As spring slowly approaches for much of the country, cold temperatures will once again envelop a majority of the lower 48 states this week.
“Temperatures will be 10 to 20 degrees below average over the northern tier states by Monday morning,” the Weather Prediction Center said.
A strong, high pressure arctic system means more than 70 percent of the country will experience freezing temps. More than 15 million citizens will experience temps below zero.
The system will descend upon much of the northern and eastern parts of the country quickly over a 48-hour period. Some typically warmer climates will experience temps up to 30 or 40 degrees colder than average for late February.
Denver, Colorado, will go from a high in the 60s on Sunday all the way down to 15 on Tuesday. Snow showers are likely. Rapid City, South Dakota, will slide from a high of 50 degrees Sunday to 0 degrees by Tuesday. By Tuesday night, suburbs of the area will dip to 17 degrees below zero.
In Amarillo, Texas, temperatures will reach the 70s Monday, and then quickly drop to the mid 30s just one day later. Wichita, Kansas, will plummet, too, from a high near 70 Monday down to the mid-20s on Tuesday.
Americans should brace for unseasonal amounts of snow and cold temperatures
Experts warn that any any moisture in the air will likely turn into snow and ice when the temperatures drop. Large portions of the country will face late-season snowfall as a result.
“The arctic front arrives late Sunday, bringing snow, bitter cold, [and] hazardous travel,” the National Weather Service (NWS) said. They also strongly advised wearing multiple layers when outdoors, as well as carrying a winter survival kit if you are traveling in case of a breakdown. A few hours without warmth in these conditions could prove deadly.
Furthermore, since the cold weather is expected to move slowly throughout the country, considerable amounts of snow will fall and stick for a few days.
“A long period of snow and gusty northeast winds will begin late Sunday night. And they will continue through Tuesday,” the NWS tweeted. “Snow may be heavy at times with significant accumulations across parts of the Upper Midwest.”
Six inches of snow is forecasted for most of the Midwest, but experts believe up to 12 inches of wintery mix is possible. Southern states like Tennessee will experience lowered temps, but should not expect much (if any) snowfall. However, those states will experience heavy rainfall and potential flash flooding as a result.
Because of the South’s higher temps, their storms will likely rage worse than other parts of the country when the cool arctic air meets the low-pressure systems. The Arkansas-Louisiana-Texas region, as well as the lower and mid-Mississippi Valley, will likely see tornadoes, large hail, and extensive wind damage from Monday afternoon into Tuesday morning.