This week, millions of people will experience dangerously low temperatures due to a dive-down from Canada of the season’s coldest air by a considerable margin. Some areas will see such low temperatures that frostbite on exposed flesh could start in as little as five minutes.
For the majority of the northern tier of the country, the temperatures are already chilly to start the week.
The Weather Prediction Center stated that “highs over central and eastern Montana will struggle to reach above zero today, while daytime lows from 0 to -15 degrees will be frequent from eastern Washington to the Upper Mississippi Valley.”
But the terrible week that will follow will only get worse when temperatures drop by 30 to 50 degrees below average.
The forecast center stated that “daytime lows on Tuesday plunge as low as -20 to -30 in sections of Montana, with sub-zero lows, spilling deeper into the central High Plains.” Wind chills in the region can reach -30 to even -60 degrees because of the blustery winds that are to blame.
More than 80% of the Lower 48 will suffer below-freezing temperatures this week. Currently, the list includes cities in the deep south like Houston, Austin, Texas, Atlanta, and even Orlando. And some people in the Midwest may have their coldest Christmas Day in close to 40 years.
HOW COLD CHRISTMAS EVE MORNING?????? This Cold!! Wind Chill Values In Single Digits! FIRST ALERT WEATHER DAY. @live5news #christmas pic.twitter.com/9Q1mQl5CdX
— Bill Walsh (@BILLWALSHTV) December 19, 2022
A large winter storm that develops due to the cold air will have a substantial impact on the central and eastern US and might scuttle any travel plans for the holidays this week.
Beginning on Tuesday, a significant winter storm will develop, bringing with it blizzard-like conditions, significant snowfall, brisk winds, rain, and significantly colder temperatures.
As the storm moves into the Midwest, where it will have the greatest effects, snowfall will start in the Rockies and increase. For this area, snow will start falling Thursday night and continue for a good portion of the Christmas holiday.
In the Lower Mississippi Valley, where snowflakes may be seen as far south as Jackson, Mississippi, heavy snowfall will cover most of the Midwest.
Chicago will be among the cities affected the most severely since a snowstorm is possible, according to the National Weather Service office there.
When snow is falling or blowing and there are at least 35 mph winds present, visibility is decreased to at least a quarter of a mile for at least three hours.
The meteorological service headquarters in Chicago reported: “rapidly deteriorating conditions by late Thursday afternoon, with dangerous blizzard conditions becoming increasingly likely Thursday night into Friday.”
Travel during the holidays will be halted as a result. The weather agency has already advised people to change their travel schedules.
Over a foot of snow could accumulate throughout the Midwest, according to one forecast model.
Wind gusts of up to 50 mph are expected on Friday, which will raise concerns about power disruptions in the Windy City. As a result, the storm’s effects will only worsen because the wind chill will plummet to at least 20 below zero, and probably much lower.
On Christmas Day, Chicago’s high is predicted to be 12. That would make this Christmas in Chicago the coldest since 1996. A little further south, Indianapolis’ high temperature is predicted to be 13 degrees, making this Christmas perhaps the coldest in nearly 40 years!
A significant dip in the jet stream, which is allowing extremely cold air to plunge very far south, is to blame for the cold.
“The Arctic portions of the northern hemisphere are covered in snow and ice, and it is nighttime there. So, Greg Carbin, branch chief at the prediction center, explained, “you’ve effectively got a source freezer sitting up there in the Arctic polar areas. There is a lot of snow on the ground, even over the north-central United States, thus it’s similar to the Polar Express, and the cold air can retain those qualities.
On Wednesday afternoon, Minneapolis is predicted to experience a temperature drop below zero; it might not rise above zero until Saturday, or a full 72 hours later.
According to the National Weather Service office in Twin Cities, “several inches of light snow” might fall in certain areas of central Minnesota until Wednesday night. By Thursday, the region will experience wind gusts of up to 40 to 50 mph.
The basic line is that later this week, travel will be extremely risky and might even be LIFE-THREATENING, so start making changes to your travel arrangements today! said the weather service.
Fargo, North Dakota, will experience a drop in temperature this evening and won’t experience an increase until Christmas Day.
Many areas of Montana, the Dakotas, parts of Minnesota, and Nebraska are under wind chill warnings because wind chills might fall as low as 60 degrees below zero there.
The Deep South will also experience this intense cold. With a high temperature of only 33 degrees predicted, Atlanta might have one of its top three coldest Christmases ever.
On Friday, temperatures will also fall below zero in Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee. On Friday, Nashville will only reach 16 degrees, and the 25 mph winds will make it feel like it is 3 below zero. They won’t turn 26 until Christmas. With a predicted high of 28, Memphis could have its coldest Christmas since 1985.
On Christmas Day, it might be difficult for cities like Little Rock, Arkansas, and Oklahoma City to rise above freezing.