Winter is officially more than a month away. But an Arctic blast packing the coldest air of the season is headed toward much of the United States, threatening to break dozens of daily temperature records and prompting some Veterans Day organizers to make new plans.
Temperatures will be 15 to 25 degrees below normal over the eastern two-thirds of the United States early in the week, the National Weather Service said. The agency expects record-setting cold for Monday through Wednesday, and the chilliest temperatures are forecast for Wednesday on the East Coast.
It is the second Arctic front to cross part of the country in recent days; the first caused temperatures to drop on the East Coast from Thursday into Saturday morning.
The polar plunge — with temperatures that are more typical of January — will be felt deepest in the Northern Plains and upper Midwest on Sunday, in the Southern Plains and Ohio Valley on Monday, and in the South on Tuesday.
Residents of the Twin Cities face a 19-degree forecast Monday that would challenge a record set in 1986, according to the National Weather Service office there. One silver lining: No snow is predicted.
Lows will tumble into the single digits in the Plains, most likely on Monday night and into Tuesday. By then, the eastern third of the country will be on deck for the blast, with lows in the 20s on Wednesday.
In parts of the Florida Panhandle, residents who were sweating through blazing heat early this month may be bundling up in coats on Wednesday and Thursday, as temperatures plummet into the 30s. The rest of the state will be only a few degrees cooler than usual.
The weather predictions are unwelcome news for organizers of Veterans Day ceremonies across the country on Monday.
The forecast may not be as unusual as a temperature swing on Nov. 11, 1911, when both a record high of 82 degrees and a record low of 13 degrees were recorded in Columbia, Mo. But it is causing some worry nonetheless.
The National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Mo., is hosting a full slate of events over the weekend, but is taking precautions for an expected spike in visitor traffic. A ceremony on Monday will be held indoors, said Mike Vietti, communications director for the museum.
In Minnesota, a group of a couple of dozen veterans was planning to walk 11 miles from Minneapolis to the State Capitol in St. Paul on Monday to commemorate the signing of the Armistice on Nov. 11, 1918. At the Capitol, they will ring a replica Liberty Bell 11 times at 11 a.m. (The forecast, at least, is a tad higher than 11 degrees.)
“We’re used to the cold; it’s just going to be a stroll for us,” said Michael McDonald, 70, who served as an Army Reserve soldier during the Vietnam War. He said that the group, made up mostly of Vietnam veterans, would be fine as long as it was “above zero.”
Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs contributed reporting.