Arctic blast to settle in on Thursday in area

In the wake of a disruptive winter storm expected to track across portions of the Plains and Midwest, a powerful Arctic front will surge southward from Canada, ushering in the coldest air of the season for many in the area, according to AccuWeather.

So far this winter, most people across the northern Plains, Midwest and Great Lakes have been able to save a few extra dollars on heating costs thanks to the mild weather, but the upcoming forecast will have some heaters working overtime later this week.

Early Wednesday morning, the Arctic air will blast south of the Canadian border into the Plains.

As the cold air mass continues to surge southward, it will join forces with a separate storm system Wednesday night in the Midwest, helping to inject a fresh shot of cold air on the back side.

The combination of these two atmospheric disturbances is expected to bring another round of accumulating snow to places like Chicago and Milwaukee. AccuWeather predicts 1 to 3 inches of snow near Milwaukee and 3 to 6 inches in a narrow band through the Chicago area.

The bitterly cold weather will encompass the entire region Thursday. Places like Minneapolis, Milwaukee and Chicago will likely feel the coldest air of the season so far, according to AccuWeather.

Subzero temperatures combined with a brisk north wind will send AccuWeather RealFeel temperatures plummeting to dangerously cold levels Thursday morning.

Portions of the Dakotas and Minnesota may not have thermometers climb above zero degrees Thursday afternoon.

“For many areas around the Midwest and Northeast, this air mass will surpass the lowest temperatures of the winter so far by 10 to 15 degrees, even though the mainly unfrozen waters of the Great Lakes will modify the air slightly,” according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

“The mild conditions have created soft bud conditions, which a blast of severe cold like that anticipated late this week can kill some of the buds and lead to damage in vineyards and orchards,” he added.