Millions of people across the eastern half of the country are in for a shock next week as brutally cold arctic air invades the region.
It only happens about once or twice a decade that we see air this frigid spilling into the Upper Midwest during the month of December.
The arctic air blasting in will by far be the coldest yet this season, and likely one of the worst of this entire winter in some places, including all the way to the Southeast and even Florida.
Rarity of the Cold Coming
While subzero highs occur almost every winter in Minneapolis, it is quite rare for them to show up in December. In fact, over the past decade, only two other times (in 2000 and 2008) has a high temperature below zero been recorded in December.
Similarly in the Chicago area, where high temperatures are expected to stay in the single digits Monday, there have only been two times in the last 10 years when the thermometer failed to reach the 10-degree mark.
This graphic shows expected AccuWeather.com RealFeel® temperatures at 7 a.m. Tuesday, with purple representing areas where values will be below zero.
If the Cold Weren't Enough, Just Wait for the Winds
While actual temperatures will be frigid, it's the wind that will really have people reeling in disgust next week.
AccuWeather.com RealFeel® temperatures, which provide a measure of how cold it feels with the wind factored in, will be well below zero in Minneapolis for several days straight starting Saturday night. These values will reach as low as 30 below zero Saturday night into Sunday morning.
People in Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo and perhaps Indianapolis will all endure a 36- to 48-hour period of subzero RealFeel® temperatures during this arctic blast. These values could exceed 20 below zero in Chicago Sunday night and Buffalo Monday night.
The new severe cold wave will create another intense lake effect snow event.
The first blizzard of 2015 for the eastern United States slammed areas from Long Island, New York, to Bangor, Maine, Monday into Tuesday.
As it became obvious on Saturday that a major blizzard was going to hit the Northeast, the track and size of the storm became critical as to which areas would be hit the hardest.
Communities across the Northeast have endured heavy snow and fierce winds amid the first blizzard of 2015 with the storm continuing to churn over New England.
Lingering midwinter cold and additional rounds of snow will add to difficulties for cleanup and those without power after the Blizzard of 2015.
The blizzard pounding the New England region of the U.S. will continue to impact more of Atlantic Canada.
People may think blizzards are about heavy snow, but it's more about wind, blowing snow and visibility, and parts of the Midwest and Northeast are more susceptible to the wrath of these conditions.
Miami, FL (2000)
43 degrees, a record low.
Midwest, East (2002)
Unseasonably mild with highs in the 50s & 60s.
New York City (1805)
Great 48-hour snowstorm dropped 24 inches on New York City.