With the beginning of spring only days away in the United States, a final burst of winter weather is expected to impact broad swaths of the country.
Spring officially kicks off on Monday, but AccuWeather on Thursday predicted that the days prior to that will see a blast of cold air from the Arctic, lowering temperatures considerably across most of the country, starting in the Central U.S. on Saturday. Throughout the weekend and into the first few days of spring, the cold wave is expected to expand into most parts of the East off the back of a storm over the Great Lakes region. Temperatures are also expected to plummet as far south as southern Texas.
In parts of the Midwest and Northeast, the arctic blast is forecast to bring one of the harshest temperature drops of the season, comparable to similar chills that occurred near Christmas and at the start of February. Chicago is expected to reach temperatures well below its historical average for this time of year, with temperatures over the weekend beginning in the teens and struggling to pass freezing throughout the day. According to AccuWeather, the city’s historic average low is around 32 degrees Fahrenheit for this time of year.
New York City, meanwhile, will see lows of around freezing on Saturday and Sunday nights, with daytime temperatures not expected to warm past 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Strong winds throughout the Great Lakes and Central Appalachian regions are also expected to worsen conditions for many throughout the weekend. In these areas, winds will generally reach speeds of 40 to 60 miles per hour, going up to 70 mph near the shores of the Great Lakes. These wind gusts could cause the air to feel 10-20 degrees cooler than it actually is.
While not as frigid as it is expected to be further north, parts of the Southern U.S. are also expected to see unseasonably cold temperatures due to the arctic blast, with some areas seeing 25-50 degree departures from their historical averages for this time of year. Some areas might also break their daily records for low temperatures over the weekend.
“A strong area of high pressure across the central Plains will push cold air unusually far south into Texas and northern Mexico, which will set the stage for cloudy and raw conditions this weekend,” AccuWeather senior meteorologist Adam Douty explained. “Daily record low and low maximum temperatures are likely to be challenged and even shattered in some cases.”
The effects of the arctic blast are forecast to be felt in the South from as far west as New Mexico, across Texas, and as far east as Atlanta and other parts of Georgia. Only Florida is expected to be spared from the chill.
Newsweek reached out to the National Weather Service for comment.