A fresh round of Arctic air will descend on the midwestern United States late this week, sending the region into a deep freeze through the end of the month.
“In most of the region, this air mass will be colder than the one that moved through last weekend and earlier this week,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Ryan Adamson.
High temperatures were held in the teens in Minneapolis and Chicago during that cold wave.
The next round of frigid conditions will reach the northern Plains on Thursday as a cold high pressure system dives southward from Canada.
“Highs in parts of North Dakota and Minnesota will likely stay below zero degrees Fahrenheit on Thursday,” Adamson said.
Gusty winds whipping through the upper Mississippi Valley will make it feel even more harsh outside, with AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures expected to be in the minus teens in Des Moines, Iowa, minus 20s F in Minneapolis and minus 30s in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
“These bitterly cold conditions will spread eastward on Friday, with highs in the single digits in cities such as Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Chicago,” Adamson said.
Highs are typically around 30 degrees Fahrenheit in these cities during late January.
Temperatures are likely to drop below zero for the first time this winter in Chicagoland on Thursday and Friday nights.
People spending any length of time outdoors will need to make sure they are properly dressed for such frigid conditions. Make sure you know the warning signs of cold-related injuries, such as frostbite and hypothermia.
Ensure pets are not kept outside too long and have proper shelter and warmth.
Motorists should check vehicle fluids and tire pressure before heading out. Be sure to have a winter survival kit in your vehicle in case an emergency leaves you stranded in the cold for a time.
The cold shot will be a dry one for many, but there will be some snowy areas.
Snow showers will stream off lakes Michigan and Superior beginning Thursday and continuing into the weekend, leading to areas of reduced visibility and slippery travel.
A separate, narrow zone of snow will quickly streak from the northern Plains to the mid-Mississippi Valley at the end of the week, bringing a light accumulation.
AccuWeather meteorologists are monitoring the potential for a more significant and widespread snow event late this weekend and early next week.
While temperatures are forecast to rebound slightly but remain below normal ahead of this storm, a reinforcing wave of bitter cold will plunge southward in its wake early next week.
“This will be a longer-duration cold blast,” said AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok.
The air with this wave may be even more frigid that what is poised to arrive late this week.
Pastelok anticipates temperatures, on average, to be 10-20 degrees below normal across the Midwest through the end of January, leading to increased heating demands.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Renee Duff is an AccuWeather meteorologist.