Flash Flood Watch

Millions face subzero temperatures as icy air sweeps across northern US

By Faith Eherts, AccuWeather meteorologist
December 15, 2016, 7:25:48 AM EST

    The latest and coldest batch of arctic air this month will tighten its icy grip in the Midwest and blast into the Northeast into the end of the week.

    Gusty winds accompanying the frigid air will create potentially dangerous conditions. AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures will plummet.

    “This will be a dangerous, early-season cold with AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures near or below zero during the day,” according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Max Vido.

    “At night, RealFeel® Temperatures will plummet more than 10 degrees below zero throughout the region," Vido said.

    Frostbite could occur on exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes in some in the coldest areas.

    To stay safe, cover as much skin as possible, avoid exposure to the wind and limit time spent outdoors. Wind chill affects pets as well, so furry friends should not be left out in the cold.

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    On Wednesday, temperatures will struggle to exceed zero across the northern fringes of the country. Combined with the gusty weather, RealFeel® Temperatures in these areas will be brutal.

    Winds are expected to pick up over the Great Lakes, spreading the dangerous cold into the northeastern U.S. and sparking another round of lake-effect snow.

    Temperatures in Minneapolis, Madison, Wisconsin, and Chicago will remain in the single digits on Thursday.

    As the core of the arctic air shifts eastward through Thursday, more cities will be impacted by the dangerous chill.

    Temperatures in Detroit; Columbus, Ohio; Pittsburgh; and Buffalo and Syracuse, New York; will be in the teens with a biting wind on Thursday.

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    High temperatures in New York City, Philadelphia and Boston will not rise above the 20s on Thursday and Friday.

    Areas along the Interstate-95 corridor will experience their coldest conditions overnight on Thursday through Friday morning. While winds will begin to diminish during this time, enough of a breeze will occur to push RealFeel® Temperatures below zero for a time.

    "New York City will experience its coldest Dec. 15-16 since at least the year 2000," according to AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams.

    Residents of New England, including Boston and Hartford, Connecticut, can expect to brace single-digit low temperatures during their early-morning commute.

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    Nighttime lows will range from the single digits to the teens and lower 20s over much of the I-95 corridor in the Northeast.

    A cross-country storm will attack the cold air over the Central and Eastern states from late this week to this weekend. However, another wave of arctic air will sweep eastward in the wake of the storm.

    In the North Central states, low temperatures later this weekend could rival the frigid levels from the middle of this week. The same cold blast may not be as extreme by the time it reaches the Atlantic coast.

    Moderating temperatures are anticipated for much of the central and eastern U.S. just before Christmas.

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