Early-Week Polar Plunge Could Be Winter's Coldest

Monday, January 27, 2014

AccuWeather.com reports a blast of frigid air will grip most of the eastern two-thirds of the United States through Wednesday and could yield the lowest temperatures so far this winter in some communities.

The impending polar plunge will rival the frigid days from earlier this January for the coldest daytime highs and nighttime lows so far this winter. This does not include South Florida.

The arctic air first plunged into the Upper Midwest, northern Plains and northern Rockies on Sunday and is expected to continue pressing to the Gulf and Atlantic coasts through Tuesday.

The magnitude of this cold blast will be enough to produce a far-reaching threat of frostbite, hypothermia, frozen pipes and water main breaks.

Care should also be taken to ensure that livestock and other animals housed outdoors have adequate shelter.

Especially across the Midwest and Northeast, officials may decide to cancel or delay school due to the extreme cold. Some vehicles may struggle or fail to start.

While highs will be held to the 30s southward to the I-10 corridor, the Midwest and Northeast are bracing for the harshest conditions.

Minneapolis, Chicago and other communities in the Upper Midwest will endure two consecutive days of subzero highs on Monday through Tuesday. Overnight lows will drop to 20 below zero or lower from North Dakota to the western suburbs of Chicago.

Grand Forks, N.D., will bottom out at around 30 below zero.

Across the interior Northeast, high temperatures will be held to the single digits and teens on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Fargo, N.D., Des Moines, Iowa, Minneapolis, Chicago, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh are on the list of cities that could rival their lowest temperatures of the season. For locations in the I-95 corridor of the Northeast, temperatures will stop short of breaching season lows but will still be painful to endure.

Biting winds will usher in frigid air, creating dramatically lower AccuWeather.com RealFeel temperatures.

Where snow covers the ground, the winds will worsen the situation for motorists by blowing and drifting the snow around. In the most extreme cases, there will be local ground blizzards.

RealFeel temperatures will be extremely dangerous across eastern North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. On Sunday night, RealFeel temperatures dipped to 50 below zero in the town of Wadena, Mn.

Frostbite can develop in a matter of minutes on exposed skin during such intense cold.

Along the leading edge of the invading cold air, an Alberta Clipper spread a few inches of snow from parts of the southern Appalachians to northern New England on Monday.

While Detroit already set a January snow record, the clipper may cause other Midwestern cities to follow suit. The lake-effect snow machine will continue downwind of lakes Ontario, Michigan, Huron and Superior with locally heavy snow forecast. Most of Lake Erie is frozen, so minimal snowfall is forecast downwind of the water body.

Snow will also drop along the Front Range of the Rockies as the cold presses southward. Denver will have periods of snow into Monday evening that can deposit up to a few inches.

The invading cold will and developing storm will spread a swath of snow and ice across the I-10 and I-95 corridors in the South Tuesday into Wednesday.


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