The nasty cold temperatures we mentioned yesterday are streaming into the upper midwest with vigor, and will occupy most of the the northern tier for the next few days. Along with the bitter cold, accompanying winds have already wrought wind chill temperatures of -30ºF in upper Minnesota spawning wind chill warnings to be posted, and will soon add to the bitter cold that has seeped into Chicago, and will trek east through the northeastern states.
Wind Chills of at least 0ºF will exist at some point in the next few days from Chicago, through Indiana and Ohio, all the way east to New York, Massachussets, and the majority of New England.
We have a Forecast Wind Chill Temperature Animation that you may view here to see the breadth of areal coverage that this event will entail. While viewing the animation the “purple” colors represent wind chill temperatures of 0ºF outlined by a thin yellow line, the “red” colors represent very dangerous wind chill temperatures of -30ºF where frost bite can occur rapidly, and the thin red line represents 32ºF. Note the scale at the bottom while viewing the animation, and also note the controls where you may advance the frames individually if you so choose.
An additional note along this line is that while dangerous wind chill temperatures will occur for the northern tier, the colder air we mentioned yesterday is still forecast to descend as far south as the Florida Panhandle, with the deepest push to occur on Friday morning, also represented by the forecast wind chill temperatures animation.
Wind chill temperatures at these levels can pose serious risk to personal health and safety. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has posted a guide that can be very helpful in preparing yourself for these types of conditions. You may read it here.
Along with the bitter cold the snows we discussed yesterday will be continuing its trek northeast spreading snows along a line from Pennsylvania through Maine (forecast animation). Higher accumulations will occur on the eastern boundaries of Lakes Erie and Ontario with the best chance for accumulations of around 4-5″ in Jefferson County, New York.
Another low pressure system will zip out of Canada through the northern plains trailing light snows through the Dakotas today heading southeast through central Illinois with accumulations of up to 3-4″ in some areas.
Tomorrow the low will veer east along the Great Lakes states bringing a better chance for higher accumulations on the southern shores of Lakes Michigan and Erie. The highest accumulations from this system should be on the southeast side of Lake Michigan, where 6″ + may fall in and around the city of South Bend, Indiana.
While accumulations with the snows mentioned above overall will not be overly dramatic, wind speeds will be hefty in many areas which is the cause for the high wind chills we discussed above. Add the wind speeds with the snows also discussed above, and you have the cause for the blizzard watch issued for Chicago, Illinois and the surrounding area. A blizzard watch means there is potential for falling and/or blowing snows (with the accompanying winds) that can lead to extremely poor visibility.
As always stay tuned to your favorite weather outlet, stay informed, and stay safe!