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Fox News Weather Center

Pre-Thanksgiving Cold Blast to Chill Central, Eastern US

The coldest air since last spring will dive across much of the nation east of the Rockies into Tuesday.

This stretch of cold air will be a shock for many as much of November has been mild and well above average. This will make the outdoor air feel even colder than it actually is.

Jackets and winter coats will be needed for any outdoor activities or early holiday shopping.

Cold Air Invades Northeast for the End of the Weekend

Daytime high temperatures will generally range between 10 and 20 degrees Fahrenheit below average at the hight of the cold snap.

Overnight temperatures will be at or well below freezing across most areas from the Plains to the East Coast. Portions of the Southeast will receive their first frost or freeze of the season.

JUMP TO: Central U.S. Outlook| Eastern U.S. Outlook

Central U.S. Outlook

Sunshine will break out across much of the the North Central states on Sunday following areas of snow on Friday.

Milder air will filter into the Plains while the cold blast grips much of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois on Sunday.

The jet stream will push northward across the northern Plains allowing milder air to build into the region and lead to significant snowmelt across portions of Nebraska and South Dakota.

The jet stream tends to separate the cold air to the north and the milder air to the south.

On the flip side, the jet stream will dive southward, closer to the upper Great Lakes, only allowing high temperatures to rise into the 20s and 30s Fahrenheit, leading to limited snowmelt. Temperatures will slowly moderate on Tuesday into Wednesday which should melt all of the snow that fell this weekend before the Thanksgiving holiday.

Overnight temperatures will fall into the 10s and 20s across much of the Midwest and northern Plains on Sunday night and Monday night. Those traveling at night should be alert for areas of black ice to form due to the melting snowpack refreezing on roadways.

Following the first deep freeze across the South Central states on Saturday night, the area of high pressure responsible for this cold snap will continue to bring chilly days and cold nights through Sunday.

Cooler air will dive southward across Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana and eastern Texas while milder air builds from western Texas to Kansas.

Daytime high temperatures across much of the South Central states will be in the 50s on Sunday despite a great deal of sunshine. High temperatures may fail to reach 50 F across Missouri and eastern Arkansas.

Temperatures will rebound from western Texas into Kansas as daytime high temperatures only reached the 40s on Saturday.

Another cold night and freeze potential will be in store on Sunday night as temperatures will once again fall into the 20s and 30s. Temperatures will remain above freezing closer to the Gulf of Mexico.

By Monday into Tuesday, temperatures will rebound closer to normal as winds shift to the south, allowing warmer air to filter in.

On Thanksgiving Day, a storm system will track across the central U.S. and will bring rain from the Midwest to the southern Plains. Snow may fall across the northern Plains. Those traveling on Thanksgiving will need to give yourself extra time to reach your destination.

Eastern U.S. Outlook

The cold air in place across the central U.S. will spread eastward into the Eastern states through Monday.

Daytime high temperatures east of the Appalachians will fail to reach 40 F on Sunday including Buffalo, New York; Detroit; Pittsburgh; and Charleston, West Virginia.

The coldest air will not reach the East Coast until Monday.

With this surge of cold air over the warm waters of the Great Lakes, bands of lake-effect snow will develop into Sunday night.

However, unlike the long-duration lake-effect event from last November that brought more than a yard of snow to some areas, the event this weekend will be short-lived and less intense.

Snow totals could reach 6 inches or more along the Tug Hill Plateau in upstate New York and in the Allegheny Plaueau across southwestern New York and northwestern Pennsylvania.

Snow totals will be less near the lakeshores as the mild water temperatures of the Great Lakes will limit the amount of snow that sticks to roads and grassy surfaces.

Those traveling near the Great Lakes on Sunday should use caution as the weather can turn from sunshine to white-out conditions in a matter of miles.

Sunday night's lows will range from the low to mid-30s along the Interstate 95 corridor to the 10s and 20s across the interior Northeast and the Ohio Valley.

Monday looks to be the coldest day across the Northeast this week.

"This week will start out with temperatures no higher than the 40s along the I-95 corridor," AccuWeather Meteorologist Becky Elliott said. "It will feel much colder compared to this week, when temperatures reached the 60s."

Across the southeastern U.S., chilly air will continue to build across the region into Monday. Cooler air will even plunge into portions of Florida.

By Sunday night, temperatures will drop into the 20s and 30s across much of the Southeast, where many areas will get their first frost of freeze of the season.

Cities that may receive their first freeze on Sunday night include Atlanta; Memphis, Tennessee; and Montgomery, Alabama.

The threat of frost will extend as far south as southern Mississippi, southern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.

Temperatures will remain above freezing near the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastlines.

Those with outdoor plants and vegetation should cover them on Sunday night to prevent the buildup of frost or ice.

High temperatures on Monday will only reach the 40s across portions of the mid-Atlantic to the 50s across the Deep South and the Florida Panhandle.

Orlando, Florida, may not reach 70 F for the first time since Feb. 28.

Milder air will regain control over the Eastern states heading toward Thanksgiving. Along with the mild air, dry weather is in store for holiday travelers.