Back-to-Back Arctic Blasts Sending Midwest, Northeast into a Deep Freeze Through the Weekend


December 15, 2016

A bitter cold arctic air mass has swept through a large swath of the central and eastern states to close out the workweek, sending wind chills into the teens, 20s and 30s below zero in some locations.



Extreme cold will continue this weekend as an even more frigid blast of arctic air plunges into the central states on heels of Winter Storm Decima.

Some locations have seen or could see their coldest December temperatures in several years, and some record lows may be threatened.



Forecast: Arctic Cold Round #1

Thursday morning, subzero low temperatures were recorded as far south as Iowa, northern Illinois and northern Indiana. Winds chills in the 20s and 30s below zero were widespread throughout the Upper Midwest.

Chicago saw its first December subzero low temperature since Dec. 24, 2013. The mercury plunged to minus 20 degrees in Grand Forks, North Dakota, making it the coldest December reading in the city since Dec. 23, 2013.


Current Temperatures

Great Falls, Montana, recorded its tenth straight day in a row with subzero lows on Wednesday morning. That is longest such streak there since February 1996.

On Tuesday morning, subzero lows were recorded as far south as northern Iowa and northern Nebraska. Wind chills dropped as low as minus 36 degrees in Winthrop, Minnesota.

The Northeast will see its coldest high temperatures through Friday with daytime readings 10-25 degrees below average. Temperatures will not rise out of the 20s along the Interstate 95 corridor in New York City and Philadelphia. Highs in the teens and even a few single digits will grip New England Friday.

Friday morning looks to be the coldest for many Northeast cities, with lows 15-30 degrees below average. Single digits above and below zero are expected in parts of upstate New York, northern/western Pennsylvania and New England. Wind chills will be in the single digits, teens and even a few 20s below zero across the interior Northeast and New England Friday morning. A few places in northern New England could see wind chills in the 30s below zero.


Forecast: Arctic Cold Round #2

The second plunge of arctic air will begin seeping south of the Canadian border and into the northern Plains (western Dakotas, Montana) by Friday. That cold air will spread east and south across the Midwest and Plains during the upcoming weekend and into early next week.

This weekend's temperatures will be the coldest we've seen so far this month in some locales, and daily record lows may be threatened.


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