Fresh bitter cold to set stage for early-week snowstorm in midwestern US

By Renee Duff, AccuWeather meteorologist
January 25, 2019, 10:40:46 AM EST


The deep freeze gripping the midwestern United States will set the stage for several opportunities for snow, the most significant of which may come Sunday into Monday and impact the major cities from Minneapolis to Chicago and Detroit.

As snow and lake-effect squalls sweep across the Great Lakes, fresh Arctic air will continue to blast across the Midwest through Friday.

“In most of the region, this air mass descending on the Midwest will be colder than the one that moved through last weekend and earlier this week,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Ryan Adamson.

NC Fri 1.25 AM


Eastern North Dakota and northern Minnesota could be faced with a second consecutive day of subzero highs on Friday.

"The bitterly cold conditions will also result in highs in the single digits in cities such as Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Chicago on Friday," Adamson said.

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Gusty winds ushering in the frigid air will make it feel even more harsh outside. AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures may drop to minus 20 in Chicago on Friday morning.

People spending any length of time outdoors will need to make sure they are properly dressed for such frigid conditions. Make sure you know the warning signs of cold-related injuries, such as frostbite and hypothermia.

Ensure pets are not kept outside too long and have proper shelter and warmth.

Motorists should check vehicle fluids and tire pressure before heading out. Be sure to have a winter survival kit in your vehicle in case an emergency leaves you stranded in the cold for a time.

Download the AccuWeather app to see just how cold it will get in your area.

The cold shot will be a dry one for many, but there will be some snowy areas.

Snow showers and locally heavier squalls will stream off lakes Michigan and Superior occasionally through the weekend, leading to areas of reduced visibility and slippery travel.

snow shots Jan 23


A separate, narrow zone of snow will streak quickly from the northern Plains to the mid-Mississippi Valley at the end of the week, bringing a light accumulation and slippery travel. This snow may continue to track over the lower Great Lakes and to the central Appalachians to start the weekend.

Another band of quick-hitting snow may return areas of slick travel to many of these same communities over the weekend. Arctic air will be reinforced across the Midwest in the wake of this snow.

That cold can pave the way for a more significant snowstorm to target the North Central states.

Latest indications point toward a swath of snow dropping into the northern Plains on Sunday before streaking to the lower Great Lakes on Monday.

Snowstorm NC 1.25 AM


"The potential exists for more than 6 inches of snow to fall along that corridor, which can include the cities of Fargo, North Dakota; Minneapolis; Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Chicago and Detroit," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski.

"The snow will be powdery which will help ease the hardships of shoveling amid the frigid conditions," she added.

However, the snow can lead to slow and difficult road conditions. There can be severe disruptions to air travel, especially with the snow targeting Chicago. Delays and cancellations at this major hub can impact those flying elsewhere across the U.S.

Residents should prepare for daily routines and plans to be affected. School closures are likely.

AccuWeather meteorologists will continue to provide more details on this impending snowstorm, which can also cause rain to change to snow and slick travel across the Ohio and Tennessee valleys around Tuesday.

If the cold air catches up with the rain fast enough, there may even be a turn to snow in communities farther south.

Regardless of exactly which areas of the Midwest the snowstorm targets, the polar vortex is expected to unleash the harshest cold of the winter across the entire region to end January.

Arctic outbreak 1.25 AM


Winter storms create a unique set of challenges in the Northeast compared to other areas of the country. Great minds often come together to face the challenge. AccuWeather Meteorologist Dave Dombeck joins WABC New York's Chief Meteorologist, Lee Goldberg to talk about their years of collaboration taking on the big storms.

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