The coldest air so far this season will ride in on locally damaging and disruptive winds across the midwestern United States late this week.
Residents of the Midwest will go from basking in unseasonably mild conditions at midweek to shivering under the first true taste of winter on Thursday and Friday.
Hats, gloves and scarves that have yet to be pulled out of the closet are likely to be put to use during this stretch.
“Many areas will drop by 20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit between Wednesday and Friday,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Ryan Adamson said.
After arriving in the northern Plains on Thursday, the chill will overtake the rest of the Plains and middle and upper Mississippi Valley on Friday.
High temperatures will fail to get out of the 40s F and, in some cases, the 30s. Cold, stiff winds will push AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures into the 10s and 20s at times.
Without proper protection, hypothermia can set in even with temperatures above freezing.
A hard freeze will occur overnight as lows forecast to be in the 10s and 20s.
As the cold air gets pulled southward, snow will fall across the Upper Midwest along the northern and western periphery of a storm system and could lead to slippery travel.
Wind gusts will whip up to 60 mph at times across the northern Plains. Blustery weather will extend southward into the central and southern Plains, but the strength of the winds will not be nearly as intense.
“Tree limbs could come down, especially any which still have leaves,” Adamson said.
Sporadic power outages and flight delays can also occur.
“It would be a good idea to secure any loose objects outdoors due to the strong winds,” Adamson said.
The howling wind will blow directly across portions of interstates 80, 90 and 94, creating difficult driving conditions and heightening the risk of high-profile vehicles losing control.
Winds will lessen significantly as the cold air continues to dive farther south and east over the weekend. Blustery weather will mainly prevail over the Great Lakes, where the water will be dangerous for boaters and conditions will be favorable for waterspout development.
By Sunday, the lower Mississippi Valley and Deep South will get a taste of the chill as temperatures fall 15 to 25 degrees Fahrenheit below normal.