While the current blast of Arctic air is expected to hold highs to the single digits and teens across most of the Midwest today, even harsher conditions can put more people and animals at risk for frostbite and hypothermia during the middle of next week.
"The end of January will bring the coldest air of the season for the Midwest and rival the Arctic blast from earlier this week as the coldest in the Northeast," said AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok.
The polar vortex is expected to become displaced from the Arctic Circle and plunge down to near the upper Great Lakes. That will occur in the wake of the winter storm that may lay a swath of disruptive snow from the Midwest, Chicago included, to a part of the Northeast early next week.
“Temperatures can be held 20 to 40 degrees below normal Fahrenheit across most of the Midwest around the middle of next week,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson said
As the storm from the Midwest moves across the Appalachians, it is expected to weaken. However, a secondary storm is forecast to develop near the North Carolina coast and take over as the main storm on Sunday.
"How quickly this transfer takes place and exactly how far north the secondary storm forms will determine how far north heavy snow is able to spread over the Northeast," Anderson said.
That can equate to one or two days of subzero highs from Fargo, N.D., to Minneapolis and Chicago. Highs may reach only the single digits and teens from St. Louis to Indianapolis and Pittsburgh.
Norwalk will see temperatures in the mid 20s with 1 to 3 inches of snow possible on Monday.
Then it gets much colder.
Tuesday will see a high near 18 and a low around minus 7.
On Wednesday, a high near minus 1 is predicted. The low will be minus 12. Breezy.
Thursday will have a high near 3 and a low of minus 5.
The biting winds ushering in the brutal cold to end January will create dangerously lower AccuWeather RealFeel Temperatures.
Residents will once again have to take the proper precautions and cover all exposed skin to avoid frostbite and hypothermia. The homeless should be encouraged to stay in shelters.
Be sure that livestock have sufficient means to stay warm and limit time that pets venture outside.
The risk for water pipes to freeze and dead car batteries will be renewed, and parents can anticipate school delays or cancellations due to the brutal cold.
Motorists should only travel with a winter survival kit in the event you break down and have to wait for help. Amid the cold, lake-effect snow and squalls can create other travel hazards downwind of the Great Lakes.
Pastelok anticipates the harsh cold to ease somewhat across the eastern half of the U.S. during the first weekend of February.
"However, below-normal conditions can still be anticipated in the Upper Midwest and Northeast," he said. "Any cold for the rest of winter may not be as long and as extreme, especially for the Plains and Midwest."
For the Northeast, Pastelok is concerned that February will bring a couple more frigid stretches similar to what is anticipated next week.
The recent increase in cold outbreaks across the midwestern and eastern U.S. is exactly what Pastelok and the AccuWeather Long-Range Forecasting Team anticipated when they released the winter forecast months ago.
Today, the sun will rise at 7:46:15 a.m. and set at 5:40:00 p.m.
On Sunday, the sun will rise at 7:45:24 a.m. and set at 5:41:14 p.m.
And on Monday, the sun will rise at 7:44:32 a.m. and set at 5:42:29 p.m.
Here is the Norwalk-area forecast from the National Weather Service:
Today - A slight chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 22. Southwest wind around 5 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20 percent.
Saturday night - A slight chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 16. Southwest wind 5 to 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20 percent.
Sunday - A slight chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 24. West wind 11 to 14 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20 percent.
Sunday night - A slight chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 7. West wind around 9 mph becoming south after midnight. Chance of precipitation is 20 percent.
Monday - A chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 26. Chance of precipitation is 50 percent. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.
Monday night - Snow showers likely, mainly before 1 a.m. Cloudy, with a low around 15. Chance of precipitation is 70 percent.
Tuesday - A chance of snow showers. Cloudy, with a high near 18. Chance of precipitation is 40 percent.
Tuesday night - Mostly cloudy, with a low around minus 7.
Wednesday - Partly sunny and cold, with a high near minus 1. Breezy.
Wednesday night - Mostly cloudy, with a low around minus 12. Breezy.
Thursday - Mostly sunny and cold, with a high near 3.
Thursday night - Mostly cloudy, with a low around -5.
Friday - Partly sunny, with a high near 15.