep snowpack following the early week storm. This zone generally stretches from western New York to coastal areas of New England.

Frigid days will be followed by even colder nights with temperatures in some spots dipping lower than 20 degrees below zero.

Low temperatures should not be this extreme closer to the coast, but the temperature may still dip into the single digits in New York City and below zero in Boston.

The worst of the cold will remain locked over Canada with parts of northern Quebec and Ontario remaining below zero degrees Fahrenheit (-18 Celsius) for several days in a row.

People that must spend time in the outdoors should dress accordingly. Without the proper protection from the cold and wind, you run the risk of contracting frostbite or hypothermia.

Early indications suggest that a reinforcing shot of arctic air will quickly follow this initial blast, arriving during the latter part of next weekend.

This would result in a prolonged cold spell for the Northeast bringing temperatures just as low as the first push of arctic air.

A prolonged cold snap of this nature could cause additional issues across the region, such as the threat for water main breaks.

While AccuWeather.com meteorologists have high confidence with the timing and intensity of the arctic outbreak, there is some uncertainty concerning the system responsible for ushering the air into the region.

Depending on the track of the low pressure system, it could develop into a nor'easter off the coast of New England late on Thursday into Friday.

If this does occur, it could deliver a plowable snow to southern New England, including the Boston area.

Continue to check back with AccuWeather.com over the coming days for more information about the potential for a late-week nor'easter.