The Arctic blast engulfing the eastern half of the Lower 48 will make mid-November feel like mid-January. Between Sunday and Wednesday, temperatures will sink to levels 15 to 30 degrees colder than normal from the Plains to the East Coast.
The National Weather Service is predicting that about 250 new cold records will be established as a result of this polar plunge, from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes.
Next week’s cold is the second and stronger of back-to-back Arctic fronts sweeping across the nation.
The first front raced from the Midwest to the East Coast between Wednesday and Friday this week. It caused temperatures to drop 15 to 20 degrees in 24 hours along the Eastern Seaboard between Thursday and Friday morning and supported the season’s first snow flurries in Washington.
But temperatures are poised to take an even deeper dive as the second front invades.
When will the cold arrive?
The cold front will drop into the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest on Saturday night into Sunday, passing through Minneapolis and Chicago.
On Monday morning, the front will have rapidly progressed eastward, stretching from interior New England southwest to Texas, having sliced through Buffalo, Detroit, Cleveland, Kansas City, St. Louis and Oklahoma City.
By Tuesday morning, it will have reached the East Coast, having passed through all but southeast South Carolina and Florida, which it will cross by Wednesday morning.
How cold are we talking?
On Monday, when the core of the cold grips the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes, Minneapolis will not escape the high teens while Chicago hovers in the 20s. Both cities are likely to see their coldest Veterans Day on record.
“Record low-max and record low mins could be in jeopardy of being tied/broken for both Monday and Tuesday,” wrote the National Weather Service office serving Chicago. “[T]his is impressively cold air for early-mid November.”
By Tuesday morning, low temperatures will drop into the single digits across the Dakotas, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota and most of Wisconsin. Temperatures in the teens will penetrate as far south as Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle.
On Tuesday afternoon, subfreezing highs will cover a wide swath of western New York and Pennsylvania into the Southern Plains. Numerous locations in the Ohio and Tennessee valleys, where highs are forecast to only reach the 20s to 30s, are predicted to post daily records for cold high temperatures. The cold will reach the Gulf Coast, where even Houston and New Orleans will struggle to hit 50.
By Wednesday morning, freezing temperatures are forecast to reach the Gulf Coast, near-record lows for the date in a number of areas. Almost the entirety of the eastern half of the United States will be below freezing with teens and 20s most common.
On Wednesday afternoon, high temperatures in much of New England will remain below freezing with 30s to near 40 in the Mid-Atlantic. Even South Florida will see a bit of a cool-down with highs in the 70s to near 80, compared to recent temperatures near 90.
Temperatures will moderate some Thursday into the weekend, but will generally remain near to below normal over the eastern half of the nation.