Cold Plunges Into Northern US for Year's End

By , Expert Senior Meteorologist
December 31, 2013; 1:38 PM
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Play video This video discusses the the extreme cold affecting the North Central states.

The coldest air of the season so far, featuring temperatures well below zero, continue to blast out of Canada, the northern Plains and the the Upper Midwest early this week. The frigid air will also reach into the upper reaches of the Northeast at midweek.

Portions of North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan will have several more days where the temperature does not climb above zero this week.

Cities in the North Central states facing around the clock, subzero temperatures include Fargo, N.D.; International Falls, Minn.; Rhinelander, Wis.; and Ironwood, Mich.

These bitter temperatures have even caused some of the northern ski resorts to close.

Greenbay, Wis.'s highs earl this week went from 35 degrees on Sunday to barely reaching 0 degrees on Monday.

Highs in Chicago on Tuesday will only be in the teens, while temperatures in Madison, Wis., will not get out of the single digits. The air will be warmed slightly downwind of the Great Lakes, but even the Detroit area will be cold with highs around 20.

The frigid air will settle into the Northeast in stages from the start of the New Year through Friday.

Even though the extreme part of the cold air will stop short of the I-95 Northeast and central Appalachians, it will be painful to be outdoors for an extended period of time.

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Temperatures are forecast to plunge through the 20s for revelers in Times Square in New York City during New Year's Eve. RealFeel temperatures will dip well down into the teens by midnight, thanks to an unforgiving breeze that gets channeled through the streets.

Similarly for spectators and participants in the Mummers Parade in Philadelphia on New Year's Day, temperatures are forecast to only reach the lower 30s with RealFeel® temperatures in the 20s.

The brutally cold air will settle over areas hit hard by the pre-Christmas ice storm, where thousands were still without power as of Friday, Dec. 27, 2013.

According to AccuWeather.com Canada Weather Expert Brett Anderson, "Some all-time record lows could be challenged in parts of southern Quebec, northern New England and northern upstate New York, when the core of the cold air settles in Wednesday night."

Just how low temperatures drop at night will depend on cloud cover and wind. There is the potential for temperatures to dip even lower than currently forecast.

"Where the sky is clear all night and winds become calm, temperatures along the United States/Canada border could drop to minus 30 F," Anderson said.

Major cities in Canada that have a chance at reaching all-time record lows, provided the right conditions occur, include Montreal, Quebec City and Ottawa, Ontario.

According to AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski, areas from northern upstate New York to northern Vermont, northern New Hampshire and northwestern Maine may stay below zero on New Year's Day.

"In part of New England and northern New York state, the frigid air will sweep in on the heels of a storm that affected the area Sunday night," Pydynowski said.

A second push of cold air will follow a storm slated to affect the Northeast on Thursday. The I-95 cities in the Northeast are poised to have their lowest temperatures of the season so far on Friday.

International Falls, Minn., has been no stranger to temperatures dipping lower than 30 degrees below zero during December. The city along the Canada border has done so seven times through Dec. 30 and is likely to do so once more before the end of the month.

The icebox of the Lower 48 states has lived up to its reputation and then some this month with an average temperature of 3 degrees below zero F. The normal average temperature for the month in the city is around 10 degrees above zero.

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