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Frigid Blast to Start 2012 from Plains to East

By By Meghan Evans, Meteorologist
January 01, 2012, 1:05:57 AM EST

The harshest, longest-lasting and most widespread cold blast of the season so far for the Plains to the East will arrive the first week of the new year.

Temperatures will fail to climb out of the teens and 20s across portions of the northern Plains on the first day of the new year. Harsh, gusty winds will contribute to even colder AccuWeather.com RealFeel® temperatures.

Biting winds greater than 40 mph will factor in to create AccuWeather.com RealFeel® temperatures in the single digits during the day and below zero at night.

Cold of this caliber is dangerous. People are urged to bundle up and avoid spending time outdoors.

Through Monday, the brutal cold will expand farther south and east across the Great Lakes region, unleashing an impressive lake-effect snow event.


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There has only been one day so far this season where the high failed to climb out of the 20s in Chicago, and there may be at least a couple of days where this happens next week. So far this season, Dec. 10 was the only day held in the 20s in Chicago with the high struggling to reach 27 degrees.

By Tuesday, highs will be drastically colder across the East. Highs will be in the teens and 20s across the interior. In the northern Appalachians, highs will only be in the single digits.

Big Northeastern cities along the I-95 corridor will have highs in the 20s and 30s.

Again, high winds will contribute to even colder AccuWeather.com RealFeel® temperatures.

"It looks like the cold blast will last for most of the week for the East," according to Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski. "There could be a brief interruption to the cold late in the week before yet another reinforcing cold shot of air arrives."

Colder air will penetrate the Southeast as well with highs falling and lows dropping below freezing for cities such as Raleigh and Charlotte, N.C., and Atlanta, Ga.

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