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Fox News Weather Center

Waves of arctic air to freeze the eastern US into second weekend of February

Waves of arctic air invading the eastern half of the United States this week will culminate with the coldest weather of the season so far for some areas by the second weekend of February.

The jet stream will take a big southward plunge into the Eastern states and will allow progressively colder and more painful weather through the week.

The worst of the cold air will focus on the Midwest during the first part of the week, before expanding southward and eastward.

Mid-winter cold to grip Midwest much of week

The combination of gusty winds, cold air and other factors will cause dangerous cold over parts of the northern Plains and the Upper Midwest. AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures will plunge well below zero degrees Fahrenheit, including around the cities of Minneapolis and Chicago.

The wind and cold will be joined by snow showers during the first couple days of the week.

According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rathbun, "The arctic air will cause bands of heavy snow to develop and shift downwind of the Great Lakes through the week and into next weekend."

The frigid air with near or sub-zero RealFeel temperatures will spread to the Ohio Valley and central Appalachians during the middle days and nights of the week. Those not properly dressed will run the risk of frostbite and/or hypothermia.

People from Cincinnati to Nashville, Atlanta and Pittsburgh will be reaching for the heaviest winter gear on hand to keep warm. Be sure to layer your clothes to help maintain body heat while waiting for the bus or the train.

The cold waves will have a direct path from the northern Plains to the Deep South through much of the week. Only since the source of this air is not as cold as that of January, will temperatures stop a few degrees shy of their lowest levels so far this winter.

Cold plunge to penetrate the South

From Monday to Thursday, freezing temperatures will dip into the Deep South, including as far south as part of north-central Florida.

The penetrating cold can cause exposed pipes to freeze at night from Mississippi to Georgia and the Carolinas.

According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologists Dale Mohler, for a Florida freeze concern, this will be a glancing blow.

"Temperatures low enough to cause damage in the citrus growing areas of Florida are not likely," Mohler said.

"Temperatures could get low enough over unprotected fields of berry fruits and vegetables of north-central Florida to cause minor damage north of Orlando."

Worst of cold air to hit the Northeast next weekend

The cold air will have to take the long way into the mid-Atlantic coast and New England through Wednesday.

Even though the cold air will be less extreme in the Northeast, when compared to the Midwest through Wednesday, it will be cold enough for rounds of snow and slippery travel.

However, during the latter part of the week and into the weekend, arctic air will have a more direct route into the Northeast states. In addition, the starting point of the cold air will be as cold or colder than outbreaks thus far.

According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Edward Vallee, "Temperatures by the end of the week will struggle to reach 30 degree Fahrenheit even into the mid-Atlantic I-95 corridor, with highs in the teens and 20s likely in the interior.

A couple of waves of frigid air will be able to plunge southward from eastern Canada, without having to pass over the relatively warm, open waters of the Great Lakes.

For this reason, parts of the Northeast and mid-Atlantic are likely to challenge for their lowest temperatures of the season so far during the coming weekend.

In parts of northern New York state and New England, temperatures may not climb past the single digits during the day and will plunge well below zero at night.

The arctic outbreak next weekend could nose into Florida once again, but will likely struggle to reach areas over the central Gulf coast to the middle Mississippi Valley and central Plains.