Dangerous arctic blast to send coldest air of 2023 across northern US

An arctic blast looming this weekend has the potential to be the most significant winter cooldown for the northern tier of the country since December.

The FOX Forecast Center said highs will be 25 to 40 degrees below average Saturday and Sunday for much of the central and northern Plains and Midwest, with highs more than 30 degrees below average from Montana to western Kansas on Sunday. This will correspond to temperatures staying in the teens and single digits.

The FOX Forecast Center is tracking arctic air that is expected to surge south into the Northern Plains and upper Mississippi Valley with dangerously low wind chills this weekend into early next week.
The FOX Forecast Center is tracking arctic air that is expected to surge south into the Northern Plains and upper Mississippi Valley with dangerously low wind chills this weekend into early next week.

At night, lows will drop below zero for more than 20 million people across parts of 15 states from Idaho to Michigan.

The coldest morning will be Monday as actual temperatures drop into the negative teens and 20s in Minnesota, the Dakotas, Wyoming and Montana.

The wind will make it feel even more bitter with dangerous wind chills in the negative 30s and negative 40s. Frostbite will be possible in as little as 15 minutes.

A Wind Chill Advisory has been issued for eastern parts of Colorado, southwestern Nebraska and northwestern Kansas. As the cold air continues to expand, the National Weather Service may issue additional alerts over the weekend.

WHAT DOES WIND CHILL MEAN?

Below-zero air temperatures and negative 10 to negative 20 wind chills will make it as far south as Kansas and as far east as Illinois on Monday and Tuesday morning.

Major metros such as Denver, Minneapolis, Chicago, Milwaukee, Omaha and Des Moines will all dip below zero.

Along the edge of this arctic air, as it moves into the Northern Plains, heavy snow will set up across the Northern Rockies on Friday and Saturday. Some disruptive snow from southern South Dakota into northern Nebraska and Iowa, from late Friday night through early Saturday morning, is also likely.

Exposure to subzero wind chills can lead to frostbite that starts within minutes, and in the heart of the weekend’s arctic blast zone, the timing for the onslaught of symptoms may even be less than 60 seconds.

DRIVING IN LIGHT SNOW IS JUST AS DANGEROUS AS A MAJOR SNOWSTORM, RESEARCHERS SAY

Wind Chill Chart
To determine the wind-chill temperature, find the value closest to your outside air temperature. Find the value that most closely represents your present wind speed. Your wind-chill temperature is the value where lines drawn from the air temperature and wind cross.

Unlike December’s record cold blast that made it all the way to Florida, the latest intrusion of cold air will be limited on how far it sinks to the south.

As the weekend progresses and the final workdays of January begin, cold air is expected to sink into northwestern Texas and the Ohio Valley, but the most dangerous conditions will remain across the northern tier of the country due to a ridge of high pressure over the Southeast.

Bismarck, North Dakota, is expected to fall below zero on Friday and may not see a temperature in the single digits again until Tuesday.

Here's a look at the forecast lows in Bismarck, North Dakota.
Here's a look at the forecast lows in Bismarck, North Dakota.

Many communities in South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska may face a similar fate with temperatures that will hover in dangerously cold territory.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center believes the cold air will not significantly impact the Southeast, and the end of January may actually finish slightly warmer than average compared to climatological norms.