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The first arctic blast of the season will drop out of Canada and sweep quickly eastward from the Upper Midwest to New England during the second half of this week.
While the batch of arctic air will only last a couple of days at most locations, it will bring the lowest temperatures of the season so far to the midwestern and northeastern United States.
The main thrust of the arctic air will extend from the Dakotas and Minnesota to Wisconsin, Michigan, upstate New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Daytime temperatures in part of this swath may fall during the daylight hours.
Property owners who have not done so already should drain garden hoses and fountains and bring bird baths in for the season. Outdoor plumbing in unheated areas should be winterized as temperatures will plummet well below freezing.
Highs in the teens and lows within a few degrees of zero F are likely for Bismarck, North Dakota, and Duluth, Minnesota, from Thursday to Friday. Temperatures will dip to the lower teens in Minneapolis.
Farther to the south and east, near- to slightly-below-average temperatures will be swapped with much lower-than-average temperatures.
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The relatively warm, unfrozen waters of the Great Lakes will take some of the sting out of the air farther to the south and east. Even so, daytime temperatures are likely to fall into the 20s in Burlington, Vermont, and Caribou, Maine, on Friday.
"A hard freeze with a breeze is likely from Omaha, Nebraska, and Kansas City, Missouri, to Chicago; Detroit; Cincinnati; Cleveland; Pittsburgh; Albany, New York; Hartford, Connecticut; Providence, Rhode Island; Boston; and Portland, Maine," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson.
"Temperatures are also likely to dip to near or below freezing in the urban areas of Washington, D.C.; Richmond, Virginia; Baltimore; Philadelphia and New York City from late Friday night to Saturday morning," Anderson said.
Fans heading out to area high school and college football games on Friday night and Saturday will need to bundle up.
Quick arctic shot of air to be accompanied by snow in northern tier
Just as the warm Great Lakes will lessen the severity of the chill, the warm waters will add enough moisture to the air so that when the initial surge of cold air arrives, a burst of snow may result in some locations.
"There is the potential for a blinding snow squall to occur as the leading edge of the cold air sweeps eastward from through Thursday night," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rossio.
"The best chance for a quick coating of snow is from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and the northern part of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan to southern Ontario, to parts of northeastern Pennsylvania and western and northern New York state," Rossio said.
Snow showers may also occur in parts of Vermont, northern New Hampshire and northwestern Maine.
Motorists should be prepared for sudden whiteouts and rapidly deteriorating road conditions, making sure vehicles are equipped to handle snow, such as tires that are designed for slippery conditions.
Lake-effect snow that follows the initial burst of cold air will be brief due to the fast-moving nature of the air mass. However, it is possible that part of northern Michigan picks up a foot and portions western New York state receive up to a few inches.
No accumulating snow is expected from northern Illinois to Indiana, Ohio, southeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and southeastern New England with this particular episode.
Temperatures are forecast to moderate from west to east as this weekend progresses. However, an area of clouds and mixed rain, sleet and wet snow may develop as far to the south and east as the mid-Atlantic region ahead of a return to milder conditions.
Another blast of cold air is likely prior to Thanksgiving. That cold blast may be accompanied by a major storm in the Northeast.
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