The coldest weather of the season is barreling into the U.S. this week with a series of "dangerously cold" arctic air masses.
The blasts of cold air will send temperatures 10-35 degrees below average for early January, Weather Channel meteorologist Roy Lucksinger said. High temperatures will range from near zero to the teens and 20s across a wide swath of the country.
The pattern is classic for winter, bringing frigid arctic air to nearly everyone east of the Rockies, National Weather Service meteorologist Paul Kocin said. The chilly weather will rival last year's January arctic outbreak that introduced the phrase "polar vortex" to America, he said.
"This is going to be a big cold outbreak, pretty windy as well," Kocin said. "It's going to drive all the way down south."
The first cold wave will cover the Plains and Great Lakes through Monday, while a second, even more frigid air mass blitzes into the Plains, Midwest and the East from Tuesday through Thursday, Lucksinger said.
Wind chills will plummet to minus 25 to minus 45 degrees from the northern Plains to the Ohio Valley. Frostbite can occur in as little as 10 minutes on exposed skin at that temperature.
The high temperature Monday in International Falls, Minn., the so-called icebox of the nation, will be only minus 7, with a wind chill of minus 45, the National Weather Service said. The city may eventually warm up to the single digits by Thursday.
In Chicago, the record low temperature of minus 10 could be "smashed" Thursday morning, WeatherBell meteorologist Ryan Maue said.
Someone needs to tell this chick to quit pulling the cold down from up North.