Life-Threatening Cold to Plunge Into Rockies, Plains

By Brian Edwards, Meteorologist
December 02, 2013; 10:53 AM
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Play video For the latest on the upcoming extreme cold and snow, click on the video above.

A storm that produced flooding rains and heavy snow in the Pacific Northwest will move into the Plains early this week, allowing arctic air to spill southward from Canada.

Temperatures by Wednesday and Thursday won't rise above zero in parts of North Dakota and Montana while overnight lows approach 30 F below zero. This cold outbreak will mark the coldest weather of the season for much of the western two-thirds of the nation.

Not only will extreme cold spill into the Plains and parts of the West, but a fresh snowpack will develop after the aforementioned storm moves through the Plains.

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Snowfall amounts through Monday night will approach a foot in parts of the northern Rockies while a swath of 3- to 6-inch accumulations build along the U.S./Canada border.

Additionally, a round of heavier snow is likely for Montana, the Dakotas and Minnesota on Tuesday. Cities such as Fargo, N.D., International Falls, Minn., and Duluth, Minn. could receive in excess of 6 additional inches of snow Tuesday and Tuesday night.

Travel will become extremely difficult over the next few days along interstates 94, 15, 90 and 29. Severe blowing and drifting of the snow will develop Monday night and continue through the end of the week.

Behind the snow, arctic air will push southward, first into the northern Rockies on Tuesday, then into the northern Plains on Wednesday.

High temperatures by Wednesday will hover around zero degrees from Great Falls, Mont., through Billings, Mont., and Dickinson, N.D.

Temperatures will stay in the single digits over an even larger zone from Bozeman, Mont., through Fargo, N.D.

Add in a gusty, northerly wind and that will send AccuWeather RealFeel® temperatures to nearly 40 F below zero in some cases both Wednesday and Thursday.

Not only will the days be brutally cold, but the nights will be even worse. AccuWeather.com meteorologists are expecting overnight lows both Wednesday night and Thursday night to fall to between 20 below zero F and 30 below zero F across much of Montana and North Dakota.

Subzero nighttime lows will be found across an even bigger corridor from Idaho through Minnesota.

AccuWeather.com meteorologists urge residents of the northern Rockies and northern Plains to take the proper cold weather precautions.

Have a flashlight and extra batteries available as well as an emergency heat source and extra blankets in your home.

If you have to travel, carry a winter storm survival kit and always make sure your gas tank is near full.

Move cattle to sheltered areas and make sure to bring any pets inside for the duration of the cold.

AccuWeather.com will have more information on the impending cold and snow over the coming days.

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