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Frigid air to grip midwestern, northeastern US into the weekend

By Renee Duff, AccuWeather meteorologist
December 15, 2016, 8:54:31 AM EST

    The coldest air so far this season will continue to sweep across the central and eastern United States into the weekend.

    “The bitterly cold air that has spilled into the Rockies and northern Plains will spread south and eastward for the rest of the week,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Ryan Adamson said.

    Temperatures will plummet 10 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit below average from Little Rock, Arkansas, to Chicago before expanding eastward to Richmond, Virginia, and Boston.

    Cold air US

    The core of the cold will grip the northern Plains, where highs in the single digits and teens will unfold.

    “The coldest air of the season so far will overtake the Great Lakes on Thursday and Friday,” Adamson said.

    “Chicago will be lucky to reach 25 F on Friday and Saturday,” he said.

    Chicago averages highs in the upper 30s during the middle of December and the lower 30s during the month of January.

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    The harshest conditions will reach the Northeast by the weekend.

    “Boston will struggle to reach freezing for a high this weekend, while New York City may not reach 40 F,” Adamson said.

    New York City will record their first freeze of the season by Saturday morning. The city will fall well short of setting the latest first freeze on record, which currently stands at Dec. 22, 1998.

    Gusty winds will add to the biting chill across the Midwest and Northeast. The cold will be ushered in by wind gusts of 25 to 35 mph, helping to trigger some lake-effect snow.

    AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures threaten to dip into the teens and 20s during the daytime, and into the single digits overnight.

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    “Residents will need to make sure they are sufficiently bundled up before heading outdoors and make sure animals have proper shelter,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski said.

    The cold push will make significant progress across the Southern states, reaching the Gulf Coast and Florida by Friday.

    Temperatures may not reach the 50-degree mark in Houston and New Orleans on Friday, while Atlanta will stay stuck in the lower 40s. Tampa and Orlando, Florida, will be in the lower to middle 60s to end the workweek.

    Temperatures will return to more seasonable levels across the South by Sunday. The cold air will keep a stubborn grip across the Midwest and Northeast, with several opportunities for snow into next week.

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