In the wake of the mild air that has been sitting over much of the eastern half of the nation over the past few days, colder weather will move in for the end of the week.
This surge of cold air will be a piece of the polar vortex breaking off and coming southward.
The cold air will begin to push into the northern Plains and Great Lakes on Thursday and will continue to push south and east, reaching the East Coast by the weekend.
This time around, the cold will not be nearly as bitter as the cold wave that smashed records in places early last week. During that stretch, many places had temperatures that were 30 to 40 degrees below average.
This blast of colder air will produce temperatures that are closer to 10 degrees lower than average. Many places along the I-95 corridor will still have highs near or above freezing at the peak of the chill this weekend.
"This next main arctic blast will not rival, nor will it be as extensive as the event last week," AccuWeather.com Lead Long-Range Forecaster Paul Pastelok said.
Even so, the air mass will be cold enough to allow temperatures to drop below zero at night from Minnesota into northern Wisconsin.
With temperatures this low, it's crucial to limit time outdoors and make sure to cover exposed skin to prevent hypothermia and frostbite.
As this piece of the polar vortex starts to move away, temperatures will begin to rebound by Sunday across the Great Lakes. In the East, temperatures will start to bounce back on Monday.
However, additional waves of cold air will follow.
According to AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski, "The polar vortex will act like a giant pinwheel or anchor for waves of cold air and clipper storms from the Upper Midwest to the Northeast through the second half of the month."
Following a wet, mild Christmas Eve across much of the Northeast, a blustery Christmas Day is on the way.
While lacking across a large part of the United States on Christmas Day, arctic air is set to make a comeback during the final days of 2014.
While many bowl games will be played in warmer locales this year, there are others that will face cold and potentially wintry conditions in the Midwest and Northeast.
A winter storm will impact the United Kingdom and central Europe for Boxing Day and the holiday weekend.
A potent Christmas Eve storm is also threatening the Ohio Valley with violent thunderstorms.
While blustery winds will usher in colder air on Christmas Day, milder air will then quickly return to Pittsburgh on Friday.
Brownsville, TX (1989)
16 degrees - lowest temperature of the 20th century and the all time December record.
New England (1994)
Powerful storm produced damaging winds. 99 mph at Westport Harbor 84 mph at Nantucket 76 mph at Blue Hill observatory
Illinois, Kentucky (1796)
Famous cold day; Cairo, -7.5 degrees, -13 degrees in parts of Kentucky. The Mississippi River became frozen.