An outbreak of arctic air will bring the lowest temperatures of the season so far and dangerous cold to the Midwest this weekend, before moving into the East early next week.
The latest arctic blast will send thermometer readings to the minus 20s F over part of the northern Plains and the Upper Midwest. The temperature may stay below zero for 48 hours in parts of North Dakota and Minnesota this weekend.
AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures will be life-threatening if people venture out without being properly dressed from the northern Plains to the Ohio Valley.
According to AccuWeather Chief Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok, "The arctic deep freeze will last two to three days in most places."
Highs from New York City to Washington, D.C., will be below freezing during the first part of the week. Overnight lows will mainly be in the teens.
Temperatures will average 10-20 degrees below average in the North Central states and 5-10 degrees below average in the East. Typical highs during the middle of January range from the lower 20s around Minneapolis to the upper 30s in New York City.
According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson, "As the leading edge of the arctic air races southeastward, flurries and highly localized bursts of snow can occur."
The spotty snow showers will extend from parts of Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri to portions of Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky on Sunday.
The bursts of snow and sudden drop in visibility can catch motorists cruising along on the highways by surprise. Roads can go from dry to wet and then snow-covered in a matter of minutes.
During Sunday night, the arctic front and the snow showers riding along will then blast across the Appalachians, erasing the mild air from the weekend.
While the snow showers are likely to diminish moving toward the Interstate-95 corridor, there can be a couple of flurries associated with the arrival of the arctic air during Sunday night into Monday.
Cold air will dip into the South as well.
Highs will be within a few degrees of 40 in Atlanta for a couple of days early next week.
Temperatures could dip to near freezing as far south as central Florida, but north of the major citrus areas during Monday and Tuesday night, Pastelok stated.
The flow of the very cold air across the relatively warm and open Great Lakes waters will renew heavy bands of lake-effect snow.
Where the lake-effect bands persist into the middle of next week, 1-3 feet of new snow will fall.
This could be the last major arctic blast of the month for the North Central states.
Later next week, temperatures are forecast to recover to near seasonable levels over much of the Midwest and mid-Atlantic states. However, it could remain cold enough for any storm that rolls in by next weekend to bring snow or a wintry mix to areas that have received little or no such precipitation so far this winter.
A couple of additional waves of arctic air may plunge into the Northeast during the last part of the month.