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Harshest arctic air of season grips midwestern, eastern US

By By Kristina Pydynowski, senior meteorologist
January 21, 2016, 12:05:58 AM EST

Brutal cold will sweep across the eastern U.S. through early this week and will continue to leave its mark in the Midwest.

The new arctic blast will be the harshest the Midwest and East have experienced so far this season.

According to AccuWeather Chief Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok, "The arctic deep freeze will last two to three days in most places."

Parts of eastern North Dakota, Minnesota and northeastern Iowa will not have temperatures climb above zero until Tuesday, making for a total of 72 hours of subzero readings since the weekend started.

In Minneapolis, the temperature dropped below zero late Saturday afternoon after barely getting above zero on Saturday. The temperature crawled above zero in the city late Monday afternoon.

Temperatures dangerously dropped under 10 below zero degrees Fahrenheit on Sunday night and did so once again on Monday night in and around Minnesota. Some communities near the Canadian border approached minus 20.

AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures will be life-threatening if people venture out without being properly dressed from the northern Plains to the Northeast.


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The cold in the Eastern states will not be as brutal as that of the Midwest. However, temperatures will be 10-15 degrees below average for a couple of days.

Subfreezing highs and biting winds will encompass the I-95 corridor in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic through Tuesday. This swath has not experienced air feeling this cold so far this winter.

"Washington, D.C., has not had a day during which temperatures stayed below freezing during the daytime [so far this season]," AccuWeather Meteorologist Dave Samuhel said. "However, the city will have two such days."


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Temperatures remained in the 20s during the daylight hours in Washington, D.C., on Monday and will stay below 30 on Tuesday.

The winds will create significantly lower RealFeel Temperatures in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic, which will bottom out down to or below zero to the I-95 corridor Tuesday morning.

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"Residents in the Southeast will also be shivering from this arctic blast," Samuhel said.

"In Raleigh, North Carolina, temperatures on Monday struggled to reach the mid-30s with a gusty winds making it feel closer to 20 much of the day."

On Tuesday, temperatures will struggle to reach 50 in Jacksonville, Florida.


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Highs in the Southeast in mid-January typically range from the lower 50s around Raleigh to the mid-60s in Jacksonville.

"The cold air will blast through parts of Florida recently affected by severe weather," said Samuhel. "Interior parts of South Florida will flirt with the upper 30s Tuesday night."

However, freezing nighttime temperatures will remain north of the major citrus areas.

When the arctic air settles over the East through Tuesday, snow showers will be confined to places downwind of the Great Lakes and the northern Appalachians.

The harsh cold will ease across the Midwest and East beginning at midweek. However, enough cold will be in place for snow to spread from the central Plains to the Ohio Valley Tuesday into Wednesday.

While this snow will likely fizzle east of the Appalachian Mountains, another storm has the potential to bring a heavy accumulation of snow to the mid-Atlantic and perhaps southeastern New England toward the end of the week.

Content contributed by AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

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